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Monmouth Can’t Stop the Run; Falls to Kennesaw State 49-17

(Photo via Monmouth Athletics)

(Photo via Monmouth Athletics)

The Monmouth Hawks dug themselves into an early hole and were never able to climb out of it at their homecoming game Saturday against Kennesaw State.

The Hawks actually scored a field goal on their first drive of the game to take an early 3-0 lead. Kennesaw State followed up with a touchdown drive of their own, taking a 7-3 lead and never looking back. The Hawks were forced to punt on their next possession, only to watch KSU march down the field for another score.
The game got out of hand when quarterback Kenji Bahar was strip-sacked by Izzy Sam on the next play from scrimmage and it was recovered by KSU’s Desmond Johnson for a touchdown. The deficit grew to 21-3 and it was too much for the Hawks to overcome. They would narrow the lead to just 21-17 after a pair of touchdown drives, but it was all Kennesaw State from that point out.
Monmouth was dominated by KSU at the line of scrimmage in this game. The Owls ran for an incredible 486 yards and six touchdowns on 65 carries as a team. 12 different players had at least one carry, but the bulk of the damage was done by Chaston Bennett, Chandler Burks, Jake McKenzie and Trey White. Bennett led the way with 129 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. McKenzie added 66 yards on his 12 carries and White operated as the goal line back, scoring four touchdowns, all from inside the four-yard-line.

Quarterback Chandler Burks did almost all of his damage on the ground, rather than through the air, as he ran 13 times for 83 yards, while completing just four passes on 12 attempts for just 31 yards. Monmouth was effective against the pass, but absolute could not stop the run in this game.
Monmouth also struggled offensively for much of the contest. Their offensive line struggled, as Bahar was sacked four times and their run game never got going. Lavon Chaney was their most effective player offensively, managing 68 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries while also chipping in 15 yards on three catches. Bahar completed only 14 of his 28 pass attempts for 188 yards and a score. His lone touchdown pass was a nice throw to Reggie White Jr., who finished with three catches for 67 yards as MU’s leading receiver. The Hawks did not score in the second half.

“We’re certainly all disappointed about the outcome of today,” explained Coach Kevin Callahan. “We felt going into the game that we had to be a team that complemented each other on both sides of the ball, meaning the defense would have to complement the offense and the offense would have to do the same. We had a lot of difficulty stopping the run, controlling the run, and in the instances where we did get them into third down situations, we just weren’t able to get off the field. Early on we moved the ball pretty well on offense; we were pretty efficient on offense. Once they were able to extend their drives and convert the third downs, keep the ball, and take valuable time of possession, it made each possession for us that much more critical. That’s one of the aspects of playing a triple-option team. Typically, you don’t get the same number of possessions that you would in a normal game, just by the nature of it, so you have to make sure to maximize possessions. You’ve also got to be able to get off the field on defense. We never got in position to play with a lead. A lot of credit goes to Kennesaw. They were very efficient in running their option attack and were able to mix in a grind-it-out mentality with a few explosive plays that got them out of trouble.”

“It’s very frustrating,” explained Defensive End Darnell Leslie. “You go into the week, thinking you have a gameplan, you get practice down, it’s getting better and better each day, and on game day you get gassed like that, two weeks in a row. It’s just frustrating.”

“It’s just disappointing. You want to go out there and be able to play,” added Safety Mike Basile. “We put in hard work during the week and when we go out there on Saturday, we want it to come easy to us. It hasn’t been working for us. We put in hard work and it hasn’t shown. It’s really hard, because you’re not going to get what you see in practice. The speed of (the read-option) is so much different. We’ve been prepping and our scout team has done a great job. It’s different out there, but it’s hard to prep for a team that runs triple-option.”

Up Next:
Monmouth University will be on the road at Costal Carolina next week. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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