of Rhode Island (0-0, 0-0 CAA) at Monmouth University (0-1, 0-0 NEC)
Saturday, September 8, 2012; 1 p.m.
Kessler Field, West Long Branch, N.J.
Shore Sports Network, WOBM 1160AM and1310AM, shoresportsnetwork.com
Matt Harmon (Play by Play); Eddy Occhipinti (Color Analyst)
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A look at the game:
Monmouth enters today's game with Rhode Island after nearly completing a
comeback victory over No. 11 Lehigh last weekend in the 2012 season opener.
Today's game will be the first of 2012 for Rhode Island, who is coming off a
3-8 season in 2011. Last year URI was 0-6 on the road and have lost seven
straight road contests dating back to Oct. 30, 2010 (30-20 win at Towson).
will break a streak today, as Monmouth has dropped eight consecutive home
games, with its last win at Kessler coming on Oct. 23, 2010 (vs Saint Francis).
The Hawks had their five game road win streak snapped last weekend, falling to
No. 11 Lehigh 27-17 in Bethlehem. MU started out sluggish, falling behind 14-0
in the first quarter but picked it up midway through the second. The first
points of the season were scored on a one-yard Julian Hayes touchdown that cut
the lead to seven. Lehigh was able to get a quick score right before the half
on 25 yard touchdown pass but the MU defense dominated the final 30 minutes of
play. Kyle Frazier tossed a 15 yard touchdown pass to Neal Sterling and junior
kicker Eric Spillane nailed a 38 yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-17 in
the fourth quarter. The Hawks had two chances to take the lead late in the
fourth quarter but each time Lehigh forced turnovers to seal the win. Lehigh
scored a touchdown on the final play of regulation when the Hawks fumbled a
desperate lateral which was scooped up and returned for a TD. With the loss the
Hawks are now 4-16 through the first 20 years of football in season openers.
Rhode Island returns nine total
starters from last year's team which faced seven ranked opponents not including
Syracuse and tallied wins over Fordham, No. 13 Delaware and William & Mary.
Junior quarterback Bob Bentsen split time last year but played in 10 of 11
games while he is also the team's top returning rusher as the Rams lost their
top four running backs from a season ago. Fifth-year senior Brandon
Johnson-Farrell was Rhody's top receiver a season ago (44 rec., 567 yards, 4
TDs) and the 5-10 speedster is also one of the top kick returners in the CAA.
Linebacker is the strongest position on the URI defense with senior Doug
Johnson and junior Dave Zocco back to anchor the front seven. Junior James
Timmons is the team's third returning tackler from a season ago from his
defensive end position. The Rams were chosen 10th in the Colonial Athletic
Association preseason coaches poll.
The coaching matchup:
Kevin Callahan is in his
20th season at Monmouth as the Hawks' head coach. Callahan owns a 109-87 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.
Joe Trainer, entering his fourth year
as the head football coach at Rhode Island, has produced 15 All-CAA selections,
32 Academic All-CAA players, and an All-American in his first season,
linebacker Rob Damon. In 2010, Trainer led the Rams to five wins, the most for
the program since 2001. Three of those five wins came against opponents ranked
in the Top 25, including the defending national champion, Villanova. Before
accepting the head coach position in 2009, Trainer spent the 2008 campaign as
the Rhode Island defensive coordinator. Prior to his days at URI, he spent
three seasons as the head coach of Millersville University in Pennsylvania. He
had spent the previous eight seasons at Villanova University, serving first as
the linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator. His
defenses in 2003 and 2004 led the Atlantic 10 conference in total defense.
Inside the MU-Rhode Island series:
marks the second time that Monmouth and Rhode Island have met, with the Rams
taking the only matchup between the teams in the 2009 season opener on August
30. In that contest, the Hawks battled back from a 14 point first half deficit
and trailed by 10 with just over three minutes remaining. Troy Yudin caught his
first career touchdown and John Nalbone recovered the ensuing onside kick, only
to see it negated on an illegal touching penalty, and URI prevailed, 27-24. MU
quarterback Brett Burke threw for 180 yards and two scores, and David Sinisi
rushed for 138 yards on 21 carries.
Monmouth Against the Colonial Athletic
University is 2-12 all-time against members of the Colonial Athletic
Association. The Blue & White notched their first win over the CAA in 2009
against Old Dominion, with its most
recent win coming over Villanova in 2011. The Hawks picked up their first
victory of 2011 at Villanova, in part due to a pair of goal line stands from
the MU defense. Dan Sullivan led the Hawks with eight tackles, none bigger than
the one he had early in the fourth to halt a Wildcat drive at the Monmouth one
Did You Know?
the first week of the season Monmouth's rush defense is ranked first in the
Northeast Conference, allowing just 139 yards against Lehigh. On the flip side,
Monmouth's rushing offense accumulated 182 yards last Saturday which is second
in the league only to Albany's output of 315 yards.
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