The Colonels had the first scoring opportunity of the game thanks to a big play by their special teams in the first quarter. Ray Taylor busted through the line and blocked a Mike Lajterman punt to give Wilkes the ball at the Red Hawks 35-yard line. A run by quarterback Al Karaffa on a third-and-seven play was good enough for a first down at the Montclair State 25. However the Colonels were able to pick up only one yard on their next three plays and were forced to settle for a 41-yard field goal attempt by Mario Della Fortuna. The field goal came up short and Montclair State took over.
Montclair State began their first scoring drive at their own 35 with 5:15 remaining in the second quarter following a Wilkes punt that traveled only 10 yards. Quarterback Mike Jump found A.J. Letizia for a 23-yard gain and the Colonels were flagged for a five-yard facemask penalty to place the ball at the Wilkes 37. After gaining another first down at the Wilkes 22, Jump had a pass fall incomplete and was sacked by Jason Acquaye for a three-yard loss to set up a third-and-13 from the 25. This time Jump found Brandon Fronjian with a 20-yard strike to give Montclair State a first-and-goal at the five. It took only one play to reach the endzone from their as McCoach went over the right side of the line for a score with 2:08 left in the half. Marco Capozzoli tacked on the point after to give the Red Hawks a 7-0 lead at intermission.
A Wilkes special teams miscue late in the third quarter nearly led to more Montclair State points. The Colonels were punting from their own 48 when the snap sailed over Della Fortuna’s head. He was able to pick up the ball and squib a punt that was downed at the Wilkes 20-yard line. A run for McCoach on first down moved the ball to the 16-yard line, however, Jump had his pass intended for Jeff Koscil intercepted in the endzone by Ray Taylor to thwart the chance.
Mario McLean would return a Wilkes punt 15 yards to the Colonels 38-yard line to set up another scoring chance for Montclair State with 9:45 to play in the fourth quarter. The Red Hawks got a 23-yard pass completion from Jump to Letizia and a three-yard run by McCoach to place the ball on the Wilkes 12. Once again the Colonels defense came up with a big play when Bob Sutjak stepped in front of a Jump pass at the five and returned it 52 yards to the Montclair State 43.
A 13-yard Karaffa to Jason Prushinski pass advanced the ball to the Red Hawks 30. Corey Carter would then bust off an 18-yard run to move the ball to the 12-yard line. After Carter picked up seven yards on the next play to give Wilkes a second-and-three from the five-yard line, lighting struck and the game was halted at 3:14 p.m. with 7:03 remaining in the contest.
Both teams were sent back to their locker rooms before the officials deemed the weather playable. After a ten-minute warm-up period, the two teams were ready to resume play at 4:30 p.m.
When play began again Carter took a handoff and went four yards to the Montclair State one to give Wilkes a first-and-goal. After losing a yard on a pair of running plays, Karaffa called his own number and went around the left end for a two-yard touchdown with 5:53 left. Della Fortuna kicked the point after to knot the game at 7-7.
The Red Hawks responded on the ensuing kickoff when McLean fielded the ball at his own 17 and weaved his way for 45 yards to the Wilkes 38. A run by McCoach netted four yards on first down, and the Colonels were flagged for pass interference on the next play to give Montclair State a first down at the Wilkes 19. McCoach would again carry for four yards on first down. But on the next play he was able to sprint 15 yards for a touchdown with 4:39 left. The extra point by Capozzoli was good and Montclair State had a 14-7 lead.
Wilkes would have one final shot to tie the game after taking over on their own 38 following the kickoff. The Colonels were able to pick up a pair of first downs, including one on a four-and-seven play when Karaffa hit Randy Donato for 11 yards that pushed the ball to the Montclair State 32. But, the Red Hawks defense stiffened and Nick Giangrande sacked Karaffa on third down to set up a fourth-and-16 from the 38. Karaffa looked to go deep on the next play, but his pass was intercepted at the three-yard line by Derek DePascale to seal the victory.
Montclair State had 249 yards in total offense, including McCoach’s 102 rushing yards on 22 carries. Jump finished the afternoon 14-of-28 through the air for 150 yards and a pair of interceptions. Letizia led the Red Hawks receivers with four catches for 84 yards.
Wilkes managed 200 yards in total offense in the contest. Karaffa was 21-of-33 passing for 145 yards and two interceptions. Prushinski hauled in eight of those passes for 71 yards. Carter was the top rusher for the Colonels with 55 yards on 17 carries.
Cornell Hunt had a game-high 12 tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage, to pace Montclair State defensively. Dominique Dixon added 10 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, while John Valkos had nine stops.
Kyle Follweiler finished with 11 tackles for Wilkes on defense. The Colonels also received 10 tackles from Justin Friedel and five tackles and a sack from Tim Yeagley.