Football 11.08.17

#24 Ranked Football Wins Sixth Straight Game

Football defeated Presbyterian 42-21 to extend winning streak to six behind their 237 rushing yard and four rushing touchdowns on Saturday afternoon. After the win, MU moved up in the rankings to 22nd in the country in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches’ Poll.

“We are very happy with the victory, our goal today was to come out of this week 1-0 and move to 8-1 overall, said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “We weren’t hitting on all cylinders early in the first half, you have to credit Presbyterian for that, they made some things difficult for us. To the credit of our team, we came out of the second half flying and scored a bunch of different ways.”

Sophomore running back Pete Guerriero led the way on the rushing attack, running for 153 rushing yards and adding a touchdown.

After back-to-back three and outs by the Hawks and Presbyterian to start the game, Presbyterian got on the board first midway through the first quarter, scoring on a nine yard passing touchdown to make it 7-0.

Monmouth answered right away, thanks to junior running back Devell Jones’ two yard touchdown run to tie it at seven all. The junior now has a team-high ten rushing touchdowns on the season.

To start the second quarter, Presbyterian took the lead after an 11-yard passing touchdown, making it 14-7.

Midway through the quarter, sophomore quarterback Kenji Bahar threw a 43-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Lonnie Moore IV to get into Presbyterian territory. The drive would end after Bahar threw an interception at the Presbyterian goal line.

Presbyterian would get a quick three and out however, causing them to punt to MU and give them good field position. On third down, senior running back Michael Jolly broke two tackles and ran it 26 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 14.

Presbyterian looked to take the lead before halftime, but senior safety Mike Basile blocked the field goal attempt to remain the score at halftime to be 14-14.

On the opening drive of the half, Guerriero ran for two long runs of 17 and 16 yards to setup Monmouth in good field position. Bahar would finish off the drive with a seven yard quarterback keeper to give MU the lead.

On the ensuing drive, the Hawks forced Presbyterian to another three and out punt. On the punt, senior wide receiver Tymere Berry ran the punt back 70 yards for his first career punt return for touchdown.

“That was my first punt return of the year, coach just threw me in there,” Grasso said. “I just have to find the seam, making people miss. We did a good job blocking, I made the first guy miss and it was off to the races from there.”

On the next drive, sophomore defensive back Tymere Berry intercepted the Presbyterian pass and ran to 35 yards back to the Presbyterian 20 yard line. On the next play, Bahar threw a 20-yard passing touchdown to junior tight end Shawn Clark to make it 35-14 MU, scoring on three straight drives to open the second half.

Presbyterian would quickly answer, scoring on a 59-yard passing touchdown to make it a two score game late in the third quarter.

After a Bahar interception and a Presbyterian punt, Guerriero would seal the victory for the Hawks, scoring on a five yard rushing touchdown to make it the eventual final score of 42-21.

For the game, Bahar finished throwing for 165 yards on 13 completions. Jolly finished with 48 rushing yards on only six rushes, averaging eight per carry on the game. Basile led the team with ten tackles, including one for loss.

The Hawks (8-1, 3-0 Big South) will return to Kessler Stadium for senior day as they face Big South foe Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 12:00 p.m. MU will look to extend their winning streak to seven games.

PHOTO COURTESY of B51/Mark Brown