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Saturday, November 10, 2007

MU football: Great Danes take a bite out of the Hawks (for Sunday Press)

By TONY GRAHAM
STAFF WRITER

WEST LONG BRANCH - Monmouth University tailback David Sinisi wasn't hit by five tacklers of Northeast Conference leading Albany every time he touched the ball Saturday.

It just seemed that way.

Albany, which began the afternoon with the No. 1 rushing defense in the NEC ended Sinis's nation's longest touchdown streak at 20 games as it shackled Monmouth 21-3 before 3,223 fans at Kessler Field.

"'Their defense was good,'' said Sinisi after Monmouth (3-6, 3-3) was unable to move the ball inside the 30-yard line of Albany (7-3, 5-0) after the early moments of the second quarter.

""They played well together, they played in sync'' said Sinisi who began the day on top of the NEC in rushing in conference games averaging 149.8 yards per game.

But Albany linebacker Colin Disch, the reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Year, led the Great Danes with nine tackles and junior free safety David West, a Toms River High School North graduate, was one of several Albany players with five.

""Offensively we just couldn't get a little spark, a little play here or there to get us going a little bit,'' said Sinisi held to 57 rushing yards.

""It was one of those games where we couldn't give up a touchdown,'' said Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan.

When the Hawks did, trailing by only five points, it was a back breaker.

Facing a third-and-30 on his own 13-yard line with under seven minutes remaining in the game, Albany quarterback Vinny Esposito floated a screen pass to tailback Justin Gannon.

The sophomore sped down the right sidelines for an 87-yard touchdown that made it a 14-3 score with 6:07 left.

""That really hurt,'' said Callahan of the screen pass. ""I felt we'd get the ball back in good, positive field position. We'd need a a touchdown and we'd win the game.''
Callahan said two Monmouth players missed tackles on the play. ""Those are tackle you've got to make,'' he said.

Albany snapped a 3-3 tie when, following a 69-yard punt that rolled out of bounds at the Monmouth the one-yard line, Sinisi was dropped in the end zone for a safety with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.

""The issue on it (the safety) was we did not field the punt,'' Callahan said. ""Had we fielded the punt it would have been (Monmouth ball) probably at the 15-yard line.

""We made some key mistakes in the kicking game that created a lot of opportunities for them,''he said.

After the safety Monmouth junior linebacker Tyler Burnett (Southern Regional) registered his first career interception at the Monmouth 39, but the Hawks' offense went nowhere.

Albany widened the gap when it blocked a punt and four plays later Jason Fralicker kicked a 40-yard field goal to make it 8-3 with 12:06 left in the game.

Monmouth's defense played Albany virtually even most of the day until the fourth quarter. It sacked Esposito four times.

Redshirt freshmen linebackers Joe Cella (Jackson Memorial) and Jeff Brady recovered fumbles with Cella's leading to a 39-yard first-quarter field goal by Fred Weingart (New Egypt).

""Our defense played real, real, well,'' said Sinisi. ""Offensively we've got to capitalize on the turnovers.''

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but that Great Dane defense looked really really good. The front seven dominated the Hawks all day long. I thought the MU defense played well until the 4th and 30 debacle.

4:43 PM, November 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony,

It looks like the NEC football champ will not be going to sunny San Diego for the Gridiron Classic this year. Instead they'll be headed for "sunny" Dayton, Ohio. Unless Dayton gets a nod into the FCS playoffs.

9:18 AM, November 13, 2007  

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