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Saturday, September 01, 2007

MU football - Hawks battle back but fall short at Maine - full Press story with KC quotes/There is also a game wrap with KC quotes on the MU web site

By TONY GRAHAM
STAFF WRITER

Twice Saturday evening the Monmouth University football team fell behind by a touchdown to
the University of Maine.

Twice Monmouth rallied to tie the score.

The third time, however, was not a charm.

The Black Bears of the Colonial Athletic Conference (formerly the Atlantic-10) took the lead
for good on a third quarter touchdown run by junior tailback Jhamal Fluellen and downed the
Hawks, 21-14, in a non-conference season-opening game front of 7,200 in Alfond Stadium, Orono,
Maine.

Momouth redshirt junior hquarterback Brett Burke, a Wall High School graduate in his first
collegiate start, was 14-for-25 for 173 yards and a TD for the Hawks.

Senior wide out Adam San Miguel of Monmouth caught two passes including a 58-yard
touchdown pass with 13:37 left in the third quarter that tied the score, 14-14.

San Miguel, with two receptions in the game, finished with the night with 147 career
catches leaving him three shy of the school record of 150 set by Dallas Cowboy wide out Miles
Austin.

""We were absolutely in the game,'' said Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan who rued two
first-half special teams breakdowns.

One led to a score and the other was a punt return for a TD helping Maine take a 14-7 lead
at the half.

""This (special teams) was an area where we knew we had to perform perfectly in,'' said
Callahan. "'Any time you're in a game like this, playing against an outstanding defensive
team, and if you're inexperienced on defense yourself, you have to make sure you really win
the kicking game.''

After tieing the score, 14-14, Monmouth faced a fourth and two on its next possession at the
Maine 39 and Callahan elected to punt.

""I wanted to pin them deep in their own territory and create a short field for
ourselves,'' said Callahan. ""I felt if we got the ball back the game and the field position
would swing in our favor.''

Instean Maine answered with a 95-yard drive in 10 plays capped by Fluellen racing in from
the 12 with 2:35 left in the third quarter.

Monmouth was unable to threaten after that. Facing a defense with seven players returning
from a 2006 nationally ranked defense, Monmouth failed to advance past the Maine 46.

It never saw the ball again after punting on fourth and 14 from its own 17 with 2:29
remaining in the game.

Maine, with Fluellen rushing for 125 yards and Brusko for 109, controlled the clock much of
the contest enjoying a more than 13 minute advantage in time of possession.

The contest began in inauspicious fashion for the Hawks who started nine new defensive
starters and a virtual rookie at quarterback in Burke.

Lamir Whetstone, a graduate of Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, returned the
opening kick off 69 yards to the Monmouth 22.

Four plays later Maine sophomore quarterback Michael Brusko, also in his first collegiate
start, ran eight yards for a 7-0 Maine lead.

Burke quickly brought the Hawks back. A four play drive, including an 18-yard completion
to wide out Chris Kiley (Point Pleasant Boro), set up a 28-yard TD dash by David Sinisi just
four minutes in to the game.

The score marked the 13th consecutive game with a touchdown for the redshirt sophomore
from Cedar Grove.

Maine reclaimed the lead, 14-7, when sophomore Mark Masterson returned a line drive punt for a 50-yard score with 3:25 left in the first quarter.

""We had two big mistakes,'' said Callahan. "" If you take those two plays away and some
of our mistakes I think we would have been in position to win the game.''

NOTES...Kiley had five catches for 55 yards and tight end John Nalbone four for
49..Monmouth will host Maine in its 2008 season opener...While Monmouth played its first
football game in 1993 and is now 4-11 on opening day, Maine opened its 116th season of college
football and is 62-49-5 in season openers...It won its opening game for the first time
since 2002 when it defeated Monmouth Northeast Conference rival Central Connecticut State,
52-3...Monmouth was looking to earn back-to-back wins to start two consecutive seasons for the
first time after topping Fordham last year...Prior to Saturday the Hawks had played met one
current CAA team, Towson University, at the time a member of the Patriot League, which owns a
7-1 record against Monmouth. That number will change Sept. 29 when Monmouth visits CAA member
and perennial powerhouse Delaware....Monmouth has two sets of brothers on the team in the
Bischoffs and the Fullams. Bryan and Derek Bischoff,
twin defensive backs, are fifth year seniors. Matt Fullam is a junior transfer quarterback from Fordham who sat out last year due to NCAA regulations. His
brother Mike is a freshman linebacker from Wayne Hills High
school in Wayne, N.J...Two former Maine players are on the Monmouth roster in wide receiver
Roney Salomon and defensive back Marcus Shell. Salomon, a Marlboro High School graduate, will
not be able to play this season due to NCAA transfer regulations and will have junior
eligibility for the Hawks in 2008. Shell, the team's nickel back last season
will miss the opening part of 2007 with an injury...Robert Morris, which visits Monmouth 1 p.m. Saturday in the Northeast Conference opener for both teams, dropped its season opener to
Dayton of the Pioneer League, 23-12. The day will also mark the official ground breaking for
Monmouth's Multi Purpose Athletic Center (MAC) in ceremonies prior to the contest according to
school officials.



The Monmouth and Maine University web sites contributed to this report.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what areas do they need work on the defense besides special teams

9:37 PM, September 01, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

I would say those two special teams gaffes killed them in this game...You can't be handing a full 1-AA (oops - FCS) progam two TD...very basic stuff..

I don't think the young defense did all that badly, considering everything, despite being gashed by the run.....

A few years ago an NEC team would have lost this game in lop sided fashion as CCSU did 52-3 in 2002...


Robert Morris should be a very winnable game this week...in my opinion...

10:26 PM, September 01, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Anyway..MU is a soccer school now..isn't it???

10:26 PM, September 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this Maine game answered a lot of questions. The defense played pretty well, making big stops when they had to and the offense showed they have the ability to score. Monmouth will have a better team than most predicted and has a shot to repeat that NEC championship....What do you think Tony??

7:11 PM, September 02, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Well, for one thing, the NEC teams that lost this weekend all bowed respectably to teams picked about in the middle of their resective leagues..Maine is picked 4th of six in its division in the CAA for instance ....

Soooo..going by that ...1. NEC not as strong as last year; 2. League title may be up for grabs though I would - personally - rule out Wagner and SFPA...

MU defense vs. the run is a concern -to me anyway - and its pass defense was not really tested by a QB that couldn't throw..

This week Robert Morris wll throw the dickens out of the ball..they put it up 39 times last week..

Burke was certainly adequate in his first start and I have to think MU rushing game will improve (at least in the NEC) vs. lesser caliber defenses than what MU saw vs. the Black Bears ..

9:51 PM, September 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony,

A big question mark will be the the injury to LoCastro. Burke needs all the help he can get in the pocket to make his reads. Any news on LoCastro?

9:53 AM, September 03, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

I should have something by tomorrow (Tuesday)....I will not publish anything unless I hear it officially....

11:15 AM, September 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shell was not the nickel back last season. We've had the same nickel back for the last three years.

9:22 AM, September 04, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Shell..that's what it said in the notes. Whatever..how about a reserve def back? Anyway - he's out for a while...

10:11 AM, September 04, 2007  

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