WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Redshirt senior quarterback Kyle Frazier (Gaithersburg, Md./Saint John's College H.S.) threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns and sophomore running back Julian Hayes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier [The Hun School]) had 121 all-purpose yards and two rushing touchdowns as the Monmouth University football team cruised past the University of Rhode Island, 41-6, Saturday afternoon on Kessler Field. With the win, the Hawks improve to 1-1, while the Rams fall to 0-1.
The win was the Hawks' first at Kessler Field since Oct. 23, 2010, snapping an eight-game losing streak at home.
"I think our guys did a good job in taking what we learned in last week's game at Lehigh and correcting some of the things we needed to improve upon and bringing it today," said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. "Our defense did a very good job throughout the day, other than the field goal at the end the only other points they had was on an early turnover inside our 15. What you saw today was a total team effort, both offense and defense picked each other up with big plays."
Monmouth, behind an experienced offensive line, finished with 539 yards of total offense on the day, including 272 yards rushing and 267 yards passing. On the strength of a late 50-yard run, Pete Nagy (East Hanover, N.J./Hanover Park [Montclair State]) led the Hawks with 82 yards rushing on the day. Kwabena Asante (Silver Spring, Md./James Hubert Blake [WVU]) and Hayes split carries for the majority of the game, racking up 64 and 59 yards, respectively. Frazier also accounted for 57 yards on the ground.
Hayes scampered 62 yards down the sideline on a screen pass to lead the Hawks in receiving yardage, while Neal Sterling (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) had four catches for 45 yards. Tristan Roberts (Ansonia, Conn./Ansonia) had four catches for 40 yards and Lamar Davenport (Asbury Park, N.J./Asbury Park) had three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown in a balanced Hawks offensive attack.
It was all Hawks in the first half, as Monmouth jumped out to a 24-3 lead at the break. Monmouth marched 85 yards on 13 plays to open the game, capped by Frazier's eight-yard screen pass to Asante with 9:15 left in the first quarter.
After the Hawks' defense forced a three-and-out, URI capitalized on a Pete Nagy (East Hanover, N.J./Hanover Park [Montclair State]) fumble deep in Monmouth territory to get on the board with a Dylan Smith 22-yard field goal.
Monmouth finished the half with 17 straight points. Julian Hayes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier [The Hun School] broke a tackle and rumbled 22 yards to cap an eight-play, 77-yard drive and put the Hawks on top, 14-3, with 3:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Following another Hawks' defensive stop, Eric Spillane's (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) 24-yard field goal sailed through the uprights to put the exclamation point on a 19-play, 84-yard drive covering seven minutes and 32 seconds to give MU the 17-3 advantage.
The Monmouth defense finally surrendered its first URI first down at the 8:31 mark of the second quarter. But the Hawks quickly reclaimed the ball when a jarring Elijah Phillips (Willingboro, N.J./Holy Cross) hit knocked the ball loose for Bill Lauch (Wall, N.J./Wall [Erie C.C.]) to recover. Frazier and the Hawks' offense wasted little time punching the ball into the end zone once again. On the third play of the drive, Frazier evaded the Rams' rush, scrambled right and threw back across the field to find Mike McLafferty (Morgan, N.J./War Memorial) wide open in the middle of the end zone for the 25-yard touchdown connection.
URI threatened late in the second quarter with a long kickoff return and an eight-play drive to inside the Hawks' five yard line. But the Rams fumbled and Josh Siemanowicz (Toms River, N.J./Manchester) made the recovery at the MU two yard line to maintain its 24-3 lead at the half.
The Monmouth momentum continued into the third quarter as the Hawks went 67 yards on six plays to take a 31-3 lead with 11:03 on the clock. Hayes took Frazier's short screen pass 62 yards down the sideline to the two yard line, before punching it into the end zone on 4th-and-1.
The Hawks made it 31 straight points on Frazier's nine-yard touchdown pass to Davenport at the 6:14 mark of the third quarter, capping a six-play, 48-yard drive.
The Hawks finally were forced to punt for the first time in the game as time expired at the end of the third quarter. URI snapped the Hawks' 31-0 scoring run with Smith's 29-yard field goal with 6:44 remaining in the game. Spillane responded with a 26-yarder of his own with 1:25 remaining to account for the final score, 41-6.
The Hawks return to action next Saturday, when they open up Northeast Conference play at rival Wagner. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the newly-named Hameline Field.
Kyle Frazier on the play of the offensive line:
"The o-line played really good today, they all got settled in after the first quarter of last week. We wouldn't be able to do anything without those guys. All of them played really hard, they were really just ready to go. It's cool to see them excited when we're scoring too because then we know everyone is clicking and we are all on the same page."
Julian Hayes on the o-line:
"A running back is nothing without an offensive line. They did a phenomenal job. I honestly feel that they are the core of this team. When they are punishing people and putting them on the ground, it makes all our jobs easier. The line was more physical than them today, they out-manned them and that allowed us to get behind them and they carried us to the finish line."
Kyle Frazier on the 25 yard touchdown pass to Mike McLafferty on a broken play:
"I had to shed away a defensive tackle and scramble a little bit and I heard Mike scream and wave his arms. I turned my head and saw him standing wide open in the end zone and thankfully I got it to him."
Mike McLafferty on his 25 yard TD:
"It was originally designed to go to the right side. I didn't even think the ball would be coming my way. There was no one overtop of me so I found myself in the endzone. I saw Kyle was just scrambling so I tried to wave my arms, get his attention. I think I shouted at him, he said he heard me so it worked out."
-Sophomore Lamar Davenport (Asbury Park, N.J./Asbury Park) had three catches, two for Monmouth first downs on third downs and a nine-yard third quarter touchdown catch- his first career touchdown.
-The last time a Monmouth defense held an opponent to 6 points was a 2009 win over Bryant (10-6)
-The last time the MU offense scored 41+ points at home was a 42-20 win over Sacred Heart
-The last time Monmouth scored 40+ points against a non-conference opponent came on 9/10/2005, a 65-27 win at LaSalle.
-Junior linebacker Dan Sullivan (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) recorded his first career interception, returning the ball 12 yards.
-MU's defense held URI to 1 of 10 on third downs, while the offense compiled a 9-of-14 conversion rate, 6-of-7 in the first half.