Sports

Monmouth Football Flashes in Return to Kessler

Monmouth Football 1On Mar. 27, in West Long Branch, the Monmouth University football team (1-0) defeated Charleston Southern (0-2) 35-17 in their 2021 spring season opener at Kessler Stadium.

Every position seemed to dominate on Saturday. Junior running back, Juwon Farri, ran for 119 yards on a career-high 33 carries and three touchdowns.

As for freshman quarterback, Tony Muskett, he made quite the impact throwing for 297 yards on 18-of-26 passing and two touchdowns. Head Coach Kevin Callahan was very impressed with how Muskett managed the game, the way he got the team into the proper plays, as well as changing the plays.

Monmouth Football 2Callahan praised Muskett and his arm talent that he displayed on major throws throughout the game. He said, “He’s just going to continue to grow and get better and better.”

Junior wide receiver, Terrance Greene Jr., racked up 166 yards on five catches and scored one touchdown.

The defense did not disappoint one bit on the other side of the ball after committing three interceptions and five sacks. Junior defensive back, Eddie Morales III, was the team leader in tackles with eight and one interception. Lorenzo Hernandez, a junior transfer defensive lineman, committed not just five tackles, but a pair of sacks and a pass breakup in his Monmouth debut.

On their first drive of the game, Monmouth led 7-0 following a throw from Muskett to Greene Jr. who brushed off and avoided two tackles for a 70-yard touchdown. CSU then yielded a field goal in their first drive but Monmouth responded.

A 76-yard drive that consisted of six plays was topped off by a six-yard Farri touchdown. Number 30 ran 26-yards to make the score 21-3 but CSU quarterback, Jack Chambers, conducted a 13-play, 97-yard drive that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown pass, making the Hawk halftime lead 11-0. 

In the third quarter, the boys in blue and white scored a pair of touchdowns extending their lead to 35-10. With 3:01 left in the half, the first touchdown of the third was a 2-yard run by Farri.

“What I think you saw today was his [Farri] ability to break tackles, to make people miss, to get the tough yards, to make the pile move forward, and to get the extra yard for the first down” said Coach Callahan.

Senior defensive back, Justin Terry, then intercepted the Buccaneer’s quarterback, Jack Chambers, on a drive at CSU’s 20. Just one play later, Muskett threw to junior Wide Receiver, Assanti Kearney for a touchdown. 

CSU scored the final touchdown of the game but the Hawks were too far ahead, resulting in their first win of the 2021 season. Following the season opener, three of the Hawks, Farri, Hernandez, and Muskett, earned Big South honors for their performances.

Farri was named Offensive Player of the Week, Hernandez was named Defensive Player of the Week, and Muskett was named Freshman of the Week. This was the first time in Farri’s career that he scored three touchdowns in one game. The star running back has acquired 1,143 yards, the 13th most in school history. He is also tied with Bobby Smith with his 11 rushing touchdowns.

Hernandez committed five tackles, with four of them being solo and two being sacks. The defensive lineman took part in the defense holding CSU to only 28 yards rushing in addition to five sacks and three interceptions for the day.

Hernandez’s first sack was in the first quarter on a third down which forced a CSU punt. His second set the Buccaneers back 11 yards, where a drive resulted in an interception.

As for Muskett, he is just the third true freshman to start at the quarterback position for Monmouth. There has not been a true freshman starting for the Hawks since 1993. Muskett has surpassed Dan Sabella’s 263 yards in a 1994 win over Wagner with his 297 yards. Not to mention, he showed his skills outside the pocket after picking up a first down on an 11-yard run early in the game.

Looking ahead, the Hawks are set to face Gardner-Webb in an away game this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Ernest W. Spangler Football Stadium.

PHOTOS COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics

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