WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Lehigh senior quarterback Chris Lum threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 13 Lehigh University (1-0) past Monmouth University (0-1) at Kessler Field Saturday afternoon.
"First of all we played a very good football team," said MU head coach Kevin Callahan. "They executed very well and were right on in everything they did. As a team, we didn't play the way we needed to play to be in a game or win a game like there was today. It was across the board. There were breakdowns in the secondary that allowed big pass plays which got them out to a 21-7 lead and it was an uphill battle from there. We had difficulty putting anything together consistently on either side of the ball and when you play a good team, that's not enough to be successful."
Lehigh had scoring plays of 73, 47, 32, 24 and 23 yards in the win.
Monmouth opened up a 7-0 lead after a 14-72 yard drive to open the game but Lehigh scored 21 unanswered points to take a lead they would not surrender again. The Hawks converted four third downs on that first drive, which culminated on a Pete Nagy (East Hanover, N.J./Hanover Park /Montclair State) two-yard touchdown run.
Lehigh answered that with a march of its own, covering 64 yards and 12 plays. Back Zach Barket scored his first of two touchdowns on the day, the first from four yards out to tie the game 7-7 with 2:54 to play. On their next possession the Mountain Hawks scored on one- play, a 73 yard bomb from Lum to junior preseason All-Patriot League wideout Ryan Spadola. After a three-and-out by the Hawks, Lehigh went 85 yards on nine plays, but it was Barkett's 32 yard screen pass for a touchdown that put the visitors up 21-7 with 9:26 to play in the first half.
The Hawks cut the lead to 21-10 on a Eric Spillane (Howell, N.J/Colts Neck) field goal but once again LU scored three unanswered TDs to take a commanding 42-10 lead. Monmouth scored back to back TDs to close the gap but Mountain Hawk Marcus Dormevil had a 47 yard run with 1:14 to finish the scoring at 49-24.
MU's three touchdowns were scored by three different running backs, including Nagy's in the first quarter. Redshirt junior Balial Sloan El (Pennsauken, N.J./Roman Catholic Pa.) and freshman Julian Hayes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier/The Hun School) each reached the endzone while Spillane converted a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter for Monmouth points.
Junior Elijah Phillips' (Willingboro, N.J./Holy Cross) 46 yard punt return provided a spark for the Hawks, setting up the offense on the Lehigh 30. A few plays later Hayes powered in from five yards out for his first career score.
Frazier took the bulk of the snaps at QB, finishing with 225 yards on 22-of-39 passing with one interception. Seven different players caught passes, led by tight end Tyler George's (Berkeley Heights, N.J./Gov. Livingston) eight catches for 72 yards. Sophomore Mitchell Pollard (Silver Spring, Md./Spring Brook) had four catches for 44 yards while redshirt sophomore Lamar Davenport (Asbury Park, N.J./Asbury Park) had three grabs for 31 yards in his first collegiate action. In all, MU had three wideouts catch their first passes for the Blue & White. MU had 116 yards on the ground, led by Frazier's 27 yards on 11 rushes. The revamped offensive line allowed just one sack on the afternoon against a Lehigh team that was nationally-ranked in the stat a season ago.
Phillips had two breakups, an interception and five tackles from his cornerback position to lead the Hawk defense. Sophomore linebacker Dan Sullivan (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) had seven unassisted tackles, while safety Dorian Evans (Erial, N.J./Timber Creek) had six tackles, including one for a loss in the contest.
Freshman Ryan Mohr (West Orange, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) averaged 39.2 yards per punt with a long of 50 and two inside Lehigh's 20 in his first collegiate game.
Preaseason All-America linebacker Mike Groome had 10 tackles to lead all defensive players. Safety Billy O'Brien had the LU interception while Jon Littlejohn had three pass breakups and four tackles from his safety position.
Lum finished 22-of-34 with four touchdowns and one interception, throwing for 346 yards. Spadola was on the receiving end of two of those TDs, finishing with six catches for 148 yards. Senior Jake Drwal had 117 yards as well, with a long of 32 which he caught one-handed for a four-quarter score. Barket had 80 yards and two touchdowns on 13 rushes. Dormevil had 65 yards on eight carries but also had 147 yards of kick return yards.
Monmouth is now 0-3 all-time against the Mountain Hawks and is 4-15 in openers.
The Hawks have a bye week before travelling to No. 14 Villanova on Sept. 17, 2011.