FOOTBALL GAMEDAY PREVIEW: HAWKS VS SACRED HEART
Monmouth University (4-4) at Sacred Heart University (7-2, 2-2 Northeast Conference)
Saturday, November 2, 2013; 1:00 p.m.
Campus field (3,334), Fairfield, Conn.
Radio Coverage: Shore Sports Network, WOBM 1160AM and 1310AM, shoresportsnetwork.com
Matt Harmon (Play by Play); Eddy Occhipinti (Color Analyst)
For tickets call 203 - 396 - TIXX (8499) or visit HERE for more information.
Directions to Campus Field:
For Directions to Campus Field visit HERE
The game can be viewed for free online on NEC Front Row
**A full game preview is available at www.GoMUHawks.com**
A LOOK AT THE GAME:
Today’s game marks the 19th time that Monmouth and Sacred Heart have met, with the Hawks owning a 13-5 advantage in the series and having won back to back contests. MU is looking to have a winning record for the first time all season after defeating Cornell two weeks ago before a bye week. Sacred Heart comes in with a 7-2 record, winning five straight before splitting its last two games. Today’s game is the last scheduled matchup between the two squads.
A complete team effort led to Monmouth’s 48-23 win over Cornell on Homecoming on October 19, the last time the Hawks played. Junior running back K.B. Asante had a career-day while Julian Hayes was four yards short of his sixth 100-yard rushing performance of 2013. Both backs are on schedule to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark, which would be a first for the Monmouth program which is in its 21st year of existence. Quarterback Brandon Hill had his best outing as a Hawk, throwing four touchdowns to four different receivers while completing over 60% of his passes and throwing for 313 yards. The Monmouth defense held Big Red quarterback Jeff Mathews, one of the top ranked signal callers in all of FCS, to under 50% passing and almost 100 yards under his average. After starting 0-3, including losses to a pair of ranked teams, Monmouth has won four of its last five games including the Cornell win and a win over NEC opponent Robert Morris. Today’s game is the first of four straight NEC opponents for MU, including three straight on the road.
Sacred Heart is off to one of its best starts in recent history, becoming one of three SHU teams since 2005 to record five or more victories. The Pioneer offense is ranked first in the Northeast Conference in scoring, averaging 38.6 points per game, which is also 8th in the NCAA. Redshirt freshman QB RJ Noel and sophomore Keshaudas Spence combine for the nation’s 10th ranked rushing attack at 246 yards per game. The Pioneer defense has been equally as impressive, boasting the eighth-ranked rushing defense in all of FCS (103 allowed per game) and are averaging almost four sacks per contest.
THE COACHING MATCHUP:
Kevin Callahan is in his 21st season at Monmouth as the Hawks’ head coach. Callahan owns a 118-95 career coaching record, all with Monmouth. Callahan is one of 21 active head coaches in the FCS with over 100 career victories and his 118 victories ranks 15th among active FCS coaches. The only coach in Monmouth history, he has led the Blue & White to five 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.
The Pioneers are led by second year head coach Mark Nofri. He took over last season as the interim head coach, where he led SHU to a 2-9 record but has turned around the Pioneers in 2013. SHU is off to a 7-2 record, including a 2-2 mark in NEC play. Beginning his 20th season as a member of the Pioneers coaching staff, Nofri is the longest tenured coach in Sacred Heart program history. Nofri is also the long time linebackers coach for the Pioneers, turning out several All-Conference and All-American linebackers including Jayson Jarrett ’01, Kayode Mayowa ‘02, Craig Capurso ’02, Jon Corto ’06 and Chris Mandas ‘11. He played college football at both Dean College and Canisius. Nofri is a 1993 graduate of Keene State.
INSIDE THE MU-SACRED HEART SERIES:
Monmouth owns a 13-5 series advantage all-time against the Pioneers, including wins in nine of the last 10 contests. The Hawks own an 8-1 record at Campus Field, with their only loss coming in 2001. Last year Monmouth won at home 27-14, with quarterback Kyle Frazier throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns on 32 of 43 passing. The defense harrassed Pioneer Tim Little into three interceptions while sacking him three times. Lamar Davenport recorded his first 100+ yard receiving game while Sacred Heart could muster just 42 yards on the ground, including 15 by Greg Moore and eight by Kashaudas Spence. MU pulled out to a 14-0 lead but a SHU touchdown on a Monmouth fumble after an interception led to the game being tied at halftime. The second half was all Hawks as MU secured the 13 point victory. Sacred Heart’s last win came in 2010, a one point victory in West Long Branch. The teams first met on Sept. 25, 1993, with the Pioneers defeating the Hawks 12-0 at Kessler Field.
HAWKS TO JOIN THE BIG SOUTH IN 2014
In February of 2013 Monmouth University officially accepted a invitation to join the Big South Conference as an associate member in the sport of football. With most of the Big South schedule already set, the Hawks were forced to play an independent schedule for the first time since 1995. The Hawks signed a four-year deal with the Big South and will compete for the league’s auto bid to the FCS Playoffs with Liberty, Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern, Presbyterian and Gardner Webb, beginning in 2014.
DAVENPORT GOES OVER THE CENTURY MARK
Wideout Lamar Davenport caught four passes for 102 yards against Cornell, his first 100 yard performance since last seasons Week 4 win over Sacred Heart. Davenport, who went for 105 in that SHU game, caught a 16 yard strike for a touchdown against Cornell early in the second half after MU forced a turnover on the opening kickoff. On the day, the senior had a 40 yard catch and run to set up Eric Spillane’s 25 yard field goal to open the scoring. He also caught a 30 yard pass up the sideline to set up Monmouth in Cornell territory, where Thaddeus Richards would later score. The 102 yards receiving was the second highest total of Davenport’s career, and his highest output of the season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Monmouth’s 48 points scored against Cornell last weekend were the most scored in a homecoming game in the 21 year history of the program. MU also snapped a four-game losing streak in homecoming games and is now 9-12 in homecoming contests.
LISTEN TO THE GAME ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE OR TABLET FOR FREE
Fans with a mobile phone or tablet using Apple’s IOS or Googles Android operating systems can download the FREE Radio Pup app, then select 1160 WOBM-AM as the station and you are set to go!
MU Football Social Media Links:
MU Football on twitter: www.twitter.com/MUHawksfb
MU Football on facebook: www.facebook.com/MUfootball
MU Athletics on YouTube: www.youtube.com/monmouthawks