score box CORTLAND, N.Y. – A flurry of early turnovers doomed the TCNJ football team to a 63-7 loss at the hands of No. 15 Cortland in Saturday’s opener.
The Red Dragons (2-0), former NJAC rivals and reigning Empire 8 champions, scored on seven of their first eight drives and produced four interceptions, including a pick-six midway through the second quarter en route to a halftime 44 -0. Lead. In all, the Lions turned it over five times in the afternoon.
The Lions (1-1) recorded more first downs (25-21) than Cortland, but that was a ray of hope for the visitors. The Red Dragons took the opening kickoff and drove 74 yards in eight plays, capping the possession with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Zac Boyes to Cole Burgess. Boyes, who set a school record with 543 passing yards in last week’s win over Wittenberg, picked up right where he left off going 10-for-13 in the first half that featured 235 yards and four touchdown passes, three of them to Burgess. .
The Red Dragons set up a shortstop with their first of four picks, and Jaden Alfanostjohn made it 13-0 with a six-yard rushing touchdown.
TCNJ put together its best drive of the half on the drive that followed, dicing up Cortland’s defense for 65 yards in 15 plays, a drive aided by a rough punt penalty. Continuously aiming at the tight end Thomas Burkewho had three catches on possession, Stephen Begen led the Lions to Cortland 10, but by Bobby Wortman The field goal went wide to the left.
Boyes threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Burgess to make it 19-0, but again TCNJ responded with a drive deep into Red Dragon territory. Begen found Burke for a first down in 3dr-y-9 and had another first down with an 11-yard tie before ryan mckinney he burst through a hole for an 18-yard gain to the 16th. Once again, though, a field goal attempt didn’t go well.
The TCNJ defense forced Cortland’s first punt of the afternoon, but Joshua Cordero intercepted 47 yards home to make it 26-0. Boyes added touchdown throws to JJ Laap, who had an Empire 8-record 312 receiving yards last week, and another to Burgess (with 1:06 left in the half) sandwiched around a 38-yard field goal for send the hosts to the area. locker room with a 44-0 lead.
The Lions had a golden opportunity to get on the board courtesy of Cortland’s first error, a botched fair catch on a brian puccio clear that jose ciempola he quickly pounced on the hosts’ 27-yard line. But a mishandled snap on the next play sent the ball back to the Red Dragons. The Red and Whites cashed in six plays later, going up 50-0 on Ashton Capone’s 38-yard touchdown drive on a 4the-and-1 after steven cassidy Y cole groschel had combined to stack it below the line to win.
Trevor Bop engineered the first scoring drive of the day for the Lions, who dented the scoreboard at the 4:23 mark of the third period on a 6-yard finish to Malin Jasinsky for the junior’s first career touchdown. Sam Akinlolu He gave TCNJ a big spark with two first-down runs on the go, covering 71 yards in 12 plays.
Akinlolu finished with a career-high 44 yards on nine carries, part of a rushing game that racked up 190 yards. Jayson Schmidt he had 51 yards and McKinney added 49, combining for at least 100 for the second straight week.
cole groschel led the Lions defense with seven tackles, while ShaneKelly he had four stops and forced a fumble in the fourth quarter.
Burke finished with seven catches for a career-high 58 yards, and Jasinski had five catches for the second straight game. Reese Martinelli Y Dennis Wilson each recorded a pair of receptions.
nick cellithe reigning NJAC Defensive Player of the Week, scored a losing inning and blocked an extra point.
TCNJ heads to Endicott next Saturday for its non-conference final.