Bahar Leads Monmouth To Road Win Over Lafayette
Kenji Bahar finished with 381 yards of total offense as Monmouth moved to 2-1 after a 24-20 win over Lafayette.
Monmouth traveled to Easton, Pa. to take on the Lafayette Leopards of the Patriot League. In a game that featured another slow start from the Hawks, Monmouth scored the final 15 points to pull out a 24-20 win on the road.
Once again, another player stepped up to be the star of the game while Monmouth’s defense recovered late to pitch a second-half shutout. Here are three bullet points from Monmouth’s second win of the season.
Bahar Steps Up In Big Win
Going into this season, Kenji Bahar was expected to have a great season with four offensive linemen returning. Against Hampton Bahar was efficient and steady. Against Lafayette, that trend continued as the junior threw for 334 yards and a touchdown in the victory. What made Bahar so successful against Lafayette was his distribution of passes. Eight different Hawk players had at least one reception.
For the third straight week, another person is the offensive star for Monmouth. While Pete Guerriero gained 100 yards rushing for the second consecutive week, Bahar ran the offense to near perfection on the road. While I have been saying that the running game will be the key going forward, Bahar’s throwing and running ability (47 yards on five carries) gives Monmouth a chance to win, even if the running game is having an off day.
Monmouth’s D Comes Up Big Late Again
Similar to last week’s game against Hampton, the Hawks defense was not good early on against Lafayette. However, just like last week’s game, the second half brought out a stout Monmouth defense that held Lafayette scoreless for the final 30 minutes.
“The defense did a good job in the second half, we knew we had a good plan in place and we needed just to execute it,” said Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan. “We had two critical penalties on their one drive on third downs and that kept the drive going and they were able to get in the end zone. I have to give credit to the defense for what they were able to do in the second half.”
The second half shutout was capped off after a sack by Gerron Pendarvis to force Lafayette back late in the fourth quarter. The Hawks forced four punts and three turnovers on downs in the second half as they stepped up in a big way. While this is good, a slow start against the wrong team could spell disaster for the team. If the defense can ratchet up their play early and continue their late-game play, you’re looking at a solid unit.
Penalties Turning Into A Problem
While Monmouth came away with the win, something alarming happened. While Lafayette was perfect regarding penalties, Monmouth had their problems. Eight penalties for 85 yards was the final count, which included a personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first half. This comes after Monmouth piled up ten penalties for 172 yards against Eastern Michigan in the season opener.
To compete in the Big South conference, piling up eight penalties cannot be an every week deal. Keeping your cool and staying focused will most likely be a focus of practice this week and it must be. You cannot have 22 penalties in three weeks and expect to win your conference or make the FCS playoffs.
What’s Next For Monmouth
The Hawks continue their road trip as they travel to Princeton on Saturday to take on in-state rival Tigers for the time ever in football. The action begins at 4:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.
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