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FOOTBALL GAMEDAY PREVIEW: HAWKS HOST NO.19 LEHIGH

Updated: September 13, 2013 - 9:34 p.m. (ET)
Monmouth Sports Information
A look at the game:
Today’s game is the fifth meeting between the Monmouth Hawks and the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, with MU looking to take its first win in the series. This will be the second meeting between the teams at Kessler Field, with Lehigh taking the 2011 season opener in front of 3,200 fans. Monmouth is coming off back to back losses to No. 2 Montana State and Liberty, while the Mountain Hawks opened up last weekend with a dramatic come from behind double overtime win over Central Connecticut St. Through week three of the season Lehigh is ranked 19/23 in the national polls.     

The Hawks are looking to break into the win column after its first two opponents used big first halves en route to victory. Against Liberty senior tight end Mike McLafferty led the Hawks with three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown while sophomore tight end Zach Fabel caught his first TD, a 42 yard strike from Greg DePugh. Through the first two games, four different players have caught touchdowns for Monmouth. The MU kicking game has been on point thus far with senior Eric Spillane recently hitting 45 and 46 yard field goals and sophomore Lucas Santangelo recording touchbacks in six of nine kickoffs. Monmouth’s front seven was solid against the Flames who averaged just 2.8 yards per run and didn’t have a run over 14 yards on 44 attempts.

Lehigh won its season opener in thrilling fashion, beating Central Connecticut State 51-44 in double overtime. The Mountain Hawks found themselves trailing 37-17 but completed the 20 point comeback to force overtime. In his first career start, quarterback Brandon Bialkowski threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns while senior wideout Lee Kurfis had seven receptions for 222 yards and a pair of scores. Lehigh scored three touchdowns in the final 10 minutes of play, with the drives lasting :38, :12 and :52 seconds. Lehigh was picked to finish second in the Patriot League, behind last year’s PL Champion Colgate, who was the only team to beat the Mountain Hawks in 2012.

The coaching matchup:
Kevin Callahan is in his 21st season at Monmouth as the Hawks’ head coach. Callahan owns a 114-93 career coaching record, all with Monmouth. Callahan is one of 21 active head coaches in the FCS with over 100 career victories and his 114 victories ranks 15th among active FCS coaches. The only coach in Monmouth history, he has led the Blue & White to five conference championships, in 1996, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006. Callahan has earned NEC Coach of the Year accolades in 1998, 2003 and 2006. Prior to arriving in West Long Branch, Callahan served as defensive coordinator at Colgate for eight seasons and at Wagner for three years. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Albany (1977-79) and Syracuse (1980) before becoming a Seahawk assistant in 1981.
Andy Coen, entering his eighth year as Lehigh’s head football coach, has produced 87 All-Patriot League honorees and 21 All-America selections. Coen has guided Lehigh to three Patriot League titles in his first seven seasons in Bethlehem, including back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. He has twice been named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, finishing seventh in the 2010 voting and sixth in 2011. Under Coen’s guidance, Lehigh posted its third consecutive ten win season in 2012. The Mountain Hawks won their first nine games and at one point had won 18 consecutive regular season games. Lehigh finished in the top 20 of both national polls for the third straight season.

Inside the Monmouth-Lehigh series:
Today marks the fifth time that Monmouth and Lehigh will meet, with the Mountain Hawks taking each of the previous four contests. Last season at Goodman Stadium the Mountain Hawks took a 21-7 lead into halftime but the second half was controlled by Monmouth, cutting the lead to 21-17 in the fourth quarter. A Monmouth drive stalled on the Lehigh seven yard line when the Hawks couldn’t convert a fourth and short and another late drive ended at midfield after an interception on a tipped ball.

In 2011, Monmouth went up 7-0 on a two-yard Pete Nagy run but Lehigh answered with three straight touchdowns.  The Mountain Hawks took a 42-10 lead early in the fourth quarter to ice the victory. Lehigh racked up 529 yards of total offense in the contest and scored on six plays of 20+ yards. Kyle Frazier connected on 22-of-25 passes for 225 yards in the contest.
Monmouth Against the Patriot League:
Monmouth University is 5-7 all-time against members of the Patriot League, with its most recent win coming against Colgate in 2006. The loss against the Mountain Hawks was the only game against a team from the Patriot League that Monmouth played last season. The Blue & White also has notched a win over Fordham, defeating the Rams 23-9 in the 2006 season opener. MU’s other two wins were against Georgetown. The Blue & White are 0-1 against Lafayette and 0-4 against Lehigh. In the 2010  season opener MU lost a 30-29 heartbreaker at Colgate when the Hawks’ two-point conversion attempt came up a foot short with under two minutes to play. Monmouth has lost five consecutive games against teams from the Patriot League.

Did You Know?
Monmouth quarterback Greg DePugh’s 42 yard touchdown pass to Zach Fabel in the fourth quarter of last week’s game was his second career pass attempt. Two plays before, DePugh hit Lamar Davenport for 17 yards. Not only was that Fabel’s first touchdown but it was his first career reception as well.
A Full preview with links can be found on www.GoMUHawks.com

Social Media Links:
Follow the Hawks all season long on twitter (@MUHawksFB), Facebook (facebook.com/MUFootball) and on Monmouth’s YouTube page (YouTube.com/monmouthhawks).
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Kevin Callahan
21st Season

The only head coach in the history of football at Monmouth, Kevin Callahan has developed a winning tradition in West...

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