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Football Drops Two Straight, Including 7OT Thriller

Monmouth University (4-3, 2-2 CAA) was handily defeated after a sloppy effort against the University of Maine (2-4, 2-1 CAA) on Oct. 15 at Alfond Stadium.

Monmouth opened their account with a 17-yard Tony Muskett strike to senior wideout Dre Tucker to cap off a 7-play, 85 yard march early in the first quarter and took a 7-0 lead. Maine knotted things up after recovering an inopportune Hawks fumble deep in Monmouth territory through the arm of QB Joe Fagnano, who found tight end Shawn Bowman in the back of the end zone with time winding down in the first quarter.

The Hawks would not regain their lead for the rest of the game, with things quickly snowballing out of hand in the second quarter after Maine’s Freddie Brock scored on a 33-yard rush. Brock’s 68 yards on the ground on the day is his best total of the year thus far. Minutes later, Maine then ran back an ill-advised Muskett interception for a pick-six, and the Hawks found themselves down 21-7 in short order. Muskett answered back with a 30 second two-minute drill scoring drive that saw Dymere Miller post his third receiving score of the year on a 31-yard grab, and the Hawks went into halftime down 21-14.

This would be as good as things got for the Hawks, as the Black Bears extended their lead to 28-14 on a one-yard Elijah Barnwell touchdown plunge, with the scoring play set up by a 77-yard completion on the second play of the second half. Exactly one minute later Maine yet again capitalized off of the third Hawks turnover of the half, with Fagnano finding Montigo Moss, youngest son of NFL great Randy Moss, on a 14-yard pitch-and-catch to take a 35-14 lead early in the third quarter. Muskett rallied the Hawks offense once again, directing a 77 yard scoring drive capped off by a 43-yard dart to senior pass-catcher Assanti Kearney. Kearney’s 100 yards through the air was the first in his career he reached the mark. Jaden Shirden’s 81 rushing yards represented a quiet day for his standards – this was his first effort under 100 rushing yards since opening day on Sept. 1 against the New Hampshire Wildcats. This was also just his third game this season without a rushing score.

After Maine chipped in a field goal to give themselves a three-possession lead at 38-20, Owen Wright pounded home another redzone carry to bring the Hawks within 10. Unfortunately, the score came much too late, as Maine successfully killed off the clock and sealed a loss for the Hawks.

After the game, Head Coach Kevin Callahan lambasted the team’s effort through 60 minutes, saying “They [Maine] had the upper hand throughout the game and dominated us from start to finish today. There wasn’t a lot that we did very well and I’d be hard pressed to point to some positives that occurred during the game. Anytime you turn it over three times it is almost impossible to win and when those turnovers go directly into the end zone it makes it even more difficult.”

The Hawks (4-4, 2-2 CAA) were unable to respond to their coach’s challenge in their homecoming game at Kessler Stadium against Rhode Island (5-2, 3-1 CAA) on Oct. 22, with the Rams coming out on top 48-46.

Rhode Island was able to strike first midway through the first quarter before Muskett found Miller for a score for a second consecutive game, this time coming from 13 yards and tying the game at 7-7.
Senior Ugo Obasi recorded his first career receiving score to put the Hawks up 14-7, and the two teams traded touchdown drives before Eric Bernstein’s 26-yard field goal as time expired sent the Hawks into halftime with a 24-21 lead.

Marques DeShields opened the second half scoring with a three-yard rush and made the game 28-24, giving Rhode Island the lead back for the first time since his receiving score back in the first quarter that made the game 7-0. Bernstein converted another short range kick for the Hawks, chipping Rhode Island’s lead down to 1.

The Hawks seemed destined to win after Darrion Carrington’s second score of the season, along with his two-point conversion grab, gave the Hawks a 35-28 lead with just over five minutes remaining. The Rams struck back quickly, with DeShields scoring yet again, this time on a 73-yard scamper off of a pass from Kasim Hill to send the game to overtime.

Turnovers continue to plague the young Hawks, with Muskett having now gone four consecutive games with an interception, including the pick-six against Maine. In the last two games, Muskett has also taken 9 sacks, but remained productive with six touchdown passes nonetheless.

In the first period of overtime, Owen Wright struck first from the goal-line, only to be matched by DeShields shortly after. Neither team managed to score in the second overtime, but Dymere Miller ran for a score in the third overtime period. The Rams answered back with a trick play when receiver John Erby found Darius Savedge for the tying score. Again neither team scored, this time in both the fourth and fifth overtime periods. Justin Marcus converted on a pass from Muskett in the sixth overtime period to keep things even until the Rams finished the Hawks off in the seventh period, when Kasim Hill found Ed Lee for the game’s final scoring play and knocked the Hawks off 48-46.

The game was a story of bad luck for the Hawks, who had consecutive 100 yard games from Assanti Kearney, while Jaden Shirden continued his dominance on the ground and brought his total up to 1,154 yards for the year to pair with eight scores. Including the overtime periods, the Hawks led six times but failed to secure the victory. Monmouth now sits at ninth place in the CAA, and will take on the Towson Tigers (2-5, 0-4 CAA) at Kessler Stadium on Oct. 29.