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By MARK MOHRMAN - Monmouth University Athletics



Monmouth University (0-1, 0-0 CAA) at Towson University (0-1, 0-0 CAA)

Saturday, September 9, 2023; 6:00 p.m.

Johnny Unitas Stadium (30,000), Towson, MD

Television/Streaming Video

Monumental Sports Network / FloSports

Spiro Morekas (Play by Play); Gordy Combs (Color Analyst)

Monmouth Radio Coverage

Monmouth Digital Network (

Eddy Occhipinti (Play by Play); Gary Kowal (Color Analyst)

Ticket Information

For tickets click HERE for more information

Unitas Stadium Information

For information and directions click HERE


Saturday’s game is the CAA opener for both the Hawks and Tigers. Both teams are coming off road losses to FBS opponents in their season openers as Towson lost 38-6 at Maryland and Monmouth fell 42-20 to FAU.


Monmouth is coming off a 5-6 season in 2022 and was picked to finish eighth in the CAA Preseason Poll. Towson was picked ninth in the poll after the two sides played a 52-48 shootout, won by Towson, in West Long Branch last year.


A win would give the Hawks their first CAA victory of the season. Monmouth is searching for its first win over Towson since 2001 and the second victory in the series. The Hawks are looking to open CAA play with a win for the first time. Monmouth would move to 1-1 on the season with a win.


Monmouth: Kevin Callahan

31st Season / 178-136

Towson: Pete Shinnick

21st Season / 159-67

First at Towson


Series Record 1-8

At Monmouth 0-5

At Towson 1-3

Most Monmouth points 48, 10/29/22

Most Towson points 52, 10/29/22

Most combined points 100, 10/29/22

Biggest Monmouth win 24-17, 10/27/01

Current streak Towson, W2


Jaden Shirden claimed five national preseason All-America honors from Phil Steele, Stats Perform, Hero Sports, Athlon Sports and The Bluebloods. Shirden completed his sophomore season as the nation’s leading rusher and earned consensus All-America honors from six different major publications. Shirden led the entire country in rushing at the end of the regular season, including FBS running backs, with 1,722 yards. His 8.4 yards per carry and 156.5 rushing yards per game were both tops in the FCS, earning him CAA Offensive Player of the Year honors. Shirden averaged an impressive 52.8 yards on 13 touchdown runs, including eight 50+ yard touchdown runs.


Coming off a third-place finish in last year’s voting, junior running back Jaden Shirden was named to the 2023 Stats Perform Walter Payton Award Preseason Watch List presented by FedEx Ground. The award is given annually to the top offensive player in the FCS following the regular season. Shirden’s inclusion on the Payton Award Watch List is the second of his career and he is the sixth Hawk in program history to be named to the watch list, joining Monmouth greats David Sinisi (2008), Reggie White Jr. (2018), Pete Guerriero (2019), Kenji Bahar (2019) and Juwon Farri (2021 and 2022).


Jaden Shirden has rushed for over 100 yards 10 times in his career, and has accomplished the feat in nine of his last 11 games. He is the fifth player in program history to have 10 career 100-yard performances. Ahead of Shirden on the list is Julian Hayes (11), Juwon Farri (12), Pete Guerriero (20) and the all-time leader David Sinisi (25).


Jaden Shirden has run for more than 200 yards four times, including a program-record 299-yard performance on 12 carries against Forham in 2022. Shirden trails only Pete Guerriero (2017-19), who owns the Monmouth record with five career 200-yard rushing games. Monmouth’s all-time leading rusher David Sinisi (2006-09) also had four 200-yard games during his career, a mark Shirden reached during his electric sophomore season.


Sacred Heart graduate transfer Marquez McCray will lead Monmouth’s offense in 2023. McCray played in 32 games across four seasons at Sacred Heart and helped the Pioneers win three Northeast Conference championships before joining the Hawks ahead of the Spring 2023 semester. McCray threw for 5,002 yards on 422-of-673 passing with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and led the NEC in passing yards with 1,973 last season.


Monmouth’s top two wideouts from 2022 are back for 2023. Senior Dymere Miller led Monmouth in all three receiving categories with 55 catches for 820 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games, while fifth-year senior Assanti Kearney had 37 grabs for 638 yards and four TD catches in 2022. Dre Tucker added 12 catches for 184 yards and three scores behind Miller and Kearney.


