Football Ranked Highest in Program History

FB 11.06.19Football was rewarded their highest national ranking in program history at No. 19 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) following Saturday’s 45-21 dominance over fourth ranked Kennesaw State to gain full control of the Big South. The victory handed the Owls their worst home loss in program history while snapping a 17-game home winning streak.

Fifth-year senior quarterback Kenji Bahar received his second Big South conference player of the week honor on the season as the man behind center threw for 332 yards while rushing for a career-high 95 and adding on two scores for the blue and white. Bahar completed 20 of his 27 passes on the day and now finds himself just two passing touchdowns shy of possessing the program record.

“Obviously it’s a great win. We’ve been going at it for five years with them and its good as a fifth-year senior to get a win against the defending conference champions,” said Bahar. “It was a simple game plan; we executed the run to open up the pass. They had a lot of people in the box, so we beat them over the top a couple of times. We were clicking on all cylinders today.”

After trailing at the end of the first quarter 3-7, Bahar took over the game leading the Hawks to 42 unanswered points and an insurmountable 517 total yards of offense. The first touchdown came on the first drive of the second quarter as the Hawks capitalized on several completions to junior wide receivers Zach Tredway and Terrance Greene, Jr., to set them up with phenomenal field possession.

Fifth year running back Devell Jones punched in the first of his two scores in the quarter from two yards out to give Monmouth the 10-7 lead they never looked back on. This drive gave MU the momentum they were looking for sparking an electric 28-point second quarter that saw the Hawks find the endzone on four separate occasions.

Three of these scores came on the ground as after Jones ran in two, junior running back Pete Guerriero scored from ten yards out to stretch the lead to 24-7. Guerriero ran the ball 21 times on the afternoon for a total of 87 yards, which individually led the team who ran for a total of 185 yards.

The Hawks closed out the half on an even stronger note as redshirt senior defensive back Tymere Berry returned a 41-yard interception to go into the locker room with a 31-7 lead. The final stamp on a nearly perfect half of football was also the first pick six of the season for Monmouth.

The road team opened the second half with the same intensity they played with in the first, as Bahar connected with Tredway for a 92-yard touchdown to increase their lead to 38-7 coming out of the break. Tredway led the team in receiving hauling in a career-high 7 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

After the defense remained sound, the next Monmouth possession finished the same as most on the day, as Bahar executed a 65-yard read option to perfection from his own 35-yard line.

“It was a read option, I saw them commit to Pete (Guerriero),” said Bahar. “I ended up reading it and it was open and I scored. Once again kudos to the play calling.”

The coaching was stellar in the winning effort once again as the disciplined Monmouth roster converted 7 of 14 third downs on offense while only allowing 3 of 12 defensively. They also committed just two penalties in the game without turning the ball over a single time.

“This is something they’ve been working towards since last winter, all through the spring and the summer,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “To come down here and win the way that we won against the number four team in the nation on their own field is very impressive. I think the members of our coaching staff, both offensively and defensively, did an outstanding job on their game plans and the players did a terrific job executing them.”

The Hawks will now return home to Kessler Stadium to face their final non-conference opponent of the regular season, North Alabama, on Saturday with coverage beginning at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN+.

PHOTO TAKEN by Willis Glassgow