LORETTO, Pa.- Saint Francis University (2-4, 0-1 NEC) capitalized off two first quarter turnovers to sprint out to a 21-0 first quarter lead, one it would not relinquish en route to a 28-10 win over Monmouth University (3-4) on Saturday.
"St. Francis is a well-coached, physical football team,” said Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “When you get behind early, like we did today, it becomes very difficult to win. St. Francis was able to control the line of scrimmage against our offense and they challenged every throw. Defensively, I thought we did a pretty nice job. We limited Harbridge to under 100 yards for the first time all season and only allowed one play over 20 yards all afternoon."
The Red Flash scored on the opening kickoff after returning a Monmouth fumble then followed that up with a pick six that pushed the lead to three scores all in the first quarter. The Hawks never had a chance to get the running game going against a suffocating Saint Francis defense that had six sacks and two interceptions.
SFU held a 234-191 advantage in total yards as Hawk quarterbacks Brandon Hill (Audubon, N.J./Audubon/UMass) and Greg DePugh (Morris Plains, N.J./Parsippany Hills) combined for just 10-of-28 passing for 81 yards. Monmouth’s defense held SFU running back Kyle Harbridge to under 100-yards for the first time all season, as he finished with 94 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown.
Saint Francis shot out to a 21-0 lead with a pair of Monmouth miscues leading directly to Red Flash scores. On the opening kickoff Tevrin Brandon (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic/UConn) was hit and lost control of the ball and Red Flash linebacker Bishop Neal scooped the ball up and went in eight yards for the touchdown. Monmouth’s next drive went three and out and the Red Flash drove 49 yards for their second touchdown, this time on an 18 yard Ward to Terrell Smith scoring strike. Disaster struck for the Hawks for the second time when Brandon Hill’s pass to the right was intercepted by DaQuan Minter and returned the ball 44 yards to the house and a 21-0 lead with 5:18 to play in the first quarter.
Monmouth managed to get on the board with 4:32 left in the second quarter as the Hawks drove 60 yards on 11 plays, finishing with a 46 yard field goal by Eric Spillane (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck).
Hawks got some momentum after a 42 yard field goal attempt by Saint Francis was blocked by Darnell Leslie (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard), setting MU up almost at midfield with time dwindling in the third quarter. The Hawks broke the goal line on the first play of the fourth quarter with an eight yard reverse to Thaddeus Richards (Columbia, N.J./Northern Burlington). That 10 play 54 yard drive cut the lead to 21-10 with 14:53 to play in the game.
The Red Flash capitalized off of great field position midway through the fourth, going 57 yards on seven plays; capped by a 22 yard Harbridge third down touchdown run. Down 28-10 with 7:51 to play, Monmouth’s offense could not get into the endzone and the Hawks fell to 3-4 on the season.
Neal Sterling led all MU wideouts with four receptions for 40 yards while K.B. Asante (Silver Spring, Md./James Hubert Blake/WVU) finished with 56 yards on 12 carries and Julian Hayes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier/The Hun School) had 46 yards on 15 carries. MU was 3-of-16 on third down while Saint Francis was 7-of-16. A pair of Hawks had career highs on the defensive side, with Ify Asoluka (South Orange, N.J./Columbia/Gattica) recording eight tackles and Andrew Jurczynski (Ewing, N.J./Ewing) also adding eight. Pat O’Hara (Souderton, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) finished with seven tackles on the day.
Red Flash QB Max Ward was 11-of-17 for 104 yards and a touchdown. Dane Domonkos led the Red Flash receivers with three catches for 35 yards. Saint Francis recorded five sacks on the day.
Monmouth returns home against Cornell next Saturday at 1 p.m.
- Monmouth is now 0-4 when having worse field position; SFU started on its 41, while MU averaged its own 20
-MU’s 10 points were the lowest scored against Saint Francis since 2002, when the Hawks won 7-0
-The Blue & White didn’t force a turnover for the first time all season
-Spillane’s 46 yard field goal tied a career high. He’s kicked three 46 yard field goals this season
-Saint Francis, which is now 4-17 all-time against Monmouth, won two consecutive games in the series for the first time.