LONG WEST BRANCH – At the end of practice on Tuesday, Monmouth linebacker Eddie Hahn, former Catholic star at Red Bank, reflected on some of the lessons the Hawks have learned during what has been a round of roller coasters in recent weeks.
âOur main motto this week is that he’s not the first guy to hit the ball, he’s the third and the fourth guy,â he said. âIf you have three, four, five guys coming to the ball every time you’re not going to have the big plays you saw in the Holy Cross game. You’re going to see what you saw in the Gardner-Webb game, a lot of three-and-outs, a bunch of guys having fun and running. And the dashboard will reflect that.
And it’s that intensity and team mentality that will be essential for the Hawks across the board when they host Princeton.
Here is the screening report from this non-conference clash:
Princeton (3-0) at Monmouth (3-2)
Or: Kessler Stadium, West Long Branch.
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Television / Radio: ESPN + / MonmouthHawks.com.
When Princeton has the ball
Monmouth’s ability or inability to contain mobile QBs has been key all season, and nothing changes against the Tigers. Quarterback Cole Smith is averaging 252 yards in the air and ran the ball 20 times in last week’s win over Columbia. WR Andrei Iosivas is averaging 25 yards on his eight catches, with a team record of 3 touchdowns, while Jacob Birmelin has 16 catches for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns. Monmouth safeties Anthony Budd and Tyrese Wright are the Hawks’ two best tackles, Wright having caught an interception last week. Their ability to play physically on the line of scrimmage will be important. DT Lorenzo Hernandez has the strength and athleticism on the inside to disrupt the Tigers’ offense. CB Justin Terry and Eddie Morales must have some good cover games.
Princeton only returned the ball once. Monmouth’s defense needs to be opportunistic and make big plays. They lost four potential interceptions last Saturday, and taking advantage of any opportunities that present themselves could be the difference between winning and losing. And Monmouth needs to play deep in his own turf, having allowed 14 touchdowns in 17 red zone situations this season.
When Monmouth has the ball
If history is any indication, the key number for Monmouth’s ground game is somewhere over 130 yards. In six losses over the past two seasons, Monmouth has averaged 102 rushing yards and has never had more than 128 yards in those losses. Conversely, Monmouth has never had less than 136 yards on the ground in a victory during this period. That said, Princeton is averaging three rushing yards per game this season, so it won’t be easy. Monmouth has to remove Juwon Farri to have a chance. The veterans’ Monmouth offensive line, seen as one of the team’s strengths, will need to have their best game of the season, and the passing game may need to make a few downline plays to open up race lanes. It will also relieve pressure on quarterback Tony Muskett, with the Princeton defense having recorded 16 sacks so far. Monmouth will have his full receiving roster this week, with WR Terrance Greene expected to return from an ankle injury. Frosh WR Dymere Miller is coming off the best game of his career, and WR Joey Aldarelli has three catches for three touchdowns in the past two weeks.
In three games, Princeton DE Uche Ndukwe has 4.5 sacks, while LB Samuel Wright has 3.5. LB James Johnson and DB Delan Stallworth lead the Tigers with 12 tackles apiece. The Tigers are allowing just 164.3 yards offensive. The teams have only crossed the Princeton 20-yard line three times in three games, scoring a single touchdown. The opposing teams are 1 in 8 in fourth position against them.
Monmouth 28, Princeton 27.
Are Monmouth or Princeton the best FCS college football team in New Jersey? we will know on saturday
LONG WEST BRANCH – As Rutgers hosts Michigan State on Saturday, New Jersey’s other two NCAA Division I college football teams will face off at Kessler Stadium.
Princeton, who faced Rutgers in the very first college football game in 1869, comes to Jersey Shore to face Monmouth, who only played his first game in 1993, for a center-jersey showdown to decide on the best. state FCS program.
History aside, the game against the undefeated Ivy League favorite is shaping up to be a huge measuring stick for Monmouth, with the two-time reigning champions of the Deep South looking to reach the FCS playoffs for a third straight season. Ivy League teams do not participate in the playoffs.
Princeton’s numbers this season are staggering.
The Tigers outscored their top three opponents by a 119-7 margin, allowed nine rushing yards and sacked the opposing quarterback 16 times. All from a schedule that has gone 21-2 since 2018 – the Ivy League has canceled its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic – including a 51-9 victory over Monmouth three years ago .
Monmouth Football: 5 important takeaways from Gardner-Webb’s victory
“Our guys know that,” said Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan. âThey have an increased sense of urgency. They know the importance of every game and of playing well in every game, and I think they understand how good a Princeton team is. We’re going to have to play our best football to be successful. What they do in attack and defense is extraordinary. We will have to be at our best in attack and we will have to be the same in defense.
‘Chip on my shoulder’
Monmouth (3-2) is 33-5 in the regular season against FCS opponents since 2017, and is 20-2 at home during that time. The Hawks just beat Gardner-Webb 54-17 in a Big South game.
Running back Juwon Farri was on the pitch three years ago when the Hawks lost to Princeton. He broke the 2,000-yard mark for his career last weekend in a 139-yard, two-touchdown performance, and understands that the Hawks’ ability to establish the run against a defense no one could budge is imperative. .
âI still remember my first year,â said Farri. “They really forced it on us, so I’m going to come in with a chip on my shoulder trying to do whatever I can to get a win.”
After giving up 507 yards of offense in a 45-15 loss to Holy Cross two weekends ago, Monmouth limited Gardner-Webb’s offense to just two touchdowns in a rebound performance including the unit desperately needed.
Princeton is averaging 424 yards per game, quarterback Cole Smith throwing for 252 yards per game, while carrying the ball 20 times for 64 yards in a 24-7 victory over Columbia last Saturday.
“It’s a physical attack and they’re going to make you play football without mistakes,” said linebacker Eddie Hahn, who has two sacks and four tackles for a loss this season.
âAfter the Holy Cross game there was a lot of embarrassment for the guys. We went out and laid a goose egg in front of our friends and family and we didn’t like it. So it was nice to come here and erase that memory, and there has been a lot of energy in training this week.
The physique displayed by Safeties Anthony Budd and Tyrese Wright set the tone for Monmouth’s defense. And the pair’s ability, 1-2 on the team in tackles, to make plays both on the line of scrimmage and in cover will help write Saturday’s storyline.
âThis loss (to Holy Cross) was a real shock, but everyone has to be humbled,â said Wright, who got his first interception last weekend. âSo we started the week very excited just to play the game, in front of our fans, on Homecoming. And this week we’re focused on the laser again.
Stephen Edelson is a New Jersey USA TODAY NETWORK sports columnist who has covered athletics in the state and on the Jersey Shore for almost 35 years. Contact him at: @SteveEdelsonAPP; [email protected]