The shockwaves are sure to be felt across the FCS landscape when the national rankings are released later this week after Monmouth handled Kennesaw State in surprising fashion 45-21 on Saturday in Kennesaw, Ga. The Hawks scored 42 unanswered points on six straight possessions to secure the win over the Owls.
The win kept the Hawks atop the Big South standings with a perfect 4-0 league mark as they improved to 7-2 on the season. KSU, ranked No. 5 in the recent FCS poll, also owns a 7-2 season record.
Monmouth is one-half game ahead of Campbell in the conference race. The Camels are 3-0 in the league, while Kennesaw is in third with a 2-1 conference record.
Charleston Southern surprised Gardner-Webb on Saturday and Hampton downed Presbyterian as the Pirates picked up their first conference win of the season.
Marquee: Monmouth Impressive in Big Way
Kennesaw State was probably not alone in thinking a first-round bye in the upcoming FCS playoffs was a distinct possibility for the Owls as the 2019 season entered the final weeks.
In the words of Lee Corso, “not so fast, my friend.”
Kenji Bahar threw for 332 yards and a touchdown and scored one of his own as Monmouth rose up and clipped the Owls 45-21 on Saturday in Kennesaw, Ga. The win snapped a five-game losing skid by the Hawks to KSU.
Monmouth opened the scoring on a 22-yard field goal from Matt Mosquera with 3:47 left in the opening period to grab a 3-0 lead. KSU responded moments later when Tommy Bryant scored for the Owls on a short two-yard run in the final minute of the quarter to put the hosts in front 7-3.
The next 23 minutes must have felt like something right out of a horror story for KSU as Monmouth scored on each of their next six possessions for 42 points and a 45-7 lead and never looked back on the way to posting the victory.
Devell Jones scored on runs of two and seven yards early in the second quarter to push Monmouth to a 17-7 lead with 9:15 to go in the half. Pete Guerriero added another scoring run, this one from 10 yards out, for the Hawks to extend the lead to 24-7 at the 2:17 mark. Teammate Tymere Beery intercepted a KSU pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown with one minute left in the half and the Hawks found themselves perched to a 31-7 halftime lead.
Monmouth added two more touchdowns in the third period.
Bahar completed a 92-yard pass play to Zach Tredway with just five minutes gone in the second half. Bahar delivered the final blow with his 65-yard scoring scamper just over two minutes later. The Hawks were up 45-7 at that point.
Bahar finished the game with 20 completions on the day after going to the air 27 times. He also added 92 yards on just six carries to spearhead the Monmouth offense.
Guerriero, the first FCS back to go over 1,000 yards this season on the ground, finished with 77 yards on 21 carries against the Owls. Treadway ended the day with seven catches for 162 yards.
The two teams combined for 924 yards of offense on the afternoon. Monmouth racked up 517 yards compared to 407 for the Owls. A good chunk of that total for KSU came on just two plays. Halfback Bronson Rechsteiner passed 60 yards to Shaquil Terry in the third period and Bryant scored his second touchdown of the game on a 50-yard run with just over four minutes remaining in the game for the Owls’ final two scores of the game.
KSU’s two quarterbacks combined to complete just two of 15 passes on the day for 55 yards. The Owls completed just four passes last week in their win over North Alabama.
Gurley Provides Late Heroics for Lions
The leg of Joe Gurley proved to be the difference as homestanding North Alabama slipped past Campbell 25-24 on Saturday in non-conference action in Florence.
Gurley connected on a 20-yard field goal as time expired to give the Lions the win. UNA is now 3-6 on the season and are not eligible for the BSC championship.
The winning points capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive that was highlighted by a Christian Lopez pass to Andre Little on an trick play that covered 39 yards on a third-and-eight play that extended the drive. Jaxton Carson and Lopez also notched important runs of 13 and 14 yards, respectively, to fuel the drive and move the Lions into position to end the game.
