Lions lose against Kean after three-win streak

It was fun while it lasted.

The Lions offensive line prepares to run the play. (Brittany Oldewurtel / Staff Photographer)
The Lions offensive line prepares to run the play. (Brittany Oldewurtel / Staff Photographer)

The College’s three-week honeymoon of prolific scoring with little disagreement ended this past Friday courtesy of Kean University, namely senior running back Jared Chunn.

Chunn, torched the Lions’ defense for 210 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 22 carries in the Cougars’ 28-7 victory. The 2008 New Jersey Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year broke off a 62-yard dash in the second quarter to break the scoreless tie, and later sealed the Cougars’ victory in the third quarter with a 36-yard scamper to make the score 21-7.

“Considering he had 109 (yards) at the half with 62 on a run that he got up off the ground to score on, the majority of his yards came in the fourth when we were behind trying to play catch up,” head coach Eric Hamilton said. “He was able to turn the corner twice and he is a good back.”

“Chunn is a very explosive back and he was the focal point of their offensive game plan that night,” senior wide receiver Cameron Richardson added. “He’s a smaller back but he’s very quick and shifty so it’s hard to tackle him, especially in space. Kean’s offensive line opened up some holes for him and he was able to use his abilities and capitalize on the opportunities.”

The Cougars killed the Lions with their running game, moving the ball for 307 yards on the ground to the Lions’ 58.

The Lions’ Division III –leading offense uncharacteristically sputtered on Friday, producing only a five-yard score from senior quarterback Chris James to senior wide receiver Colin Weber in the second quarter as they fell to 3-1 and 2-1 in the NJAC.

“Kean’s defensive line played very well, allowing them to play coverage,” Hamilton said. “They are a talented team but we unfortunately did not play as well as we would have liked. We uncharacteristically turned the ball over twice at critical times in their half of the field and they capitalized on both.”

The Lions’ two turnovers included a fourth-down fumble on Kean’s one-yard line, which led to Chunn’s long run, and a James interception at the Lions’ 30-yard line, which led to another Cougar score, both in the first half. Kean improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the NJAC with the win.

“Kean had a great defense and played well Friday night but for the most part we stopped ourselves all game,” Richardson said. “We had several opportunities to put points on the board but we missed some key 4th down conversions and had a few turnovers. It’s tough for our offense to go from 50-plus points a game to only putting up seven, but we realize that we made some mistakes and we’re going to use this as a great learning tool.”

Following the loss, the College must now prepare for the week ahead as it hosts The College at Brockport (2-2) at noon on Saturday.

“A game like this is always tough to deal with but I think it gives us a new perspective,” Richardson said. “When you’re undefeated, it’s easy to get a little full of yourself and read too much into your own hype. We got knocked off our high horse Friday night and we’re taking it as a slap back to reality. As an offense, we have a new attitude and we’re going to work very hard this to prove that we’re still an explosive offense.”

“If we keep improving with six games to go, a lot can happen,” Hamilton said. “The key for us is to play as a team. It doesn’t matter how many we score as long as they score one less. It doesn’t matter how many they score as long as we score one more. We just need to keep it close and we can’t turn the ball over.