Callahan Picks Up 150th Win In Monmouth Road Victory
Kenji Bahar threw two touchdowns as Monmouth defeated Presbyterian 24-14 for Kevin Callahan’s 150th win at Monmouth.
Behind a stout defense and a balanced offensive attack, Monmouth traveled to South Carolina and defeated Presbyterian, 24-14, on Saturday. The win moved the Hawks to 2-0 in Big South play and 6-2 overall. The win also gave head coach Kevin Callahan his 150th career win at Monmouth.
The Hawks led wire-to-wire, and while there were moments of stress early, Monmouth kept their foot on the pedal in the second half to close out the conference win. Here are the three takeaways from the Saturday’s game.
Monmouth’s Defense Dominant In Win
In Saturday’s win, Monmouth’s defense had two interceptions, a sack, and a forced fumble. The highlight was the front seven which held the Blue Hose to just 42 yards on the ground. The Hawks also held Presbyterian to under two hundred yards passing as well, something that is not seen in college football these days.
“We’ve gotten a couple of guys back, guys that missed early in the season,” said Callahan. “They are playing with more confidence and they know that on third down they are able to get off the field. We are using a lot of different players and personnel groups and I think that is paying off for us.”
The defensive unit has stepped it up as they have held opponents to under 100 yards rushing in four consecutive games. Saturday was also the second time in three games that Monmouth has allowed less than 200 yards passing. The defense is turning into one of the best in the Big South, and praise goes to all 11 men on that side of the ball. As the season continues, they are only getting better. That is a scary thought for the three remaining teams on the schedule.
Bahar Stars In Balanced Offensive Game Plan
There was no 100-yard rushing day from Monmouth’s running backs on Saturday, but Kenji Bahar led Monmouth to the win on the road. 18-of-35 for 268 yards and two touchdowns was the line for the junior quarterback against Presbyterian. Bahar is quietly putting together one of the most proficient seasons in Monmouth history, and he is doing with a bonafide NFL-caliber wide receiver in Reggie White Jr.
Bahar adds another facet to the Hawks offense that they have not seen since Kyle Frazier. I say every week that the running game will be the most critical asset to this team. Over the last five weeks, Kenji Bahar may have changed that view to a 1(a) running game and 1(b) quarterback play. If Bahar continues his strong play, Monmouth will be a no-brainer selection to the FCS Playoffs, even without winning the conference.
Callahan Picks Up 150th Win
Monmouth’s win on Saturday was Kevin Callahan’s 150th career win. Callahan, who has been Monmouth’s lone coach in the program’s 26-year history, has been a driving force behind the building of Monmouth football to a force in FCS.
In full disclosure, I am a Monmouth alum so my knowledge of the program is more than most. As an undergrad, I was there when Jim Harbaugh and his San Diego team came to West Long Branch to play Monmouth in the Gridiron Classic. That was when the build began for the football program, and Callahan has been there every step of the way. The heights that the school has reached is something that could not have been predicted ten years ago.
In an age where coaches leave school behind for big money contracts and total control, Kevin Callahan is an enigma. A man who has stayed with one school for 26 years and who helped build a culture. A man who has molded young men to achieve their highest capabilities, both on and off the field. Kevin Callahan is someone that should be seen as an example of what is good about college athletics. Congratulations Coach Callahan.
What’s Next For The Hawks
Monmouth returns to Kessler Stadium as they welcome Charleston Southern to West Long Branch, NJ on Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m.
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