(This story appeared in the September 30th issue of The Outlook, the student run newspaper of Monmouth University.)
The Monmouth Hawks fell this past Saturday to the 16th ranked Fordham Rams 54-31 in the second ever meeting between the two schools.
A crowd of 3,471 at Jack Coffey Field settled in as sophomore kicker Matt White kicked off for the Hawks. The initial drive of the game was highlighted by a 49 yard pass on a first and ten play from the Rams junior quarterback, Kevin Anderson, to junior wide receiver Robbie Cantelli bringing the Rams to the Monmouth five yard line. Fordham would get in the end zone two plays later as Anderson connected with freshman wide receiver Corey Caddle for a five-yard touchdown pass giving the Rams an early 7-0 lead.
The Hawks went three-and-out in their first possession but quickly regained possession after senior linebacker Anthony McDonnaugh recovered a fumble. Redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Williams would turn the ball over with an interception on the Hawks very first play following the recovery. The Rams returned to the end zone as Anderson threw a 24 yard touchdown pass to sophomore running back Chase Edmonds to extend the Fordham lead to 14-0.
MU made their first appearance in the red zone on their next possession which was set up by a 27 yard completion from Williams to junior wide receiver Darren Ambush, which brought the Hawks to the Fordham 15 yard line. White connected on a 35 yard field goal to put the Hawks on the board, 14-3 with 2:12 to go in the first quarter.
Fordham was forced to punt but got the ball back after Williams fumbled; this was Williams’s second turnover of the quarter. A seven yard run by Edmonds ended the first quarter.
The Rams drove down the field as Anderson once again found Edmonds for an 18 yard touchdown giving the home team a 21-3 advantage. Monmouth came out and got a first down on their first play, as Williams completed a 14 yard pass to freshman wide receiver Devin Phelps for his second career reception and his first of four receptions on the drive.
A holding penalty pushed the Hawks back ten yards, but Williams and Phelps would hook up the next three plays and move the chains once again to advance the ball to the other side of the field. Williams found redshirt freshman wide receiver Reggie White Jr. for a 14 yard completion bringing the ball to the Fordham 25 yard line. Williams would notch his third turnover of the day after throwing an interception at the 10 yard line. A holding call on the Rams gave MU the ball back, and junior running back Lavon Chaney ran in from 13 yards out to make the score 21-10 with 6:51 to play in the first half.
Fordham wasted no time responding as Edmonds broke away for a 56 yard touchdown run on the third play of their ensuing drive as the reigning Jerry Rice Award winner given to the top FCS rookie, extended the Fordham lead, 28-10. The Hawks failed to convert on fourth and six, but would get the ball right back after senior defensive back Joe Johnson’s sixth career interception was returned 45 yards to the Fordham 20 yard line bringing MU back into the red zone. After a loss of two, Williams connected with senior wide receiver Pat Gray for a 22 yard touchdown, but the Rams answered with a 60 yard score of their own and held a 35-17 advantage at halftime.
MU started the second half on offense, but turned the ball over after Williams’ second interception of the game. Fordham would answer with a 29 yard field goal by junior kicker Makay Reed to make the score 38-17.
An MU three-and-out led to a 54 yard field goal by Reed to extend the Fordham lead to 41-17. The ensuing Hawks drive resulted in another turnover from Williams, the Rams drove down the field on an eight play, 80 yard drive and added another seven points to the board putting them ahead 48-17.
The Hawks came out on their next drive and Chaney was able to find the end zone for the second time on the day as he ran in from seven yards out to cut the Fordham advantage to 48-24, which would remained the score as the quarter ended. Both teams made it into the end zone once in the game’s final quarter as the game ended 54-31.
“It wasn’t a good day right from the start,” said MU Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “We made far too many mistakes and critical errors to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game. Between turnovers and poor execution, we never gave ourselves a chance. When you do those things against a good football team, it makes for a long afternoon.”
Williams finished 15-29 for 154 yards and a touchdown, but threw three interceptions. He also added six rushes for 71 yards to lead the rushing attack. Chaney gained 68 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns. White Jr. and Phelps led the Hawks with five receptions apiece, while White Jr. found the end zone once in the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Ben Onett entered the game in the fourth quarter and went 4-4 for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore safety Mike Basile recorded double digit tackles for the third time this season as he led the MU defense with 10 stops. Anderson threw for 340 yards and five touchdowns for Fordham and Edmonds had two receiving touchdowns and ran for one as well.
MU returns home to wrap up their non-conference schedule on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. when they square off against the Bulldogs of Bryant University.