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No. 15 Monroe Football Picks up Gritty Win in Defensive Showdown at Erie

BUFFALO, N.Y, November 3, 2018 – In a game that featured just 270 total yards of offense by both teams, the No. 15-ranked Monroe College football team picked up a gritty 12-7 victory at Erie Community College Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs improve to 6-1 on the season with the win, while the Kats drop to 6-3. Erie got on the board first in Saturday's contest after taking advantage of a short punt that set them up on Monroe's 26-yard line. Two plays later, Khalil Horton rushed it in from seven yards out to give the Kats a 7-0 lead. The ensuing kickoff was played by Tim Donnahue on the 20-yard line, where he found an opening and returned it 80 yards for the score, the Mustangs' second kickoff return touchdown in as many games, to make it a 7-6 game. Erie's special teams came up big on the ensuing extra point, blocking the kick to keep a one-point lead. Early in the second quarter, Rashon McNeil picked off Jack Edwards to give the Mustangs the ball on their own 47-yard line, but Monroe was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. The Mustangs then forced a fumble on Erie's next drive, which was recovered by Victor King at Erie's 25-yard line. Three plays into the drive, a pass interference by Erie on third down gave the Mustangs new life. A 20-yard reception for Tyler Hodge then set up the Mustangs with first and goal at the one. On third down, quarterback Jalen Brown called his own number, punching it in for the one-yard rushing score to make it a 12-7 lead for Monroe. Brown was then unable to complete a pass for the two-point conversion, keeping Monroe's lead at five. Late in the half, a pass by Erie's Spencer Loftus was intercepted by Emmanuel Appiah-Tahkyi, setting up Monroe on Erie's 30-yard line. The ensuing drive ended shortly after with a turnover on downs. In sloppy field conditions, neither team was able to get anything going in the second half, resulting in nine punts and two drives ending on downs. The Mustangs took over for the final time at midfield with 8:23 on the clock in the fourth quarter, and managed to run the entire clock off the board with 15 plays to clinch the game. Brown completed 9-of-15 passes for 59 yards in the tough conditions, while rushing 16 times for 32 yards and the Mustangs' only offensive touchdown. Tyler Bailey carried the ball 19 times for 67 yards. Grant Melton made a team-high five tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. McNeil had three tackles, a half tackle for loss, and an interception in the win. Appiah-Tahkyi had an interception and a pass breakup, as well as three tackles. Victor King recovered a fumble for the Mustangs. Both defenses played well in the win, as the Mustangs barely held a 137-133 advantage in total yards. Special teams also played a big role, as the Mustangs two kickoff returns resulted in an 80-yard touchdown by Donnahue and a 63-yard return by Jarious Jones. Jevin Frett also had two punt returns for a total of 33 yards. The Mustangs will wrap up the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 10, when they host Hocking College at Joseph F. Fosina Field in New Rochelle. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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