Fourth-Quarter Comeback Lifts Monroe Football over Nassau
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., September 8, 2018 – After falling behind by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, a clutch performance on both sides of the ball helped the Monroe College football team come back and secure a 17-14 victory at Nassau Community College Saturday afternoon at Mitchel Field. The Mustangs improve to 2-0 with the win, while Nassau drops its first game of the season to fall to 2-1. The Lions got the ball on their own 14-yard line just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. Using a two-quarterback attack on the drive, the Lions moved the ball down to the Mustangs' 26-yard line before Rashad Tucker hit Jaelin Hood in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown pass, putting the home team up, 14-7, with 10:23 left to play. The Mustangs took over at their own 32-yard line after a 17-yard kickoff return by Jarious Jones. Zaire Jones rushed for three yards on first down, and then Jalen Brown hit Tyler Hodge for a four-yard catch to make it third-and-short. Brown then took it himself, found a hole, and much like the week prior, he outran the entire defense, taking it to the house for a 61-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14-14 with 8:51 on the clock. The Mustangs caught a break when a Nassau miscue caused them to lose 14 yards on first down, pinning them on their own five-yard line. A 12-yard completion from Steven Genova to Tucker gave the Lions a manageable third-and-12, but the Mustangs forced an incompletion on third down to get the ball back with plenty of time on the clock. Brown opened the drive with an eight-yard run before Zaire Jones picked up the first down on a 14-yard rush. The Mustangs put themselves in a hole on second down with a holding penalty, pushing them back to second-and-20. Facing third-and-16, Brown completed an 11-yard pass to Tyler Bailey, but the Mustangs were stuck on the Nassau 25-yard line looking at fourth-and-five. Head coach Terry Karg called on his kicker, Diogo Alves Dos Santos Pereira, for a 42-yard field goal, which the lefty put through the uprights easily to give Monroe a 17-14 lead. The Mustang defense looked fired up on the ensuing drive. They were all over the Lions, dropping them for losses on both first and second down. Tucker rushed for five yards on third, and the Lions elected to go for it on fourth with less than two minutes to play. Tucker was then intercepted by Jahvaron Burks on Monroe's 34-yard line, taking away what looked to be Nassau's final opportunity. The Mustangs looked to take as much time off the board as they could on their next drive. Three straight runs were followed by Nassau timeouts, but Monroe was unable to get across the first-down marker, and was forced to punt with 1:24 to play. A 52-yard punt by Alves helped the Mustangs in their efforts to hang on to the lead, while a 19-yard return by Tucker put the Lions on their own 31-yard line with the clock reading 1:07. The Lions settled for a number of short plays, taking three of them to get a first down. They picked up another first when Tucker rushed for 10 yards on second down, pushing the Lions to their own 43-yard line. Monroe called timeout with 13 seconds left to work on a plan to keep the Lions from reaching field-goal range. Tucker completed an 11-yard pass to Dayquan Audain, who ran out of bounds to stop the clock with Nassau on Monroe's 46-yard line. Tucker then tried to hit Hood in the end zone, where a defensive pass interference penalty was called on Monroe, setting up the Lions for an untimed play from the 31-yard line. Tucker tried one more time to hit Hood in the back corner of the end zone, but Qudair Sims was all over it, knocking down the ball to end the game. The Mustangs took the first lead of the day after a long drive that started in the first quarter and concluded in the second. A 13-play, 70-yard drive that spanned 6:39 was capped off by a three-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Nyjaliek Williams, giving the Mustangs a 7-0 lead at the 12:06 mark of the second quarter. Nassau managed to put together an impressive drive at the end of the half to tie the game. With just seconds remaining in the half, Marcus Layne took the handoff and found his way into the end zone from eight yards out to make it a 7-7 game with no time left on the clock. Brown completed 11-of-21 passes for Monroe for 91 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on Saturday. He once again impressed with his legs, rushing 20 times for 89 yards, including his 61-yard touchdown. Zaire Jones was the featured back in Saturday's win, rushing 23 times for 102 yards. Victor Mintz caught three passes for 37 yards, while Hodge added four receptions for 35 yards. Williams converted his only reception for a three-yard score. Grant Melton and Rashon McNeil both tallied double-digit tackles in the game, making 11 and 10 takedowns, respectively. Jordan Valerius-Twyman was a force on the defensive line, making seven tackles, including a sack and three tackles for loss. Niadre Zouzoua had two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the game, while also forcing a fumble. Gene Brown matched Zouzoua's 2.5 tackles for loss, adding a sack in the win. Burks made a clutch interception in the fourth quarter for Monroe, while Emmanuel Appiah-Tahkyi took the ball away from the Lions in the first quarter. Sims broke up two passes in the win, including the final play of the game to secure the victory. Joshua Boyd, Zion Powell, Jason Simon and Melton each had a pass breakup as well. The Mustangs get back to work on Saturday, Sept. 15, when they visit a tough Louisburg College team in Louisburg, N.C. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.