The Hawks lost to the Robert Morris Colonials on Saturday 2320. The Hawks fall to 22 on the season, 11 in the Northeast Conference.
The Hawks shot themselves in the foot all day. Penalty yardage was unacceptable. 13 penalties for 136 yards. The biggest penalty came in the fourth quarter.
The Colonials were losing 2017 and facing a fourth down in their own territory. As they lined up to punt, Monmouth had too many players on the field. The five-yard penalty resulted in a Robert Morris first down, and they went on to score the game winning touchdown on that drive.
The Hawks’ offense never got into a groove in this one. Kyle Frazier threw for 241 yards, but had two costly interceptions.
Their running game was never established. Julian Hayes led the team on the ground, taking 14 carries for 41 yards.
“We knew going into the game that Robert Morris is excellent against the run. The strength of their defense is in their front seven and probably in their defensive line. I think that they kind of won the battle on the defensive line, particularly in the run game there up there,” said Coach Callahan.
Callahan also pointed to penalties as a reason why the run game never got going. “There was also sometimes though, because of penalties we had ourselves in first and twenties, first and twenty-fives, first and fifteens. It’s really difficult to say ‘okay we’re going to come out and establish the run’.”
Frazier found some success on the ground. He kept the ball six times and picked up 37 yards on the ground.
Mitchell Pollard was a bright spot for the Hawks in this game, grabbing ten catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
“They gave us a lot of good looks, a lot of one-on-one looks, just me and the corner,” said Pollard. “Set us up for a lot of one-on-one opportunities and we are confident in our receivers to make those plays.”
The Defense continued their strong play.
Robert Morris was only able to run for 14 yards in the game, a measly 0.4 yards per carry. Dan Sullivan led the defense with eight and a half tackles.
Monmouth’s pass rush was creating pressure all day. They brought down opposing quarterback, Jeff Sinclair, four times. Ian Simon led the way with one and a half sacks for a loss of 16 yards.
The defense continued going for the ball, forcing four fumbles in the game. Jose Gumbs, Reggie Hildebrandt, Steve Barroso, and Kwabena Asante each stripped the opponent of the ball. Monmouth was able to capitalize on three of these by recovering the football. Patrick Gray was able to recover one and return it eleven yards for a touchdown.
Kicker Eric Spillane played a key role in the game today. On a kickoff early in the game, Robert Morris return man Anthony Coleman found space and made his way down the sideline. Eric Spillane saved the touchdown by having a bigtime collision with Coleman. Spillane was down for a few moments, having the wind knocked out of him, but rose up quickly. He brought his teammates and the crowd to their feet with the big tackle.
Later in the game, Spillane had a chance to make the game tying field goal. His career long is a 46yard field goal. Here, he lined up from 48 yards away, against the wind. Spillane’s kick traveled through the air, and fell just short.
Coach Callahan believed that this was a makeable kick, as Spillane was converting kicks from that distance in warm ups.
Callahan may be second-guessed for attempting the long field goal, but he had to show confidence in his kicker. With a chance to tie the game, he chose to kick rather than try a fourth down against a defense that had played well all day.
This week, Monmouth will have to work on eliminating mistakes. Mental errors like false starts and illegal motions cannot be a regular occurrence for a winning football team. Look for a more disciplined team after a few days of practice.
The Hawks are home again this weekend. They play Saturday at 1:00 pm against Colgate.