- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 05 October 2016
- Written by JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
The Hawks overcame a two touchdown halftime deficit and forced overtime on Saturday afternoon, where they defeated the Fordham Rams 42-41 on a two-point conversion.
Regulation ended with the game tied at 34. Fordham began the extra time with the ball and relied on junior running back Chase Edmonds, who ran for 208 yards and four touchdowns on the day, to take a 41-34 lead. MU needed to find the end zone to keep the game going.
They did just that as senior running back Ed Royds powered in from four yards out for his second touchdown of the afternoon. An extra point would have tied the game, but Monmouth Head Coach Kevin Callahan decided that it was time to go for the win.
“We said before we even snapped the ball on the first play that we are going for two after we score here,” Callahan said. “That was our mindset going in and it didn’t get communicated to the entire bench and the placekick team started to go out on the field, that’s why we took the timeout just to settle everyone down. We have practiced this situation before. Take a deep breath and run the play, execute it and we’re going to win the game right here.”
Sophomore quarterback Cody Williams found a wide-open sophomore wide receiver Reggie White Jr. in the back of the end zone to complete the conversion. Players and coaches stormed the field to celebrate the come from behind victory.
“When he told me that we were going for two I said, ‘You’re joking, right?’ He said, ‘No, I’m totally serious and I knew what was coming,’” Williams said. “Like Coach said, we practiced it. (Senior wide receiver) Darren Ambush had an under and Reggie had a fade, back in restart and (senior wide receiver Matt) Choi had a dig. I snapped the ball, Reggie just beat the guy so I just gave him a shot. I didn’t even see him catch the ball, I just came down and heard the crowd go crazy so I got up and went nuts.”
With Monmouth down 13-6, a one-yard touchdown run by senior running back Zach Welch with 1:30 in the first half tied the game at 13, but Fordham was able to score twice before halftime to take a 27-13 lead into the intermission.
“It was just one thing after another. We had breakdowns on both sides of the ball,” Callahan said. “I felt confident that we were going to take control of the game after tying it. Then to give up the two scores, we just had to overcome the shock of it at first and get in the locker room, settle down and re-focus and go back out and play.”
Monmouth was able to turn the page and put together three consecutive scoring drives at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth to get back in the game. Williams threw a screen pass to White who made a few defenders miss and then sprinted down the sideline for 75 yards, cutting the deficit to 27-20.
“I told the guys in the huddle to get out, give me a window and just let Reg run. I got nine the ball and he did the rest. The o-line made some great blocks and he got down the field,” Williams said.
A key pass break-up on fourth-and-four by senior cornerback LeKeith Celestain got the Monmouth offense back on the field. On third down, Williams found White again, this time for an 18-yard hook up along the sideline that saw White shake off two defenders as he manipulated his way into the end zone for the game-tying score with 13:32 remaining. A nine-yard touchdown run by Royds on the Hawk’s next possession gave them a 34-27 lead.
But Fordham answered back on a 55-yard burst by Edmonds to tie the game at 34 with 2:14 in regulation. The Hawks went three-and-out, setting up a 47-yard game-winning field goal attempt for Fordham, but senior kicker Makay Redd’s kick went wide right, sending the game into overtime.
Williams and White both enjoyed career days. Williams finished 22-31 for a career high 290 yards and two touchdowns, while White hauled in 10 receptions for a career high 167 yards and two scores on his way to Big South Offensive Player of the Week honors. Royds led the rushing attack with 100 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries while junior safety Mike Basile and freshman linebacker Evan Powell led the defense with eight tackles each.
Monmouth (3-2) will hit the road next week when they travel to Washington, D.C. to take on Howard (1-4) on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. The next and final home game for the blue and white will not be until Oct. 29, when the Hawks will play Kennesaw State in their final game at the current Kessler Field.
PHOTO COURTESY of Ryan Halbe