Homecoming to serve as wakeup call for Rowan football

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This Homecoming weekend presents fun, smiles and a must-win situation for the Rowan football team.

The Profs host their biggest rival, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), in a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matchup on Saturday afternoon.

A bye week couldn’t have visited at a more perfect time, as the team on a two-game losing streak after falling to Frostburg State University and getting shutout 30-0 by Christopher Newport University. Both of those games had to be won in order for Rowan to remain contenders in the NJAC standings. Now, they are in a situation where getting back into the win column is the first order of business.

The Brown and Gold have failed to score in the last six quarters, partially due to the inability to move the ball offensively. This ineffectiveness has caused head coach Jay Accorsi to open up a two-man competition at starting quarterback. Sophomores Naldy Tavarez, who has started all five games this season and Quinn Collins, who replaced Taverez in their last game, both looked to make an impression during the off week. Accorsi says it will likely be a game-time decision as to who starts under center this week.

“We are going to work both this week and see how it goes,” Accorsi said. “Quinn does some different things than Naldy does, so I think it is going to be a work in progress.”

Tavarez has completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 488 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He feels the offense has improved this week, and is looking to build off of that when they return to the field this weekend.

“We definitely needed the bye week to rest up,” Tavarez said. “We are very excited about this upcoming week at home. It’s great playing behind the fans.”

Defensively, some injuries still persist in the secondary. Safety Shaquille Lee, the only returning all-conference player from last season, has a nagging ankle injury. Junior defensive back Travelle Curry is hurt as well. Accorsi is more optimistic of having Curry back than Lee. If Lee plays, he will be on limited snaps.

The bottom line is that the team is going to need to stay together, regardless of who is on the field and avoid a third straight loss. Fortunately, the Profs know that there is a big fan base expected to attend the Homecoming game, as well as many fun events outside of the game itself.

“It’s a great experience to play in the Homecoming game,” Tavarez said. “I remember last year and it was a good atmosphere being around fans who care for us as a team. It makes you feel comfortable.”

“Homecoming becomes the single-biggest event on campus in the entire academic calendar,” Accorsi said. “Most of the things are surfaced around the football game and they will have the chance to play in front of a great Homecoming crowd as always.”

Football alumni of the 1980s will be honored during halftime of Saturday’s game. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

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