Football Takes Its First Fall to Season Opener VS. FAU

Monmouth Football officially kicked off its season on Saturday, Sept. 2, as they made their way down to Florida to face Florida Atlantic University. This was the season opener for both the Hawks and Owls, but, unfortunately, the Hawks walked away with a loss, 20-42.

We saw many performances from new Hawks as we reign in the 2023 season. Freshman Logan Barnes made his first career start on defense. Freshman Michael Calton Jr. recorded his first collegiate points, and redshirt freshman Gavin Nelson went 21 yards for his first career catch.

After ending the 2022 season with a home victory, Monmouth started their 2023 season off on the wrong foot. In the Saturday game, FAU quickly took the lead of the game just three minutes and thirty-two seconds into the first quarter, and shortly after that turned the score from 7-0 to 14-0. Running back Sone Ntoh had the chance to turn this game around and scored the Hawks first points of the season with a two-yard run touchdown. Freshman kicker Michael Calton Jr. successfully got the extra point and with 1:53 left in the first quarter, the Hawks cut the FAU lead to 14-7.

The second quarter saw less action from the Hawks until Marquez McCray threw his first touchdown as a Hawk on a fourth down twenty-seven-yard pass to Assanti Kearney. Monmouth drove 62 yards on nine plays to put the attention back on them and cut the Owl lead 28-14 going into halftime. This was McCray’s first game for the Hawks, in which he jumped right into the position of quarterback. Previously, he played 32 games for Sacred Heart.

Lots of action presented itself in the second half. The Hawks caused two turnovers on defense, and Jake Brown made his Monmouth debut with an interception. Eddie Morales captured a fumble that was forced by safety Tyrese Wright. Although, the Hawks were not able to make it into the endzone and resulted in a score of 14-42 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Monmouth was the only team to score in the fourth quarter, which was made possible by a 16-yard pass from Marquez to Dre Tucker. This made the score 42-20 although they weren’t able to overcome the deficit. McCray had an outstanding performance for his first time playing offensively for Monmouth, finishing with 249 yards passing on 26-of-46 attempts with a pair of touchdowns and completing passes to eight different receivers.