Saturday, September 14, 2013

Devils Defense Locks Down Lions in Season Opener

EWING, N.J.--With 16 seconds left to play and the Devils clinging to a six-point lead, FDU-Florham defensive back Ryan Rodriguez swooped in and intercepted Lions quarterback Chris Spellman sealing the 18-12 victory.

In dramatic fashion the Devils (1-0) hung on to preserve the win in their 2013 opener against The College of New Jersey (0-2), led by an outstanding defensive effort that included a program-record six interceptions.

The scoring began when freshman linebacker Mike Brown broke through the Lions offensive line and blocked the TCNJ punt out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 Devils lead.

Defense continued to be the catalyst for the Devils, as a second quarter interception from Mickey Weiks ignited the FDU offensive attack. Devils QBMike Santos proceeded to hit senior wideout Joe Tauriello across the middle for a 47-yard gain. After Santos' favorite target Anthony Fruncillo was taken down at the 1-yard line, the quarterback called his own number diving across the goal line for the Devils first touchdown of the season

In the second quarter, the Lions got on the board with a 47-yard touchdown pass but the Devils quickly struck back when Santos tossed his first touchdown of the season on a swing pass to running back Craig Kimbrough, giving FDU a 15-6 edge heading to halftime.

Both defenses held tight through the third quarter with the two teams struggling to generate much offense. With one minute to play in the quarter, Lions junior linebacker Ryan Lowe intercepted a Santos pass and returned it to the house, cutting the Devil lead to just two. The FDU special teams came up big once again though blocking the TCNJ point after attempt. 

FDU got three of those points back thanks to a 31-yard field goal by sophomore Sean Gavin extending the lead to 18-12.

This set the stage for the final drive where the Lions managed to get down to the Devils 31-yard line before Rodriguez thwarted the TCNJ rally.

Stars were aplenty for the Devils in this one, Santos threw for 252 yards on 22 completions to go along with a rushing touchdown and one through the air. Senior defensive back Joe Mancini accounted for two of the devils six interceptions with the others coming from Rodriguez, Weiks, Julian Johnson, and Robert Loneker. Mancini and teammate Rich Vazzano both finished with a game-high eight tackles on the night.

Next up for the Devils:

The home-opener against conference foe Stevenson University, next Friday, September 20th, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at Robert T. Shields Field.