Football heads to bye week after two tough losses, TCNJ next after break

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Christopher Newport University hadn’t beaten Rowan since joining the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) in 2015.

That losing streak ended Saturday, as the Captains shut out Rowan 30-0 under the lights in Newport News, Virginia.

Statistically, the Profs had their worst offensive performance thus far, the offense had just 67 total yards on the night. Most notably, though, was the ineffectiveness of the running game, which had -25 rushing yards on 29 attempts. In their last two games, the brown and gold accumulated just 21 yards on the ground after going for at least 135 yards in each of the team’s first three contests. Running back Anthony Diorio only had 11 carries for five yards, and has held to 59 yards on 32 carries over the last two games.

“They [Christopher Newport] were well prepared,” Diorio said. “They played hard, and we know every conference game is going to be a tough game. They have a lot of talent over there and they outperformed us.”

In the passing game, sophomore quarterback Naldy Tavarez was efficient, completing six of nine attempts. However, he only threw 40 yards and was picked off twice, one from Rowan’s own two yard-line that was returned for a touchdown. Tavarez was pulled early in the second quarter for sophomore Quinn Collins, who went three of five for 46 yards. Freshman Brian Furlong took the helm in the fourth quarter in the blowout, completing one pass on three attempts.

“We are going to take a look at Quinn and Naldy this week,” said head coach Jay Accorsi. “This is a good week to see how these guys compete, and we will go from there.”

Defensively, the brown and gold had a tough time handling Captains quarterback K.J. Kearney. Kearney had 27 completions on 37 attempts for 206 yards and a pick, but was unable to find the end zone in the air. Instead, he welcomed himself with a rushing score to make it a 28-0 game just before halftime. 

It was a solid day rushing for Christopher Newport running back Harrison Dandridge, who had 18 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns. The Captains’ offense averaged 4.7 yards per-play, leading to 16 first downs during the game compared to Rowan’s four. They also had 261 more yards on offense compared to the Profs. 

“Our communication has not been where we want it to be,” said defensive captain Kevin Stokes. “As the season goes on, we need to rotate more guys in. As we move forward in practice, we [the front seven] will find more ways to get to the quarterback.”

The Profs are sitting in sixth place in the NJAC standings and the bye week is certainly needed, considering the team has not made a dent in the scoreboard for six quarters.

“This the time where we need to brace down, find who we are and finish the season out strong,” Stokes said.

After the off-week, Rowan will have their eyes on The College of New Jersey on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Coach Richard Wackar Stadium at 2 p.m.

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