ITHACA, N.Y.- Monmouth University (3-3, 2-1 NEC) wrapped up its 2012 nonconference schedule with a 41-38 loss to Cornell (3-2, 1-1 IVY) Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field.
The Hawks took their only lead of the game in the fourth quarter but could not slow the Big Red passing attack, which entered the game ranked sixth in the country. The teams combined for 1,183 yards of offense, with Monmouth racking up 602 yards on offense. The final quarter saw Monmouth and Cornell combine for 36 points. Quarterback Kyle Frazier (Gaithersburg, Md./Damascus) set the Northeast Conference and Monmouth single game total offense record with 513 yards (451 passing, 62 rushing).
Monmouth closed to within three points with just over a minute remaining on a Frazier to Neal Sterling (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) 25 yard touchdown but the Hawks were unable to get the ensuing onsides kick. Cornell converted a first down and was able to run the clock for the win in the teams' first ever meeting.
"Offensively, we kept answering when we had to unfortunately we weren't able to get the stops we needed in the fourth quarter," said head coach Kevin Callahan. I'm impressed with the performance of Kyle Frazier today, he was a great competitor and gave us a chance to stay in the game. Kyle had an outstanding day, one of the finest days by a MU quarterback."
Frazier finished with a career-high four touchdowns and no interceptions on 35-of-45 passing for a Monmouth single game record 451 yards. He also led the Hawks with 62 yards rushing. Wideout Tristan Roberts (Ansonia, Conn./Ansonia/Lackawanna) had a career-high 174 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.
Big Red quarterback Chris Amrhein threw for 523 yards, 280 to Luke Tasker, who set the Cornell record for yards in a single game.
At the start of the second half, Cornell expanded its halftime lead to 20-14 after a 37 yard field goal by John Wells on the team's first possession of the half.
Monmouth tied the game four minutes later, with Frazier leading the Hawks on a 13 play, 75 yard drive that tied the game for the first time since the opening kickoff. Running back Pete Nagy (East Hanover, N.J./Montclaire State) carried the ball four times on the drive, including on a key fourth down conversion, so it was fitting that he capped the drive with a 10 yard pass. Eric Spillane's (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) extra point was blocked and the game was tied 20-20 with just over six minutes to play in the third quarter.
After the MU defense forced a punt, the Hawks took their first lead of the game on a 28 yard Spillane field goal with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
It took just five plays for Cornell to retake the lead, with Nacita scoring for the second time on a one-yard run. The play was set up by a 41 yard Amrhein to Tasker pass, which gave Tasker the Cornell single game receiving record. Wells converted the PAT and Cornell led 27-23 with 14:03 on the clock.
Cornell pushed their lead to 34-23 after another five play drive which was capped by a three-yard Nacita run with 10:35 to play.
Monmouth roared back, moving the ball down the field quickly after a 34 yard Nagy kickoff return. Frazier connected with Roberts for 37 yards and then scrambled and hit Eric Sumlin (Dover, Del./Dover) for 28 yards to cut the lead to five. Sterling caught the two point conversion and MU trailed 34-31 with 8:25 to play.
Nacita scored for the fourth time on the next Cornell drive, pushing the Big Red lead to 41-31 with 4:15 left in regulation.
Cornell struck first, capitalizing off a Monmouth fumble that came deep in Hawk territory. Freshman running back Silas Nacita piled in from 1 yard out, after the Big Red threw a 29 yard pass and the Hawks were flagged for a roughing the passer call. The drive took four plays and put Cornell up 7-0 with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Hawks answered right back with an impressive 10-play, 90 yard drive that was capped by a three yard Julian Hayes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier/The Hun School) touchdown run. Frazier was 5-for-5 for 44 yards and had a 28 yard run on the drive, with 23 of those yards going to Davenport.
The Big Red countered with a 14 play, 75-yard drive of their own, setting up a first and goal on the MU three. Sullivan and Cooper dropped a direct snap to the running back for a two yard loss on first down. After an incomplete on second down, the Monmouth defense broke up a third down shovel pass to force a short field goal attempt. John Wells nailed the 23 yard field goal and put the home team up 10-7 with 7:57 to play in the second quarter.
The Hawks were moving the ball on the next drive but Kyle Frazier was stripped on a first down run and Cornell recovered on their own 43. Cornell drove the rest of the way, expanding its lead to 17-7 on a 21 yard pass from Amrhein to Luke Tasker with 3:50 to play in the 2nd quarter.
It took 11 seconds for the Hawks to respond when Frazier found Roberts for an 85 yard touchdown. The pass was the longest of Frazier's career and the longest reception of Roberts' career. Spillane converted the PAT and the Hawks cut the lead to 17-14 with three and a half minutes to play in the half.
Sterling's five catches for 74 yards were both season highs.
Monmouth had three players with 10 tackles, linebackers Dave Damirgian (Churchville, Pa./Council Rock) and Dan Sullivan (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) and safety Pat Gray (Westfield, N.J./Westfield/Hargrave Military).
-Frazier's 451 yards eclipsed Doug Rossback's 1993 mark of 418 yards set against Saint Peter's in Monmouth's first win as a program
-Frazier needed 405 yards coming into the game to move into second all-time in passing yards, passing Dan Sabella. With 6,275 passing yards, he now trails only Brian Boland who finished his storied career with 7,812 yards.
-Tight end Tyler George (Berkeley Heights, N.J./Governor Livingston) finished with four receptions, which moved him past Will Holder for third all-time at Monmouth with 115.
- Tristan Roberts now has 10 career touchdowns, giving him sole possession of fifth place
-The Hawks converted three of four fourth down conversions in the game
-Monmouth went for a fourth and three from the Cornell 23 and missed it, just MU's third failed fourth down conversion of the year (8-of-11).
- Spillane's kick that was blocked was his first missed point after touchdown of the season
-The game was the first time all year that MU didn't force a turnover.
-Cornerback Mitchell Pollard (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) had a career-high seven tackles in the game
-Monmouth's offense averaged 7.4 yards per play
-Frazier's 35 completions was a career-high, eclipsing the 33 he completed last game against Albany