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Football Shuts Down, Shuts Out Kean, 27-0

Union, NJ – Junior running back CRAIG MERKLE rushed for 104 yards and scored two touchdowns as Montclair State shut down and shut out Kean University 27-0 at Alumni Stadium on Saturday evening. Quarterback JA'QUILL BURCH threw for a score and ran for one as the Red Hawks remained unbeaten on the season at 4-0 overall, 3-0 in NJAC play. It is the first time since 2011 that MSU has opened the year with four consecutive victories and the 15 time in its history. Meanwhile the Red Hawks defense was dominant holding the Cougars to 144 yards of total offense while recording the first shutout in the series since 2005 (3-0 MSU lead) and the sixth overall. Montclair State now leads the series, 35-9 including wins in each of the last two years. The Red Hawks needed just four plays to take a 7-0 lead. Burch connected with STEPP OZIEGBE for 23 yards with an additional 15-yard penalty moving the ball to the Kean 38. On the next play, Merkle ripped off a 38-yard run for a touchdown and a 6-0 MSU lead with three minutes gone by in the first after the extra point was blocked. Later in the period, Montclair extened the lead with an 80-yard drive. Burch found KASON CAMPBELL for 55 yards to the Cougars 15 and then connected with Merkle for 11 yards down to the 2. Burch finished off the drive with a two-yard run giving the Red Hawks a 13-0 advantage with 2:03 left. The lead grew to 20-0 early in the second quarter as Montclair moved 58 yards in eight plays capped off by a Burch to Oziegbe 22-yard touchdown pass on a 3rd-and-goal from the Kean 22. MSU's final score came late in third as the Red Hawks took advantage of a short field. Taking over at the Kean 37, Burch hit DAUNTE FLETCHER for 15 yards and completed 10 yard pass to ERIC MAGNIFICO to the Kean 8. Three plays later, Merkle barreled in from a yard out. Montclair limited Kean to just 16 yards rushing. SEAMUS NELSON led the unit with eight tackles while ZAHIR WILDERadded seven along with a breakup. MAURO ALTAMURA had five tackles with GIUSEPPE GUGLIUZZA getting four along with a sack. DYLAN ELLIOTT had an interception. Burch was an efficient 17-of-21 for 219 yards distributing the ball to nine different receivers. Montclair amassed a season-high 393 yards of offense. The Red Hawks return to Sprague Field next Saturday, October 6 for its annual Homecoming Game. Montclair hosts The College of New Jersey at 6:00 pm in the 86th meeting of the oldest active collegiate football rivalry in New Jersey. MSU leads 53-30-2 picking up a 21-17 win in Ewing last season.

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