By Jim Hintelmann
WEST LONG BRANCH – With Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Miles Austin, a former Monmouth University standout, on the Monmouth sidelines giving moral support, it would have been perfect for the Hawks to come away with a needed win in Saturday’s non-conference game with Colgate.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, it didn’t happen.
Austin was enjoying a bye week, which gave him a chance to see Saturday’s game.
“This was the first time in a long while where Monmouth had a home game and Dallas a bye week,” said Austin. “I never thought that I would be playing for the Cowboys when I was here. I’m just blessed to be there now.”
Colgate combined ball-control with a punishing of the Monmouth defense for 460 yards total offense in a 26-14 win. It was the second loss in a row for the Hawks, having lost to Robert Morris the previous week.
Overall, Colgate (3-3) controlled the ball for 35:23 compared to Monmouth’s 24:37 as it took control after Monmouth moved out to a 14-6 lead in the second quarter.
“Colgate can run the ball very well,” said Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan. “Not only is it an issue on defense but also the time of possession keeping our offense off the field.”
When Monmouth quarterback Kyle Frazier completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to finish off a 13-play, 74-yard drive and give the Hawks a 14-6 lead with 3:09 in the half, Monmouth appeared to be in control of the action, but the rest of the game belonged to Colgate.
“We did a pretty decent job in the first half,” said Callahan, “but in the second half they were able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball by extending the drive and keeping our offense off the field.”
“We were unable to pressure their quarterback (Gavin McCarney) when we needed to,” he explained.
McCarney completed 16 of 23 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
“We gave him too much time to throw the ball.”
Colgate, which holds a 3-1 advantage in the series over Monmouth since it began in 2006, began its comeback following the second half kickoff.
Taking over on its own 36, Colgate rolled 67 yards in 13 plays for it second touchdown, eating up 6:06 of the clock.
A 46-yard run by Nate Eachus on the first play of the drive gave Colgate a first down on the 21, but it took 12 more plays before the Raiders finally scored on a one-yard run by McCarney on a fourth and 1 play with 2:30 remaining in the half.
After stopping Monmouth on its opening series of the third quarter, the Raiders had the ball at their 13 following a Monmouth punt and scored on just seven plays.
A 17-yard pass from McCarney to Chris Looney and a 13-yard run by McCarney coupled with a personal foul by Monmouth, gave the Raiders a first down on the Monmouth 26.
Two plays later, McCarney passed 22-yards to Dan Cason, who caught the ball in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. After missing its first two extra point kicks, Colgate went for two points this time and McCarney scored them with a keeper for a 20-14 advantage.
The Raiders got the insurance touchdown with 4:38 remaining when Eachus went over from the 11. That capped an 80-yard drive in 15 plays and took almost eight minutes off the clock.
“On that last touchdown drive, they made a couple of key third down conversions,” said Callahan. “Any time you can pick up first downs on third and long it certainly gives your offense a boost and takes something out of the defense.”
Monmouth started strongly in the first quarter after Mitch Pollard returned a Colgate punt 57 yards to the Colgate 36. Five plays later, Julian Hayes scored from the 1. Eric Spillane kicked the first of two extra points.
The Raiders came back with a 19-play, 80-yard drive following the kickoff, scoring on a 15-yard touchdown pass from McCarney to CJ Stempeck.
“I don’t think Colgate showed us anything different in the second half,” said Monmouth quarterback Kyle Frazier who completed 19 of 29 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. “They might have brought a little more pressure in the second half, but we made mental mistakes. We were able to move the ball on some of the drives but were unable to finish them.”
Monmouth is on the road the next two weeks starting with Saturday’s Northeast Conference game at Bryant in Boston (Mass.).