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Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm

Sports

Football Wins First Ever FCS Playoff Game

FB 12.04.1911th ranked Monmouth football hosted and were victorious in their first ever Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff game against visiting Holy Cross on Saturday 44-27 as senior captain linebacker and FCS New Jersey Player of the Year Evan Powell anchored the defense with two interceptions.

Powell’s first multiple interception game of his career got off to a quick start on just their second defensive possession of the game as the team captain read the opposing quarterback like a book dropping back into the defense to pick off the pass and change momentum early on.

“I think that what is key is that we have confidence in each other, we can rely on each other,” said Powell. “No matter who is in the game, we have a bunch of guys and we do not miss a heartbeat. Our cohesiveness and our confidence help out as a unit.”

From here the Hawks’ offense took advantage as after a long rush from fifth year quarterback Kenji Bahar, junior wide receiver Lonnie Moore IV took an end around reverse handoff from 17 yards out to give MU the early 7-0 advantage.

Both defensive pass rushes were on point early on forcing a variety of punts in the first quarter of play as Monmouth went into the first intermission leading by a mere 7-0 margin.

After an underwhelming Holy Cross punt set Monmouth up with excellent field position, senior kicker Matt Mosquera capitalized from 30 yards out for the first of his three field goals on the day to make it 10-0.

From here Powell completely took over the game with his second interception of the first half to set Monmouth up with phenomenal field position yet again resulting in a beautiful touch pass from Bahar to junior wide receiver Terrance Greene Jr. from 20 yards out pushing the lead to 17-0.

The Big South Offensive Player of the Year Bahar finished Saturday’s playoff game with 249 passing yards on 19-of-32 passing and a touchdown despite playing through what appeared to be an aggravated leg due to a run early in the first half.

After the Crusaders went three and out again on their next possession, junior running back Pete Guerriero broke the long of his three touchdowns on the day down the sideline for a 68-yard score to make it 23-0. The junior running back from Lyndhurst, New Jersey had yet another career-best performance carrying the ball a career-high 31 times for 220 yards and three scores.

After the Monmouth defense gave up their lone points of the first half on a 7-play 71-yard drive by Holy Cross, Mosquera closed out the half by nailing a long, 47-yard field goal to make it 26-7 heading into the locker room.

The second half opened with a Holy Cross touchdown, but Monmouth responded quickly scoring on their next drive to go up 34-13 after several Bahar completions led to a 34-yard Guerriero touchdown.

Following Mosquera’s final field goal of the game, Guerriero piled on the last of the Hawks points in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown up the middle out of wildcat formation to make the final score 44-27.

“I think that people say we are a small school, but we play every game with a chip on our shoulder,” said Guerriero. “We play every game with something to prove. We’ve just got to keep it rolling and going forward and no matter who we are up against, we can continue making plays. It is about proving to everybody that no matter what size school you are, you can make plays, and as a whole offense, we have shown that.”

The defensive effort was headlined by senior linebacker Da’Quan Grimes who totaled eight tackles including 1.5 of them coming for a loss while fifth year defensive back Matt Castronuova also tacked on five tackles himself including the Hawks third interception of the game.

Head Coach Kevin Callahan will now lead his troops down to Harrisonburg, Virginia to face the second seeded Dukes of James Madison in the second round of the FCS Playoffs with kickoff slated for 1:00 p.m.

PHOTO TAKEN by Patrick Tewey

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

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The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu