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Football Earns Dominating Homecoming Win, 24-7

EWING, N.J. – The TCNJ football team controlled the ball for more than 43 minutes as it controlled William Paterson for a 24-7 victory on Homecoming. Quarterback Dave Jachera rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 81 yards and another touchdown. Defensive back Jalen Harmon had a pair of interceptions. The Lions (2-6, 2-5) set the tone on their opening possession, grinding out a 17-play, 80-yard drive that took 10:53 off the clock before William Paterson's offense ever saw the field. The Lions went 5-for-5 on third downs on the drive, including a Jachera completion to Vinny Guckin for seven yards on a 3rd-and-7 from the WPU 29. Connor Owen converted on a 3rd-and-3 with a six-yard run to the WPU 9. On 3rd-and-goal from the WPU 4, Jachera hit Guckin in the back corner of the end zone to get TCNJ on the board. William Paterson tied the score on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Tracy Fudge to Siraj Abdul-Malik early in the second quarter, but that would be the only score for the Pioneers for the day. TCNJ forced a WPU punt later in the second quarter, and a Pioneer fake attempt went awry with a bad snap. Andrew Conzo tackled William Oertel for a seven-yard loss to set up the Lions at the WPU 31 with four minutes to play in the first half. The Lions needed just 2:01 to score their second touchdown. Jachera rushed for 21 yards on two carries to start the drive, and Mark Pacini finished the drive with a pair of five-yard runs to hand the lead back to TCNJ, 14-7, with 1:59 left in the half. Pacini rushed for 94 yards on 27 carries. Harmon got his first interception on the ensuing possession, stopping a Pioneer drive that reached TCNJ territory. After forcing a WPU punt to open the second half, the Lions took another 8:37 off the clock on a 13-play, 61-yard drive that culminated with a 19-yard field goal by Alex DeLeo to make it 17-7 TCNJ with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Pacini converted on a 4th-and-1 on that drive with a three-yard run. In the fourth quarter with the score still at 17-7, the Pioneers moved to the TCNJ 35 as they looked to cut their deficit to a single possession. Fudge's pass on a 3rd-and-4 play, however, was intercepted by Harmon for the second time. Harmon weaved his way for a 41-yard return, effectively ending any chance of a WPU comeback with just 4:51 left on the clock. Jachera capped that next possession with a hard-fought, 10-yard touchdown run through several Pioneers' defenders, with the help of a strong push over the goal line from a few of his teammates. That capped the scoring at 24-7. TCNJ had 25 first downs to WPU's 10, and the Lions outgained the Pioneers, 372-181. TCNJ also didn't need to punt all day. The Lions return to action at home next Saturday against Christopher Newport. Kick off for Senior Day is 1 p.m.

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