By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you want to evaluate the 2013 regular season for the Division III Rowan Profs football team, you really have to break it up into two parts. Before October 12th and after.
That’s because on October 12th, the Profs got blitzed on the road, 41-21, by a Morrisville State team that finished 3-7. The loss dropped the Profs to 3-2 at the season’s midway point.
“You know after that game,” Rowan head coach Jay Accorsi tells KYW Newsradio. “I think if you were to ask probably anyone in the program, ‘Do you think we win a conference championship and go to the NCAA playoffs?’ Probably not. But I think it taught us a lot. Sometimes when you lose or you fail when you do something, you probably learn the most about yourself. And I think we did after that game. We really had to evaluate where we were in all phases of the game. We had to evaluate what we were doing. We made a lot of changes, a lot of them worked, we tinkered with some things and now we find ourselves right here.”
“Right here” is in the Division III NCAA Tournament with a first-round home game on Saturday, in Glassboro, NJ, against Endicott College. Since the Morrisville State loss, the Profs have gone 5-0, allowing just 62 points in those five games. They shared the New Jersey Athletic Conference title with Brockport and earned the conference’s automatic bid to the tournament.
“It’s been a grind the last few weeks but the players have responded,” Accorsi says. “After some early season losses, we kind of had to run the table and have been in playoff mode for awhile. But the players have done a great job. They’ve worked really hard and they deserve to be one of 32 (teams in the tournament), and we’re practicing when most people are putting pads away today, so that’s a good day.”
Endicott College brings an 8-2 record into this first-round match-up and this will be the first time these two programs have met on the football field.
“They won the New England Football Conference,” Accorsi says. “They are a good football team. On film, their quarterback’s dynamic, they do some really good things offensively. They’re fast-paced. Defensively they are a lot like us, they keep everything in front, don’t make mistakes. This time of year, all the teams are good, so you can’t afford to look past anybody.”
This will be Rowan’s 15th appearance in the tournament since 1991. Last year they lost in the first round to Salisbury.
The winner of this game gets the winner of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and the University of Redlands in the second round.
Kick-off on Saturday in Glassboro, New Jersey, is set for noon.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.