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Kean powers past Morrisville State football, 43-6

Release courtesy of Karyn Pinter, Kean SID

UNION, N.J. – Sophomore quarterback Thomas D’Ambrisi (Eatontown, N.J.) completed 18-of-26 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Kean University football team to a 43-6 victory over Morrisville State College in New Jersey Athletic Conference action in front of a rain-soaked Homecoming crowd on Saturday afternoon.

The Cougars (6-1, 6-0 NJAC) remain undefeated in the NJAC, as they forced five turnovers and scored on their first three possessions. Morrisville State fell to 1-7 overall, 1-6 in the conference.

Senior running back Jared Chunn (Tinton Falls, N.J.) eclipsed 3,000 yards rushing for his career after posting his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game.

Kean took a 13-0 lead less than two minutes into the game and would score 23 points in the opening quarter, as the Cougars took advantage of a pair of Mustang turnovers.

On the second play of the game, Chunn, who needed just 15 yards to become just the second player in program history to have at least 3,000 yards rushing, broke a 59-yard touchdown run to give the Cougars the 7-0 lead after the extra point just 32 seconds into the game.

Sophomore strong safety Jamahl Williams (Passaic, N.J.) picked off Morrisville on the first play of the ensuing drive for the Mustangs, giving the Cougars the ball on the Morrisville 28-yard line with his team-leading fourth interception of the year. Just three plays later, D’Ambrisi hit senior tight end Alex Cade (Galloway, N.J.) with the 18-yard touchdown pass for the early 13-0 lead just 1:52 into the contest.

On the team’s next possession, sophomore Billy Daniels (Ridgefield, N.J.) had a career-long 43-yard field goal, the fifth longest in school history, to extend the lead to 16-0 midway through the first quarter.

The Cougars closed out the scoring late in the quarter when junior cornerback Chris Lauda (Staten Island, N.Y.) intercepted the Mustang pass and returned the ball 33 yards for his fourth career interception return for a touchdown.

Morrisville got on the board with the first points of the second quarter to trim the Cougar lead to 23-6. On the scoring drive, sophomore quarterback Jamieson Crast (Mannsville, N.Y.) had a 61-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Hodges Sneed (Syracuse, N.Y.), before completing the 26-yard touchdown reception to sophomore Maurice Mitchelson (Bronx, N.Y.).

Kean was forced to punt on the next possession and Morrisville moved the ball back into Cougar territory, before Lauda made his second interception of the day at the one-yard line to end the scoring threat.

D’Ambrisi completed 5-of-8 passes for 90 yards on the ensuing drive for the Cougars, and capped the 11-play drive with a five-yard TD pass to junior fullback Sean Atkins (Perth Amboy, N.J.) with just 48 seconds remaining in the half, extending the Cougar lead to 30-6 at the break.

In the third quarter, the Cougars capitalized on a pair of blocked punts to extend the lead. After a three-and-out to open the third quarter, the Mustangs were forced to punt from their territory and Atkins pushed a Mustang into the punt, sending the ball back towards the goal line, where junior Rick Brandt (Little Silver, N.J.) picked up the ball and scored to give the Cougars a 36-6 lead just over a minute into the half.

Later in the quarter, sophomore linebacker Richard Esdaille (Neptune, N.J.) blocked a punt that sophomore Stephon Cooper (Plainfield, N.J.) recovered at the Morrisville 39-yard line. Two players later, D’Ambrisi connected with senior Derric Harris (Freehold, N.J.) for the 20-yard touchdown for the final points of the game.

Chunn finished with 13 carries for 115 yards and one touchdown, giving him exactly 3,100 career rushing yards and 25 career rushing touchdowns.

Harris had a game-high six receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown, while senior Chris Aquino (Somerville, N.J.) added six carries for 38 yards and had three receptions for 51 yards, as nine different Cougars had receptions.

Esdaille had four total tackles, including 2.5 sacks for a loss of 22 yards, a pair of blocked punts and one quarterback hurry. Senior linebacker Kyle Maher (Red Bank, N.J.) made seven stops and had a forced fumble, while senior Matt Donaghue (Old Bridge, N.J.) finished with seven tackles, including 2.0 for a five-yard loss, and had a pass break-up.

For Morrisville State, Crast completed 8-of-21 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown and added eight carries for 22 yards. Mitchelson added two receptions for 26 yards. Junior defensive back Tommy Moyon (Woodside, N.Y.) made seven tackles, including six solo stops, and sophomore linebacker Anthony Brown (Rochester, N.Y.) added seven tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss of four yards.

The Cougars battle NJAC preseason favorite Rowan University (6-1, 5-1 NJAC) in the team’s final regular season home game of the year next Saturday, October 31. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m.

Morrisville State returns to the field Saturday at SUNY Brockport for a 1 p.m. kickoff.