CENTRAL CONNECTICUT HOLDS OFF MONMOUTH, 28-21
Hawks End 1999 Season at 2-8
NEW BRITAIN, CT -- Quarterback KEITH TOOLAN tossed a pair of touchdown passes during a six-minute span in the fourth quarter as Central Connecticut (4-6, 3-4 NEC) held off a late rally and knocked off Monmouth University (2-8, 2-5 NEC), 28-21 in the season finale for both teams at Veterans Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
GARFIELD WHITE blocked DARRELL NICK’s (Forked River, NJ/Lacey) punt, the fourth block of the game by the Blue Devils giving CCSU the ball on Monmouth 33. Central Connecticut moved the ball down to the Hawks’ 12, but a penalty pushed the ball back to the 27 yardline. MARKICE STEPHENS (Clifton, NJ/Clifton) then sacked Toolan setting up the pivitol fourth down. On the play, Toolan rolled to his right before stepping up in the pocket and lofting pass to DARRYL TAYLOR, who got behind his cover man for a 29-yard touchdown with 14:01 to play in the game.
“It’s a fourth-and-long play and out initial coverage was good,” said Hawks head coach Kevin Callahan. “He (Toolan) pulled the ball down and scrambled which then makes those plays difficult to defend.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Monmouth’s JASON ROACH (Toms River, NJ/Manchester) was stripped of the football with the Blue Devils recovering at the Monmouth 30 yardline. After a couple of rushes, Toolan found ANTHONY LIQUORE in the left-front corner of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown giving CCSU the 14-point advantage with 8:42 to go.
“The fumble was a real critical point in the game,” said Callahan. “They just scored, but we had a lot of confidence that we could move the ball and then they get the ball back and turn it into more points.”
Monmouth would get back within 28-21 with 6:11 to play as MATT MERKLINGER (West Orange, NJ/Seton Hall Prep) scored his career-best third touchdown of the day from one yard out. RAHEEM BYROM (New Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick) gave the Hawks great field position with a kickoff return to the CCSU 33. CHRIS WIELGOSZ (Somerset, NJ/Franklin) then connected with EJI MAXILOM (Brielle, NJ/Manasquan) on a 27-yard completion putting the ball on the Blue Devils 3. But after three unsuccessful tries, Merklinger finally made his way into the end zone on fourth down.
The Hawks had two chances to tie the game. First, with just over three minutes to play as MU moved the ball down to the Central Connecticut 41 yardline. But Wielgosz’ fourth-down pass to Maxilom was short and the Blue Devils were able to run out the clock. Then in an attempt to run out the clock (1:30 to play), JOHN SCHULTZEL (Marlboro, NJ/Marlboro) stripped CCSU’s MARK STRASSER of the football and the Hawks recovered at their own 38 yardline. But there would be no comeback as Monmouth’s drive ended with an interception on fourth down.
Junior safety AARON EDWARDS (Jackson, NJ/Jackson) set a new Monmouth single-season record for tackles as he collected 13 and finished the season with 104, breaking the previous mark of 96 set by Schultzel last season. Edwards also had an interception and forced a fumble.
Things did not start out right for the Hawks as a costly penalty led
to a stalled opening drive. Central Connecticut then blocked Nick’s
punt, which was scooped up by IAN WHITTINGHAM and returned to the Monmouth
1. Two plays later, after a penalty moved the ball back to the five, SHA-RON
EDWARDS scored his fifth touchdown giving CCSU a 7-0 lead with 12:22 to
play in the opening quarter.
“We haven’t had four blocked punts in the seven years we’ve been playing,” said Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan. “We had an inability to protect on our punts and as a result all three of their touchdowns were a direct result of those plays.”
Monmouth would tie the score at 7-7 late in the opening quarter as Merklinger capped a 9-play, 79-yard drive with three-yard run. A personal foul penalty on CCSU got the drive going, and then quarterback Wielgosz got into a groove. He connected with MIKE TRAVIS (Keansburg, NJ/Keansburg) on a 16-yard completion and later hooked up twith STEVE SANTI on a 13-yard strike bringing the ball to the Central 26. A pair of passes to BILL HAGAN (Gloucester, NJ/Gloucester) put the ball on the Blue Devils 3, setting up Merklinger’s score.
The Hawks then caught a break as RYAN PETERSON’s (Monroeville, NJ/Delsea) ensuing kickoff was mishandled by Taylor and recovered by MU’s JASON GLENN (Raritan, NJ/Somerville) at the CCSU 14. On the first play, Wielgosz hit Hagan with a pass to the 1, but a holding penalty negated the play. It then got worse for the Hawks as Wielgosz was picked off at the 2-yardline by BO McCOWIN.
Central Connecticut’s special teams came up big again as JOHN ATTALAH blocked Nick’s punt early in the second quarter, the Blue Devils’ second of the game, giving CCSU the ball at the Monmouth 26. A crucial facemask penalty on third down turned a would-be field goal attempt into new life for Central and quarterback KEITH TOOLAN capitalized on the mistake with a seven-yard scramble for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead with 8:28 to go in the half.
Monmouth would respond on its next possession with a 13-play, 61-yard
drive tying the game at 14-14 with 3:06 left before half. Wielgosz kept
the drive alive three times with clutch third-down conversions. The junior
connected with Maxilom for 10 yards on a 3rd-and-6 and later hit Santi
for 16 on 3rd-and-7, spotting the ball at the CCSU 28. Santi’s 7-yard reception
kept the drive going down to the 17 and Maxilom put the ball on the one
with a 16-yard catch. Merklinger then capped the 5:10 drive as he plunged
in for his second TD of the game.
