Courtesy of Monmouth Athletics
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.
- The Monmouth University football team fell to Sacred Heart, 26-25 in Northeast Conference action on Saturday afternoon on Homecoming. The Hawks fall to 3-5 overall and 3-2 in the league, while the Pioneers improve to 3-6 and 1-5 in the conference.
The Hawks, trailing for all of the first half, scored 16 straight points to take a 20-19 lead with 12:55 to go in the fourth quarter. SHU retook the lead five minutes later but quarterback Andrew Mandeville (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) connected with fifth-year senior Nick Romeo (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) on a screen pass, which Romeo took 60 yards for a score. Trailing by five with 3:39 to play, Sacred Heart went on a nine-play 76 yard drive that was capped by a two yard Marcel Archer run to reclaim the lead for good.
The game was Monmouth’s third one-point loss this season. MU is not 0-5 when trailing after the first 30 minutes of play.
Sacred Heart jumped out to an early 7-0 lead as Marcel Archer ran for his first of four touchdowns, scoring from three yards out to cap off a 14-play, 69-yard drive, with just less than 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Hawks were able to put points up on their second drive when Eric Spillane (Howell, N.J. /Colts Neck) connected on a 33-yard field goal, cutting SHU’s lead to 7-3, with three seconds left in the opening quarter. Spillane’s field goal tied the Monmouth record, held by Steve Andriola, of made field goals in a single season with 13.
The Pioneers took an eleven-point lead after they converted a MU turnover into Archer’s second rushing touchdown of the game, taking that 14-3 advantage into the half.
Mike Avent (Upper Marlboro, Md. /Eleanor Roosevelt) started with second half with a 40-yard kickoff return to the SHU 49-yard line. Fifth-year senior Andrew Mandeville (Hazlet, N.J. /Raritan) came on in the second half and led the Hawks to their first touchdown drive of the game, capped off by a 13-yard rushing touchdown from Romeo, cutting the visitor’s lead to 14-10.
Spillane drilled his second field goal of the game, establishing a new single-season MU record with 14, to cut the Pioneers’ lead to a point at 14-13 on Monmouth’s next possession after it held Sacred Heart to a three-and-out.
MU took a 19-14 lead on its next drive when Balial Sloan El (Pennsauken, N.J. /Roman Catholic [Pa.]) ran up the middle for a 34-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-inches with 12:55 left in the game. The Hawks’ two-point conversion attempt failed.
Sacred Heart responded on its next drive, going 81 yards over six plays in 1:44, with Archer scampering 20 yards for his third score of the game. SHU also didn’t convert its two-point attempt, leaving the game at 20-19.
Mandeville put Monmouth in front when he connected with Romeo for a 60-yard score to regain the lead 25-20, but the Hawks’ two-point attempt again failed. SHU quarterback Dale Fink led the Pioneers down the field on its ensuing drive, resulting in Archer’s fourth score of the game, giving the visitor’s a 26-25 lead.
Mandeville ran for a career high 110 yards on seven carries with a long of 52, while Sloan El added 64 yards, also a career mark. Giles had 64 yards on 15 carries. Mandeville was five of six passing for 89 yards including the 60 yard scoring strike to Romeo. Frazier was 12-of-19 with an interception and 110 yards. Romeo led all receivers with a career high five catches for 82 yards.
Senior Jeff Brady (East Aurora, N.Y./St. Francis) had eight tackles and a pass breakup while Kendall Haley (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) had six stops and three pass breakups. Monmouth outgained SHU 474-313 but was just five of 14 on third down conversions.
Archer had four touchdowns and 76 yards on the ground, carrying the ball 17 times for the Pioneers. Tony Patterson had six catches for 77 yards while Fink finished 21-of-38 on the day for 220 yards. Linebacker Chris Mandas led all players with 12 tackles in the win.
Monmouth travels to Wagner for a 1 p.m. game in Staten Island next week.