Photos by Joe Castillo.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University College at Florham football team got the early season win they needed to help build confidence for their tough 2013 schedule.
Sophomore defensive back Ryan Rodriguez helped clinch the Devils opening week victory when he picked off TCNJ’s quarterback Chris Spellman during the final minute. The interception helped the Devils secure their road victory, beating the Lions 18-12.
Head Coach Brian Surace knows how big this victory is for his team and the FDU community. The school is used to a losing football team, which has led to a lack of school spirit, but Surace believes the atmosphere is building up and a victory like this can build confidence for his team.
On Feb. 10, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) hosted an event and welcomed former New York Giants running back Cecil Lee Rouson at the Ferguson Recreation Center.
Senior communication studies major Zach Flaherty, FCA leader, organized this event and hopes to have a speaker come to the campus every other Sunday.
Rouson, who attended Colorado University, was drafted by the Giants in the 1985 National Football League (NFL) draft. He played under Head Coach Bill Parcells and won two Super Bowls while with the Giants. Rouson also played for one year with the Cleveland Browns.
The former Giants player is now a motivational speaker and Northern New Jersey director of the FCA. He is constantly traveling to provide his fellow Christians with his wisdom on his religion.
Photos by Melanie Anzidei, Kristen Bova and Dan Landau.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University football team had a tough stretch since their win against King’s. The team has been looking for a boost to send them on the right path. The Devils had their chance in front of a packed crowd for Homecoming weekend against Lycoming.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University football team came into the season as underdogs on paper but have big expectations for themselves.
The past two weekends they have proved their fight through a hard fought game versus The College of New Jersey and an impressive win against King’s College.
“We are trying to turn the program around and have a winning team,” said junior Mike Santos, quarterback for the Devils. “Change the face of the team and play post season football.”
The first game of the season saw the TCNJ Lions come to the home field of the Devils on a rainy night.
Two new offensive weapons took the wheel for the Devils.
Santos made his first career start and had a quality beginning to what could be a promising career at FDU.
Santos threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns against an aggressive TCNJ defense.
He was also named offensive player of the week honorable mention for the Middle Atlantic Conference.
“It was awesome being honorable mention, but I have to be humble,” Santos explained. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without my offensive line.”
Freshman transfer Craig Kimbrough did his best to help keep the Devils in the game.
Kimbrough sparked the offense with two long plays of 40 or more yards.
He had a 40 yard run in the first quarter that the Devils later scored on.
Later on in the first half, Kimbrough scored on a 63 yard screen pass to help put the Devils in the lead.
“Coming from Albright University I felt like I had something to prove,” Kimbrough said.
“People at Albright did not give me an opportunity to show my skills, but coming to FDU the coach allowed me to do that.”
Kimbrough finished the game with 74 yards rushing and had 7 catches for 108 yards receiving.
The Devils did fall short in the end, as they lost 45 to 28. FDU led the game 21 to 14 late in the first half.
Lightning caused a long delay and the Devils lost their lead when they returned to field in the second half.
Kimbrough said, “When you play against a preseason All-American on defense and an NJAC team, it looks really good.”
He later explained, “The fact that we stuck around shows our program is coming back.”
The Devils did not let the loss knock them down and went back to work in preparation for King’s College.
FDU’s hard work paid off against King’s as they won at home, 30 to 14.
Santos had another good week as he threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Two different offensive players rose to the occasion.
Senior Jon Bennett was the early lift the Devils needed as he scored two first half touchdowns.
Bennett ended the game with 114 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Anthony Fruncillo, who was a common target last season, had a good game.
Fruncillo had 154 yards receiving and a touchdown.
“Our offense has looked good, with a fast tempo,” Santos said. “But, we can always improve from last week.”
The Devils now have a .500 record at 1-1. The win against King’s was important because it was a MAC conference game.
The heart of the football team’s schedule is around the corner, but they hope this momentum can continue as conference play continues.
“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Most have heard the saying, but is it true?
Hall of Famer and former UCLA head coach Henry “Red” Sanders coined the term in a 1955 Sports Illustrated article before his team would go on to lose the 1956 Rose Bowl. The game was and still is the highest rated college bowl game of all time, watched by 41.1 percent of all people in the United States with a television.
So was Sanders’ motto something he truly stood by, or was it a publicity stunt to hype the game? I suppose we will never know, but we must decide our own motto to stand by.
Another Hall of Fame coach, the legendary Vince Lombardi, made the saying famous when he said it to his team, the Green Bay Packers, before the 1959 NFL season.
Lombardi would go on to have enormous success throughout the 60s, winning five NFL titles. However, his accomplishments did not stop him from later regretting his statement. He publicly announced he was misquoted when he said, “Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is.” I agree with this version a lot more, especially when it applies to collegiate athletics.
The FDU Devils started the season 0-4. Nevertheless, the team still has the will to win and they continue to prepare on and off the field to be winners. The players and coaches could have easily folded, but they persistently train seven days a week to get better. Their constant pursuit of self improvement is an admirable characteristic.
First year coach, Brian Surace, is responsible for implementing this mindset. Coach Surace comes from a football family, to say the least, and brings a vast amount of knowledge to the program. His father, Robert Surace, is a Hall of Fame ex-coach of 25 years at Millville High School. His brother, Bob Surace, coached the Cincinnati Bengals for nine seasons before becoming the Princeton University head coach.
Add in Brian Surace’s own 16 years of coaching experience and it is safe to say he has seen it all.
No matter the outcome of the game, it is imperative to Coach Surace that his team play the game in the right manner, on and off the field.
A player must remain true to his community, his team and himself.
The right manner is something only the individual can control. It is not specific to football; it applies to all aspects of life. Having the will to win does not mean you win every game, it simply means you prepare yourself to the best of your ability so you may have a chance at success. Pride accompanies the will to win.
When you give your all, there is satisfaction in knowing you left nothing behind. A losing record may not produce pride, but the countless hours our team has put in to get better is something to be proud of. Pride is a key component Coach Surace is trying to establish.
Keeping in mind that the will to win is everything, Surace’s final goal for the football program is to “relentlessly pursue a bowl championship.” Whether or not they ever win a championship, it is their pursuit that is commendable.
Senior linebacker Steve Hoverson is an example of a player with pride and the will to win. All-Conference the past two seasons, he is having another fine year chasing down opposing quarterbacks and causing havoc in the backfield. Last year, he ended the season with a sack in each of the last four games.
If he can repeat that this year, he will move into the Top 5 all-time career sacks; he currently has 13. He also ranks high on FDU’s all-time solo tackles in a season (51 in ’10), total tackles in a season (90 in ’10) and total tackles in career (205).
He expressed that the “defining moment” of the season will be how the Devils finish.