Box Score (Final) Monmouth Hawks vs Central Connecticut (Nov 13, 1999 at New Britain, CT) Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score ----------------- -- -- -- -- ----- Monmouth Hawks...... 7 7 0 7 - 21 Record: (2-8,2-5) Central Connecticut. 7 7 0 14 - 28 Record: (4-6,3-4) Scoring Summary: 1st 12:22 CCSU - Edwards, S. 5 yd run (Eger, C. kick), 2 plays, 1 yard, TOP 0:55, MON 0 - CCSU 7 02:54 MON - Merklinger, M. 3 yd run (Mandell, C. kick), 9 plays, 79 yards, TOP 4:09, MON 7 - CCSU 7 2nd 06:28 CCSU - Toolan, K. 7 yd run (Eger, C. kick), 6 plays, 26 yards, TOP 4:35, MON 7 - CCSU 14 03:06 MON - Merklinger, M. 1 yd run (Mandell, C. kick), 13 plays, 61 yards, TOP 3:22, MON 14 - CCSU 14 4th 14:01 CCSU - Taylor, D. 29 yd pass from Toolan, K. (Gaetano, C. kick), 6 plays, 36 yards, TOP 2:35, MON 14 - CCSU 21 08:42 CCSU - Liquore, A. 5 yd pass from Toolan, K. (Gaetano, C. kick), 9 plays, 30 yards, TOP 5:09, MON 14 - CCSU 28 06:11 MON - Merklinger, M. 1 yd run (Mandell, C. kick), 7 plays, 33 yards, TOP 2:31, MON 21 - CCSU 28 MON CCSU FIRST DOWNS................... 16 13 RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 28-47 47-156 PASSING YDS (NET)............. 249 97 Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 48-22-3 23-9-2 TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 76-296 70-253 Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 1-14 0-0 Punt Returns-Yards............ 3-16 5-67 Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 5-111 4-22 Interception Returns-Yards.... 2-0 3-14 Punts (Number-Avg)............ 6-17.2 5-34.6 Fumbles-Lost.................. 1-1 3-2 Penalties-Yards............... 7-65 8-76 Possession Time............... 25:35 34:25 Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-7 3-20 RUSHING: Monmouth Hawks-Smith, C. 11-37, Merklinger, M. 10-16, Trombetta, M. 2-5, Wielgosz, C. 5-minus 11. Central Connecticut-Strasser, M. 21-107, Edwards, S. 19-50, Taylor, D. 1-11, Toolan, K. 6-minus 12. PASSING: Monmouth Hawks-Wielgosz, C. 22-48-3-249. Central Connecticut-Toolan, K. 8-22-2-90, Eger, C. 1-1-0-7. RECEIVING: Monmouth Hawks-Santi, S. 6-63, Hagan, B. 4-59, Maxilom, E. 4-59, Smith, C. 2-21, Peck, B. 1-23, Travis, M. 1-16, Mazur, E. 1-4, Merklinger, M. 1-3, Wolfstirn, J. 1-3, Trombetta, M. 1-minus 2. Central Connecticut-Strasser, M. 4-32, Gildea, G. 2-28, Taylor, D. 1-29, Liquore, A. 1-5, Baldwin, P. 1-3. INTERCEPTIONS: Monmouth Hawks-Edwards, A. 1-0, Pitts, M. 1-0. Central Connecticut-Goncalves, M. 2-6, McCowin, B. 1-8. SACKS (UA-A): Monmouth Hawks-Emslie, C. 1-0, Stephens, M. 1-0. Central Connecticut-Kirk, M. 2-0, Parker, D. 1-0. TACKLES (UA-A): Monmouth Hawks-Edwards, A. 7-6, Schultzel, J. 6-5, Davis, M. 2-6, Key, C. 4-3, DiBella, M. 4-3, Roach, J. 4-2, Gillespie, D. 4-1, Kenny, R. 1-3, Ammacher, C. 2-1, Emslie, C. 1-2, Normand, M. 1-2, Glenn, J. 1-1, Stephens, M. 1-0, Sentipal, J. 1-0, Buraszeski, E. 1-0, Trombetta, M. 1-0, Travis, M. 1-0, Mazur, E. 1-0, Unkel, D. 0-1, Byrom, R. 0-1. Central Connecticut-Parker, D. 7-7, Whittingham, I. 3-5, Kirk, M. 6-0, McCowin, B. 5-1, Barrett, P. 2-4, Baker, D. 4-1, Graham, M. 2-2, Lewis, T. 1-3, Goncalves, M. 1-3, Atallah, J. 3-0, White, G. 2-1, Ward, B. 1-1, Muse, D. 1-1, Ford, T. 1-0, Lomotey, N. 1-0, Toolan, K. 1-0, Bartolni, A. 0-1, Ambrose, J. 0-1, Svana, B. 0-1.
Stadium: Willow Brook Park Attendance: 885 Kickoff time: 1:06 End of Game: 4:16 Total elapsed time: 3:10 Officials: Referee: J. McGinn; Umpire: B. Green; Linesman: R. Renart; Line judge: P. Burke; Field judge: T. Gallagher; Side judge: R. Sayers; Temperature: 55 Wind: E 5 mph Weather: Overcast