Monmouth welcomed the addition of several impact players from the transfer portal ahead of the 2023 season. Graduate linebacker Jake Brown, who had eight tackles and an interception against FAU, came to Monmouth from Harvard where he was a 2022 All-Ivy League Honorable Mention choice. The defensive line features two-time All-PSAC First Team selection Nick White (Gannon University - DII), Isaiah Oduro (Lackawanna College), Isaiah Rogers (Central Michigan) and Antonio Colclough (JMU). Offensively Harvard running back Sone Ntoh and reserve offensive lineman Matt Fries (Illinois) are the new faces to know. On special teams, Luke Schabel (P), Rónán Patterson (P), Frankie Passantino III (K) could contribute for the Hawks.


Monmouth had three specialists make their debuts on Saturday at Florida Atlantic, freshman placekicker Michael Calton Jr. was 2-for-3 on extra points, sophomore Luke Schabel averaged 40.7 yards on seven punts with a long punt of 58, and junior Justin Nyers assumed long snapping duties.


Five Hawks, three on offense and two on defense, will lead the Monmouth program this year as team captains. OL Greg Anderson, OL Tyler Williams, WR Dymere Miller, DB/PR Eddie Morales III and LB Ryan Moran will serve in leadership roles. Anderson, an All-CAA selection a season ago, has appeared 35 career games for the Blue & White, starting 17 contests. Williams started every game at center a season ago, leading the way for the CAA’s top scoring offense and the nation’s leading rusher. Miller is one of the most explosive wide receivers in Division I football, finishing with 820 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games last season.  Morales III, a captain a season ago, is in his sixth season with the Hawks after suffering a season-ending injury in 2022.The versatile defensive back has 142 tackles and six interceptions in 42 games. Moran started all 11 games at linebacker last season and totaled 50 tackles.


Dymere Miller was Monmouth’s leading receiver last season with 55 catches for 820 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. Miller missed Monmouth’s games against Fordham and Georgetown, but bounced back to make a big impact on Monmouth’s offense. He had 62 yards on five catches with a TD at Villanova, before a career-day with nine grabs for 125 yards and a score at Lehigh. Miller had another 100-yard day with six catches for 116 yards in the UAlbany win. Against Towson, Miller registered his first-career two-touchdown game with eight grabs for 99 yards. Miller opened the 2023 season with a career-high 10 catches for 78 yards at FAU. Miller’s career-high 10 catches were the most for a Monmouth player since Reggie White Jr. had 10 at Gardner Webb on Nov. 17, 2018


Wide receiver Assanti Kearney became a major weapon for Monmouth’s offense last season and he was second on the team in catches (37), yards (638) and touchdowns (4). He set new career highs in catches (6) at Maine, yards vs. Fordham (121) and touchdowns (2) in the win over Villanova. Kearney was named to Phil Steele’s CAA Preseason All-Conference Fourth Team and delivered a 27-yard touchdown reception on fourth down in the season opener at FAU.


Marquez McCray started his first game for the Hawks at quarterback and was one of six Hawks to earn their first starts in a Monmouth uniform. TE Sean Fleming, LB Jake Brown, DT Bryce Rooks, DE Nick White and DB Jude Umunakwe each earned starting assignments against FAU. McCray was 26-for-46 passing with 249 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his debut. He completed passes to eight different receivers and was only sacked once behind the Hawks’ offensive line.


In addition to Dymere Miller and Assanti Kearney, Marquez McCray has a number of options to spread the ball around. TJ Speight had career-highs of six receptions for 72 yards and a 15-yard rush in the season opener. Dre Tucker hauled in a 16-yard touchdown and Harvard transfer Sone Ntoh plowed over an FAU defender for a two-yard score.


Graduate linebacker Ryan Moran racked up a career-high 13 tackles at FAU, including nine solo stops, to lead the Momouth defense. Moran’s 13 stops were the most since Da’Quan Grimes had 13 last season against Towson. Moran, a team captain, has started 18 consecutive games, the longest active starting streak on the team.


Reid, a senior defensive back from Owings Mills, MD, collected preseason all-conference honors from the CAA, Phil Steele and The Bluebloods. Reid ended his 2022 season with 12 passes defended, 52 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception. Reid’s 11 pass breakups were the fifth most in the NCAA and tied for sixth in a single season in Monmouth history. His 19 career pass breakups are tied for eighth in Monmouth history.


Four Monmouth football student-athletes were recognized with CAA Football Preseason accolades. Jaden Shirden earned Preseason Offensive Player of the Year as well as All-Conference Team honors at running back, while Dymere Miller claimed the All-CAA nod at wide receiver. In addition, offensive lineman Greg Anderson and defensive back Mike Reid were Honorable Mention choices. The Hawks were voted eighth out of 15 teams in the preseason poll.


