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William & Mary Emerges Victorious vs. Monmouth Football

The Monmouth Hawks (35) were handed a tough loss by the score of 31-28 this past Saturday, Oct. 28, after they made the trip down south to match up against the William & Mary Tribe (5-3) at Zable Stadium. The Tribe narrowly escaped with a win in regulation as their special teams blocked a potential Hawks game-tying field goal in the final seconds of regulation to eliminate Monmouth’s hopes of overtime play.

The Hawks received the ball to start the first quarter and were able to formulate an impressive nine-play, 70-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. Graduate student quarterback Marquez McCray connected with multiple wide receivers during this drive, including a key 20-yard pass to senior wide receiver Dymere Miller that set the Hawks up at the Tribe’s six-yard line. A few plays later, graduate student running back Sone Ntoh ran the ball at the goal line for a one-yard gain, resulting in a Hawks’ touchdown, making the score 7-0 in favor of Monmouth with 10:28 left in the first quarter.

Late in the first quarter, the Tribe started a chunky drive that chewed up 5:37 of game clock as their offense drove the ball 89 yards downfield on 11 plays to score a touchdown of their own early in the second quarter. On a big third down and three from the Tribe’s 37-yard line, junior quarterback Darius Wilson found a way to keep the drive going for William & Mary’s offense as Wilson completed a 35-yard pass to redshirt freshman Sean McElwain, putting the Tribe near the red zone. Four plays later, the Tribe capitalized with a touchdown on a five-yard run from junior running back Malachi Imoh making the score knotted up at 7-7 with 13:36 remaining in the second quarter.

The remainder of the half continued to lean in favor of William & Mary as the next offensive drive from the Hawks resulted in a turnover. McCray attempted a pass from the William & Mary 31yard line that ended up being intercepted by senior cornerback Ryan Poole. The Tribe took advantage of the turnover and kept the momentum going as they drove the ball 92 yards on 12 plays to score a touchdown. Wilson made pass completions to multiple targets on this drive and ended up finding Imoh for a 16-yard touchdown pass making it the running back’s second touchdown of the game. This long drive and score put the Tribe up 14-7 with 6:22 remaining in the second quarter.

Monmouth’s offense was shut down by the Tribe’s defense ensuing drive as the Hawks only ran three plays for one yard before having to punt the ball, giving Willam & Mary’s offense the ball back with 5:07 left in the first half. The Tribe’s offense continued to stay hot, as they charged 84 yards downfield on 11 plays and found the endzone once again. William & Mary took advantage of the running game throughout this drive and on an important fourth and goal from the Hawks one-yard line, sophomore running back Martin Lucas ran the ball into the endzone making the score 21-7 in favor of William & Mary with only 37 seconds left in the second quarter.

The beginning of the second half saw no scoring for the first few drives until Monmouth’s offense finally decided to change this momentum. The Hawks scored a touchdown after only four plays on offense thanks to a huge 45-yard rush from junior running back Jaden Shirden where he found the endzone on a third down and six with 7:19 left in the third quarter. This long touchdown run erased some damage, putting the Hawks down by only seven points by a score of 21-14. William & Mary then started a long 11-play, 51-yard drive.

Although the Tribe took up 5:30 of game clock on this drive, the offense was not able to score a touchdown after the Hawks’ defense eventually stopped the Tribe on a third and ten at the Monmouth 24-yard line. After being held just short of the red zone, William & Mary still got points as senior kicker Caden Bonoffski made a 41-yard field goal that gave the Tribe a 24-14 lead with 1:49 left in the third quarter. Monmouth’s offense did not take long to respond as on the first play of their next drive Shirden got his second touchdown of the day, this time on an impressive 75-yard run, making the score 24-21 in favor of William & Mary. This score put the Hawks in striking distance with 1:37 left in the third quarter.

Once the fourth quarter got underway, the Hawks were once again able to find the endzone, this time after a long twelve-play, 74-yard drive that milked 5:33 of game clock. On a significant fourth down and five at the Tribe’s 40-yard line, the Hawks’ decision to go for it paid off as McCray’s incomplete pass was turned into a first down due to pass interference by senior defensive back Malcolm Spencer.

A few plays later, McCray found Miller for a 16-yard touchdown pass, giving the Hawks a 2824 lead and their first lead since the first quarter with 9:20 left in the ballgame. The Tribe’s offense quickly grabbed the lead right back as on the next drive, the William & Mary offense drove the ball downfield on five plays for 56 yards that resulted in a touchdown. During the drive, Imoh had a few key runs that put the Tribe in scoring position.

On a second and goal, Wilson connected with junior wide receiver JT Mayo for a ten-yard touchdown pass. This gave the Tribe a 31-28 advantage with 6:14 left in the fourth quarter. Monmouth’s offense took up the rest of the game clock on a twelve-play drive where they drove 77 yards downfield. Ultimately, the Hawks would be forced to attempt a game-tying field goal on a fourth and eight with only three seconds left in the game. The 27-yard field goal attempt by junior kicker Vincenzo Rea would end up being blocked by freshman defensive lineman Gent Veizi, handing Monmouth football a brutal loss by the score of 31-28.

The Hawks will look to bounce back at home as they prepare to host Stony Brook (0-8) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Kessler Stadium.