The Monmouth Hawks record stands at 4-6 after a close game against the New Hampshire Wildcats (5-5). On Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m., the Monmouth Hawks held their annual Hero Day along with their Senior Recognition that celebrated their last home game of the season at Kessler Stadium. Though the Hawks racked up a total of 472 yards, the game ended with a score of 31-24 causing this to be Monmouth’s sixth loss of the season and ending their three-game Kessler Stadium winning streak.
Dymere Miller, a senior wide receiver, finished the game with 11 catches for 333 yards including two touchdowns. This set a Monmouth record and put him at second for the most receiving yards in CAA history. Graduate quarterback Marquez McCray was able to complete 21 of 32 pass attempts in the game.
In the beginning, both teams put up a good fight preventing each other from scoring. New Hampshire put themselves ahead by scoring a touchdown in the first quarter with only 1:02 left, building tension in the stadium. Monmouth made an appearance in the second quarter by scoring a touchdown with 4:47 minutes left in the half. Graduate defensive back Eddie Morales III does what he does best, turning the ball over and giving the Hawks better and quicker chances to score. Graduate running back Sone Ntoh was able to make it into the endzone after ten intense plays.
Eric Berstein Senior kicker earned the Hawks an extra point with a succeeding kick. This tied the score standing at 7-7. As the game continued, the Wildcats broke through and scored another touchdown. When they received the ball, Monmouth’s defense succeeded in impeding them from scoring a touchdown. They were forced to go for a field goal, which brought the score to 10-7 and gave them a small lead. Fifth-year Antonio Colclough earned his first sack of the game, causing a third down for the other team. Sophomore linebacker Damir McCray interfered with the opposing team’s pass by tipping the ball mid-throw, incompleting the pass. A couple of plays down the line, graduate Ryan Moran earned a sack as well. He received the seventh reception of his Monmouth career.
After the first half, the Hawks fueled up and became more aggressive as they went into the second half. A dominant play was set up to give Monmouth another opportunity to score again. They gave New Hampshire absolutely no room to score while Miller made an outstanding appearance in the third quarter, scoring a 63-yard touchdown. McCray was able to connect him with the ball, putting the Hawks up with a seven-point lead standing at 7-14. Each time the opposing team was given a turn to score a touchdown, Monmouth’s defense line put an end to it. Colclough got his second sack of the game.
Another kick was forced upon, which brought their score up to ten and still gave Monmouth a decent lead. Shortly after, the Hawks struggled to get to the end zone, and junior running back Jaden Shirden made a few attempts but was unsuccessful. The Hawks then got an opportunity to kick and earned three points, which kept them ahead in the game.
This game had a mix of high-powered offenses, but the defense side was a decent challenge for the players. As the fourth quarter approached, the game became intense. Monmouth’s defensive line failed to keep the Wildcats out of the endzone. Colby Ramshaw, a tight end for New Hampshire, found his way into the end zone. This tied the score again, which became a nerve-racking moment for the Hawks. McCray set a perfect play for Miller once again. He threw a 75-yard pass that had him dancing into the endzone. This raised high hopes for the Hawk fans who came looking for a win (24-17).
New Hampshire did not fail to put up a fight and broke through Monmouth’s offensive line, scoring another touchdown to even the score for the third time over the course of the game. With only 2:18 left in the game, New Hampshire scored again. Monmouth earned another opportunity to score but wasn’t given enough time to do so. The time ran out, ending the game and leaving the Hawks with a loss against the Wildcats.
Despite the loss, there were a lot of great moments that came out of this game. Miller broke Miles Austin’s 235-yard set that happened back in 2005 against Sacred Heart. According to the Monmouth Athletics Website, “Miller tied his career high with 11 catches, the third time he has had 11 catches in a game this season and his fifth double-digit catch performance of the year.” He’s earned 85 catches and has over 1,200 yards, which is labeled as a single-season record program.
McCray threw 402 yards for a season-high. Moving to the defensive side of the team, Morales III received his fourth interception of the season. This puts him in place as the fifth player in program history to have ten career interceptions. Graduate linebacker Jake Brown received even more tackles in this game, leading Monmouth with 12 tackles for the third game straight. When it comes to the most sacks in a game, Colclough earned that seat and brought himself to 4.5 sacks in a season. Senior defensive back Mike Reid broke up two passes and bumped up to 27 for his career.
As for the running backs, Jaden Shirden is now up to 1,429 rushing yards for the year. This also marks Sone Ntoh’s 14th touchdown of the season. His 14 touchdowns are tied for sixth on Monmouth’s single-season list.
Football will come to a close for the 2023 season after they face UAlbany this Saturday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m.