The Hawks lost their second home game in a row this week against Colgate, falling to 23 on the season.
Everything was set for a great day at Kessler Field. The weather was beautiful, 75 degrees and sunny, with 3,452 fans in attendance providing a great atmosphere. Ex-Monmouth wide receiver Miles Austin was even on the sideline for the game.
It looked like the great day was going to continue, as the Hawks took a 146 lead with 3:09 remaining in the first half. From this point on, the day turned sour for the Blue and White and their fans.
Colgate has one of the top running backs in the country, Nate Eachus. Eachus lived up to the billing in this contest, carrying 27 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. He also had three catches for 29 receiving yards.
One reason for Monmouth’s poor showing was time of possession, and Eachus played a big role in that, grinding out the clock late in the game. Colgate had an 11 minute advantage here.
Along with Eachus, third and fourth down conversions kept drives alive, kept the MU defense on the field, and the offense on the sidelines. Colgate converted seven of 15 third downs, and all three fourth downs they attempted.
The defense is going to make mistakes when they spend over 35 minutes on the field. Monmouth safety Jose Gumbs said, “We weren’t wrapping up, we weren’t tackling. They were making big plays, converting third downs.”
The Monmouth defense was able to bring down Colgate quarterback Gavin McCarney three times, but didn’t have consistent pressure throughout the game. “In the second half they controlled the lines of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We weren’t able to generate any pressure on their quarterback when we needed to and he had a lot of time to throw the ball,” said Coach Callahan.
McCarney completed 16 of 23 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, McCarney carried 20 times for 87 yards and a score. As a dual threat, he gave the defense fits all day by running the option and executing play action passes.
The Monmouth offense came out and started the game well, scoring a touchdown on it’s opening drive. Mitchell Pollard set this up with a big punt return, taking it to the Colgate 35yard line and gave the offense a short field.
Kyle Frazier completed a couple passes and the offense took the ball to the one-yard line. Running back Julian Hayes leapt up-and-over the pile for a touchdown.
The offense was able to put together another impressive touchdown drive in the second quarter. The Hawks had a 13play, 74yard drive that lasted over six minutes and put seven points on the board. Frazier threw a beautiful fade to Neal Sterling in the corner of the end zone to make the score 146.
The Hawks didn’t score the rest of the day. The Colgate defense was able to get two sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a blocked field goal in the second half.
“I don’t think they really showed us anything different too much. They might have brought a little more pressure in the second half,” said Frazier. “But we just had mental mistakes in the second half. We were able to move the ball on some of the drives, but we weren’t able to finish it. We got down to I think the 20 on the one drive and we got the field goal blocked, but I don’t think it even should have gotten to that point. We should have went in and scored.”
Yet again, Pollard was one of the few bright spots for the Hawks. He accounted for 132 all-purpose yards. To go along with his key punt return, Pollard picked up some yards running the ball, catching the ball, and on kick returns.
Dan Sullivan and Ian Simon accounted for the pressure that the Hawks were able to generate. These two combined for three sacks and pushed the offense back 23 yards.
The Hawks corrected their penalty problems from last week, only being flagged once in the game. They now have new problems to fix. Third down defense and finishing drives on offense should be the two major areas where MU looks to improve this week in practice.
Saturday, the Hawks return to NEC play and hit the road against Bryant. They will travel to Rhode Island for a 1:00 pm kickoff.
PHOTO COURTESY of Blaze Nowara