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Associate AD for Communications

Monmouth University (2-3, 1-1 CAA) vs. Hampton University (3-2, 1-1 CAA)
Saturday, October 14, 2023; 1:00 p.m.
Kessler Stadium (4,200), West Long Branch, NJ

Television/Streaming Video
NBC Sports Philadelphia (Tape Delay) / SNY (Tape Delay)
Play-by-Play: Matt Harmon
Analyst: Emory Hunt

Saturday is Monmouth's TACKLE CANCER game. The first 500 fans inside Kessler Stadium will receive a free Pink Monmouth Football Shirt sponsored by RWJ Barnabas Health.


Monmouth is coming into Saturday's game following its biggest win since the 2019 season and is fresh following its week six bye. Hampton dropped a 30-27 decision to Campbell on Saturday and suffered its first conference loss of the year.

Overall, Monmouth has won five out of its last six games after a bye week and five consecutive games at Kessler Stadium following a bye.

A win would give the Hawks their third victory of the season and move the team to 3-3 overall. Monmouth is looking to move to 4-0 all-time against Hampton and 3-0 at home against the Pirates. The Hawks are looking to win their second CAA game of the year.

Kevin Callahan
31st Season / 180-138

Robert Prunty
Fifth Season / 21-23

Series Record 3-0
At Monmouth 2-0
At Hampton 1-0
Most Monmouth points 56, 9/8/18
Most Hampton points 28, 9/8/18
Most combined points 84, 9/8/18
Biggest Monmouth win 48-13, 11/23/19
Current streak Monmouth, W3

Monmouth shined on all sides of the ball in its 49-7 victory over Lehigh. The Hawks racked up 619 yards of offense, the most since it had 719 against Fordham on Sept. 10, 2022. Marquez McCray threw for a season-high 333 yards and four touchdowns on 22-for-28 passing and Dymere Miller had eight catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns. It was also the first time since the UAlbany game last year that Monmouth had a pair of 100-yard rushers in a game as Jaden Shirden finished with 119 yards on the ground and Sone Ntoh had 110, including a 92-yard TD run. Monmouth held Lehigh to a season-best seven points and forced eight punts. Deuce Lee's interception and touchdown return was Monmouth's first pick-six since Anthony Budd against Princeton on October 9, 2021. On special teams, Josh Derry recovered a fumble.

Dymere Miller is having a historic start to the 2023 season with 42 receptions for 526 yards and four touchdowns. His 42 catches are the most for a Hawk through five games in team history, three more than Adam San Miguel in 2006, and he leads the FCS in receptions per game (8.4). His 105.2 yards per game lead the CAA and are fourth in the FCS this season. Miller has three-straight 100-yard games and a pair of 10-catch performances. Miller opened the 2023 season with a career-high 10 grabs for 78 yards at FAU. He equaled his 10-catch effort on a 121-yard afternoon with two TDs at Lafayette after he totaled a season-high 138 yards against Campbell. Miller is ninth in all three career receiving categories and is the sixth Hawk with seven career 100-yard games.

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.

Jaden Shirden has rushed for over 100 yards 13 times in his career, and has accomplished the feat in 12 of his last 15 games. He is the third player in program history to have 13 career 100-yard performances. Ahead of Shirden on the list is 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 Fordham 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.

Sone Ntoh's 92-yard TD run against Lehigh is the second longest in the league this year. Ntoh scored three rushing TDs against Towson, tied for the second most in a single game in the CAA in 2023. Jaden Shirden's 33 attempts at Towson are tied for the most in a game for a CAA player this year. Shirden's 165-yard effort against Campbell is third among CAA running backs in a game this year. Shirden (119) and Ntoh (110) each went over the century mark in the win over Lehigh, marking the first time this season the duo accomplished that feat as Ntoh set a new career high in the process.

Sone Ntoh leads the CAA and is tied for fifth in the FCS in rushing touchdowns with eight following a two-touchdown performance in the win over Lehigh. Known for punching in touchdowns near the goal line, Ntoh ran away from the Lehigh defense on a 92-yard touchdown run, the longest run of the season for Monmouth. Ntoh also had a 66-yard score at Towson and has 243 yards on 23 carries this season, good for 10.57 yards per carry in 2023.

Graduate linebacker Ryan Moran racked up a career-high 13 tackles at FAU, including nine solo stops, to lead the Monmouth defense. Moran's 13 stops were the most since Da'Quan Grimes had 13 last season against Towson. Moran, a team captain, has started 22 consecutive games, the longest active starting streak on the team. Moran has led the Hawks in tackles in two games after racking up 12 against Campbell.

