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September 22, 2008

 

Dragons enjoy this Rowan trip

GLASSBORO, N.J. — In a place where SUNY Cortland has not won a football game since 1964, there were plenty of other story lines that were part of this 27-20 Red Dragons victory over Rowan University on Saturday afternoon.
While improving to 2-0 with a second straight New Jersey Athletic Conference victory, head coach Dan MacNeill moved into second place on the school’s all-time win list with his 71st victory.
While beating Rowan for the second straight season, two Red Dragon brothers — senior tailback Andrew Giuliano and sophomore wide receiver Anthony Giuliano — put on a pretty nice show while combining for 258 of the 353 yards the Red Dragons accumulated at John Page Field.
While jumping out to a 20-point third quarter lead, a goal line stand and a forced fumble by the defense loomed large in turning back Rowan. Senior outside linebacker Josh Jablonski had that crucial fumble return and also picked off a Rowan pass, while senior inside linebacker Jim Smith would be named the NJAC Defensive Player of the Week after getting in on 11 tackles including a quarterback sack.
That all made this an enjoyable road trip in an early-season clash of unbeatens. Since 1996, Cortland had been 0-6 against the Profs in Glassboro.
So this was the first win at Rowan for MacNeill in his 12-year career, the head coach now with a 71-44 overall record at the college. That was a win better than the late Roger Robinson (70-77-3), who coached MacNeill during his days as a Red Dragon player from 1975-78.
The fabled Carl “Chugger” Davis is the all-time win leader at Cortland, going 105-67-17 between 1932 and 1962.
Cortland never trailed after jumping out to a 17-0 lead as the Giulianos from downstate Westlake High School played a prominent role. Older brother Andrew Giuliano rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns during a busy 29-carry performance. Anthony Giuliano, making his first start after senior Zacc Gauragno had wrist surgery last week, caught five passes for 122 yards.
Quarterback Ray Miles passed for 220 yards, too, including a _39-yard TD toss to senior wide receiver Eric Hajnos to build that _17-zip lead. Jeffrey Lang added two field goals for this Red Dragon squad ranked 20th nationally in Division III.
Rowan did answer the Miles-to-Hajnos 29-yard scoring strike early in the second quarter with its first touchdown drive of the game. The Profs (1-1) traveled 73 yards in only seven plays before quarterback Frank Wilczynski ran for the first of his two touchdowns from 13 yards out to get the hosts back in the game.
THAT 17-7 LEAD lasted to halftime, setting up the crucial third quarter that really swung the game Cortland’s way.
Rowan’s first possession of the second half had the Profs knocking on the end zone door, facing a 4th-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Wilczynski tried to score on a keeper, but was stopped by Jablonski and defensive tackle Lou Crispo.
On the ensuing play from scrimmage, Miles connected on an 81-yard bomb to Anthony Giuliano, with Rowan’s Jimmy DiPaolo making a touchdown-saving tackle at the Rowan 18-yard line. The near touchdown matched the second-longest pass play in school history. The drive eventually resulted in a Lang 20-yard field goal and Cortland led 20-7 with 3:20 left in the quarter.
On Rowan’s next possession, Cortland safety Chris Hanlon forced a fumble after a reception by Stephen Hevalow and Jablonski returned the loose pigskin 19 yards to the Rowan 8-yard line. Andrew Giuliano followed with two 4-yard runs, the latter finding the end zone with 1:27 left in the third to extend the lead to 27-7.
That enabled Cortland to withstand two fourth quarter Rowan touchdowns, the last coming with 42 seconds left to play. The Red Dragons recovered an onsides kick and ran out the clock.
A failed fourth down gamble at midfield led to Rowan’s first TD int hat final quarter. That 51-yard drive in just three plays was  capped by a Wilczynski 8-yard touchdown run with 10:59 remaining. The extra point was blocked by Cortland’s Richard Rolo, and Rowan trailed 27-13.
The Profs’ last scoring drive started on their own 23-yard line with 2:57 left. They traveled 77 yards on 11 plays, including 39 Wilczynski rushing yards and a 17-yard scoring pass to Davon Edwards with 45 seconds left that pulled the Profs within a touchdown.
WHILE SMITH WAS the leading Cortland tackler, defensive end Ben Nagle recorded nine stops with two going for losses. Jablonski was in on eight tackles to go along with his interception and a fumble recovery.
Rowan’s Wilczynski completed 14-of-27 passes for 176 yards and finished with 66 net rushing yards on 17 carries. Drew Yezzi and Kevin Taylor each made nine tackles for the Profs.
Cortland will take a third straight road trip this coming Saturday, to face unbeaten Kean (2-0) Saturday at 1 p.m. in Union, N.J.
Kean defeated Western Connecticut State 43-26 to get its NJAC season underway this past Saturday.