Quar­ter­back choice to come at game time

Gil­more to de­cide be­tween Monaco, Shoup for con­test vs. Col­gate on Satur­day

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Keith Groller Keith Groller can be reached at 610-820-6740 or at [email protected]

Le­high foot­ball coach Tom Gil­more said he’s not try­ing to fool any­body when he said his start­ing quar­ter­back Satur­day at Col­gate’s Andy Kerr Sta­dium will be a game-time de­ci­sion.

“Who starts the game will de­pend on who fin­ishes the week ahead and right now it’s not as cut-and-dried as many peo­ple may think,” Gil­more said.

Se­nior Tyler Monaco is listed as the starter on the depth chart and has started the first four games of the sea­son.

Ju­nior Ad­di­son Shoup got a lot of time in last week’s 10-3 win over Mer­ri­mack.

“Both Tyler and Ad­di­son bring a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion,” Gil­more said. “The nice thing about both of them is that they both can run the whole of­fense, but they have slightly dif­fer­ent strengths. Hav­ing the abil­ity to put them both in the game is very at­trac­tive and that has been the game plan the past two weeks and it will be the plan this week.”

Against Mer­ri­mack, Monaco com­pleted 5 of 13 passes for 34 yards and was in­ter­cepted twice and sacked once.

Shoup was 6-for-11 for 173 yards and was in­ter­cepted twice and sacked twice. He also car­ried the ball seven times for a net-13 yards and scored the game’s lone touch­down.

Monaco has com­pleted 64 of 142 passes (45.1 per­cent) for 728 yards with four in­ter­cep­tions and two TDs this sea­son.

Shoup is 14-for-20 (70 per­cent) for 220 yards with two in­ter­cep­tions and one TD pass. He also has 41 yards rush­ing.

“Both did some good things and both came up short in some ways against Mer­ri­mack,” Gil­more said. “They’re both get­ting a lot of reps and we’re al­ter­nat­ing who’s get­ting what on each day to make it more com­pet­i­tive. It brings the best out of both of them.”

Re­gard­less of who plays quar­ter­back Le­high needs bet­ter pro­duc­tion from its ground game.

The Moun­tain Hawks av­er­age just 2.1 yards per rush. Fresh­man Zaythan Hill gave Le­high a boost against Mer­ri­mack with 60 yards on four car­ries, but Le­high still had just 73 yards over­all.

The in­abil­ity to cre­ate fa­vor­able down-and-dis­tance sit­u­a­tions con­trib­uted to a 2-for-14 ef­fort on third and fourth down con­ver­sion at­tempts.

Gil­more be­lieves that hav­ing the same start­ing of­fen­sive line for the sec­ond week in a row will be ben­e­fi­cial.

“This will be the sec­ond game for them to have that chem­istry and fa­mil­iar­ity with each other and there’s no unit in foot­ball that has to work to­gether like the of­fen­sive line,” he said. “The game ex­pe­ri­ence and the chem­istry of them be­ing to­gether in the same spots has to help us.”

That’s why Gil­more thinks the quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion gets too much of the blame in as­sess­ing an of­fense that has scored just 46 points in four games — the low­est to­tal Le­high has had in its first four games since scor­ing 28 in the first four games of 1970, a stretch that in­cluded 7-0 wins over C.W. Post and Rut­gers.

5 things to know about Le­high-Col­gate

1. Pre­sea­son Pa­triot League fa­vorite and de­fend­ing champ Col­gate is 0-5, but has played two na­tion­ally-ranked FCS teams (No. 5 Vil­lanova and No. 22 Maine), FBS mem­ber Air Force and Ivy League fa­vorite Dart­mouth.

2. Col­gate’s ju­nior quar­ter­back Grant Bren­e­man, the pre­sea­son all-league choice, has been in­jured and played in just three games. He is listed third on the depth chart this week, but Gil­more said the team is pre­par­ing as though he will play.

3. Gil­more was 4-9 against Col­gate when he was the head coach at Holy Cross.

4. Le­high and Col­gate have com­bined for 22 league ti­tles, in­clud­ing the four years with the Raiders win­ning out­right crowns in 2015 and 2018 and Le­high in 2016. The two shared the league cham­pi­onship in 2017, but Le­high gained the au­to­matic FCS play­off berth by virtue of a win over Col­gate in Hamil­ton, New York.

5. Le­high fresh­man TyGee Leach was named the Pa­triot League’s spe­cial teams player of the week af­ter block­ing a punt in the third quar­ter against Mer­ri­mack. It was the team’s first blocked punt since Tyler Cave­nas got one against Holy Cross in 2017. The block gave Le­high the ball at the Mer­ri­mack 16 and led to a field goal.

DOU­GLAS KILPATRICK/SPE­CIAL TO THE MORN­ING CALL

Le­high ju­nior quar­ter­back Ad­di­son Shoup, left, fires a pass dur­ing last week’s 10-3 vic­tory over Mer­ri­mack last week.

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