Monmouth Comes Out on Top 42-41 in OT Thriller Against Fordham
Monmouth University had just given up a touchdown on Fordham’s first overtime possession. Now, the Hawks needed to get into the end zone more than ever. Who would Monmouth turn to?
Royds was crucial on the Hawks game-winning touchdown drive, running three times for 23 of their 30 yards, including the game-tying touchdown. Except that tying the game wasn’t enough for Coach Callahan. He decided that Monmouth would go for the win. Cody Williams dropped back to pass and found Reggie White Jr. wide open in the end zone for the two point conversion and the Hawks would walk off with a 42-41 victory.
It wasn’t looking good for the Hawks at halftime. They trailed the Rams 27-13. They lost three fumbles and the defense allowed too many big plays. On Fordham’s second possession of the game, they allowed a 77-yard rushing touchdown to Chase Edmonds. The Hawks would trail 13-0 after Kevin Anderson threw a touchdown pass to Robbi Cantelli for 25 yards. MU would come back to tie the game at 13 after a pair of Matt White field goals and a Zach Welch touchdown run.
After Welch’s touchdown with just 1:30 left in the half is where it all went wrong for the Hawks. They allowed Anderson to connect with Austin Longi for a 54-yard touchdown with 48 seconds remaining in the half. MU would then fumble on their following possession. Cody Williams attempted a backwards pass to Welch, who dropped it, and it was recovered by Max Roberts of Fordham. Chase Edmonds would follow up with his second touchdown of the day just three plays later.
The Hawks mounted a huge comeback in the second half, going on a 21-0 run to take a 34-27 lead. Reggie White Jr. was huge in the second half, scoring twice; once on a 72-yard screen pass and another time on an 18 yard touchdown, a play on which he broke three tackles on his way to the end zone. White was a man on a mission as he would finish with 10 catches for 167 yards and two scores, plus the game-winning two point conversion. Ed Royds was big in the second half as well, stepping in for an injured Jamar Chaney and a struggling Zach Welch. Royds’ 9-yard score gave the Hawks a 34-27 lead with 5:03 left in the game. His second touchdown was the aforementioned game-winner. He would finish with 100 yards on 19 carries and those two touchdowns.
Fordham wouldn’t give in after losing their big lead. With 2:14 left in the game, Edmonds ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run for his third touchdown of the game. Edmonds would score for a fourth time on the Rams’ first overtime possession. The Hawks struggled to stop the run again in this game, as Edmonds finished with 208 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries and the Rams as a team notched 311 yards on 43 attempts.
The defense made up for their lack of run defense by making big plays. Darnell Leslie and Kamau Dumas each forced fumbles in this game; both of which were recovered by Monmouth. The Hawks also got off the field on fourth down three times, with Marcus Leslie and LeKieth Celestain each deflecting a pass in those situations. This unit also managed four sacks and 10 tackles for losses against the Fordham offense. Darnell Leslie, Kamau Dumas, Mike Basile, and Manny Maragoto were the most impressive defenders in this game.
Offensively, outside of White and Royds, Cody Williams and Darren Ambush stood out. Williams was sharp, completing 22 of his 31 pass attempts for 290 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over once and did an excellent job running the Hawks offense, leading them to 42 points. Ambush’s numbers weren’t outstanding, but his play was impressive. He finished with six catches for 81 yards. He routinely made tough catches in traffic and helped set up a couple touchdowns with big plays into the red zone. He was also effective in the return game, notching 118 yards on six return attempts.
Some quotes from the coach and players:
“We had said going into the overtime after they scored and we knew what we had to do, we said before we even snapped the ball on the first play ‘we are going for two after we score here’. It didn’t get communicated to the entire bench and the placekick team started to go out on the field, that’s why we took the timeout just to settle everyone down. We have practiced this situation before, take a deep breath and run the play, execute it and we’re going to win the game right here. “ – Coach Callahan
“When he told me that we were going for two I said ‘you’re joking, right?’ He said no, I’m totally serious and I knew what was coming, like Coach said we practiced it. Darren has an under and Reggie has a fade, back in restart and Choi has a dig. Snapped the ball, Reggie just beat the guy so just gave him a shot. I didn’t even see him catch the ball, I just came down and heard the crowd go crazy so I got up and went nuts.” – quarterback Cody Williams
Monmouth University will be on the road at Howard next week. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
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