Monmouth University (4-6, 2-5 CAA) traveled to Newark, DE to square off against the Delaware Blue Hens (7-2, 4-2 CAA), dropping their fourth consecutive contest by a score of 49-17.
Freshman quarterback Enzo Arjona made his second consecutive start in place of the injured Tony Muskett but was unable to replicate his success from last week, mustering just eight completions through four quarters. Arjona was constantly under siege by the Blue Hens defense, who sacked the newcomer six times on the day. Receivers Dymere Miller and Ugo Obasi were the only Hawks to catch multiple passes from Arjona in the loss.
The Hawks jumped out to a 7-0 lead after just 44 seconds thanks to a 69-yard scoring dash by Jaden Shirden, his seventh touchdown run of 50+ yards this season. The touchdown gave the Hawks their first and only lead of the day. Delaware quarterback Nolan Henderson quickly responded on their ensuing drive, converting a fourth and nine before finding Thyrick Pitts for the first of two scoring connetions between the two on the day. Just three minutes later, Delaware took their first lead of the game on a Jourdan Townsend 49-yard pass reception to make the score 14-7. An Eric Bernstein 21-yard pot-shot field goal for the Hawks would keep things close at 14-10, although the Blue Hens would immediately answer once again by arm of Henderson, this time finding Chandler Harvin at short range for the eight yard score.
Bernstein’s kick would be the Hawks’ last scoring play until the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. Henderson and the Blue Hens dominated the second quarter going into the half, bringing the score to 42-10 going into the second half of play after a two-yard run from Henderson, a 34-yard run from Kyron Cumby, and an 18-yard pass from Henderson to Thyrick Pitts. Delaware amassed 365 yards of offense in the first half en route to imposing a mountainous lead over the visiting Hawks.
The second half saw much less action than the first, with each team only scoring once. Henderson threw his fifth and final touchdown pass of the game two minutes into the second half to Marcus Yarns, putting victory well out of reach of the Hawks at a score of 49-10.
Despite the massive gulf in quality between the two teams, the Hawks played through the final whistle. Senior running back Juwon Farri capped off a 12-play, 78-yard scoring drive with a 20 yard touchdown run with just 3:43 remaining in the game to make the final score 49-17. This was Farri’s first score since Sept. 17 vs Georgetown.
The Hawks’ defense was unable to stop a nosebleed against the Blue Hens, giving up a whopping 30 first downs, including a fourth and nine conversion; 506 total yards from scrimmage; and five touchdowns through the air. The party didn’t stop there for Henderson, as he also tied his school’s record for touchdown passes in a single game with his performance. The Blue Hens’ quarterback continued his impressive 2022 with another unstoppable outing coming against the Hawks, throwing multiple completions to six different receivers and throwing just six incompletions against his five touchdown passes. Backup Zach Gwynn spelled Henderson late in the contest, but came up empty handed on his two pass attempts.
Both teams converted at least 50 percent of their third downs, with Monmouth finishing 7-of-14 and Delaware going 5-of-9. The Blue Hens throughly outplayed the Hawks, a theme during the latter’s four game skid. Delaware outgained Monmouth by 174 yards, and on the back of Delaware’s 500 yard day on offense the Hawks’ defense has now allowed 40 or more points in three consecutive losses, and five times in total on the year. Jaden Shirden recorded his second consecutive game with 200 or more yards on the ground, bringing his total of such games this season to four and marked the 16th time a player has rushed for 200 or more yards in the program’s history. Shirden is now up to 1,567 yards rushing in all to pair with 12 scores on the ground.
The Hawks will have a late-season rest week, taking the upcoming weekend off before taking on the Stony Brook Seawolves (2-7, 1-5 CAA) for the Hawks’ senior night and final game of the season at Kessler Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 19.