The season finale is upon us. On Saturday, the Dukes will travel to New Jersey to take on the Monmouth Hawks.
Though the Hawks sit at 6-5, don’t be fooled. They played some difficult games as an independent this year. Actually, though they were an independent, don’t be fooled – they played every NEC team other than CCSU, too. Or they will, after they face off against Duquesne.
If Monmouth were in the NEC this year, they’d have a record of 3-2 and would also have a share of the title (but would still not be in the playoff – they lost to Sacred Heart, too). They went the independent route as a prelude to their move to the Big South conference.
The M.O. for the Hawks this year is one that is familiar to the Dukes – a strong rushing attack and a quarterback that gets around 200 yards per game. The key difference here is that the rushing load is split. Two players, Julian Hayes and KB Asante, combined for 2000 yards and 15 touchdowns this year. A formidable duo to say the least.
Brandon Hill is the quarterback and he’s capable if unspectacular. He’s good for about a pick per game. His favorite target is wideout Neal Sterling. This is a very effective offense in the red zone, scoring on 29 of 33 trips – and scoring pretty evenly between the pass and the run.
Defensively, expect to hear the name Darnell Leslie. Darnell has 7.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and a pick. He can be a disruptive force. Of their last eight opponents, only two have managed to throw for more than 200 yards on the Hawks – Cornell and Bryant.
Monmouth is 5-2 in their last seven games against Duquesne, including 2-1 at home. Last year, this was a tight game. The Dukes were down early and came back only to fall short in the end. The Dukes are 1 – 4 on the road this year and are 3 – 8 on the road going back to last season.
Stay tuned for more coverage, including the keys to victory, on Saturday morning!