November 8, 2008

Monmouth Holds Pioneer Offense in Check for 19-7 Win

Nov. 8, 2008

Final Stats

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (November 8, 2008) - Monmouth running back David Sinisi scored two second half touchdowns to become the Northeast Conference's all-time leading scorer leading the Hawks to a 19-7 win over visiting Sacred Heart on a rain soaked Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers led 7-6 at the half but managed just two first downs in the second half as they were held to a season-low 183 yards of total offense in falling to 8-2 on the year and 4-2 in NEC play.

The Pioneers (8-2, 4-2 NEC) held Sinisi to just 87 yards rushing on the day but his two second half scores capped a pair of scoring drives that ate up just over 13 minutes of play in the third and fourth quarters. Monmouth held the ball for 36:39 in the win and finished the day with 307 yards of total offense and got 227 through the air thanks to the arm of Brett Burke who completed 20-of-25 passes.

SHU running back Evin Jones (Pennsauken, NJ) was held to a season-low 26 yards rushing on just 10 carries. Quarterback Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) completed 19-of-33 on the day for 150 yards and a score, the lone touchdown of the day. Saturday's loss marked the first time this season SHU has been held to under 21 points in a game as well as the first time they have gone without a takeaway on defense, losing the turnover battle for the second-straight week.

Monmouth (6-4, 5-1 NEC) had two long drives in the first half but got only a pair of Fred Weingart field goals for their efforts and a 6-0 lead. The Pioneers held Sinisi in check for most of the day but especially over the first two quarters, holding the NEC's leading rusher to just 22 yards on 10 first half carries.

Trailing 3-0, the Pioneer's first drive covered 13 plays but came up empty as a 37-yard Joe Schroeder (Jackson, NJ) field goal attempt had the distance but sailed wide right. SHU finally lit the scoreboard with 9:02 to go in the second quarter as Fink capped-off an 18-play drive by hitting Jones on a one-yard strike on fourth down. The Pioneer drive found new life when Monmouth was flagged for a roughing the kicker penalty on punter Derek Marks to give SHU a first down. After Jones was stood up on third and goal from the one, the Pioneers emptied the backfield on fourth down with Jones split far left. On the snap Fink waited for the underneath receiver to clear before firing a bullet to Jones on the slant for six.

The second half was all Monmouth as the Hawk defense forced a trio of three and outs as the Pioneers went 0-for-four on third down and managed just 41 yards of total offense. Monmouth held the ball for 22:27 in the second half to just 7:33 for the Pioneer offense.

After holding SHU on their first two possessions of the third quarter, MU quarterback Brett Burke led his team on a 12-play drive that covered 65 yards to give his team back the lead with 26 seconds left in the third. Burke made the play of the game when facing a third and 12 at the SHU 43, he somehow eluded a sack and dumped the ball off to running back Bobby Giles whose four yard gain was helped by a late hit penalty on the Pioneers giving the Hawks a key first down extending the drive.

Later in the drive, it appeared SHU held on a third and goal attempt from the five but a pass interference call again extended the drive and Sinisi made the Pioneers pay plunging in on the next play from the three. After SHU's third three and out of the second half on their next possession, Sinisi struck again, running in for his second score from 12 yards out to make it 19-7 with 8:58 to play.

From there the Hawk defense took over. After a 47-yard kick-off return by freshman Garry Coles (Southington, CT) set up the Pioneers on the MU 44-yard line, the Hawk defense dug in and turned the SHU offense over on downs forcing a fourth down Fink incompletion. The Pioneers did force a Hawk punt to get the ball back with 4:06 remaining but MU linebacker Jeff Brady picked-off Fink at the 45-yard line to seal the win.

The Pioneers will close out the 2008 season at home next Saturday, November 15th playing host to Central Connecticut State. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Campus Field.

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