Featured (List) Featured (Slider) Sports

Football Battle Against Fordham Ends in MU Loss

The Monmouth University football team (0-2, 0-1 CAA) faced off against Fordham (2-0, 0-0 CAA) in a close matchup that came down to the final seconds of play, with the Rams scoring in the last 56 seconds to secure a 52-49 victory over the Hawks.

The loss pushed the Hawks 0-2 for the first time since 2015, but Monmouth put up a good fight to stay neck and neck with Fordham throughout the game.

During the first half of play, Monmouth and Fordham totaled a combined 54 points and 768 yards of offense. Fordham took an early 7-0 lead after Quarterback Tim DeMorat threw a touchdown pass to Dequece Carter. The Hawks bounced back quickly with three consecutive touchdowns, including a 60-yard touchdown pass from Muskett to Alex Bryant, a career-long touchdown for Bryant and his second touchdown in two weeks, and a 95-yard Jaden Shirden touchdown run.

“They blitzed to the left side, I saw a cutback lane and took it to the house. If I see an open crease, I’m going to take it,” explained Shirden. The first quarter ended with a one-yard rush from Owen Wright to put Monmouth up 20-7 to conclude the first 15 minutes of play with the Hawks in the lead.

Fordham came out strong in the second quarter, scoring a quick touchdown before Monmouth’s Muskett answered with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dre Tucker to make the score 26-14. However, the Rams scored two touchdowns in the final 3:45 of the half, putting 21 points on the board during the second quarter to secure a 28-26 lead going into halftime.

The Rams increased their lead 35-26 early in the third quarter with a two-yard rush from Julius Loughridge. Monmouth’s Jaden Shirden cut Fordham’s lead to three points with an 80-yard run, making the score a close 35-32. The third quarter ended with field goals from both teams as the Rams maintained a slight lead going into the final quarter of play.

Fordham pulled away from Monmouth to further their lead with a five-play, 58-yard drive led by DeMorat early in the fourth quarter. Wright answered with back to back touchdowns for the Hawks, giving Monmouth a 49-45 lead. The Rams finished the game and secured a Fordham victory with a 75 yard drive on 11 plays to score the last touchdown of the game. Despite moving the ball to the Fordham 42 with 18 seconds left in the game, Monmouth was unable to earn another completion and the game ended in a close 52-49 loss for the Hawks.

It was not an easy victory for Fordham – Monmouth totaled 713 yards of offense, the second most in school history, to score 49 points and held the lead at several points throughout the match before eventually succumbing to the Rams. Sophomore Jaden Shirden set a Monmouth record with 299 yards on just 13 carries, surpassing David Sinisi’s 2008 record of 243 yards against Saint Francis. Shirden finished with an average of 24.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns, scoring on runs of 95 and 80 yards and marking his second career 100-yard rushing game.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves, setting a record with 299 yards rushing in a single game. I think Jaden demonstrated his explosiveness and his ability to take it to the house on every run. I thought he had great vision when he was running the ball, finding the right hole and having patience with it and accelerating at the right time,” said Kevin Callahan, Head Coach.

Several other Hawks made a big difference in the close game. Senior defensive back Eddie Morales picked off Fordham’s DeMorat in the first quarter, his second interception in back to back weeks for Monmouth. Wideout Assanti Kearney recorded 105 yards on four catches, marking his first career 100-yard receiving day. Tony Muskett finished with 323 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-27 passing.

“I have to congratulate Jaden and our offense who did a phenomenal job today. They kept answering the bell, getting us out of a hole and giving us the lead. We didn’t finish on defense, on the end of the first half and at the end of the game. We couldn’t do that today, we couldn’t get ourselves off the field on third down and we gave up too many big plays,” concluded Callahan.

Monmouth’s fall to Fordham marks the fourth loss at home for the Hawks since the opening of Kessler Stadium in 2017. It also marks the second consecutive loss against a Patriot League team after winning 11 straight matchups against the league.

The Hawks are now 0-2 for the season following losses against New Hampshire (2-0) and Fordham.
“We’re playing hard. Obviously, the scores of the past two games are not how we want it. It’s not how we wanted to start the season but at the end of the day we have nine-plus games to still play. The leaders on this team are playing hard, we are attacking every game and we aren’t losing because of lack of effort or lack of focus. At the end of the day we have to keep pushing, keep working together as a defense,” said Morales.

The Hawks will host Georgetown for their next matchup on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m.