WORCESTER, Mass. – Monmouth tailbacks Julian Hayes and Kwabena Asante both rushed for over 100 yards, as the Hawks posted a 21-14 victory over the Holy Cross football team at Fitton Field. Hayes carried the ball 28 times for 130 yards and a touchdown, while Asante ran 24 times for 118 yards and a score. Holy Cross falls to 1-3 on the season with the loss, while Monmouth improves to 1-3 overall.
Both teams struggled to move the ball for most of the first half, until Monmouth drove 84 yards on 12 plays in the second quarter to claim a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Hill to Lamar Davenport with just 46 seconds left before halftime. The Hawks increased their lead to 14-0 midway through the third quarter on a 12-yard scoring run by Hayes.
Holy Cross moved the ball into Monmouth territory on its next possession, before Tevrin Brandon intercepted a pass by freshman quarterback Peter Pujals (Glenview, Ill.) at the three-yard line. The Hawks then drove 97 yards on 15 plays, with Asante scoring on a 14-yard run to make the score 21-0.
The Crusaders put their first points on the board when Pujals threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.) with 4:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. After a bad snap on a punt attempt on Monmouth's next possession, Holy Cross took over at the Hawks' 43-yard line with 2:47 left to play. Pujals then hit sophomore tailback Elad Covaliu (Rockville, Md.) with a 16-yard scoring stike with 1:23 remaining, and the Crusaders trailed by only seven points. But the Hawks recovered the ensuing onside kick, and were able to run out the clock to hold on for the victory.
Pujals completed 12 of 19 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns on the evening, in addition to leading the team in rushing with 22 yards on nine carries. Fess led Holy Cross' receivers with five catches for 47 yards and a score.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.) made a game-high 11 tackles for the Crusaders, while senior defensive tackle Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) added nine tackles.
Holy Cross returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 28, when it travels to Dartmouth for a 7:00 p.m. game.