Monmouth University opened up the 2014 season by scoring the most points since 2007 in a 52-21 victory over Delaware State on Saturday afternoon.

Kwabena Asante (Mommouth Athletics)

The Hawks amassed 553 yards on offense while the defense suffocated the Hornets to 187 yards. Monmouth senior running back KB Asante (Silver Spring, Md./James Hubert Blake/WVU) had a career-high four touchdowns including three on the ground as the MU offensive line led the way for 316 rushing yards. Both Asante and sophomore Lavon Chaney (Edgewater, Md./River Hill) ran for 100-plus yards, while senior Brandon Hill (Audubon, N.J./Audubon) tossed two touchdowns and threw for 218 yards.

The Monmouth defense was just as impressive, holding DSU to 29 yards rushing on 19 carries, including one yard in the first half. The Hawks forced a trio of turnovers and held Delaware State to 158 yards through the air, including 77 on one play. After allowing a 63-yard scoring drive and the long touchdown pass, Delaware State was held off the scoreboard for the final 39:32 of the contest.

“I’m very happy with the way our responded, especially after the first play in the game,” said Monmouth Head Coach Kevin Callahan. “Other than their second scoring drive, where we had three 15 yard penalties that counted for 45 yards in a 65 yard drive, I thought we played pretty well once we settled down and at the half I thought we were in we’re in control of the game. In the second half we were able to run the ball, dominate on the offensive side and we played very well on the defensive side. Overall, I have to give our guys a lot of credit for the way that they played, for the way that they bounced back. It is good to be 1-0 after the season opener.”

The Hornets took the opening kickoff back for 98 yards and a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. Monmouth responded with a grinding 72 yard drive on 14 plays, capped by a seven yard Asante touchdown. The Monmouth senior finished the drive with four straight runs for 22 yards, en route to his second consecutive 100-yard game and his sixth overall.

DSU would pull ahead 14-7 after going 69 yards on the ensuing drive, 40 of which came off of Monmouth defensive penalties. On the ensuing kickoff, the Hawks pulled out some special teams magic of their own as redshirt freshman Kamau Dumas (Morristown, N.J./Morristown) took his first collegiate kickoff for 84 yards down to the Delaware State 11. The drive stalled after three straight Asante runs before junior Lucas Santangelo (Jamaica Estates, N.Y./New Hyde Park) converted his first career field goal to put MU back 14-10 with 4:23 to play in the first quarter.
Monmouth got the ball right back after Teddie Martinez (Baltimore, Md./St. Paul’s) recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and the Hawks moved into the redzone after a 19 yard Hill to Neal Sterling (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) strike. Three plays later Santangelo nailed another 23 yarder and the Hawks were back 14-13 at the end of the first frame.

On the first play of the second quarter Sterling recorded his fourth pass of the game, moving him ahead of Blue & White great Miles Austin for second all-time in MU history for receptions with 151. The teams traded punts before the Hawks pulled ahead on a 13 yard Asante TD run during a four play drive. Quarterback Greg DePugh (Morris Plains, N.J./Parsippany Hills) ran in the two-point conversion attempt to put the Hawks up by a touchdown with 11:05 to play.

Delaware State would tie the game up three plays later on a 77-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Gilbert Rivera to All-MEAC selection Milton Williams III at the 9:32 mark. It would be the last points that the Monmouth defense would surrender.

Monmouth pulled ahead for good two drives later after MU senior linebacker Dan Sullivan (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) intercepted Rivera and returned the ball 29 yards to the DSU 20. Asante scored his third TD of the first half, this time taking a screen pass from Hill and picking his way to the endzone with 7:12 showing on the clock.

The second half was all Monmouth as the Hawks outscored Delaware St.21-0 in the third quarter and added a Santangelo field goal in the fourth to finish the scoring at 52-21. The third quarter saw the Hawks score on three consecutive drives, while the defense forced two three-and-outs, allowing six yards on those six plays. Asante scored his fourth and final touchdown on a 14 yard scamper to finish the opening drive the half, which was set up by a 52 yard kickoff return from Chaney. A pair of sophomores in Chaney and wideout Darren Ambush (Dickerson, Md./Urbana) would score their first collegiate touchdowns for the Hawks. Ambush was first, catching a 17 yard TD which was followed up by Chaney’s four yard scoring run with 3:32 to play in third frame.

Asante finished with 152 on 22 carries for an average of 6.9 yards per carry and the three touchdowns. Chaney ran for 127 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Hill went 23-of-36 for 218 yards and the two touchdowns while Sterling led the Hawks with nine receptions for 77 yards. Ambush was second on the team with four catches for 30 yards.

Defensively, linebacker John Sieczkowski (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) and Agbai Iroha (Union, N.J./Union) finished with four tackles to lead the Hawks. Freshman Mike Basile (Birck, N.J./Brick Memorial) had three tackles, including one for a loss of five yards and an 11 yard interception in his first collegiate game.

Rivera finished throwing 14-of-30 for 158 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions while Dae-Hon Chung had 15 yards rushing on 12 carries. Williams led all players with 121 yards on six receptions. Hornet defensive back Willie Bolden finished with a game-high nine tackles in the contest.

Monmouth has the week off before coming back to host Wagner on Sept. 13 at Kessler Field.


GAME AUDIO

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1st Quarter

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2nd Quarter

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Half Time/3rd Quarter

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4th Quarter & Post Game

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Gregory Visconi is the assistant Athletic Director at Monmouth University