Monmouth Dominates Presbyterian in Conference Opener, 45-0
Presbyterian Blue Hose (0-6, 0-2 Big South) – 0
Monmouth Hawks (4-2, 1-0 Big South) - 45
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Recording its first shutout since 2006 and compiling 458 yards of total offense, the Monmouth University football team dominated Presbyterian in the Big South opener, 45-0.
Monmouth registered its largest margin of victory since 2003 (a 50-0 win over LaSalle), led by 38 points in the first half, which were the most since 2014 (40 against Columbia).
Fifth-year quarterback Kenji Bahar (Baltimore, MD/Calvert Hall) played two and a half quarters, completing 16 of 23 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Junior running back Pete Guerriero (Lyndhurst, NJ/Lyndhurst) rushed 11 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, surpassing Julian Hayes (2011-13) for the second most rushing yards in program history. Senior running back Devell Jones (Iselin, NJ/Lincoln) added 11 rushes for 65 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Junior wide receiver Lonnie Moore IV (Sicklerville, NJ/Paul VI) caught six passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, while junior wide receiver Terrance Greene Jr. (Philadelphia, PA/St. Joe’s Prep) and senior tight end Shawn Clark (Potsdam, NY/Potsdam) each added touchdown catches.
The Monmouth defense held Presbyterian to just 136 yards of offense and forced two turnovers. Senior linebacker Da’Quan Grimes (Gaithersburg, MD/Damascus) led the way with seven tackles and a forced fumble, which was recovered by fifth-year defensive back Matt Castronuova (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) at the Blue Hose one yard line.
Senior defensive lineman Russell Davidson (New Providence, NJ/New Providence) also forced a fumble, with junior defensive back Anthony Budd (Riverdale, MD/Good Counsel) jumping on it. Senior linebacker DaJaun Cooper (Germantown, MD/Northwest) and senior defensive lineman Lowell Kelly-Gamble (Bloomfield, NJ/Bloomfield) also forced fumbles.
Monmouth improves to 4-2 (1-0 Big South) on the season, and is now 13-1 at Kessler Stadium since 2017.
NOTES AND QUOTES
“It was very important for us to start conference play with the victory and that’s the only thing we talked about all week leading up to the game, let’s go 1-0 in the Big South today. That is where our focus was today. We talked about execution, we talked about being aggressive, we talked about being physical and giving good effort and I think that’s what you saw out there today. I’m very happy with what the defense did, making some big plays early on to set the offense up in field position. The offense did a good a good job of finishing in the endzone. Now we are in the thick of it, now we are in conference play and each week is a big game.”
-Head Coach Kevin Callahan
“My mindset is to win every play. Our coaches stress ‘next play, next play’ so we want to come out and win the down. We take it from there, we made a lot of plays this year as a defense but we need to focus on the little mental errors that keep us from being a dominant defense.”
-Linebacker Da’Quan Grimes
“We had a live route called, meaning Kenji tells me whatever route he wants me to run. I ended up running a double move and I got him on the first move and Kenji just put it in a perfect position and I was able to go up and execute for the touchdown.”
-Lonnie Moore on his touchdown grab
-Monmouth received the opening kickoff and launched a nine-play, 66-yard drive that ended in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Bahar to Moore IV. Bahar was 5-for-5 for 66 yards and the TD on the drive.
-On the next offensive drive, Guerriero went untouched down the right sideline for a 48-yard touchdown run. The Hawks led 14-0 with 6:37 left in the first quarter.
-On a third-and-17 for Presbyterian, Grimes ripped the ball out of the receiver’s arms, and Castronuova eventually recovered the ball at the 1. Jones easily crossed the goal line to put Monmouth up 21-0 with 5:22 remaining in the first.
-The Monmouth defense forced another fumble on the first play of the second quarter, this time from Davidson. Budd jumped on the ball at the Presbyterian 24, and a 37-yard field goal from senior K Matt Mosquera later gave the Hawks a 24-0 lead.
-On a first-and-10 for Presbyterian, Cooper came through the left side, blew up a block attempt from the running back, and sacked the quarterback for an eight-yard loss. The Blue Hose ended up punting.
-Bahar threw a 26-yard pass to Guerriero and a 31-yard pass to Moore IV to quickly put Monmouth in opponent territory. Jones eventually scored his second touchdown of the game on a five yard rush, putting the Hawks up 31-0 with 5:05 left in the second quarter.
-With 1:04 left in the first half, Bahar dropped a 36-yard touchdown pass to Clark down the left side. At halftime, Monmouth built a 38-0 advantage.
-The Monmouth defense forced a three-and-out to open the third quarter, and the offense stayed hot with a 10-play, 67-yard touchdown drive to go ahead 45-0. Bahar threw a 20-yard score to Greene Jr. in the right corner of the end zone.
-Sophomore QB Eddie Scott checked in midway through the third quarter, and registered a nine-yard run. The Hawks ran out the clock while the defense remained tenacious to seal the win.
-The Hawks are 13-1 at the new Kessler Stadium dating back to 2017. MU has outscored opponents 558-338 in that span, averaging 39.8 points per game.
-It was the first time Monmouth scored a touchdown on its opening drive this season.
-Guerriero is up to 2,594 career rushing yards. Only David Sinisi (2006-09) has more with 5,049. Guerriero also has a rushing touchdown in seven of his last eight games.
-Guerriero and Jones both have 22 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks seventh all-time.
-Monmouth was 5-for-6 in the red zone, while Presbyterian did not cross the Monmouth 20 yard line.
-Junior linebacker Erik Massey had 1.5 sacks.
-Freshman DeAndre Clifton recorded a career-high six tackles.
-Grimes leads the team with 40 tackles this season.
-The Monmouth defense racked up 12 tackles for loss.
-Monmouth’s last shutout came in 2006 against Sacred Heart, a 24-0 win.
-Monmouth outgained Presbyterian 138-0 in the first quarter, and 458-136 in the game.
-Freshman DB Tyrese Wright earned his first career start.
-Moore IV became the third Monmouth player to amass 1,000+ kickoff return yards.
-Monmouth had 21 first downs to Presbyterian’s 9.
The Hawks will remain home to face Gardner-Webb next Saturday. Monmouth leads the all-time series 4-1, including a 56-42 win in North Carolina last year. Bahar went 20-for-30 for 407 yards and six total touchdowns in the win.