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Courtesy: B51Photography/Mark Brown

FOOTBALL OPENS 2016 WITH 23-21 WIN OVER LEHIGH

Courtesy: Monmouth Sports Information
         
Release: September 03, 2016
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BETHLEHEM, PA- Monmouth University’s (1-0) defense stifled a high powered Lehigh (0-1) offense while the Monmouth rushing attack pounded out 215 yards and three touchdowns as MU opened the season with a 23-21 win over the Mountain Hawks at Goodman Stadium on Saturday.
Senior running back Lavon Chaney (Edgewater, MD/South River) had 119 yards on 25 carries while adding a team-high 74 yards receiving for 193 all-purpose yards. Chaney scored Monmouth’s first and third touchdowns while fellow back Zach Welch (Middeltown, MD/Middletown) had 87 yards on 18 carries with a third-quarter TD.  Monmouth held a 7-0 lead at halftime, then pushed it to 14-0 on Welch’s three yard run with 9:04 left in the third quarter. Lehigh battled back with a pair of short TD runs tying it up with 13:28 to play in regulation.
Monmouth took a 23-14 lead after a 46 yard Matt White (Gibsonia, PA/Mars Area) was followed up by junior safety Marcus Leslie’s (Miami, FL/Coral Reef Senior) first career interception led to a one-yard Chaney TD with 8:36 to play. Lehigh drove the length of the field in just over four minutes to cut the MU lead to 23-21 but Chaney, Welch and the Monmouth offensive line grinded out two first downs to run out the clock and give the Hawks the win.
Notes & Quotes
“I think the o-line did a terrific job, our ability to run the ball was huge throughout the game and established ourselves to win the line of scrimmage. When we needed it we were able to knock them off the ball. We have a group of running backs that complement each other and we don’t seem to miss a beat. Lavon and Zach bring a different style to the game.” Head Coach Kevin Callahan on the team’s rushing performance today
“I was just reading the QB’s eyes and made a play on the ball. Felt good to get the first one, we needed the momentum swing and got it.”  Junior safety Marcus Leslie on his first career interception
"In the first half, you could just see the sheer dominance, we were imposing our will and everything we wanted to do, we were doing it with what seemed to be little effort."  Senior linebacker Payton Minnich on the defense’s first half effort
”The o-line was phenomenal today they killed it upfront. My goal is to beat them with speed and Zach just runs through people, it just comes down to the o-line getting that initial push and getting up to that second level. Coach Dorsett always says that our job during the four minute drill is to get first downs.” Senior Lavon Chaney
• Senior wide receiver Darren Ambush (Dickerson, MD/Urbana) led all wideouts with seven catches for 66 yards
• Ambush now has 1,007 career receiving yards- the 10th Monmouth player to eclipse that plateau
• White’s 46 yard field goal set a new career high for the junior, his previous best was 40
• Monmouth has now won the last two games in the series – both at Goodman Stadium
• Lehigh leads the series 5-2
• The win marks Monmouth’s sixth season-opening win and first season-opening win against Lehigh in five attempts
• Defensive end Darnell Leslie (Gaithersburg, MD/Quince Orchard) recorded his 13th career-sack, which ties him for ninth all-time with former Hawk Brian Sweeney
• Chaney needs 301 all-purpose yards to move into fifth all-time
Numbers Crunch
• Monmouth’s defense held Lehigh’s offense, which averaged 451 ypg last year, to 239 total yards, including 80 yards on the ground
• Both Chaney and Welch outgained the entire Mountain Hawk offensive unit on the ground
• MU outgained Lehigh 233-40 in the first quarter
• Both of Monmouth’s defensive ends that missed last season recorded sacks against LU (Talley & D. Leslie)
• Junior safety Mike Basile (Brick, NJ/Brick Memorial) led the Hawks with nine tackles- all solo
• Monmouth held a 20:36 to 9:24 TOP advantage at halftime and went on to control the clock for 37:38 total
• Freshman tight end Jake Powell’s (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) first career reception went for 24 yards
• Monmouth’s offensive line which featured 3 new starters from last season didn’t allow a sack and led the way for 215 yards rushing
• Lehigh QB Nick Shafnisky threw for 159 yards and one TD and one INT
• The reigning Patriot League Offensive Rookie of the Year, Dom Bragalone was held to 37 yards on 11 carries
Payton Minnich (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East) had seven tackles while senior Dimitrius Smith (Millstone, NJ/Jackson/Milford) finished with six tackles and a pass breakup
Up Next
Monmouth will head to Wilmington, Delaware to face Delaware State at Alumni Field on Saturday. Monmouth owns a 1-0 series record against the Hornets, defeating them in the 2014 season opener. Delaware State is 0-1 on the season, falling to Delaware 56-14 in the first game of the season.
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