By Maximillian C. Burgos
The football team rebounded with a dominant win over William Paterson University on Saturday, Oct. 28. The team’s 20-0 win over William Paterson marks its second victory in the last three weeks. The Lions have not had a shutout victory since their final game of the 2015 season.
After last week’s crushing loss at Homecoming, head coach Casey Goff expressed deep disappointment in his team, but felt that the team could bounce back.
“It’s a matter of whether or not this team wants to come together and finish this thing out,” Goff said after last week’s loss. “I think they want to. I think this loss hurts more than any other this season and the fact I see that on them tells me that they give a shit, and that’s a good start.”
The team showed what they are capable of this week. The Lions moved the ball down the field and maintained possession with their running game to seal the game away. As a result of their focused preparation, the Lions had their best offensive output since week one.
Junior offensive lineman Ryan Signora thought the team emphasized the run game this week.
“We have two solid running backs who we know can get the job done,” Signora said. “We’re just happy (the offensive line) could open up some holes for them and let them do what they do best. Also having a solid passing offense really helped take some pressure off the run game. It allowed us to us our receivers as both weapons and distractions, which took pressure off the run game.”
Junior linebacker and defensive anchor Max Busca also felt the running game helped the defense win the game.
“Talking form a defensive viewpoint establishing the run always helps,” Busca said. “It is a huge aspect in the time management portion of the game and also frustrates the opposing defense. This helped us finish the game the way we wanted.”
The Lions totaled 339 yards of offense in the game. Junior running back Connor Owen rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown. Senior Khani Glover also rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown. Both running backs held the ball and rushed for their best game since week one.
Senior quarterback Trevor Osler also had a solid game through the air. Osler threw for 23 completions and 215 yards, continuing his solid performance this season. Senior wide receiver Thomas Koenig benefitted from Osler’s efficient day — he caught four passes for 73 yards, and continued his career year. Other beneficiaries include sophomore Vincent Guckin who caught five passes for 47 yards and sophomore Jack Clevenger who caught four passes for 43 yards.
Signora commented on Osler’s performance as quarterback and his leader ship qualities this season.
“As for Trevor, he’s our offensive leader through and through,” Signora said. “When something goes wrong for us, he is the first person to rally the offense and get us back on track. He fights to win whenever he gets the chance and is someone we can rely on to stay constantly focused on the win. His leadership qualities are what you want from your quarterback.”
As well as the offense did in the game, the defense even better. The Lions held the opposing offense to a total of 139 yards in the game. This is their best defense performance since 2015. Busca discussed the defense’s mindset coming into the game.
“We felt confident going into the game all week,” Busca said. “We put in a solid game plan that had us matchup to a lot of the things they wanted to run offensively. It just came down to executing on game day.”
Signora enthusiastically added his own thoughts on the defense.
“Our defense has been playing their hearts out,” Signora said. “Those guys deserve tons of recognition for this game because they were absolutely lights out. As an offensive player, there’s no better feeling than knowing that our defense is something we can rely on.”
The defense showed its reliably to the fullest during the game. The Lions shut down the William Paterson’s rushing attack, only allowing 29 yards on the ground. Sophomore defensive back Xavier Santos was part of the Lions defensive attack that accumulated seven tackles, five of which were for losses.
Another underrated statistic, the Lions finished their drives defensively, only allowing nine first downs the entire game and only allowed three third down conversions out of 12.
The Lions hope to continue their momentum into the last two weeks of the season.
“Winning always feels good,” Busca said. “We play for our love for the game but winning makes it that much sweeter. I believe this win will transition nicely into our last two week of the regular season.”