Football 10.25.17

Football Runs Past Liberty with 364 Rushing Yards

Football defeated FBS-bound Liberty 56-39 behind 364 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns on Homecoming weekend. The win starts Monmouth 1-0 in conference play.

Freshman running back Eric Zokouri and first-year, sophomore running back Pete Guerriero combined for 355 of the 364 rushing yards. Zokouri had two touchdowns, his third multi-score game of the season, while Guerriero added a rushing touchdown of his own.

“We’ve been running the ball well most of the season, our objective is to stay balanced but we hit some gashes today,” Head Coach Kevin Callahan said, “We have four backs that we use on and off and they all bring a little bit something different to the table.”

After Liberty started the game with a passing touchdown, Guerriero would return the ensuing kickoff for a Monmouth record 95 yards for the touchdown to tie it at seven all. It would be his second kick return touchdown of the season for the sophomore.

“My blockers set it up perfectly, I just hit the hole like I am taught, it opened up wide and I just took off from there,” Guerriero said on his kick return for touchdown.

The Hawks would force a quick punt for Liberty on the next drive. The offense would drive down the field to the Liberty 25 yard line where Zokouri finished it off with a 25-yard rushing touchdown to make it 14-7. Monmouth would not look back and have the lead for the rest of the game.

In the late first quarter, sophomore quarterback Kenji Bahar would convert a pass to junior wide receiver Reggie White Jr. on fourth down. Later that drive, sophomore wide receiver Lonnie Moore IV ended the drive with an 11-yard rushing touchdown on a reversal that caught the Liberty defense off-guard to make it 21-7 Hawks.

Liberty would attack on the next drive early in the second quarter, scoring on a 76-yard touchdown pass. After they missed the point after, the score was 21-13 blue and white.

On the ensuing drive, Monmouth would score on their third straight drive, again with Zokouri, rushing for a 35-yard touchdown run.

After another Liberty punt, Guerriero would score again, this time rushing it 41 yards to pay dirt to increase the Hawks lead to 23.

Liberty would close the gap late in the first half, scoring on another long passing touchdown. After Liberty failed to convert the two-point conversion, the score would be the eventual halftime score of 35-19 MU.

On the first drive of the second half, Bahar would complete a pair of passes to White Jr., the second reception would be an eight yard touchdown pass to White Jr. where he ripped the ball out of the defender’s hands.

The Hawks would force another Liberty punt, but the Flames would pin MU at their own one yard line. On the first play, Bahar would complete a 27-yard pass to White Jr., going above the defender and bring it down near the Monmouth sideline. Zokouri would rush it 50 yards all the way to the Liberty four yard line.

On the next play, junior running back Devell Jones ran it four yards for his team-leading eight touchdown to make it 49-19 blue and white.

Liberty would rally late in the third, going on a 20-0 run. Liberty would score three touchdowns in only six minutes, with the score at the end of three quarters 49-39 MU.

In the fourth quarter, White Jr. would score his second touchdown of the game, a 61-yard Bahar to White Jr. pass to make it the eventual end score of 56-39 Hawks.

For the game, Bahar would end 244 passing yards on two touchdowns. White Jr. ended with a career-high 187 receiving yards on ten completions. Senior safety Mike Basile would finish with a team-high seven tackles.

The Hawks (6-1, 1-0 Big South) now have won four straight games. They will look to make it five in a row when they face Charleston Southern on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. The game will be their fifth road game in six games as they face the Big South opponent.