Story and photo courtesy of SUNY Cortland Athletics
CORTLAND, N.Y. – Senior quarterback Chris Rose (Victor) completed 32-of-53 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning 33-yard pass to freshman DJ Spencer (Buffalo/Cleveland Hill) with one minute, 26 seconds remaining, as Cortland defeated nationally 17th-ranked Rowan, 24-21.
Cortland improves to 6-1 overall and remains unbeaten in New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play with a 6-0 record. Rowan suffered its first loss to a Div. III team this season and is now 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the NJAC. Cortland can clinch the NJAC title if it wins next Saturday at Kean University, which is also undefeated in league play with a 5-0 mark.
Rowan had taken a 21-17 lead with 1:52 remaining when Dan Reed (Westmont, NJ/Haddon Twp.) turned a short slant pass into a 76-yard touchdown reception as he raced untouched up the middle of the field. Cortland, however, started the ensuing drive on its own 37-yard line after a short kickoff. Rose completed an 8-yard pass to senior tight end Rob Von Bargen (Massapequa) and a 22-yard pass to sophomore Kordel McInnis (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township), then hit Spencer on a long pass into the front left corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
The Profs had a final chance to tie or win. On 1st-and-10 at its own 47-yard line, Rowan completed a pass that moved the ball to the Cortland 3-yard line, but the play was negated by an ineligible player downfield penalty. The Profs were still able to move the ball to the Cortland 37-yard line two plays later on a 22-yard pass from Louie Bianchini (West Long Branch, NJ/Red Bank Catholic) to Anthony Barone (Hammonton, NJ), but on the next play Bianchini overthrew a deep pass and Cortland freshman Andre Green (Philadelphia/Indian River) intercepted the ball at the Red Dragon 7-yard line with 21 seconds left.
Rowan led 7-0 in the first quarter on a 62-yard pass from Bianchini to sophomore Ed Eisenhart (Mullica Hill, NJ/Clearview Reg.). The Red Dragons answered with a 20-yard TD pass from Rose to McInnis 13 seconds into the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
Rowan regained the lead on a Keith Corcoran (Atlantic City, NJ/St. Joseph (Hammonton)) 24-yard TD run up the middle with 12:33 left in the second quarter and led 14-7 at halftime. The Red Dragons tied the game after catching a break on a third-quarter punt that was touched by a Rowan player and was recovered by Green at the Profs' 34-yard line. Five plays later, Rose and McInnis connected for their second TD – this one from 14 yards out – to tie the game at 14-14.
The Red Dragons had 1st-and-goal at the Rowan 2-yard line late in the third quarter, but ended up settling for a Mike DeBole (Webster/Webster Schroeder) 28-yard field goal to take their first lead of the day at 17-14 with 3:02 left. Neither team scored again until the fireworks in the final two minutes of the contest.
Cortland senior tailback Dorian Myles (Lackawanna/Hamburg) rushed for 56 yards and caught nine passes for 55 yards. Senior Mike Humphrey (Le Roy) made seven catches, McInnis finished with six receptions and Spencer had four receptions – his first four catches of the season.
Senior linebacker Chris Bright (East Meadow) led the defense with nine tackles, eight solo, with two for losses. Green and sophomore cornerback Andrew Tolosi (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) each had interceptions and Green also made seven tackles.DeBole averaged 46.3 yards per punt on six kicks.
For Rowan, Bianchini completed 15-of-27 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Warren Oliver (Beverly, NJ/Palmyra) had seven catches for 94 yards and Matt Dortch (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) ran for 62 yards.
On the defensive side, senior Casey Dillon (Northfield, NJ/Mainland Reg.) led the Profs with 10 tackles, seven solo. Freshman Darren Dungee (Morristown, NJ) had nine tackles, eight solo, and senior Frank Rubino (Belle Mead, NJ/Montgomery) intercepted a pass.
Cortland held a slight 410-409 advantage in total offense. The Red Dragons have gained at least 400 yards in seven straight games, a new school record. Last year's Cortland squad had a streak of six straight 400-yard games.