Five CAA teams were ranked in the preseason AFCA Coaches Poll and Stats Perform Polls. William & Mary topped the group of ranked CAA teams at #4/4, followed by New Hampshire at #12/11, Richmond at #16/18, Delaware at #21/22 and Rhode Island at #23/21. Elon and Villanova were the other teams receiving votes in both polls. CAA Football’s five ranked teams trailed only the Big Sky with six.


Monmouth is one of 15 current members of the CAA in football, with the new additions of former Big South Conference opponents Campbell (3-0) and North Carolina A&T (1-0) in 2023. The Hawks are 23-32 all-time against current CAA opponents. Monmouth has never played three teams in the conference; Elon, Richmond and William & Mary. The Hawks’ wins over Hampton (3-0) came as a member of the Big South Conference, while UAlbany (6-12) and Stony Brook (6-4) were foes at times during Monmouth’s time as a member of the Northeast Conference. Monmouth opened its 2022 season with a loss at New Hampshire (0-1), improved to 2-0 all-time against Villanova and won its second consecutive game against UAlbany before losing to Maine (0-4), Rhode Island (1-2), Towson (1-8) and Delaware (0-2). Bryant will join CAA Football ahead of the 2024 season and increase the league’s membership to 16.

Prior to last year’s combined 100-point show, it had been 20 seasons since Monmouth and Towson met on the gridiron. The Hawks and Tigers played every season from 1995 through 2002, before the series hit the pause button. Monmouth’s addition to the CAA renewed the series between the two schools, which are less than a three-hour drive away.


Monmouth’s junior running back Jaden Shirden is quickly ascending up the Monmouth all-time rushing record book. Shirden entered the 2023 season at seventh in team history with 2,219 career yards. He is currently sixth with 2,285 yards rushing and 290 yards shy of Julian Hayes, who occupies the third spot in Monmouth history with 2,575 career yards.


In three of the last four seasons, Monmouth has had a rusher rank first or second in the FCS in rushing yards per game. Pete Guerriero averaged 142.5 yards per game with 1,995 yards in 14 games in 2019. Juwon Farri ran for 520 yards in four games in the Spring 2021 season (130 per game). Last year Jaden Shirden averaged 156.5 yards per game with a total of 1,722 in 11 contests.


Monmouth has now played six games against FBS competition in its history after opening the 2023 season at Florida Atlantic. The Hawks scored 20 points on offense and the defense forced two turnovers in the game. It marked the first time in six games against FBS teams Monmouth has forced multiple turnovers and the 20 points were the most against an FBS opponent.


Jaden Shirden was selected as Phil Steele’s CAA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year as well as being one of three First Team honorees from Monmouth. Dymere Miller and Mike Reid claimed first team honors alongside Shirden, Greg Anderson was a second team pick, Tyrese Wright landed on the third team, while Assanti Kearney, Jake Brown and Eddie Morales III were fourth team choices. Morales III earned a fourth team nod at defensive back and punt returner. Miller led Monmouth in receptions (55), yards (820) and touchdowns (7) in 2022. Reid started all 11 games at cornerback in 2022 and finished the regular season ranked fifth in the FCS with 11 pass breakups. Anderson paved the way for Shirden’s terrific season and started all 11 games at right guard. Wright played in all 11 games, including 10 starts at safety, and was third on the team with 54 tackles. Kearney finished second on the team in catches (37), yards (638) and touchdowns (7) with 10 starts in 11 games. Brown, a linebacker, joins the Hawks following a four-year career at Harvard where he was a Phil Steele All-Ivy League Third Team selection. Morales III returns for his sixth season and has previously earned all-conference recognition as a defensive back and punt returner.


Monmouth’s game against Fordham was the definition of a shootout. The two teams combined for 101 total points, the most combined points in a Monmouth game since a 54-47 win over Wagner in 2018. Monmouth totaled 13 explosive plays in the game, including seven in the passing game, five on the ground and one on special teams. On the other side, Fordham also had 13 explosive plays, including seven passing plays of 20 or more yards. As a team, Monmouth ran for 390 yards and racked up 713 yards of total offense, both totals rank as the second most in program history. The Hawks ran for 417 yards against La Salle in 1997 and had 790 yards of total offense opposite Gardner-Webb in 2018.


Monmouth scored at least 45 points in five games last season, the most since the 2019 when it had six games with 45 or more points. The Hawks averaged 36.4 points per game and 461.7 yards of total offense, both of which led the CAA and ranked ninth in the FCS. Monmouth’s 228.5 yards per game on the ground was 12th in the country and Monmouth was 14th with a team passing efficiency of 155.27.


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