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FDU-Florham Drops Season Opener to Montclair State

The FDU-Florham Devils lost to the Montclair State University Red Hawks 25-15 Friday night in Madison. In both teams’ season opening games, Montclair State’s defense shut down the FDU offense in the second half, and relied on a dominant offensive performance by senior running back John DiStefano to come away with the victory.

Less than six minutes into the game, Montclair State took an early lead when freshman quarterback Ryan Adzima connected with DiStefano on a 70-yard scoring strike. A field goal early in the second quarter gave the Red Hawks a 10-0 lead.

FDU answered with a 12-play scoring drive, culminating in a 9-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Joey McCain to sophomore running back Marquis Wright. A fake extra point led to a successful two point conversion, which trimmed Montclair State’s lead to 10-8.

McCain tossed his second touchdown pass of the game when he found freshman tight end John Pellegrini with 4:53 remaining in the first half to cap a 10-play, 52 yard drive. The Devils would take a 15-10 lead into the half.

The second half scoring opened with 74-yard touchdown run by DiStefano to give the Red Hawks a 16-15 lead. Although a two-point conversion attempt failed, the Montclair State defense, which would shut out FDU in the second half, added a late third quarter safety to extend the lead to 18-15.

DiStefano’s second rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter resulted in a 25-15 Red Hawk advantage that would prove to be the final tally.

In his first game as starting quarterback, McCain complete 18 of 41 attempts for 223 and two touchdowns. Senior Esaun Mobley led the receiving corps with five catches for 75 yards. The Devils offense finished with a net -21 yards rushing.

DiStefano accounted for 305 all-purpose yards (26 rushes for 184 yards and two touchdowns; one reception for 70 yards and one touchdown; two kickoff returns for 51 yards) in leading the Red Hawks to victory. Linebacker Nick Catalano led the Montclair State defense with six solo tackles (including three tackles for loss) and two sacks.

FDU (0-1) returns to Robert T. Shields Field this Friday, September 16 to face Widener (0-1). The Devils look to avenge a 50-20 loss to the Pride last November. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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