12:00 PM ET, December 2, 2006
Kessler Field, WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) -- J.T. Rogan ran for two touchdowns while San Diego's defense had a strong performance and added a score as the Toreros beat Monmouth 27-7 in the inaugural Gridiron Classic on Saturday.
Rogan's scores, which both came in the second quarter, broke open a close game and gave San Diego (11-1) the mid-major national championship for the second straight year.
"I told the team after the game how proud I was of them," head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "This is the best USD football team in the history of the program."
Quarterback Josh Johnson paced the Toreros offense, rushing for a game-high 104 yards and completing 18-of-30 passes for 180 yards despite dealing with strong, gusty winds for most of the game. Johnson completed passes to eight different players, with John Matthews catching five for 71 yards and Wes Doyle hauling in four for 53 yards.
Monmouth (10-2) was able to pressure Johnson early on and their defense made the game's first big play when Mike Nunziato picked off Johnson's pass at the Hawks 3-yard line with 7:39 to play in the first quarter. But seven plays later, Ben Hannula intercepted Brian Boland and returned it 37 yards to give San Diego a 7-0 lead.
The teams then traded possessions before Rogan got his first score with a 5-yard run early in the second quarter. He then added another score with a 4-yard scamper with 28 seconds left in the half to put the Toreros ahead 19-0 at the break.
The Hawks, though, came out strong after halftime and scored on their first possession when David Sinisi ran in from a yard out to culminate a 6-play, 78-yard drive. The score came one play after Boland completed a 57-yard pass to Shane Sharpley, who was brought down a yard short of the goal line.
Monmouth held San Diego on their ensuing possession and appeared to be driving for another score when Hannula made his second interception of the game at the Torero's nine-yard line. San Diego then kept the Hawks in check for the rest of the game, and Brendan Feliczak sealed the win when he ran in from three yards out late in the fourth quarter.
Boland completed 14-of-24 passes for 145 yards, while Chris Kiley had a career-high five receptions for 51 yards. Sinisi led the Hawks ground game with 10 carries for 38 yards.
"That was a great football game between two very good teams," said Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan. "We missed out on some opportunities, but that doesn't take away from the accomplishments of this team."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-16||5-12|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-1|
|TD||5:16||BEN HANNULA 37 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (HUTCH PARKER KICK)||7||0|
|TD||13:48||JT ROGAN 5 YD RUN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 42 yards.
|TD||0:28||JT ROGAN 4 YD RUN (FAILED 2PT PASS)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 79 yards.
|TD||8:11||DAVID SINISI 1 YD RUN (MIKE PIZZULLI KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 78 yards.
|TD||3:29||BRENDAN FELICZAK 3 YD RUN (CHRIS RAMSEY 2PT PASS FROM JOSH JOHNSON)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 42 yards.