BETHLEHEM, PA – It was a damp, overcast day at Murray Goodman stadium as the Monmouth Hawks came to town. Lehigh fans were hoping for a competitive game, especially considering Monmouth coming in had a defense that, on average, had given up more that 32 points per game.
That’s not what ended up happening.
After a promising drive stalled ending with a missed 40 yard field goal attempt, Monmouth (3-2, 1-1 CAA) would score the next 35 points en route to a humbling 35-7 win over Lehigh (1-4, 1-0 Patriot), handing the Mountain Hawks their third straight defeat.
“We lost to a very good team,” Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore said. “We got dominated in the process. Nobody is happy with this result. We have to evaluate everything that we’re doing. We’re going to have to figure out how we can execute a lot better moving forward.”
Monmouth QB Tony Muskett had a fantastic afternoon, finishing 20-of-27 passing for 261 yards and 3 TDs. Despite being sacked three times, he would deliver long scoring passes to WR Dymere Miller and WR Assanti Kearney, adding for good measure a 10 yard touchdown run on a play when Lehigh had twelve men on the field, but couldn’t stop him.
“At some point, you have to make more plays than your opponent, that’s just the way it works,” Gilmore said. “That’s the obvious fact there and that didn’t happen. Today, we played a very good team today. We knew that going in, and we need to execute at a higher level.”
It took most of the game, but sophomore phenom RB Jaden Shirden, the leading rusher in FCS, eventually ran for 108 yards to extend his rushing yardage lead nationally. Overall, Monmouth notched 490 yards of offense.
“You really have to pick what you want to defend,” Muskett said to The Asbury Park Press after the game. “If you want to pack the box and stop the leading rusher in the country, you could do that. But like you saw today, we are going to have success outside. If you want to play zone off behind, you have seen Jaden go for 200 yards.”
It was a game that had a lot of penalties – Monmouth was flagged 8 times, while Lehigh committed 7 penalties, several of which backed Lehigh up on offense significantly.
“There was no one thing,” Gilmore said. “We just obviously need to be more disciplined.”
Lehigh managed to narrowly avoid the shutout after true freshman QB Brayten Silbor came into the game the second half. After a 42 yard pass to WR Geoffrey Jamiel, the Mountain Hawks would go on their longest drive of the afternoon, a 6 play, 57 yard drive that ended with a 1 yard TD run by RB Gaige Garcia.
But that would be the only scoring left in the game when the fog and heavier rain came rolling in the fourth quarter, scattering most of the remaining 2,923 fans in attendance.
“I know we have a lot of tough, resilient guys in that locker room and I know they’re going to come out with a vengeance and get ready to play a league game against Fordham next week,” Gilmore said. We have a lot to work on obviously. We have to get back to work tomorrow and make a lot of improvements.”
Monmouth returns home next week to face Albany, while Lehigh faces off against nationally-ranked Fordham.
|1st||05:55||MON – Wright,Owen 1 yd run (Bernstein,Eric kick), 10 plays, 77 yards, TOP 04:47||7||0|
|2nd||12:26||MON – Miller,Dymere 39 yd pass from Muskett,Tony ( ) 6 plays, 68 yards, TOP 02:25||13||0|
|2nd||03:08||MON – Kearney,Assanti 52 yd pass from Muskett,Tony (Miller,Dymere pass) 2 plays, 60 yards, TOP 00:39||21||0|
|3rd||10:56||MON – Muskett,Tony 10 yd run (Bernstein,Eric kick), 5 plays, 57 yards, TOP 01:54||28||0|
|3rd||06:48||MON – Carrington,Darrion 3 yd pass from Muskett,Tony (Bernstein,Eric kick) 7 plays, 71 yards, TOP 02:48||35||0|
|3rd||00:45||LEH – Garcia,Gaige 1 yd run (Van Dusen,Dylan kick), 6 plays, 57 yards, TOP 02:47||35||7|
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
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