The Monmouth University Hawks begin the 2014 season on Saturday with their first Big South game ever in a game at Kessler Field at Monmouth Stadium starting at 1:00 p.m.

Monmouth University football helmet (Monmouth Athletics)

Monmouth looks to open the season with a victory for the first time since the 2006 season when the Hawks stunned Fordham in the Bronx, 23-9. Monmouth last opened the season at home during the 2011 season when Lehigh came to Kessler Field and overpowered the Hawks 49-24. The last time the Hawks won their first home game was the 2012 season when MU dominated Rhode Island, 41-6. Delaware State last won a season opener in 2012, a 17-10 victory over VMI in Dover. The Hornets last won a season-opener on the road in 2011, defeating the Cadets 24-21 in Lexington, Va.

Listen to the game on WOBM AM 1160 and 1310 as well as onlline at ShoreSportsNetwok.com 

The Hawks begin the Big South era with today’s game, although Monmouth plays six straight non-conference contests before its first Big South Conference game on October 25th against Presbyterian. The Hawks, who were picked fifth in the six-team conference preseason poll, return five starters each on offense and defense. Kevin Callahan, who begins his 22nd season at the helm the Blue & White, welcomes two new members to his staff in offensive coordinator Kevin Morris and wide receivers coach TJ DiMuzio. The Hawks went 6-6 last season, their first season as an independent since the 1995 season.
Delaware State enters this season picked to finish fifth in the nine-team Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in the 2014 preseason poll. Head Coach Kermit Blount had one player on the First Team All-MEAC preseason team, senior wide receiver Milton Williams III. The Hornets also had two second and third team selections. Blount’s squad returns 13 starters from last year’s 5-6 squad which finished third in the MEAC. The Hornets return three starters on offense, eight on defense and both their kicker and punter. Delaware State last won a MEAC Championship in 2007.

The coaching matchup:
Kevin Callahan is in his 22nd season at Monmouth as the Hawks’ head coach. Callahan owns a 120-97 career coaching record, all with Monmouth. Callahan is one of 19 active head coaches in the FCS with over 100 career victories and his 120 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.

Delaware State is led by Kermit Blount, who is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Hornets. Blount owns a 8-14 overall record in three complete seasons at Delaware State. The Richmond, Va., native led Delaware State to their first winning season since 2007 in his second year coaching the Hornets in 2012. Last season, Blount led the Hornets to a final record of 5-6. Blount enters his 21st season as a collegiate head coach, spending 17 years as the head coach of his alma-mater, Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Blount held a winning career at Winston-Salem State with an overall record of 91-87-3, winning two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championships.

Directions to Monmouth Stadium

Directions to Monmouth University and Kessler Field can be found here:
http://www.gomuhawks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=14300&ATCLID=735103


Ticket Info:

For tickets call 732-263-6889 or visit www.MonmouthHawks.com for online sales
Day of game tickets can be purchased at the MAC’s ticket window.

Inside the Monmouth-Delaware State series:

Today marks the first time the two teams have met.

Monmouth Against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference:

Monmouth is 1-1 all time against members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), playing a home-and-home series with Morgan State some years back.

The first meeting between the two came in the third week of the 2002 season, with both teams coming in with winless records. The Bears jumped all over the Hawks, scoring on special teams, on the ground and through the air. In all, Monmouth committed three turnovers in the 35-20 loss. In 2006 the teams would meet at Kessler Field for the first time and it was all Hawks from the opening whistle. Monmouth opened up a 16-3 halftime lead after a field goal and touchdowns by Dave Sinisi and Mike McLelland. The Hawks would score 10 more points in the second half, while the defense allowed just 151 yards and one Morgan State TD en route to the 26-9 win.

 

Hawks chosen fifth in the Big South Preseason Poll:

Entering their first season in the Big South, the Monmouth football team was selected fifth out of six in the preseason poll conducted by the league’s coaches and members of the media. Coastal Carolina was chosen atop the league and Liberty was selected to finish second after the pair tied for the conference title last season. The Chanticleers earned the automatic berth to the FCS playoffs via a 55-52 double overtime win over the Flames in October. MU finished 6-6 as an independent a year ago, and earned 32 total points in the poll to finish ahead of Presbyterian. Charleston Southern was picked third, with Gardner-Webb garnering fourth place votes.

Did You Know?

You can watch Monmouth Football away contests at CJ McLoones on Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls? Watch the Hawks on the big screens with other Monmouth fans while enjoying specially priced food and drinks. Visit MonmouthHawks.com for more information.

A Full preview with links can be found on www.MonmouthHawks.com


Social Media Links:

Follow the Hawks all season long on twitter (@MUHawksFB)
Facebook (facebook.com/MUFootball)
Monmouth’s YouTube page (YouTube.com/monmouthhawks)



Greg Viscomi is the Assistant Athletics Director at Monmouth University