The Hawks opened up Big South Conference play on Saturday as they traveled down to rainy North Charleston, SC where they fell 37-7 to the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern.
MU went three-and-out to begin the game and the Buccaneers came out pounding the football as they picked up four first downs on the ground which led to the first of three rushing touchdowns by junior running back Mike Holloway, this one from five yards out as CSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Both teams would punt in their next possessions. Monmouth punted again but regained possession after a forced fumble and fumble recovery from senior defensive back Joe Johnson. The Hawks were faced with a fourth and three at the CSU 25; MU went for it instead of sending out sophomore kicker Matt White for a field goal attempt into the heavy rain. They failed to convert and The Buccaneers took over to open up the second quarter.
Three-and-outs from both teams set up Charleston Southern at the Monmouth 20 after a punt by White was returned 40 yards by junior running back Darius Hammond. It only took one play for Holloway to score his second touchdown of the game as he ran in from 20 yards out. The snap of the extra point was mishandled, and CSU was unable to tack on the extra point. They still held a 13-0 advantage. The Buccaneers would add three more as freshman kicker Tyler Tekac made good on a 22 yard field goal as CSU took a 16-0 lead into the locker room.
The Buccaneers started the second half on offense and drove 60 yards over seven plays as Holloway found the end zone for the third time from four yards out to make the Charleston Southern lead 23-0. Monmouth punted in both of their drives in the third quarter and CSU got into the end zone in each of their next two possessions leading into the fourth quarter extending their lead to 37-0.
“To Charleston Southern’s credit I thought they outplayed us in just about every phase of the game,” Monmouth Head Coach Kevin Callahan said. “We are going to have to do a lot better than we did today if we hope to have success in the Big South.”
The Hawks had trouble getting much going on offense and they went three-and-out in nine of their thirteen drives. They turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert on fourth down on three occasions and got into the end zone just once. MU’s lone score came with 2:26 left to play as redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Williams scored from 8 yards out to capitalize on an 8 play, 44 yard drive. White added on the extra point to make it 37-7.
Williams finished the day 9-19 and threw for 46 yards. Although he ran for a touchdown, in total, he lost five yards on the ground over 13 carries. Junior running back Lavon Chaney was able to average over four yards a carry with 51 yards on 12 rushes while sophomore Michael Jolly averaged 7.4 yards with 37 yards off five rushes, but the Hawks only gained a total of 115 yards of offense on the day compared to 398 yards for CSU. MU’s offensive output came to be the second fewest yards in team history. Sophomore safety Mike Basile recorded 13 tackles giving him 66 on the season, good for first in the Big South. White had nine punts with a long of 68 yards with one falling inside the 20 yard line. Holloway led the way for the Buccaneers as he picked up 78 yards on the ground on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns.
“It was a disappointing way to start Big South Conference play,” Callahan said.
The Hawks fall to 2-4 on the season with the loss and 1-8 all-time against Big South opponents. Charleston Southern entered the week as the third ranked team in the Big South Conference according to the FCS Coaches’ Poll. Monmouth’s next test is at home against the second ranked team in the Big South and No. 15 in the country, Liberty Flames. Saturday’s kickoff from West Long Branch is set for 1 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics / Willis Glassg