Pioneers Win 28-23; Stun FDU-Florham

https://www.wpupioneers.com

https://www.wpupioneers.com

Stephen Bologna, Contributing Writer

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MADISON, NJ- The Pioneer Football team defeated Fairleigh-Dickinson University- Florham 28-23 on Friday, September 13th. Down 17-0 in the third quarter, the Pioneers scored 28 unanswered points, capping off the incredible comeback. This marks the first win for the Pioneers since 2016. This is also the first win at William Paterson for 2nd year head coach Dustin Johnson.

Offense

The Pioneers implemented a heavy rushing attack into their game plan. freshman running back Terrique Riddick rushed for 167-yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 45 rushing touchdown which sparked the Pioneers scoring. Sophomore Marcel Mason also had an effective game with 81 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Leading the helm for the Pioneers was freshman quarterback George Crespo, who made his first ever collegiate start. He threw for 107-yards, completed 17 out of his 25 passes. With an added, 35-rushing yards. Crespo also won the game for the Pioneers with a 5-yard rushing touchdown in the third. Junior Wideout Siraj Abdul-Malik also hauled in 5 catches for 44-yards. While freshman wide receiver Matt Clark caught 7 passed for 33 yards.  The 28 points scored by the Pioneers is their most points score in a game since October 2016.

Defense

Having always been a strength for the Pioneers, the defense certainly did not disappoint this game. The Pioneers only allowed 23 points to a Devils team who scored 56 points the week prior. The defense played with high tempo and aggressiveness all game long. Junior linebacker Jared Salgado registered team-high 13 tackles, including a bone crushing fumble at the goal line in the first quarter. On back-to-back FDU drives the Pioneers forced two fumbles, both recovered by sophomore linebacker Sean Maldonato.

The Devils took an 18 play, 86-yard opening drive and turned it into 7 points. After trailing 17-0  with six minutes to play in the 3rd quarter, the Pioneer defense forced punts on three straight drives. The Pioneer defense did not allow another point until 1:30 in the 4th quarter. Sophomore linebacker Bryan King had a tremendous night with 10 tackles, 1 sack and 2 tackles for a loss of yardage. The Pioneer run defense was stout, only allowing 43-rushing yards on 20 attempts. Junior Andrew Anthony also added to the growing stat sheet with 9 tackles. For the Devils, Junior Quarterback Anthony Caserta had a busy day, throwing for 320-yards and 2 touchdowns, completing 39 of his 55 passes. The Pioneer defense however, stepped up big when it mattered the most and will look to carry their success and momentum into the next game.

Looking Ahead

The Pioneers have gone through their bye week and will ride their winning streak to Maritime College. Maritime, who holds a 1-2 record will be another test for the Pioneers. The Pioneers next home game will be their Homecoming Matchup against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Saturday, October 5th. TCNJ is 0-3 and the Pioneers will hope to continue this hot streak for the upcoming weeks. Watch out for the Pioneers to keep up their high tempo offense and aggressive style of play. The key for the Pioneers is their defense, if the defense is sharp, they can do some serious damage to opposing teams.