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Monmouth opens 2011 with rugged slate

West Long Branch, NJ (Sports Network) - For the first time in 2011, Monmouth football will face three teams that participated in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs the season before.

Monmouth will host 2010 Patriot League champion Lehigh on Sept. 3 and 2010 Northeast Conference co-champion Robert Morris on Oct. 1 and visit 2009 FCS champion and 2010 national semifinalist Villanova on Sept. 17 in the first meeting between the two programs.

The first half of the season will be particularly demanding. In addition to the games against the three 2010 playoff teams, Monmouth will visit 2010 co- NEC champ Central Connecticut State on Sept. 24, host Patriot League power Colgate on Oct. 8 and visit Bryant, which is coming off a 7-4 season, on Oct. 15.

From there, the Hawks will visit Sacred Heart (Oct. 22), host Duquesne (Oct. 29), travel to Saint Francis, Pa. (Nov. 5) and wrap up the regular season at home against Albany (Nov. 12) and Wagner (No. 19).

"The non-conference portion of the 2011 schedule is as challenging as we have ever had at Monmouth," said Kevin Callahan, the only head coach in the history of the program. "Two of the teams, Lehigh and Villanova, were FCS playoff teams in 2010. Both won games in the playoffs, and Villanova was one win away from playing for the national championship. Colgate, from the Patriot League, has been a perennial playoff contender."

Monmouth had 3-8 overall and 3-5 NEC records in 2010

2011 Monmouth Football Schedule

Sept. 3, Lehigh (Patriot League), West Long Branch, N.J

Sept. 17, at Villanova (CAA), Villanova, Pa.

Sept. 24, at Central Connecticut State (NEC), New Britain, Conn.

Oct. 1, Robert Morris (NEC), West Long Branch, N.J.

Oct. 8, Colgate (Patriot League), West Long Branch, N.J.

Oct. 15, at Bryant (NEC), Smithfield, R.I.

Oct. 22, at Sacred Heart (NEC), Fairfield, Conn.

Oct. 29, Duquesne (NEC), West Long Branch, N.J.

Nov. 5, at Saint Francis, Pa. (NEC), Loretto, Pa.

Nov. 12, Albany (NEC), West Long Branch, N.J.

Nov. 19, Wagner (NEC), West Long Branch, N.J.

01/31 14:37:17 ET