If a conversation is being had about the best football players in the MAC, the conversation, by law I’d think, should include Demetrius Monday. We’re having that conversation, and Monday comes in at number 12 on our countdown - if for no other reason than he once nearly won a division one football game by himself. No, really.
Okay, not really, but in the way a player metaphorically can win a game by his or herself, Monday just about did it. It was September 19th of last year, and some football fans in Minnesota were in for a treat in an otherwise dull football game.
Kent State traveled to Minnesota that weekend having been embarrassed at the hands of Illinois in their season opener. They had yet to score an offensive touchdown, and that would, unfortunately, remain unchanged against the Golden Gophers. The Flashes would fall 10-7 on that day, but not before their sophomore corner wearing number 21 turned in a spectacular performance.
Monday hauled in two Mitch Leidner passes intended for someone wearing a more similar uniform in the first half, a lone bright spot in an otherwise ordinary 10-0 snooze fest. Two picks to keep your team within striking distance on the road against Big Ten competition would be enough for most corners. But Monday is not most corners, and he absolutely wasn’t done.
Perhaps frustrated with the lack of offense - both Minnesota and Kent State ranked near the bottom in scoring in their respective leagues - Monday delivered some fireworks by stripping the ball from a receiver heading to ground midway through the third quarter, and returning it 80 yards the other way for a touchdown. Kent State was within three points, instead of down 17, and they had Monday to thank. It’s a shame the offense couldn’t pick up the slack, the Flashes probably deserved a better result.
As for the rest of the season, Monday recorded six total interceptions, good for second in the MAC behind NIU’s Shawun Lurry (9) and sixth nationally. However, most of the damage in turnover creation was done in the beginning of the season, as five of the six interceptions happened in the first four games. He went three straight contests without an interception following a two pick performance against Miami before grabbing his final - a 69 yard return for a touchdown - against Buffalo.
2016 will be a challenging one for the now junior corner, as he will match up against best wide receivers the conference and the country has to offer. In week four it’s Alabama. The week after he’ll see the dynamic Jerome Lane, of Akron, a receiver that averaged over 20 yards per reception a year ago. On November 8th Monday will see WMU’s Corey Davis, one of the best receivers in the country, and on November 25th Kenny Golladay of NIU comes to Kent. A treat, really, to see Monday and Shawun Lurry on the field at the same time.
Flashes fans should fully expect another selection to the All-MAC first team for Demetrius Monday, and considering the assignments he likely draws, it will be more than deserved.