BETHLEHEM, Pa.- Brandon Hill’s (Audubon, N.J./Audubon/UMass) 19 yard touchdown strike to senior Eric Sumlin (Dover, Del./Dover) with 12 seconds remaining was the difference in Monmouth’s 28-21 win over Lehigh on Saturday afternoon. With the win Monmouth improves to 3-1 on the season while Lehigh falls to 0-4.

Game broadcast audio coming soon

With 3:49 remaining and the score tied at 21-21, Lehigh lined up to attempt a 32 yard field goal but redshirt freshman DJ Martin (Burlington, N.J./Burlington) blocked the kick and senior Pat O’Hara (Souderton, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) slammed LU holder Ryan Pandy who attempted to pick up the ball at the MU 26.

Hill and company went to work, moving the ball to the Lehigh 46 through the air and on the ground with Lavon Chaney (Edgewater, Md./South River), also aided by a 15-yard personal foul call on a late hit. With 24 seconds left, Monmouth called a timeout facing a third and 13. After a 12 men on the field infraction for Lehigh, Hill hit Neal Sterling (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) for 15 yards on the right sideline. Sterling, who set a career-high with 184 receiving yards, made a circus catch and dragged his foot before the sideline to setup first and 10 from the 19 with 16 seconds remaining. On the next play Hill delivered a strike to Sumlin in the middle of the endzone with 12 seconds left giving Monmouth its first win in six tries over the Mountain Hawks.

Lehigh took over from its own 25, completed an 11 yard pass and then heaved one deep where Monmouth safety Mike Basile (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial) was waiting to knock the ball down as time expired.

“We knew it was going to be tough game, a game that would go the full 60 minutes and it was, coming right down to the final seconds,” said Monmouth Head CoachKevin Callahan. “Our defense got a stop when it needed to and ended up blocking a field goal which was huge. Then our offense took the field and put on a very impressive 74 yard drive to go down the field and score a touchdown.  It was a game in which our guys showed a lot of heart, a lot of desire and made plays when we had to.”

Hill finished 33-of-44 for a career-high 390 yards and three touchdowns. Sterling set a career-high for receiving yards with 183 yards on a season-high 11 catches. Chaney finished with 205 all-purpose yards including 93 on the ground and nine receptions for 72 yards. Monmouth rolled up 512 yards of offense while the defense, which had three sacks was led by Basile who had a career-high nine solo stops.

It took Monmouth just 1:47 to take a 7-0 lead when Hill scrambled out of the pocket and hit Sterling on the Lehigh sideline, who then turned up field and went 59 yards to pay dirt on the game’s fifth play from scrimmage.

Lehigh answered on their first possession of the game, driving 78 yards on 10 plays. Lehigh tied it up on a 33 yard touchdown pass from Nick Shafnisky to Stefan Sansone after the junior got behind the MU secondary. The Mountain Hawk offense was efficient on the drive, converting three third downs on the scoring drive that ate up 3:42 of clock.

Monmouth engineered a 13-play 74 yard drive that started on its own five but came away with nothing after a 38-yard field goal attempt sailed right early in the second quarter.

Shafnisky put the Mountain Hawks ahead 14-7 following the missed field goal, when he took a designed QB run up the middle for a four-yard TD with 9:06 left in the second quarter. Lehigh marched 79 yards on 10 plays, with the touchdown set up by a Shafnisky to Troy Pelletier 29 yard pitch and catch.

The Hawks drove deep into Lehigh territory and set up for a 21-yard field goal attempt but the kick was low and rattled off a player’s helmet. The Hawks then got the ball back after a stout defensive effort, stopping Lehigh on third and fourth and one from the Monmouth 35.

MU stormed down the field on the ensuing drive, with Chaney breaking the goal line for the first time in the afternoon on a seven yard run to tie the game up 14-14, 2:53 left before the half. Hill hit Chaney for a pair of receptions totaling 37 yards on the drive, including a 23-yarder to set up the score at the seven.

With just over a minute remaining Lehigh was able to drive out close to midfield before time expired. Monmouth rolled up 297 yards in the first half, 222 through the air while Lehigh had 101 on the ground and 246 total through the opening frame.

Lehigh got on the board first in the second half, regaining the lead 21-14 on a six yard Rich Sodeke run. The Mountain Hawks took over at the Monmouth 29 after a third down Hill pass was intercepted by Lehigh defensive back Oliver Riguard at midfield. They needed just three plays to reach the endzone and retake a seven point lead with 6:15 to play in the third quarter.

Chaney tied it up for the Hawks on a four yard reception from Hill with 2:53 left in the third. The 79 yard drive featured three Lamar Davenport (Asbury Park, N.J./Asbury Park) catches for 51 yards, including a 25 yard reception. Santangelo hit the extra point and the teams were knotted at 21-21 heading into the final quarter.

Chaney led the Hawks on the ground, with KB Asante (Silver Spring, Md./James Hubert Blake/WVU) registering 54 yards on nine carries, including a 32 yard run. Davenport finished with three catches for 51 yards – all coming on one drive. Sumlin ended with three second half receptions for 35 yards, including the game-winner with 12 seconds remaining. Darnell Leslie (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard) registered six tackles, including two for a loss and a sack. Linebacker Tyler Thompson (Union Bridge, Md./Linganore) and corner Joe Johnson (Manchester, N.J./Manchester) each registered seven tackles in the game.

Sodeke finished with 119 yards on 22 carries, while Shafnisky had 64 net yards on 22 carries. Shafnisky finished 14-of-22 for 193 yards with the one touchdown. Freshman Troy Pelletier led the Mountain Hawks with 80 yards on seven receptions. Lehigh, which registered three sacks in the game, was led by cornerback Brandon Leaks who finished with nine tackles.

Monmouth wraps up its three-game Pennsylvania road swing against Robert Morris next weekend for a 3 p.m. showdown at Joe Walton Stadium.

Nest Notes
-Seniors Eric Macik and Pat O’Hara joined Leslie with sacks against Lehigh
-Freshman corner Marcus Leslie made his first career start
-Chaney, who entered the game leading the Big South in all-purpose yardage (159 ypg) had 205
-For the first time all season Monmouth’s defense failed to cause a turnover- had two interceptions dropped
-MU’s defense had five tackles for a loss- including two each from Leslie and O’Hara
-Monmouth had 28 first downs- 19 came on passes
-The Hawks had missed one redzone opportunity all season, went 3-for-5 after missing two field goals
-Monmouth was 7-of-13 on third down and trailed in time of possession 31:43-28:17
-Sterling, who set the MU record with 13 receptions in the 2013 game against Lehigh, set a career high in yardage and season-high in  receptions
-Brandon Hill set a career-high for completions and attempts with 33 and 44, respectively. His previous high for completions was 29, set against Lehigh in 2013



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