NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Sophomore quarterback Sean Kelly fueled the Mustang offense to a huge day, as the Monroe College football team rolled to a 56-20 victory on the road on Saturday against Hocking College at Boston Field to open the 2017 campaign with a win.
Kelly registered four total touchdowns in Saturday's victory. He passed for two of them after going 18-of-29 for 167 yards in the air. Kelly rushed for two more scores, and tallied 39 yards on nine carries.
Freshman tailback Makiya Caesar made his presence known quickly, totaling 172 yards and a score on just 14 carries, and adding a catch for 13 yards. Sophomore receiver Shea Holbrook had a big day of his own, corralling seven passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.
The Mustangs got their season started on the right foot, scoring just four plays into the game. With the ball on their own 48-yard line, Caesar got the carry, and took it 52 yards to the house to quickly put Monroe on top, 7-0.
Later in the first, a third-down stop by the Mustang defense at midfield got Monroe the ball back on its own 19-yard line. Kelly completed a 10-yard pass to Aaron Lewis on third down to keep the drive alive. Kelly converted another third down with a completion to Diavonte Todd for 16 yards down to the Monroe 46-yard line. A defensive pass interference then put the Mustangs on the Hocking 39. Kelly hit Holbrook for another 16 yards, and then later, Kelly kept it himself and rushed it in from 14 yards out to make it a 13-0 game. The Mustangs then converted a two-point attempt to grab a 15-0 advantage with 1:13 left in the first.
The Hawks managed to respond a few possessions later when Mikale Clark completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Greenhow, but Hocking missed the extra point try, leaving the Mustangs ahead, 15-6. On the following drive, Caesar set up the Mustangs with a 29-yard rush to the Hocking 31-yard line. Three plays later, Kelly found Holbrook in the back of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown to push the Mustang lead to 22-6, which eventually stuck as the halftime score.
Monroe kicked off to open the second half, but quickly forced a three-and-out to gain the Mustangs' first possession of the third. On fourth-and-one from the Hocking 26-yard line, Kelly got what he needed and much more, rushing for 22 yards down to the four-yard line. He then called his own number again, scoring a four-yard rushing touchdown to put Monroe ahead by 23 at the 11:21 mark of the third.
On the next possession, Hocking put itself in position to score when Clark found Greenhow for a 35-yard catch down to the Monroe 23. Keron Williams then took a handoff the final 23 yards to cut into Monroe's lead and make it a 29-12 game.
Later in the third, Kelly capped off a 60-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Lewis to take a 35-12 advantage. On the ensuing drive, Dominique Rogers intercepted Clark's pass on third down, returning it all the way to the end zone for another Mustang touchdown, giving them a comfortable 42-12 lead with three minutes still left in the third.
The Mustangs kept the heat on the Hawks, causing a fumble on the next drive to take over in Hocking territory. Seven plays later, Jalen Brown plunged in from the goal line to give Monroe a 49-12 edge with 12:19 still left in the game. Hocking turned things around to put together a 10-play, 67-yard drive, capped off by a two-yard run into the end zone by Jayvon Wilson to cut Monroe's lead to 49-20. Monroe quickly responded after Rasheed Martin scampered for 54 yards on the first play of the next possession, and scored on the next play on a one-yard run to take Monroe's advantage to 56-20.
Martin and Brown each found pay dirt on the ground for the Mustangs on Saturday. Martin picked up 80 yards on just four touches, while Brown ran for 24 yards on four carries. Lewis scored a touchdown after making five catches for 29 yards.
Dominique Rogers had a big defensive day with a pick six, four tackles and a tackle for loss. Dejohn Rogers tallied a team-high five stops. Kicker Jake Smith did not attempt a field goal, but he was good on all six extra-point tries.
Clark completed 20-of-36 passes for Hocking for 184 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Wilson and Williams each scored on the ground, while Greenhow totaled 72 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.
The Mustangs get back to work on Friday, Sept. 8, when they visit Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y. The Mustangs and Lions will face off under the lights, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.