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September 24, 2011; Lions’ Stadium; Ewing, NJ

Ewing, NJ ….. Fueled by a pair of big defensive plays in the fourth quarter, The College of New Jersey football team secured its third straight win as the Lions held off visiting Morrisville State College 28-14 on Saturday. The win puts the Lions at 3-0 for the second time in the last three seasons, with a 2-0 mark in New Jersey Athletic Conference play. The loss knocked the Mustangs to 0-2 in the conference and 0-3 overall.

With TCNJ clinging to a 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter, sophomore Nick Bricker (Middletown, NJ/Middletown South) forced a fumble as the Mustangs were driving deep in Lions’ territory as Shawn Brown (Long Branch, NJ/Long Branch) pounced on the free ball at the TCNJ 17. 

Brown factored in on the next big play as well as he reached up and intercepted Mustang quarterback Lemar Johnson’s (Ossining, NY/Ossining) pass and raced 56 yards for a touchdown.

Johnson quickly regrouped throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Demers (Wappinger Falls, NY/Roy C. Ketchum) putting the Mustangs back to within seven points with 1:25 left.

The scoreboard changed again just 23 seconds later as junior Nicholas Tyson (Freehold, NJ/Freehold Boro) bulled his way into the end zone from two-yards out. That score was set up by 32-yard pass play from quarterback Jay Donoghue (Shamong, NJ/Seneca) to Christopher Meliado (Ridgefield Park, NJ/St. Peter’s Prep).

TCNJ’s defense had one last stand forcing Morrisville to turn the ball back over on downs in the waning seconds.

After a scoreless opening quarter, TCNJ’s ground game got rolling as the Lions struck pay-dirt twice. Donoghue got the first of the those scores on a 30-yard scamper around the near end and kicker Tyler Olsson (Kendall Park, NJ/South Brunswick) drilled the point after for a 7-0 with 8:49 left on the clock.

After the team’s defense stopped the Mustangs, the Lions put together a very efficient 96-yard drive that took 15 plays and ate up 5:01. The drive was aided by a key running-into-the-kicker penalty on fourth down and TCNJ capitalized as running back Joe Falco (Ocean, NJ/Ocean Township) took the pitch from Donoghue on the option and scored from nine-yards out. Olsson again tacked on the PAT as the Lions carried that 14-0 into the half.

It was the defense that came up with the first big play in the second half as defensive back Scotty Mathurin (Mahwah, NJ/Mahwah) stopped Johnson on a fourth-and-eight at the Lion 19.

Falco cracked the 100-yard plateau for the second straight week as he ran for 113 yards on 27 carries. Donoghue added 66 rushing yards and was effective through the air connecting on 16-of-23 for 161 yards.

For Morrisville, Johnson threw for 206 yards going 16-for-35, and also added 107 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
TCNJ heads back on the road for a Friday night contest at 17th-ranked Kean University on September 30 and that game is at 7 p.m. The Cougars won their third game of the season, downing Western Connecticut State University 44-33.

The Mustangs continue conference play on Saturday, October 1 at SUNY Cortland at 7 p.m.

Coaches show support: TCNJ's coaching staff participated in the American Football Coaches Association’s (AFCA) “Coach to Cure MD” charitable project. The coaches donned “Coach to Cure MD” logo patches during the game to show their support for the program, which looks to fight Duchenne (pronounced Doo-SHEEN) Muscular Dystrophy. Fans can donate to muscular dystrophy research either online at or by texting the word “CURE” to 90999 to automatically donate $5 from their mobile phones (standard text message rates apply).