Story and photo courtesy of Monmouth Athletics
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Monmouth University (2-1, 1-0 NEC) played its second complete game in as many weeks, dispatching rival Wagner College (0-3, 0-1 NEC) 38-17 on Saturday in Staten Island.
In a matchup billed as two of the conference’s top defenses through the first two weeks of the season, it was the Hawk defense that forced three turnovers and tallied six sacks on the day. No one made his presence felt more than junior linebacker Dan Sullivan (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) who has 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss on a team-leading nine tackles. The Hawks held Wagner to 145 yards of total offense, including 54 net yards rushing.
Offensively, sophomore Julian Hayes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier/The Hun School) eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark for the first time this season and third time in his career, finishing with 20 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Frazier (Gaithersburg, Md./Damascus) was extremely accurate, completing 22-of-28 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Frazier also ran for 28 yards and a score in the contest.
“We thought it was important for us to start fast in this game and generate some momentum,” said Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan. “Wagner has such a good defense and they’ve been playing so well this season. We thought it was important to get on the board first and get them into a situation where they needed to throw the ball. We were concerned with their running game, it isn’t something we’ve done a good job with recently [against Wagner]. “
MU’s offense got on the board first with a 16 yard Frazier run, which was sprung by a crushing hit from wideout Tristan Roberts (Ansonia, Conn./Lackawanna CC). Monmouth took a 7-0 lead with 5:03 to play in the first quarter as Frazier led the Hawks on a eight play, 62 yard drive.
Wagner answered on their next drive with a 29 yard David Lopez field goal, which was set up by a 25 yard Otis Wright kickoff return. Wright’s kickoff returns would be the only time Wagner was explosive with the ball as he racked up five returns for 186 yards.
The Hawks went right back to work on their next possession, with Frazier hitting Roberts in stride for a 19 yards touchdown pass on the second to last play of the first quarter. Wagner quarterback Nick Doscher was sacked by safety Clark Coe (Hoboken, N.J./Carteret), then threw a pair of incomplete passes resulting in a punt.
Running back K.B. Asante (Silver Spring, Md./Hubert Blake/WVU) would score his second rushing touchdown of the season on the ensuing Monmouth drive, putting the Hawks up 21-3 with 10:31 to play in the half. Doscher and Wagner mounted their best drive of the afternoon, covering 57 yards in just five plays and 2:04. Dominique Williams, one of the league’s best backs, would score the lone Seahawk offensive touchdown on that drive, getting to the right corner from nine yards out to close the score to 21-10.
Monmouth closed out the half with a 17 yard touchdown strike from Frazier to sophomore Lamar Davenport, his second score in as many weeks. The touchdown, thrown with 20 seconds remaining in the half, made the score 28-10 at halftime.
Hayes scored the next points, which didn’t come until the final play of the third quarter, powering in on a third down run to push the lead to 35-10. Wright creased the Hawks for an 89 yard touchdown return on the following kickoff, slicing the Hawks lead to 35-17 with 14:45 remaining in the game.
Junior kicker Eric Spillane (Howell, N.J./Colts Neck) finished the scoring with 8:33 left in the contest, converting a season-long 41 yarder to finish the scoring at 38-17.
The Hawks outgained Wagner 367-145, including 229-54 on the ground. In addition to Hayes’ 103 yards on the ground, Asante finished with 65 yards rushing on 14 carries. Roberts led the Hawks in receiving with 58 yards on six receptions. Sophomore punter Ryan Mohr (West Orange, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) averaged 40.1 yards per punt, including a career-long 53 yarder.
Doscher finished just five-of-17 passing for 54 yards and was sacked four times. The senior was 1-of-12 passing at the end of the first half while the Seahawks went just two-of-13 on third down for the game. Williams had 47 yards rushing on eight carries for Wagner, which dedicated its field to Coach Walt Hameline at a pregame reception.
Sullivan was .5 of a sack short of tying the Monmouth record held by Joe Sentipal and Erik Yngstrom. Sophomore Eric Macik (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield/Navy Prep) whad two tackles, including a strip-sack, a fumble recovery and a pass break up on a third down pass. Captain Mike Upham (Clifton, Va./Centreville) was second on the team in tackles with five, including half a sack. Linebacker Bill Lauch (Wall, N.J./Wall/Erie CC) had a fumble recovery for the second straight week while corner Elijah Phillips (Willingboro, N.J./Holy Cross) had an interception in the fourth quarter, his first of the season.
Linebacker Mike Lombardo and safety Pat O’Connor each had 10 tackles to lead Wagner on defense.
Monmouth returns home next weekend for a NEC tilt with Sacred Heart at 1 p.m.