Burch Throws Three TD's as Football Delights Homecoming Crowd, 28-0
Montclair, NJ – Sophomore quarterback JA'QUILL BURCHcompleted 18-of-29 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns as Montclair State delighted its Homecoming crowd with a 28-0 victory over The College of New Jersey on Saturday evening. The Red Hawk defense was dominating for a second straight week as it posted its second consecutive shutout and limited the Lions to just 99 yards of total offense. It's the first time Montclair has recorded back-to-back shutouts since 1985 when it blanked Kean (24-0) and Ramapo (41-0) on September 28 and October 5, respectively. MSU remained unbeaten at 5-0 overall, 4-0 in NJAC play, it best start since the 2011 campaign and the 12th time in its history it has opened the year with five straight wins. TCNJ fell to 0-5 overall, 0-4 in the NJAC. The Red Hawks improved to 54-30-2 in the all-time series between the teams and is currently the oldest active collegiate football rivalry in New Jersey. Montclair State took a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game as it marched 58 yards in seven plays. Burch connected with Vinny LoVerde on a pair of passes the second a 24-yard gain to the TCNJ 11. Burch ran for six yards before finding ERIC MAGNIFICO from five yards out with 10:40 remaining in the opening quarter. The Red Hawks added to the lead in the second moving the ball 64 yards in 10 plays for a score. WILLIE BARR had a 16-yard run to the Lions' 19 and Burch hit STEPP OZIEGBE for 16 more to the TCNJ 3. Merkle raced around the left end on the next play for a touchdown making the score 14-0 with 11:16 left before halftime. The defense set up the final score as Maura Altamura picked off a pass in TCNJ territory and returned it to the 35 with 53 seconds left. Burch completed passes to BRIAN KOWALCZYK twice and then connected with CARSEN JOHNSON in the end zone extending the lead to 21-0 with 21 seconds to play. Montclair's final score came in the third with a solid 10-play, 83-yard drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes on the clock. Merkle rushed for 33 yards on four carries in the drive that ended with a Burch-to-Kowalczyk 19-yard score with 4:18 to go in the quarter. Merkle finished with 84 yards on 15 carries while WILLIE BARR added 57 on 16 touches. LoVerde finished with five receptions for 65 yards for MSU, which totaled 362 yards of offense in the win. The Red Hawks also held a huge time of possession with 41:23 including over 12 minutes in the second quarter and 11 in the fourth. Montclair was also successful on 10-of-18 third-down conversions. GIUSEPPE GUGLIUZZA had six tackles to lead the defense with Altamura and BRENNAN RAY each totaling five. DAMIEN VALENTINE and JAKE WEBER recorded a sack apiece. Montclair State heads to Maryland for next week's contest as the Red Hawks battle Salisbury University at 1pm.