The Central Connecticut football team saw its 15-game home winning streak come to an end on Saturday afternoon, dropping a 24-12 decision to visiting Monmouth. With the loss the Blue Devils are 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Northeast Conference action. The streak had been tied for the longest in the nation.
"We didn't play the way we need to to win ball games," head coach Jeff McInerney said following the first home loss for CCSU since Nov. 17, 2007. "We need to take care of business at home in this league. But one loss doesn't knock us out of the race. We have things to fix and we'll get started doing that right away."
The Hawks scored the first 17 points of the game, and controlled the pace of the game early. Kyle Frazier hit Neal Sterling on the first drive of the game for Monmouth to take a 7-0 lead just 2:46 into the contest. The pass came from 32-yards out.
"We fell behind early and coudln't recover or get any flow on offense," McInerney said. "We are trying to find that balance, and today it wasn't there. We have some things to take care of in practice this week, and that's my job to make sure we do that."
Monmouth led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter after a 41-yard field goal from Eric Spillane. Julina Hayes rushed in from six-yards out to begin the second quarter to stretch the lead to 17-0.
Then momentum shifted for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils got on the board with 1:18 to play before halftime, making it 17-7. Senior Brian Fowler rushed in from nine-yards out to cut it to 10. Central had forced a Monmouth turnover in their own territory, and then went 84 yards on 14 plays to put some points on the board.
To open the third quarter junior Juan Duque kicked a 26-yard field goal for the Blue Devils to make it 17-10. The kick capped a 13-play, 60-yard drive and brought the Blue Devils within a touchdown with 9:37 left in the third quarter.
Monmouth answered to open the fourth quarter to win for the second straight week. They went 60 yards on 13 plays to build a 24-10 lead.
Later, with the Hawks pinned deep in the own territory, they elected to take a safety, instead of trying to punt from the back of their end zone. The score moved to 24-12 with 9:42 to play.
Central, however, was not able to get anything going offensively following the safety. On the day Central produced just 267 yards of offense, averaging 3.9 yards per play. The Hawks had 386 total yards, including 191 on the ground.
Hayes led all rushers with 79 yards on the ground and his touchdown. Fowler led CCSU with 54 yards and his score. Senior quarter Gunnar Jespersen was 15-of-32 for 148 yards and was intercepted once.
Defensively the Blue Devils were led by juniors Lawton Arnold and Lorenzo Baker, who each had 10 tackles. Central forced three fumbles on the day, but recovered just one of them. Freshman Tyrell Holmes recovered the fumble, and added eight tackles. Sophomore defensive back Chris Linares had eight tackles.
Central will stay at home next week, hosting Sacred Heart on Oct. 1, Homecoming for CCSU, at 12 p.m.