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Monmouth Looks For Victory at Home Saturday Against Lehigh

Football_field_optBY JEREMY SCHILLING

#19 Lehigh University (1-0, 0-0 in Patriot League) at Monmouth University (0-2)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

1pm ET – Kessler Field, West Long Branch, NJ

Radio: 1160AM, 1310AM,

THE LAST WHISTLE: The Hawks once again had a poor first half last week, losing to Liberty 45-15 in a game that extremely lopsided, 31-6, at the break. According to head coach Kevin Callahan, part of the issue stemmed from a lack of a running game.

“We didn’t run the ball as well as we need to in those kinds of games,” Callahan said. “You need to be balanced and really Liberty made us one-dimensional. Because of our inability to run the ball, it moved them off the line of scrimmage [and] we were put into must-throw into situations and in doing so, allowed Liberty to tee off and come after the quarterback.”

Lehigh, meanwhile, opened their season last week with a 51-44 victory over Central Connecticut State in double overtime. Last year, their big playmaking wide receiver was Ryan Spadola, now on the New York Jets. This year, it’s Lee Kurfis, who had seven catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns last week.

The HISTORY: These two teams have met four previous times, with Lehigh winning all previous matchups. They won 27-17 last year.

THE MATCHUP: Keys for Lehigh:

Continue to exploit Monmouth’s weaknesses: The Monmouth defense has continually given up big plays and the Monmouth offense has been unable to sustain consistent momentum. Stop both of those things from occurring and Lehigh should have a good chance at getting to 2-0.

Start fast offensively. Lehigh had 471 total yards last week. Starting fast will put the pressure on Brandon Hill, who is still getting up to speed with the Monmouth offense.

Keys for Monmouth:

Establish the run. Monmouth’s inability to get Julian Hayes running last week stymied their offense and put increased pressure on Hill. The ability to get Hayes started should open up play-action and give Hill a chance to make easy throws.

Steal a score. Playing ranked teams is a hard thing to do. If Monmouth can steal a score – whether it’s on special teams or a ball that bounces the right way for a timely turnover – that will greatly help their chances of coming out with a victory on Saturday.

THE STAT: Monmouth has just four home games in 2013 – with Saturday being the first. The quest to find opponents as an independent limited the available home opportunities for the Hawks this season.

THE QUOTE: “It’s very important because you only have four of them.  You want to make sure that in front of your home crowd – I think it’ll be an excellent crowd on Saturday – you want to be at your best. You want to be able to come out and perform and show our fans the type of team that we feel that we are. You want to perform like that.” – Callahan on the importance of taking advantage of these rare home opportunities.


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