Monmouth Falls at Liberty, 52-28
LYNCHBURG, VA – Liberty built a large halftime lead and held off a third-quarter surge by the Monmouth football team in an eventual 52-28 victory on Saturday afternoon at Williams Stadium. Lavon Chaney ran for 145 yards and Darren Ambush accounted for 275 total yards for the Hawks.
The Flames took the opening drive 74 yards on 11 plays, taking a 7-0 lead on a Stephen Calvert to Dante Shells eight yard TD pass. Disaster struck for the Hawks on the ensuing kickoff with Liberty recovering a ball that hit the turf away from Ambush. The Hawks defense held, stopping the flames at the 2-yard line on LU’s fourth down attempt. On the first play from scrimmage Cody Williams hit a wide open Ambush for 77 yards but the senior was stripped and LU recovered at its own 22.
Liberty took a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter before Chaney ripped off a 34 yard run to get MU past midfield. One play later Williams hit Ambush on the right sideline for 45 yards and the first Monmouth score.
Trailing 38-7 after Liberty scored on its opening possession of the third quarter, Monmouth made things interesting with three straight touchdowns. A pair of interceptions by Teddie Martinez led to consecutive scoring drives for Kenji Bahar and the Monmouth offense. Zach Welch scored on two short touchdown runs to cut the deficit to 38-21.
Monmouth’s defense forced a three-and-out to close the third quarter and the Hawks faced a 4th-and-1 from their own 47-yard line. Chaney took a run off right tackle 53 yards to paydirt, as he picked up a crucial block from Bahar, and Monmouth was within 10 points at 38-28. Liberty found an answer in the form of a nine-play 75-yard drive that ended with a nine-yard Macon TD run to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
Quotes & Notes:
“Liberty got off to a really fast start, jumped on us early and we found ourselves fighting from behind all the first half. We started to get things going late in the third quarter, early in the fourth quarter, closing to with 10 points. I was happy with the way our guys continued to battle but we gave ourselves too much to overcome and we weren’t able to do that against a good team like Liberty.”
- Ambush became just the second Monmouth wide receiver to record a 200+ yard day receiving, with Miles Austin doing it twice in his career. The last time it was done was 10-8-2005 vs Sacred Heart (235)
- Lavon Chaney recorded back to back 100-yard days for the second time in his career. Ed Royds did it earlier this year against Fordham and Howard
- Senior linebacker Brandon Wharton recorded a career-high 21 tackles (11 solo), two shy of the Monmouth record (Aaron Edwards vs Albany 11-3-01)
- Chaney moved past former Hawk Will Holder in all-purpose yards for third all-time with 3,257. He needs 201 yards in his final three games to finish second
- Ambush is now sixth all-time in pass receptions with 108, overtaking Anthony Galella. He is now six behind Will Holder
- Monmouth is now 1-3 against Liberty and 0-3 at Williams Stadium
- Monmouth allowed a school record 681 yards from scrimmage, eclipsing the old mark of 590 set against Lehigh on 9-14-2003
- MU rolled out 477 yards of their own, including 279 yards through the air
- The Hawks were just 2-of-10 on third down while LU was 10-of-18
- MU lost in time of possession for just the third time this year, 40:20 to 19:40
- Teddie Martinez is the first Hawk with a multiple interception game since Joe Johnson had two against Gardner-Webb in the 2014 season finale. Martinez also had a career high 11 tackles, all of them solo stops
- Manny Maragoto continued his siege on the line of scrimmage, finishing with six tackles, 2.5 for a loss and a sack
- Matt Castronuova, who ranks first among non-defensive players in the Big South in tackles, recovered a fumble on special teams
- Darnell Leslie had eight tackles, he now is third on the team with 45
Monmouth returns home for the final game at Kessler Field in its current configuration on Saturday against Kennesaw State. That game will air on ESPN3.