FOOTBALL GAMEDAY: HAWKS HOST LEHIGH
University (0-0, 0-0 PL) at Monmouth University (0-0, 0-0 NEC)
Saturday, September 3, 2011; 1 p.m.
Kessler Field, West Long Branch, N.J.
Radio Coverage: Shore Sports Network, WOBM 1160AM and1310AM, shoresportsnetwork.com
Matt Harmon (Play by Play); Eddy Occhipinti (Color Analyst)
For tickets call 732-263-6889 or visit www.gomuhawks.com for online sales
Day of game tickets can be purchased at the MAC's ticket window.
A look at the game:
Monmouth comes into today's game against Lehigh University looking to begin its quest for a sixth Northeast Conference title and its first trip to the NCAA Playoffs. The Hawks have not won a non-conference game since Sept. 26, 2009 when they defeated Old Dominion, 31-28 in Norfolk. The 2011 schedule features three teams that appeared in the 2010 NCAA FCS playoffs, the most in program history. Lehigh, ranked 13th in the nation, is the highest ranked team ever to play at Kessler Field.
Redshirt junior Kyle Frazier returns to quarterback an offense that features five starters from a season ago. Preseason All-American Jose Gumbs leads the defense, which returns just four starters but features a wealth of players with experience. Sophomore Eric Spillane is back to handle the place kicking duties for the Hawks, one season after setting the record for successful field goals in a year.
MU has its work cut out for them as Lehigh, coming off a 10-3 season that included a playoff win, is ranked as high as 13th in the country. The Mountain Hawks, defending Patriot League Champions, return a number of key starters, including quarterback Chris Lum (2,881 passing yards and 19 TDs) and PL Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Mike Groome. Groome, a linebacker, led a defense that led the league in scoring defense, sacks and takeaways. The Mountain Hawks were picked to finish first in the 2011 preseason coaches poll, earning eight of the possible 14 first place votes.
The coaching matchup:
Kevin Callahan is in his 19th season at Monmouth as the Hawks' head coach. Callahan owns a 104-80 career coaching record, all with Monmouth. Callahan is one of 23 head coaches in the FCS with over 100 career victories. The only coach in Monmouth history, he has led the Blue & White to five Northeast 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 sixth year as Lehigh's head football coach, has produced 60 All-Patriot League honorees, 16 All-America selections and 88 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll choices. In 2010, Coen guided the Mountain Hawks to their league-best ninth Patriot League football championship and Lehigh's first outright league title since 2001. The Mountain Hawks won 10 games for the first time since 2001 and at 5-0 posted the first undefeated Patriot League season in seven years. Lehigh qualified for the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 2004 and went on the road to defeat Northern Iowa 14-7 for the Patriot League's first playoff win in seven years, while finishing the season ranked 14th nationally. Coen was named Patriot League Coach of the Year, and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.
Inside the MU-Lehigh series:
Today marks the third time that Monmouth and Lehigh have met, with the Mountain Hawks taking both of the previous games in convincing fashion. The two teams met most recently in 2005, with the Hawks jumping out to a 14-7 first quarter lead but surrendered 17 points in the second frame. Lehigh never looked back on its way to a 54-26 victory at Goodman Stadium. MU quarterback Brian Boland threw for a career-high 348 yards with 2 TDs but Lehigh's Borda had six passing TDs and 344 yards. Lehigh also won the first ever meeting of the two teams, 56-10 in 1999.
Monmouth Against the Patriot League:
Monmouth University is 4-5 all-time against members of the Patriot League, with its most recent win coming against Colgate in 2006. 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 0-2 against Lehigh. Last season 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.
Streaming Video Information:
For the fifth straight season Monmouth will offer streaming video of all home games (except televised contests) on Hawk Vision, accessable on www.GoMUHawks.com . New for this season will be an enhanced graphics package and a direct feed from the Shore Sports Network call. Fans can choose from four great packages, including a yearly subscription ($59.99), Four Months ($20.95), Monthly ($7.95) and new for 2011 a per game plan (6.95).
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).