MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY Monmouth University’s Lavon Chaney runs by a Columbia defender on his way to scoring a touchdown during the Hawks’ Oct. 11 Homecoming game at Kessler Field in West Long Branch. The Hawks improved their record to 5-1 with the 61-28 triumph. MATT DENTON The Monmouth University football team will bring a lot of momentum with it when the Hawks make their Big South Conference debut.Monmouth is off this week after giving fans a lot to cheer about at Homecoming, beating Columbia, 61-28, in West Long Branch on Saturday. The win improved Monmouth’s out-of-conference record to 5-1.After the week off, the Hawks play their first-ever Big South Conference game in Clinton, S.C., against Presbyterian on Oct. 25.“Being part of a conference is something exciting for our team,” head coach Kevin Callahan said before the start of the season. Monmouth played an independent schedule in 2013.Monmouth heads into conference play behind an offense that has scored 50-plus points in three games. Against Columbia, quarterback Brandon Hill (Audubon) set a school record for most 300-yard passing games. The 6-foot-5-inch senior threw for 301 yards on 18-24 passing, and four touchdowns, as Monmouth improved to 3-0 at Kessler Field this year.Hill tossed a pair of TD passes to Lamar Davenport (Asbury Park) of 18 and 25 yards, as well as a 23-yarder to Eric Sumlin (Dover, Del.) and a 31-yarder to Darren Ambush (Dickerson, Md.). Hill also caught a touchdown pass from Lavon Chaney (South River), a six-yard scoring play.Running back Chaney ran for 108 yards and one TD, and threw a pair of touchdown passes, one to Hill and the other to Zach Fabel (Brigantine), a two-yarder. Ed Royds (Shawnee/Navy) led the Hawk running attack, with 119 yards.Monmouth raced out to a 40-0 lead at the half against its Ivy League foe.Monmouth’s offense totaled 602 yards and 33 first downs in the win.On defense Payton Minnich (Central Dauphin East, Pa.) had three interceptions in the second quarter that all led to Monmouth touchdowns. His three picks were a new school record.John Sieczkowski (Manalapan), Mike Basile (Brick Memorial), Teddie Martinez (Baltimore) and Kevin Butler (Piscataway) shared the team lead, with four total tackles each.For the season, Hill has thrown for 1,713 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s completed 138 of his 216 passes.Chaney leads the team in rushing, with 496 yards, and he has run for six scores. He has a team-high 992 all-purpose yards. Royds has the longest gain from scrimmage, at 44 yards.Neal Sterling (Manasquan) is the leading receiver, with 34 catches for 569 yards and three scores.Sieczkowski is the leading tackler for the Hawks, with 44 stops. Basile is second, with 36.Basile and Minnich share the lead in pass interceptions, with three.Presbyterian is currently 3-3.Monmouth’s first home Big South game is Nov. 1 against Charleston Southern, which is also 5-1. Kickoff is 1 p.m. in West Long Branch.Monmouth has beaten Delaware State, 52-21; Wagner, 21-16; Lehigh, 28-21; Robert Morris, 51-20, and Columbia. The Hawks’ lone loss was 30-21 to Duquesne.