Little ended the day with six catches for 118 yards. He also scored on a 94-yard kickoff return after Campbell had taken an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Carson led the way for UNA on the grounds with 39 yards on 11 carries, including a two-yard run with 8:21 left in the second quarter for a touchdown. Teammate Terrance Humphrey finished with eight carries on the afternoon for 36 yards. Lopez scored on a three-yard run midway through the third period to put the Lions in front 22-14 at the time.
QB Blake Dever completed 11-of-19 passes for 143 yard on the day for the Lions.
Campbell’s standout QB Hajj-Malik Williams was limited to just 88 yards passing after completing seven passes on 16 attempts. He threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Johnathan Hawkins in the third period and ran in from 13 yards out for the touchdown of his own for the first points of the game in the opening period. Hawkins carried 19 times for 67 yards and teammate Bryant Barr added 60 yards on 12 carries for the Camels.
Buccaneers Hold Off Pesky Bulldogs
Gardner-Webb has a penchant for making things interesting, but for the second week in a row the Bulldogs were unable to come away with the win.
One week after falling to Campbell in triple overtime, G-W’s comeback bid from a 30-7 deficit in the fourth quarter was not enough as Charleston Southern held on for a 30-27 triumph on Saturday.
Kalen Whitlow threw three short scoring passes, including a three-yard pass to Devron Harper with 1:35 left in the game. Whitlow connected with Izaiah Gathings for a one-yard TD earlier in the period and threw 13 yards to Jameson Turner with 4:42 remaining in regulation. The two-point conversion failed and the Buccaneers were in front 30-20.
Whitlow finished with 25 completions on 37 attempts for 191 yards and four touchdowns. His nine-yard TD toss to Turner early in the third period put the Bulldogs on the board for the first time in the game.
Charleston Southern scored the first 24 points of the game. Terrence Wilson opened the scoring with a 13-yard run in the first period and Alex Usry connected on a 40-yard field goal to give the Buccaneers a 10-0 lead after the first 15 minutes.
Quarterback Jack Chambers scored on a 70-yard run and tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to Kameron Brown in the second quarter to extend the CSU lead heading into the intermission. Chambers finished with 191 yards on 25-of-37 passing and led the way on the ground with 99 rushing yards. The Buccaneer defense limited G-W to just 74 yards of offense in the opening half.
Whitlow finished the game with 316 yards after completing 33-of-52 passes. He was picked off twice. Jayln Cagle paced the Bulldogs on the ground with 69 yards.
Pirates Tops Blue Hose
Hampton led from start to finish and was never seriously challenged as the Pirates won for the first time this season in Big South action with a decisive 40-17 win over Presbyterian College on Saturday in Hampton. The Blue Hose remained winless in four conference outings and are 0-9 on the year.
Shai McKenzie and Deondre Francois combined to pace the Pirates of offense. McKenzie rushed 28 times for 152 yards and one touchdown, an 11-yard burst just 41 seconds into the contest. Francois, meanwhile, completed 13-of-23 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with KeyRon Catlett from 10 yards out in the second quarter and added another scoring strike later in the period to Adeon Johnson that covered nine yards as the Pirates extended their lead to 20-3 at halftime.
Backup quarterback Austin Bradley scored on a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter after replacing Francois. Bradley completed eight of nine passes for 109 yards and a TD toss of his own. He found Jadakis Bond wide open for a 51-yard scoring play with 4:55 to play in the third period. Bonds finished the game with eight catches for 134 yards, while Catlett’s five receptions covered 43 yards in the game and Johnson tallied 29 yards on a pair to receptions.
Presbyterian, which is its final season of Big South membership before moving to the Pioneer League, got a 32-yard field goal from Parker Maddrey for the Blue Hose only points of the first half. Brandon Thompson tossed a 42-yard pass to Dohnte Meyers in the third quarter and scored on a short one-yard run later in the period to close the scoring for Presbyterian. Thompson completed just 11-of-23 passes for 165 yards in the game. The Hampton defense limited PC to just 46 rushing yards in the game.
Ohmante Jenkins returned a blocked punt 24 yards in the final minutes to finish the scoring for the Pirates.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.