Preview: Robert Morris At Monmouth 10/5/13
The Monmouth Hawks go for their second win of the season when they host Robert Morris Univertity at Kessler Field on Saturday.
Saturday’s game marks the 19th time the Colonials and the Hawks have met, with RMU owning a 10-8 advantage in the series. This will also be the first game for the 2-3 Hawks against an opponent from the Northeast Conference since they left the league they called home for 16 years last December.
Monmouth is riding a two-game win streak, in which the defense forced five turnovers and recorded nine sacks while the offense has scored 21 and 37 points, respectively. Robert Morris, who is 2-2 on the season, is fresh off a overtime victory over VMI, with RMU’s other win coming week 2.
Monmouth is looking to even its record after posting back to back wins over Holy Cross and most recently against Columbia. The defense has put together its best two games of the season while junior running backs Julian Hayes and K.B. Asante have recorded an unprecidented three consecutive games with 100-yards rushing each. Prior to this season Monmouth had a pair of backs pass the century mark just four times total in 20 seasons. Last weekend the Hawks dominated Columbia, 37-14 in the school’s first win over an Ivy League opponent. Defensive end Pat O’Hara was named to the College Sports Performance Award’s Defensive Lineman of the Week after posting five tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery against the Lions.
Robert Morris comes into today’s game 2-2 after evening its record with a thrilling 37-31 overtime victory against VMI last time out. In that game the Keydets tied the game with one second left in regulation only to have RMU’s defense hold in overtime, then win on back Deontae Howard’s 17 yard run on the second Colonial play. RMU quarterback Paul Jones, a Penn State transfer, threw for 321 yards and two TDs in the win. Earlier this season the Colonials dominated Morgan State at home, lost by seven to Dayton and lost by 32 to then No. 19 Eastern Kentucky in the season opener.
The coaching matchup:
Kevin Callahan is in his 21st season at Monmouth as the Hawks’ head coach. Callahan owns a 116-94 career coaching record, all with Monmouth. Callahan is one of 21 active head coaches in the FCS with over 100 career victories and his 114 victories ranks 15th among active FCS coaches. The only coach in Monmouth history, he has led the Blue & White to five conference championships, in 1996, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006. Callahan has earned NEC Coach of the Year accolades in 1998, 2003 and 2006. 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.
Robert Morris is led by Joe Walton, who is in his 20th and final season at the helm of the Colonials. Including this season, Walton owns a 111-88-1 record in Moon Township and has had just seven losing seasons. Under Walton’s guidence, Robert Morris has won a record six NEC titles, two Mid-Major National Titles and has won two ECAC Classic games. Walton coached the NFL’s New York Jets for six seasons and also spent time as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Walton was a two-time All-American tight end at the University of Pittsburgh. He also played a total of eight seasons in the NFL as a member of the New York Giants and the Redskins.
Inside the Monmouth-Robert Morris series:
Today marks the 19th time that Monmouth and Robert Morris have played, going all the way back to 1994, the first season that RMU started football. The Colonials hold the edge in the series 10-8, including winning four of the last six. Last season the Hawks went to Walton Stadium and came out 26-21 victors after holding off a final Colonial drive that ended at the MU 13 as time expired.
The Blue & White shot out to a 17-0 lead but RMU scored three touchdowns in the final two quarters to attempt a 4th fourth quarter comeback for the fourth time in the final five weeks of the season. The Colonials drove 86 yards on the game’s final drive but had a TD called back due to a penalty on the game’s last play. Hayes carried the ball 22 yards for a career-high 143 yards.
Last time the Colonials visted Kessler, RMU held on to beat Monmouth 23-20. Kyle Frazier threw for 241 yards in the loss, but the Hawks were done in by penalties, committing 13 for 136 yards. Eric Spillane had a chance to tie the game with 2:18 remaining, but missed just short on a 49 yard field goal attempt, which would have been a career-long.
Monmouth Against the Northeast Conference:
Saturday’s game marks the first non-conference game against a Northeast Conference opponent since Monmouth left the league at the conclusion of last season. While a member of the NEC for 16 seasons, Monmouth owned a 69-45 record. Monmouth’s best winning percentage comes against Saint Francis (Pa.), whom the Hawks are 17-2 against all-time. Robert Morris (8-10) is the only NEC team that the Hawks have a losing record against. Head Coach Kevin Callahan led his squad to five NEC Championships, earning Co-Champion honors in 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2004 while winning the outright championship in 2006.
Did You Know?
Robert Morris and Monmouth have played in close games over the years. In fact, 10 of the 18 games between the teams have been decided by a touchdown or less, with five games decided by three points or less. The last two RMU wins have been by a combined four points, while MU took last year’s game by five.