Dec 1 / Rob

Monmouth It Is Then

The JMU Dukes spent the opening weekend of the 2019 FCS Playoffs resting up and waiting to see who they’d play. Monmouth took care of business by beating Holy Cross 44-27, and now the Hawks will head to the ‘burg to take on JMU in round two. In the win, Monmouth jumped out a 23-0 lead, before Holy Cross rallied to make it a game (on paper). The Hawks were the better team and the deserving winner. It was Monmouth’s first ever FCS playoff win. The Dukes will aim to make it their last one for a while when the teams face off on Saturday in Bridgeforth. Monmouth isn’t a household name in the world of football (or anything else really), but it’s a solid program. Here are a few quick facts about the Hawks to get you ready for the big game this week.

Going Streaking

Monmouth’s win over Holy Cross was its 9th straight. The Hawks went undefeated in conference play to win the Big South and haven’t lost a game since all the way back in September, when they lost to Montana in Missoula.

Lighting Up the Scoreboard

Monmouth can put some points on the board. During the Hawks’ 9 game winning streak, they’ve scored 35 or more points 8 times and have averaged 42 points a game.

Run, Run, Run

The Hawks like to run the ball. And they’re good at it. Their running back, Pete Guerriero is an absolute stud. He entered the first round game against Holy Cross as the FCS’s leading rusher averaging 139 yards a game. Then all he did was run for 220 yards and 3 TDs. It was his third straight game with over 200 rushing yards.

Slightly Banged Up

Monmouth loves to run, but they can throw it too. QB Kenji Bahar has completed over 65% of his passes for 3,511 yards with 29 TDs and only 8 picks. But he pulled up with what appeared to be some sort of leg injury during the first half against Holy Cross. He stayed in the game, but had limited mobility. His health could be a huge factor, especially with JMU’s ability to get the quarterback.

6 Comments

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  1. Rob K / Dec 1 2019

    Is it just me, or am I crazy to be more worried about Monmouth than the Jacks the following week?

  2. Drake / Dec 2 2019

    I don’t think you’re crazy. They looked good on offense. I think their defense is just ok. Good news is JMU is good against the run. I think that coupled with our pass rushers will be huge. I think the atmosphere at Bridgeforth will also be a major factor seeing as how they aren’t use to playing in front of a crowd more than 7,000.

  3. Vincent DiMaiolo / Dec 2 2019

    I was at the Monmouth-HC game on Saturday- here is my keys to our game with Monmouth:

    Stop the run and pressure on their QB- Guerrero is a stud and can change speeds well and offensive line is big and opens holes. QB may have hamstring injury, but stayed in game looking hobbled. Not too mobile after injury.

    Avoid giving up big play- as above, Guerrero has ability to break a play open and Bahar has a good arm to pass downfield, irrespective of his lack of mobility.

    Control the clock- move the ball systematically- we should be able to run on this team.

    Make most of kick/punt returns- we have a big advantage here- HC was able to get good return yardage even though had trouble moving the ball otherwise.

  4. Dukes4 / Dec 2 2019

    In my opinion the comments above speak more of fear of the JMU bye week than of this team who beat Wagner 16-14. That conference is no CAA.
    The commentary was written with more than a hint of caution. No worries here. This is not a trap game. Go Dukes- beat WHO?! (Wow- 2800 in attendance last week.)

  5. 76 / Dec 3 2019

    Doesn’t appear our attendance will be what we’d like, by
    looking at ticket availability. Therefore those of us there
    will have to raise some hell to create that nasty Bridgeforth
    atmosphere.

  6. CJ / Dec 4 2019

    I watched Monmouth vs Holy Cross, my conclusion was that the Dukes should have no problem with this one. I hope I’m not surprised but I see Monmouth scoring a few but ultimately a decisive Dukes victory. Monmouth showed nothing in any aspect of that game that i think can match JMU’s superior talent.

    What concerns me is a team with a good quarterback who has time to sit back and throw to his receivers. Throughout the season, inferior teams have been able to get their receivers open and complete passes against our secondary. The best way to beat us (just ask Stony Brook) is to force our offense into a shootout put the pressure on us to keep up. As the competition gets tougher…and South Dakota state will be a huge test…the Dukes will really need that pass defense to step up like MJ Hampton did against Villanova.

    This year’s team is better than last year’s, and I credit Coach Cignetti for hitting the ground running and having a great regular season. However, while I think we’re capable of making it to the championship, I’m still not sure we’ve got what it takes to beat North Dakota State (who by any measure is pretty much a lock for Frisco). As I mentioned before, I hope this season is reminiscent of 2004 when we hit our stride in the playoffs and found ways to win every Saturday against worthy opponents.

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