Rowan football was flying high after a string of wins, but the Profs, ranked as high as No. 21 last week, would quickly be brought back down to Earth.
Rowan saw its three-game winning streak get snapped with a 24-17 loss to rival Wesley College on Saturday, Oct. 22. The loss dropped the team to 5-2 on the season and 4-2 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
The score would have favored the Wolverines more, had it not been for some late-game heroics by the brown and gold offense.
They came alive in the second half, finding the end zone twice after only managing a field goal in the first. A lack of steady production throughout the game made it harder to keep the contest close against a Wesley team that racked up 369 total yards.
Good defense was the cornerstone of the brown and gold’s success earlier in the season, but that group has slowly declined as it wears on. That coupled with costly turnovers has been a reoccurring theme that has plagued the team.
In its matchup with the Wolverines, Rowan lost three fumbles and gave up two interceptions — all charged to quarterback Dante Pinckney — as well as failed to convert on a pivotal fourth down from the Wesley 44 with just over a minute to go. Running back Gawain Bragg scored a touchdown for the fourth straight game and squeezed 48 yards out of 15 carries
Aside from the abundance of turnovers, the Profs defense was unable to make stops as the team fell behind early. The second half proved to be better as the offense began to make big plays, but it was too little, too late.
“A football game is four quarters; it’s from start to finish,” Bragg said. “We just have to look back at our mistakes and come out with more fire.”
The loss could prove to be more impactful for Rowan’s playoff hopes as the season begins to wind down. With the result, the Profs dropped to a tie for second place. There is currently a three-way tie for first.
The Profs may not be able to make this loss up with the conference standings being so close and only three games remaining on the schedule.
Still, Rowan will have to turn its focus to this week’s game as the team goes on the road to face yet another top-tier NJAC opponent. Frostburg State University (6-1, 5-1 NJAC) looks to make it six wins in a row on Saturday.
Head coach Jay Accorsi will be preparing the Profs for a Bobcats team that is outscoring opponents 161-91.
“We’re on the road against a really good football team. They have a defense that’s going to suffocate you and an offense that can score,” Accorsi said. “I don’t think you can get far ahead, you have to learn what you’ve done recently and we just have to worry about Frostburg.”
In addition to scoring, Frostburg State also leads teams it has faced this season in first downs, rushing, passing and total offense.
After losing early in the year to Wesley, the Bobcats went on a five-game winning streak, even beating favored Christopher Newport University. They currently sit tied for first in the NJAC with Wesley and Salisbury University.
This is a must-win game for the brown and gold if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. A win over Frostburg would tie them up in the conference standings with two winnable games against Kean and The College of New Jersey left on the schedule.
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