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Monmouth Hawks vs. Central Michigan Chippewas football recap: Bonamego earns first win 31-10

Chippewas defeat Monmouth 31-10 despite a stout second half effort by the Hawks

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

This contest was penciled the Chippewa schedule as a momentum game. CMU was pitted against a team making its first appearance against an FBS opponent.

The question mark for the Chips was whether they could continue the solid play evidenced in their previous performance against Oklahoma State or would they regress against an FCS opponent? CMU head coach John Bonamego's pre-game assessment was modest: Continue to improve regardless of the opponent.

CMU took the opening kickoff and drove rather effortlessly to the Monmouth 22 yard line. A nifty pass from Cooper Rush to Mark Chapman on third and ten kept the drive alive. It was Chapman again on an end around to score from 11 yards out capping a 14 play 73 yard drive that took 5:56 off the clock. Chippewa fans are going to love the young sophomore Chapman. He is a skilled route runner with a flair for the dramatic which will endear him to the Kelly/Shorts faithful.

Monmouth responded by going in reverse losing yardage on every play with the help of numerous penalties. CMU responded in kind by giving the ball back at its own 42 courtesy of a muffed punt. Monmouth almost stuck a dagger in the Chippewas when a beautifully executed flea flicker missed by one tick. The Chippewa offense steamrolled on a long drive from there as quarter one ended with CMU up 7-0.

Another young Chippewa receiver got into the act on the second play of the second quarter when redshirt freshman Corey Wills caught a 17 yard pass in the end zone. It was a thing of beauty arching high and then falling gracefully into the hands of the wide open Willis.

A seven play 29 yard drive ended in a 30 yard field goal by Brian Eavey lifting the Chips to a 17-0 lead. The next CMU drive showed the results of good living for CMU tight end Ben McCord as he hooked up with Cooper Rush for an 82 yard bomb to put the Chips up 24-0 at 7:08.

CMU gifted Monmouth 30 yards in penalties on the ensuing Hawk drive. Monmouth kicker Matt White used the Chips' generosity to convert on a 37 yard field goal and put his team on the board 3:00 to play in the half. With what was left, Cooper Rush continued an almost ridiculous streak of third down conversions and then clicked on a one yard pass to his fullback Joe Bacci giving the Chips a 31-3 halftime lead.

The second half began almost as an afterthought. Hawks quarterback Cody Williams showed some life by leading his team straight down the field to the CMU 7 yard line. From there, Zach Welch gave the Hawks their first touchdown on a hard run plowing thru tacklers.

This forced the Chips to bring out Cooper Rush and the first team offense. It was not a good idea as Rush was rocked and sent to the bench on a fine defensive play by the Hawks. Young Williams was unable to continue the momentum gained by the Hawks on the last two series and the Hawks' hopes landed with a thud after a bad punt went out of bounds at their own 41 yard line. Lackluster and sloppy play by both teams mercifully ended the third quarter. The lowlights for CMU were a Cooper Rush pick and a partially block Ron Coluzzi punt.

Statistical domination by CMU skewed what was actually a well played game by the overmatched Hawks. The takeaway for Central Michigan is that it's young receivers are poised to be excellent as a group. This should help CMU in the upcoming games against tough opposition .