NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Christopher Newport's defense did the talking Saturday night as the Captains blanked the Profs of Rowan University, 30-0, at POMOCO Stadium. CNU improved to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference with the victory that saw the Captains hold the Profs to just 67 total yards and four first downs all night.
"That was something special to watch," Head Coach Art Liink said following his first shutout as a head coach. "Our defensive coordinator Jay Kirland and our whole staff did a fantastic job preparing for this game. Rowan is a really good program, and to win like this says a lot about our team."
In addition to posting stifling numbers, Christopher Newport's defense also scored twice in the game on an interception return and a safety. Senior defensive end Mark Aanstoos opened the second quarter by plucking a pass out of the air and rumbling two yards for a touchdown. The only points in the second half came on a safety by the CNU defense when freshman lineman Datavious Bessant and senior linebacker B.J. Hill tackled Rowan running back Anthony Diorio in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Aanstoos finished the game with five tackles, a sack, and the interception returned for a score. Junior linebacker Jamal Spence recorded eight tackles and also recovered a Rowan fumble. Senior cornerback Justus Drakeford also picked off a pass. In all, the Captains registered three sacks, intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles. CNU has now intercepted 14 passes this season in five games, and the Captains have forced 21 turnovers.
Senior tailback Harrison Dandridge got the scoring going early, running in from two yards and 11 yards for the first two CNU scores of the evening. Senior quarterback K.J. Kearney also reached the end zone in the final minute of the first half on a 4-yard run to give the Captains a 28-0 lead at the intermission.
Kearney finished the game 27 of 37 while passing for 206 yards. Freshman wide receiver Cole Blais caught 12 of the passes for 97 yards. Rowan ran the ball 28 times for a negative 25 yards. The Profs used three different quarterbacks and posted 92 passing yards for the night for a total of 67 yards on 45 plays. Rowan fell to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the NJAC with the loss in front of 3,577 fans on a cool and pleasant night at POMOCO Stadium. The win was just the second in nine games for the Captains in the all-time series with the Profs.
The shutout was the tenth in the history of the CNU program, and the first since the Captains shut out Southern Virginia, 41-0, in the final game of the season last year. CNU has now allowed just 55 points through the first five games (11 points per game).
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