Hawks Handed a Tough Loss at Elon

Monmouth Football (3-4) took a tough loss by the score of 28-26 this past Saturday, Oct. 21, after traveling all the way down to Elon, North Carolina to take on the Elon Phoenix (4-4) in what was the first ever matchup between the two teams in the history of their respective programs.

Elon’s offense started the game off with success as the Phoenix only needed two plays and 47 seconds of possession to score a touchdown. This was thanks to senior quarterback Matthew Downing connecting with redshirt junior and wide receiver Chandler Brayboy for a long 59-yard touchdown pass that would put Elon up by the score of 7-0 with 14:06 left in the first quarter.

Monmouth’s first offensive drive showed some promise as the Hawks were able to drive the ball up to mid-field, but, unfortunately, three incomplete passes in a row resulted in the drive ending in a punt at the Monmouth 49-yard line.

The Phoenix kept the early advantage they had and rolled with it as the offense was able to drive the ball 80-yards down field to score another touchdown after only six plays on offense. During this drive, Downing was able to make a clutch ten-yard pass on a third down and six at the Elon 24-yard line to red shirt freshman and wide receiver Landyn Backey. Just a few plays later, Downing found redshirt senior and wide receiver Jordan Bonner for a 41-yard touchdown pass that resulted in an early 14-0 score in favor of Elon with 7:29 left in the first quarter.

Towards the end of the first quarter, the Hawks started a lengthy ten play drive that took up almost five minutes of game clock. This drive was extended thanks to graduate student quarterback Marquez McCray finding senior wide receiver Dymere Miller for an eight-yard pass on an important fourth down and four at the Monmouth 49-yard line. This drive would be stuffed at the goal line as on a fourth down and goal at the Elon two-yard line the Phoenix defense was able to hold graduate student running back Sone Ntoh to a one-yard gain, stopping the Hawks just one yard short of a touchdown and giving the Phoenix the ball back with 14:06 remaining in the second quarter.

The Hawks were quick to get this bad taste out of their mouth though. Monmouth’s offense got the ball back after their defense forced a quick three and out and on the first play of the drive, McCray connected with Miller for a 43-yard touchdown pass. The extra point would be missed by freshman kicker Michael Calton Jr, making the score stay at 14-6 in favor of the Phoenix with 11:27 to go in the first half of play.
When Elon got the ball back Monmouth’s defense stepped up in a big way, as on a third down close to mid field, graduate student and defensive lineman Nick White sacked Downing. This sack caused the quarterback to fumble the ball, which would be recovered by sophomore linebacker Sam Korpoi, giving the Hawks offensive possession in Elon territory.

The Hawks offense would not be able to take advantage of the turnover as with 3:35 left in the second quarter Monmouth was held short on a fourth down and six at Elon’s 12-yard line when McCray was sacked by senior defensive back Bo sanders.

The Phoenix offense then made the Hawks pay by scoring another quick touchdown off yet another deep pass connection. Downing found redshirt sophomore and tight end Johncarlos Miller ll for a 65-yard touchdown pass on the fourth play of the drive. This score gave Elon a 21-6 advantage with only 1:53 left in the first half.

Monmouth came out in the second half with some fire as the offense scored a touchdown off of only three plays and 1:19 of possession on the first drive of the third quarter. The theme of long touchdowns would continue in this game as the Hawks scored off of a Miller 68-yard run to the endzone. The two-point conversion would fail, making the score 21-12 in favor of Elon with 13:37 left in the third.

Later in the third quarter, Monmouth’s offense would find success again, but this time on a hefty ten play 80-yard drive that took up 4:25 of game clock. A 27-yard run at the Elon 39-yard line from junior running back Jaden Shirden would set the Hawks up in scoring position. Ntoh punched the ball in for a touchdown on a two-yard run on second and goal with 1:25 left in the third quarter, making the score a close 21-19 in favor of the Phoenix.

Elon’s offense was able to respond, putting up a touchdown of their own on the next drive. Brayboy scored his second touchdown of the day on a 41-yard run to the endzone, giving Elon more breathing room at the score of 28-19 with 12:21 left in the fourth quarter.