GAME PREVIEW: Presbyterian at Monmouth
This is the sixth meeting between Monmouth and Presbyterian with Monmouth holding a 3-2 series advantage. The Hawks became the first road team in the series history to win a road game with last year's 24-14 win.
It will be the final time the two teams face each other as conference members as Presbyterian will join the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League starting in the 2020 season.
Monmouth is coming off of a 16-14 defensive battle with long-time Wagner College, winning in the final seconds on a one-yard Lonnie Moore touchdown reception. Kenji Bahar led the Hawks the length of the field in a 12-play 72-yard drive.
Presbyterian comes into today's game looking for its first win of the 2019 season. This is the back-end of three straight road games for the Blue Hose, who opened up the season with three consecutive games in Clinton.
The Hawks are looking to open the Big South season with a win for the third consecutive season.
The game will air on ESPN+ with Matt Harmon (pxp) and Eddy Occhipinti (analyst) on the call.
THE COACHING MATCHUP
Kevin Callahan is in his 27th season at Monmouth as the Hawks’ head coach. Callahan owns a 155-123 career coaching record, all with Monmouth. Coming into the season, Callahan’s 155 victories ranks him 8th among active coaches in the Football Championship Subdivision. He is one of three FCS coaches with 150+ wins all at one institution and his 26 years as a head coach is the seventh most among active coaches. The only coach in Monmouth history, he has led the Blue & White to five conference championships, in 1996, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006 and its first at-large playoff berth in 2017. Callahan has earned conference coach of the year accolades in 1998, 2003 and 2006 and was named as an Eddie Robinson Award finalist in 2017, finishing 10th in the voting. 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.
Tommy Spangler begins his ninth year as head coach at PC and third since the 2006 season, after being promoted from defensive coordinator prior to 2017. Under Spangler several Blue hose have earned Big South defensive all-conference honors, including two in 2014 and three in 2015. His defense shut down opponents and led to Blue Hose ranked wins over No. 12 Furman and No. 22 Charleston Southern. Spangler spent 10 seasons at PC the first time around, first as an assistant coach from 1997- 2000 and then as head coach from 2001-06. During his six years as PC’s head football coach, Spangler guided the Blue Hose to a 42-24 record - a mark that stands as the highest winning percentage (.571) among the school’s 14 head football coaches. He began his first 10 years at Georgia Southern, helping lead the program to a pair of Division I-AA national titles.
INSIDE THE MU-PC SERIES
Sixth Overall Meeting
Overall Record: Tied 3-2
West Long Branch: MU 2-0
Clinton, SC: PC 2-1
First Meeting: Oct. 25, 2014
Last Meeting: Oct. 27, 2018
Longest MU Win Streak: 2 gms
Longest PC Win Streak: 1 gm
Largest MU W Margin: 21 pts
Largest PC W Margin: 6 pts
Smallest MU W Margin: 5 pts
Smallest PC W Margin: 4 pts
Overtime Games: ---
MONMOUTH AGAINST THE BIG SOUTH
- Since starting up Big South league play in 2014, Monmouth owns an 12-14 conference record.
- The Hawks own a 4-1 record against Gardner-Webb, 1-0 against Campbell,3-2 against PC, 2-3 vs CSU and 0-4 vs Kennesaw State. The Hawks are also 2-0 against Hampton but those were non-conference contests. Monmouth has yet to face Northern Alabama.
- Monmouth has finished each of the last two seasons in second place in the Big South, and was selected second in the preseason poll.
- MU was 0-3 against members of the Big South prior to joining the league, including dropping a home and home series with Coastal Carolina and a non-conference tilt with the Flames.
- Today’s game is the conference opener for the Hawks, who are 2-3 in league openers having won two straight.
INSIDE THE MONMOUTH-PRESBYTERIAN SERIES
- Today’s game marks the sixth and final time the two teams will meet as Big South Conference opponents with Monmouth owning a 3-2 advantage.
- The Hawks have won two straight and last season became the first team in the series to win a road contest.
- Four out of the five games have been settled by 10 points or less with the last time the game was played at Kessler in 2017 being the exception. In that game the Hawks scored 21 third quarter points to pull away from the Blue Hose. Pete Guerriero ran for 153 yards while four different Hawks recorded rushing touchdowns including Devell Jones and Kenji Bahar.
- The Blue Hose are in their final season as a member of the Big South and will start Pioneer Football League play next season.
- The visiting team has won 4 out of the 5 contests.
- Last season the Blue Hose held the Hawks to 153 yards rushing and returned a fumble for a touchdown but Kenji Bahar threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns including a 63 yarder to Lonnie Moore who had a then-career high 107 yards in the game. Reggie White Jr. caught both TD passes and the Monmouth defense held PC to 233 yards of total offense including 42 on the ground.
- Presbyterian was Monmouth's first Big South opponent as a member, with the Hawks falling to the Blue Hose 18-12 on October 25, 2014.