NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- In a battle of two nationally-ranked, unbeaten teams, the #14 Monroe Mustangs dropped a game to the #8 Lackawanna Falcons, 42-33, on Saturday. The Mustangs fell to 6-1 with the loss.
Freshman signal-caller Sean Kelly started his first game for Monroe. The Colchester, Connecticut native didn't disappoint, throwing for 380 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Mustangs' vaunted run game was held to -11 yards in all, with Ryan Fulse limited to just 24 yards on the day. The stalwart offensive line, which had played consistently well all season, allowed six sacks in the game.
Monroe fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter on a pair of Lackawanna rushing touchdowns (including an 84-yard scamper from David Pindell). The Mustangs responded with a two-play scoring drive that culminated in Kelly tossing a 71-yard pass to Rakeem Langston for a touchdown. Monroe was back in the game at 14-7. The Falcons scored once more to lead 21-7 after a quarter.
The Kelly-to-Langston connection came alive in the second quarter, when the wide receiver hauled in his second touchdown of the game, this one covering 42 yards. An extra point from Jared Calhoun made the score 21-14. Lackawanna scored once more to lead 28-14 at the half.
Monroe got the second-half kickoff, but went three-and-out. On the subsequent drive, the Falcons had an 81-yard scoring drive to push the lead to 35-14. From there, the Mustangs got a pair of touchdowns. Aaron Lewis hauled in an 18-yard pass from Kelly to cap an eight-play, 57-yard drive late in the third. The Mustangs went for two and Omar Brown was stopped short of the goal line. The score was 35-20 at the the end of the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Langston caught his third touchdown of the game. This one covered 45 yards and helped cap an 11-catch, 265-yard performance from the sophomore. The extra point made the score 35-27, and the Mustangs were within a score.
The Falcons answered with another scoring drive, seemingly putting the game away at 42-27, but Monroe fought back once again. The team covered 58 yards in just 1:28 of game time, and Kelly found Thomas Lawus in the end zone. The next point was blocked, so the score remained at 42-33. Lackawanna ran out the clock and held on for the nine-point victory.
Michael Kwegyir-Attah led the defense with eight tackles, three of which were for loss, and a pair of sacks. Darrius Stokes and Richard Jernigan each had an interception, and Jernigan also forced a fumble.
The Monroe College Football team will return to action on Saturday, October 22nd, hosting Hudson Valley Community College for the 2016 Homecoming game. The game, which is part of a week of festivities, is slated to start at 1:30 PM.