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Captains bounce back with shutout win over Montclair State

Christopher Newport snapped a two-game losing streak Saturday by shutting out Montclair State, 28-0, at Kelchner Field at TowneBank Stadium.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Christopher Newport snapped a two-game losing streak Saturday by shutting out Montclair State, 28-0, at Kelchner Field at TowneBank Stadium. The victory was the first New Jersey Athletic Conference win of the year for the Captains, and the first shutout by CNU since the 2017 season.

"I'm very proud of our guys, and I'm glad we were able to put it all together today," Head Coach Art Link said. "After losing last week, we just wanted to get back out there and play football, and it came together both offensively and defensively today."

The Captains, now 3-4 overall and 1-2 in the NJAC, jumped to an early lead on a sunny and humid day by scoring just three minutes into the opening quarter, and never looked back. CNU held a 21-0 lead at the intermission, and scored the only points of the second half with 5:27 to go in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Matt Dzierski threw for two scores and ran for a touchdown to lead the offense, and senior linebacker Sean Wilkinson recorded eight tackles and picked off a pass to pace the defense.

Wilkinson's interception came on Montclair State's first possession of the game, and set the offense up at the 17 yard line of the Red Hawks. Dzierski ran the ball in from six yards out, and the Captains had a 7-0 edge just three minutes into the first quarter. CNU added another score at the 5:18 mark of the opening quarter when freshman Aeron Williams surged into the end zone on a 2-yard run, completing a five play, 72-yard drive that put Christopher Newport up by a 14-0 margin.

The Captains opened a three-score lead in the second quarter, when Dzierski connected with junior receiver Xander Jedlick on an eight-yard scoring strike with 5:33 left before halftime. The pass was the final play of a seven-play, 69-yard drive and gave Christopher Newport a 21-0 edge at the break.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Captains recorded the only scoring of the second half when senior wide receiver Garrison Mayo caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Dzierski with just 5:37 to play. The scoring pass, the 12th of Mayo's career, completed a seven-play, 31-yard drive and provided the 28-0 final tally.

Dzierski completed 12 of 17 passes for the day for 216 yards with two touchdown passes and a scoring run. Mayo caught five passes for 87 yards on the day, and senior Adam Luncher carried the ball 13 times for 67 yards. The Captains dominated time of possession in the second half, and held a 36-24 minute edge for the game.

Christopher Newport's defense held the Red Hawks to just 160 total yards. The shutout was the first for CNU since 2017, Link's first season at the helm, when the Captains blanked Rowan, 30-0, on the home field. CNU's series with Montclair State is now even at 3-3 in six all-time meetings. A crowd of 2,376 watched the Captains hand Montclair State its third straight loss, and the Red Hawks are now just 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the NJAC.

Christopher Newport heads to Ewing, New Jersey, next Saturday for a 12 noon kickoff against the Lions of the College of New Jersey. TCNJ lost on Saturday to league-leading Kean, 20-7, and the Lions are now 3-3 overall and 2-1 in NJAC action.