BY JEREMY SCHILLING
Sacred Heart University (0-2, 0-0 in Northeast Conference) at Monmouth University (2-1, 1-0 in Northeast Conference)
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012
1 p.m. – Kessler Field, West Long Branch, New Jersey
Radio: 1160AM, 1310AM, shoresportsnetwork.com
THE LAST WHISTLE: Monmouth is hoping to continue with the positive mojo they have going following a 38-17 victory over Wagner. While a lot of attention is rightly paid to the offense, the defense has been playing very strongly as well, holding opponents to just 23 points the last two weeks. According to head coach Kevin Callahan, part of that success is due to linebacker Dan Sullivan who has been on the move this season.
“In the nickel package we put him in a lot of different spots,” Callahan said of Sullivan who had 3.5 sacks and nine tackles last week against Wagner. “We’re going to put him as a rush defensive end and we’ll move him from side-to-side. He has some good explosiveness to him and has the ability to use his athleticism to his advantage against lineman, and we try to put him in a position where he can do that.”
Sacred Heart comes in off a 34-14 loss to Colgate. Their quarterback, Tim Little, leads the NEC in passing yardage at 205 yards per game.
THE HISTORY: Monmouth owns a 12-5 lifetime edge over Sacred Heart.
THE MATCHUP: Keys for Monmouth:
1) Run the ball. Sacred Heart is allowing 237 yards per game on the ground so far in 2012. That should be music to the ears of Julian Hayes, K.B. Asante and Pete Nagy. Run the ball effectively early, and open up the passing lanes later.
2) Stay hungry on defense. Monmouth has done a pretty nice job so far of preventing offenses from stringing series of successful drives together. They’ve allowed some points but haven’t gotten into shootouts. Not letting teams get back-to-back successful drives could be a key against a high powered offense like Sacred Heart.
Keys for Sacred Heart:
1) Try something different on offense. It can’t hurt, right? You’re 0-2, it’s your first Northeast Conference game, and you’re facing a Monmouth team that’s on a roll. Try something and see if it works.
2) Keep Monmouth one dimensional. Here’s that key again, but no team has been able to do it thus far. Either shutdown the run or the pass but don’t let quarterback Kyle Frazier and company go wild in both areas.
THE QUOTE: “We’re sixth in the nation on defense. I’m fine with that because we don’t need the publicity, we need the wins. If we don’t get in the paper one more time I’m fine with that because our defense has been shutting people down. That’s all our defense cares about.” – Sullivan on how the defensive doesn’t get all the attention at times.
THE STAT: Following Saturday’s performance, Sullivan was named the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Sporting News Network, the College Football Performance Awards and NEC Defensive Player of the week, and the CFPA National Linebacker of the Week.