Archive For The “Neal Sterling” Category
|Taylor Jackson/Asbury Park Press|
Monmouth was 0-5 versus Lehigh in their history going into this weekend’s game.
Even with athletes like WR Miles Austin, WR Chris Hogan and a lot of other very good players, beating the Mountain Hawks was something that every Monmouth player was unable to achieve in their careers.
They had come agonizingly close before – losing games on last-second fumbles, and blocked punts advanced for 1st downs – and talked internally about playing all four quarters, about not getting worn down at the end of the game.
This Saturday, they were not worn down as QB Brandon Hill would get 40 of his 390 passing yards on the Hawks’ final drive, none bigger than his 19 yard rifle to WR Eric Sumlin for the game-winner.
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We break down Monnmoth after the flip.
Looking at Monmouth, danger abounds if you’re a Lehigh fan. Jumping right into the preview, you’ll see why.
By definition, every team I profile in this “Know Your 2014 Opponents” series is new. There are new faces, a fresh, new 0-0 record, and a fresh start for the football season.
For Monmouth, though, who visits Lehigh on September 27th, there’s a whole lot more new stuff.
Start with a new football conference. The Hawks (or Jersey Hawks, as I call them) move to the Big South in football only, where they will be competing against some football powers like Coastal Carolina and Liberty. Gone is their independent schedule from 2013.
Then head to the helmets and uniforms, where it shows off Monmouth’s status as an up-and-coming athletics program. Gone are the gothic interlocking “M” and “U”, and in its place a silver helmet, with a classic looking “M”, takes its place.
Perhaps unfortunately for the Mountain Hawks, though, the players who inhabited the old uniforms last season return to inhabit the new ones, meaning Lehigh will face a team with a boatload of experience.
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(Photo Credit: Justin Lafleur/Lehigh Athletics)
“I’d never seen it,” head coach Andy Coen said, adding a “whew” for good measure.
He was referring to a very strange play this Saturday, a play that happened in Lehigh’s favor that felt like the decisive play of the game.
Down 25-21, and senior P Tim Divers readying to punt, speedy Monmouth CB Tevrin Brandon blocked his punt – the ball deflecting almost straight up, then falling back down to earth behind the line of scrimmage, where alert senior FB Zach Hayden kept calm, grabbed the ball out of the air, and started to go for the first down marker.
He did more than get enough yards for the first down. He rumbled 37 yards, thus turning the momentum of the game completely on its head.
Two plays later, senior QB Brandon Bialkowski hit senior WR Lee Kurfis with a 40 yard dagger to make the score 28-25.
It would be a death blow from which Monmouth wouldn’t recover.
“I’ve been coaching and playing a long time,” Coen said, “and I’ve never seen a blocked punt picked up by one of our own guys and run for a first down, which ends up being the biggest play of the game.”