Skip to main content

On The Sixth Try, Monmouth Finally Sails Past Lehigh, 28-21

Taylor Jackson/Asbury Park Press
Monmouth was 0-5 versus Lehigh in their history going into this weekend's game.

Even with athletes like WR Miles Austin, WR Chris Hogan and a lot of other very good players, beating the Mountain Hawks was something that every Monmouth player was unable to achieve in their careers.

They had come agonizingly close before - losing games on last-second fumbles, and blocked punts advanced for 1st downs - and talked internally about playing all four quarters, about not getting worn down at the end of the game.

This Saturday, they were not worn down as QB Brandon Hill would get 40 of his 390 passing yards on the Hawks' final drive, none bigger than his 19 yard rifle to WR Eric Sumlin for the game-winner.


"I hit him with a double move, and then I knew I had him beat," an elated Sumlin said after the game.  "I was just looking forward to Brandon throwing me the ball.  Great feeling."

Hill would get 33-of-44 passing for 390 yards, finding Sumlin for 35 yards and WR Neal Sterling for 183 yards and 1 touchdown, Neal making some great grabs to keep Monmouth's last drive alive.  It was a career high for Hill.

Fighting through the loss of RB K.B. Asante to injury, the Hawks didn't miss a beat through the second half, with underclassman RB Levon Chaney stepping right in and notching 200 all-purpose yards, including a 5 yard TD run to tie the game at 21 late in the 3rd quarter.

“I encourage the pressure, I like the pressure," he told the Asbury Park Press. “I knew I had to step up and fill the role of two people after KB went down instead of one. Physically, it’s more wear on my body, but the adrenaline kicks in and I don’t worry about it. I try to focus on getting where I need to be and helping the team every step of the way.”

Monmouth's successful execution at the end of the game stood in stark contrast to Lehigh's, something that Andy Coen noted as well in the post-game.

"Obviously, we didn't execute on a lot of things.  That's something we're going to need to continue to work on," he said.

Driving down the field, sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky was getting the Mountain Hawks into scoring position when he appeared to have gone on one too many rushing plays.  On his 22nd rush of the afternoon, he fell awkwardly after his run and appeared to have a head injury, meaning the coaching staff needed to take his helmet and senior QB Matt McHale would enter the game.

At first, McHale and the offense would do well, especially after a very nice bull rush by senior RB Rich Sodeke to get to the Monmouth 20 yard line.  McHale's third down throw to freshman WR Troy Pelletier, though, was well short of the sticks, and Lehigh had to try for a field goal to take the lead.

Sodeke had a record day - 119 yards rushing on 22 carries - but that wasn't much solace for the Florham Park, New Jersey native.

"I'm happy that we could move the ball, but what's moving the ball if you're not getting touchdowns?" he said. "Those are ghost yards to me. They don't even matter. What's the point in having a 100-yard game if you don't win?"

Lehigh's chance to go ahead went by the books after Monmouth DE D.J. Martin exploded past the right tackle and got to sophomore PK Ryan Pandy's kick, keeping Lehigh empty in the red zone and setting up Monmouth's game-winning drive.

Aided immensely by two penalties, one a personal foul call on a late hit out of bounds by team captain senior DT Tim Newton, Monmouth gained ground on a brutally efficient drive, punctuated by Sumlin's athletic grab.

A visibly agitated Sodeke knows what this team needs to do.

"We can only talk so much," he said.  "We need to start doing things. We need to start winning games, and that's a fact.  These next two weeks are going to be huge for us.  We need to fly around, condition ourselves and be ready for that game. Bucknell will be our hardest game.  We really need to beat them to get this rolling. If we don't beat them, we're really going to be in for it."

"We have to work through it," Coen said.  "We're trying to win a football game."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Patriot League Commit Tracker, Class of 2022

(Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein/NJ Advance Media)

With this year's early signing period in December, along with traditional signing day in February and additional signing of recruits up until May, it felt like the right time to resurrect the Patriot League Commit Tracker for the class of 2022.

This is intended to be a rolling list, updated as we go, as student-athletes going to any Patriot League school sign National Letters of Intent.

We don't know the whole story yet behind each school's recruiting class.  But this post is intended to put in one place what we know so far.

As I learn more, I will add more names to each list.

Fifteen Guys Who Might be Lehigh's Next Football Coach (and Five More)

If you've been following my Twitter account, you might have caught some "possibilities" as Lehigh's next head football coach like Lou Holtz, Brett Favre and Bo Pelini.  The chance that any of those three guys actually are offered and accept the Lehigh head coaching position are somewhere between zero and zero.  (The full list of my Twitter "possibilities" are all on this thread on the Lehigh Sports Forum.)

However the actual Lehigh head football coaching search is well underway, with real names and real possibilities.

I've come up with a list of fifteen possible names, some which I've heard whispered as candidates, others which might be good fits at Lehigh for a variety of reasons.

UPDATE: I have found five more names of possible head coaches that I am adding to this list below.

Who are the twenty people?  Here they are, in alphabetical order.

How The Ivy League Is Able To Break the NCAA's Scholarship Limits and Still Consider Themselves FCS

By now you've seen the results.  In 2018, the Ivy League has taken the FCS by storm.

Perhaps it was Penn's 30-10 defeat of Lehigh a couple of weeks ago.  Or maybe it was Princeton's 50-9 drubbing of another team that made the FCS Playoffs last year, Monmouth.  Or maybe it was Yale's shockingly dominant 35-14 win over nationally-ranked Maine last weekend.

The Ivy League has gone an astounding 12-4 so far in out-of-conference play, many of those wins coming against the Patriot League.

But it's not just against the Patriot League where the Ivy League has excelled. 

Every Ivy League school has at least one out-of-conference victory, which is remarkable since it is only three games into their football season. 

The four losses - Rhode Island over Harvard, Holy Cross over Yale, Delaware over Cornell, and Cal Poly over Brown - were either close losses that could have gone either way or expected blowouts of teams picked to be at the bottom of the Ivy League.

Why the Ivy Le…