Junior linebacker Remi Johnson started the last two games in place of Jake Brown and has made a big impact on the defense. Johnson has led or tied for the team lead in tackles in both games, with nine tackles, including two tackles for loss and eight solo stops in the win over Lehigh. Johnson is second to Moran in total tackles this season with 31 and he leads the Hawks with 4.0 tackles for loss.

Monmouth welcomed the addition of several impact players from the transfer portal ahead of the 2023 season. Graduate linebacker Jake Brown 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 (Incarnate Word) has taken over as the team's primary punter.

Harvard graduate transfer linebacker Jake Brown was named the CAA Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in the Hawks' win over Towson. Brown led Monmouth's defensive efforts with a team-high seven tackles, a pair of sacks and forced a critical fumble in the 42-23 victory. Holding on to a 28-23 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Brown jarred the football loose from Towson quarterback Nathan Kent. The fumble was recovered by Miles Mitchell inside Towson territory and Monmouth scored two plays later to regain a two-possession lead.

Monmouth's defense held Towson to 75 yards rushing, the best total since it limited Georgetown to 61 yards on Sept. 17, 2022. Monmouth had its first four sack game of the season, a feat it accomplished twice last season against Rhode Island and Stony Brook. Monmouth held Towson to 2-of-10 on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth down in the victory. The last time Monmouth had four sacks and four turnovers in the same game was against Gardner-Webb in 2014.

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-CAA Fourth Team and has three touchdown catches this year. Kearney delivered a 27-yard touchdown reception on fourth down in the season opener at FAU before hauling in TD receptions of 36 and 16 yards in the victory at Towson.

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 and followed that effort up with another six-catch night for 30 yards in the win over Towson. Dre Tucker has a pair of touchdown receptions this season and also recovered a muffed punt on special teams against the Tigers.

Monmouth has three specialists new to the lineup this season. Freshman placekicker Michael Calton Jr. is 17-for-19 on extra points, including a 7-for-7 showing against Lehigh, and has made three of five field goals, including a season-long 47-yarder in rainy conditions at Lafayette. Sophomore Luke Schabel is averaging 42.4 yards per punt with a long boot of 69 yards and junior Justin Nyers is handling long snapping duties.

Monmouth is 14-for-15 in the red zone this season with 12 touchdowns and two field goals. The Hawks scored on 36-of-42 red zone trips during the 2022 season.

Five CAA Football teams are ranked and three others are receiving votes in the latest FCS Top 25 polls. Delaware extended its winning streak to three by beating Duquesne, 43-17, and moved up to #8 in both polls. William & Mary fell 27-13 at ACC foe Virginia last Saturday and slipped to #12/11. Rhode Island moved up to #22 in the AFCA poll and received votes in the Stats poll following its 34-30 triumph over Brown. New Hampshire sits at #24 in the AFCA poll and is receiving votes in the Stats poll. UAlbany moved into the Top 25 for the first time this season at #24 in the Stats poll after defeating Towson, 24-17 and received votes in the AFCA poll. Villanova (both), Elon (Stats) and Hampton (AFCA) are receiving votes this week.

Monmouth is one of 15 current members of the CAA in football, with the new additions of former Big South Conference opponents Campbell (3-1) and North Carolina A&T (1-0) in 2023. The Hawks are 24-33 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. The Hawks improved to 2-8 all-time against Towson. Bryant will join CAA Football ahead of the 2024 season and increase the league's football membership to 16.

Overall, Monmouth has won five out of its last six games after a bye week and five consecutive games at Kessler Stadium following a bye week. The last time the Hawks lost a home game coming off a bye week was September 25, 2010, a 35-21 setback against Old Dominion. The Hawks' best performance after a week off was a 35-0 win at Saint Francis (Pa.) in 1995. Monmouth had three bye weeks during the inaugural 1993 season, but lost all three of those contests.

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 against FAU. TE Sean Fleming, LB Jake Brown, DT Bryce Rooks, DE Nick White and DB Jude Umunakwe each earned starting assignments against FAU. Dre Tucker earned his first-career start at wideout in the win at Towson. Adrian Hawkins made his first-career start at right tackle against Campbell. Against Lafayette, Justin Bennin and Kryik Mason earned their first career starting nods. Ed Gatling (C), Ashanti Caviness (TE), Logan Barnes (DT), Deuce Lee (DB) and Israel Clark-White (DB) each made their first career starts in the win over Lehigh.

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