Monmouth Football (2-1) lost their first game, of the season, after a 28-14 loss to former conference rival Albany Saturday night.
“We didn’t get out to the start we needed to be competitive in a game like this,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “We were playing a good team and we knew we had to start fast.”
After two touchdowns by Albany in the first quarter, the blue and white would answer with a sophomore quarterback Kenji Bahar passing touchdown to junior wide receiver Ugo Ezemma. That score was set up after an interception by fifth year senior defensive back Teddie Martinez.
Albany would respond with a field goal to expand their lead to 16-7. After an MU fumble, Albany would counter on Monmouth’s miscue with a 20 yard rushing touchdown to make it the eventual halftime score of 22-7.
In the second half, Monmouth’s defense held Albany to only six points scored in the half. “The defense did a good job in the second half, they settled down and got the ball back,” Callahan said. “Our defensive line got stronger as the game went on.”
In the third quarter, the defense would force Albany into back-to-back three and outs. MU would respond with junior running back Devell Jones rushing for a touchdown. The touchdown would be the fifth for the year for Jones; he would also lead with a team-high 46 rushing yards.
After two punts by Albany and MU, the third quarter would end as a one-possession game, 22-14 Albany.
In the fourth, junior defensive back Tymere Berry would block Albany’s field goal attempt to keep it a one-possession game. It would be the second blocked field goal for MU on the season, after leading the nation with eight last season. Berry would finish the game with a career-high eight tackles.
After a Hawks’ three and out, Albany would make it a two-touchdown game with a rushing touchdown from six yards out. After the missed point after, the score would be the eventual final of 28-14 MU.
The next two possessions for Monmouth would have trouble gaining momentum, leaving them unable to cross midfield on either possession. Albany would kneel to seal the first loss of the year for the Hawks. The win would make it seven straight wins for Albany against the Hawks, dating back to when both teams were in the Northeast Conference.
For the game, senior safety Mike Basile finished with a season-high 15 tackles. He would move into second all-time in Monmouth history in tackles. He is 13 tackles shy of the Monmouth record. Senior wide receiver Reggie White Jr. had 48 yards on five receptions. After a third quarter reception, he moved into fourth all-time in receptions. Junior wide receiver Vinny Grasso would finish with career highs in receptions (5) and yards (52). Bahar would finish with 154 yards and a touchdown while completing 20 of 31.
Monmouth (2-1) will continue their four-game road trip playing at Hampton on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of B51Photography/Mark Brown