Massachusetts College Football: Week Five Schedule

Can Bryant Johnson and the Falcons knock-off the AIC Yellow Jackets on Friday? We'll find out! (photo courtesy of Bentley Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s hard to believe, but the college football season’s fifth week is set to kick-off on Friday evening, as a few teams battle for top spots in their conference, while others will look to earn their first of second win of the year. Here’s the schedule, enjoy.

Friday September 30, 2011:

* Westfield State at Bridgewater State – 6:30pm

* American International at Bentley – 7:00pm

Saturday October 1, 2011: 

* Maine Maritime at Worcester State – 12:00pm

* Framingham State at Massachusetts Maritime – 12:00pm

* MIT at University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth) – 12:00pm

* Western New England at Salve Regina – 12:00pm  

* Wake Forrest at Boston College – 12:30pm

* Holy Cross at University of New Hampshire – 1:00pm

* Harvard at Lafayette – 1:00pm

* Plymouth State at Nichols College – 1:00pm

* Merrimack College at St. Anselm – 1:00pm

* WPI at Union – 1:00pm

* Stonehill College at New Haven – 1:00pm

* Bowdoin College at Amherst College – 1:00pm

* Tufts at Bates College – 1:00pm

* Williams at Trinity – 1:30pm

* Coast Guard at Fitchburg State – 1:30pm

* Springfield College at Kings Point – 2:00pm  

* Endicott College at Curry College – 7:00pm

* University of Massachusetts at Old Dominion – 7:00pm 

Rubin: Red Sox Pitching Was The Achilles’ Heel

Would you say, the Red Sox failed to win games because of their pitching?

By Dan Rubin 

It’s easy to point the finger at the 2011 Boston Red Sox by blaming the front office, the manager and his staff, or any one of the free agent busts they’ve signed over the past two years.

Detractors will be extremely quick to tell Red Sox fans they lost the season because of a clubhouse filled with overpriced babies, whining brats, and players who couldn’t get along. They’ll use that as fodder to lob at Theo Epstein and Terry Francona, and they’ll do it by saying, the Red Sox essentially became the New York Yankees.

Although, the real reason the Red Sox failed wasn’t because of a lack of output, yet instead – pitching.

Championships aren’t won without a lockdown bullpen and a good starting rotation. As Sox fans in the ‘90’s remember, it was easy to have a terrible season when you had one great starter and four mediocre arms.

The ‘02 Red Sox failed to qualify for the postseason even though they had two 20-game winners in Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe and the American League batting champion, Manny Ramirez. Boston failed to qualify for the playoffs that year because of their third, fourth and fifth starters, along with their bullpen that couldn’t close the door on any opponent.

The ‘04 Red Sox had multiple front-end starters, headlined by the aces of Martinez and Curt Schilling. Behind them, every starter won 10-games and pitched over 175 innings, while the bullpen shut the door at key times thanks to Mike Timlin and Alan Embree.  Only one Boston starter that year had a WHIP over 1.5 (Lowe). Also, Lowe, Tim Wakefield, and Bronson Arroyo gave the Sox a chance to win games too.

The ‘07 edition was even better, as their rotation included Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka, (making his cameo appearance for being great by pitching a team-high 204 innings). Behind them, Wakefield and Schilling, as well as Julian Tavarez and Jon Lester. With the exception of Tavarez, no pitcher had a WHIP of 1.50 or higher on the ’07 squad. Also, the bullpen that year had a well-balanced attack of relievers, as every single pitcher practically finished with – 50+ innings pitched, 3.00-4.00 ERA, 2-3 wins, and a WHIP of 0.90-1.50.

The Red Sox of ’11 featured four starters down the stretch with WHIPs over 1.5 – John Lackey, Andrew Miller, Erik Bedard, and Kyle Weiland. Their bullpen had three relievers combine for more than 50 innings, while Alfredo Aceves recorded more innings pitched than both Miller and Bedard combined.  Jonathan Papelbon was forced to finish 54 games, appear in 63, and save only 31 – and he blew three saves. Also, at the end of the season, he became used too often because Dan Wheeler, Scott Atchison, and Felix Doubront couldn’t do what the team did in ’04 and ’07, which was win games.

So, now we hit the offseason. Francona appears all but gone, and the front office is left with a number of different questions. They’ll probably go out and sign some splashy free agent, which should make everyone feel great coming into spring training next year, but until they get those workhorse guys in their clubhouse, the current roster and new additions will most likely be looking up at Tampa Bay and New York again next September.

Catching Up With Mark Dennehy (Merrimack College Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach)

By Matt Noonan 

Noontime Sports is kicking-off its 2011-12 Hockey East coverage with an interview with Merrimack College’s head coach Mark Dennehy from Tuesday’s Media Day.

Here are Dennehy’s thoughts on the upcoming season, as well as some players and things to watch out for this year. Also, the Warriors are currently ranked fifth in the conference and certainly would like to duplicate their performance from last season, where they earned 25 wins, as well as a spot in the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament.

Do you feel that you’ll be able to build off last year’s success?  If so, why? 

“I find myself repeating things I say often, so if it gets redundant, I apologize. [Although], it helps with my players – I’ll just keep pounding it in, [but] you can’t transfer wins, you can’t transfer goals, [yet] what you hope to do as a coach is to establish a culture and if it’s really taking root, then it will transfer from one year to another. In the little bit of time that I’ve been around our current team, I really get a sense that these guys understand what we need to do to have success and so far, they’re willing to pay the price, so that’s the biggest thing -[continuing to] foster that culture.”

What are some challenges or things you’re worried about going forward with this particular team?

“We scored 143 goals last year in 29-30 games and I don’t know if scoring will be as easy for us, as it was last year [because] goal scoring was a commodity and the way the game [is] played now, it’s tough to come by anyways. I think we’re going to have to manufacture some goals some more and our power play – we’ll have to work really hard to be consistent on our power play, but those are the fun parts of the game, so I don’t think working on that is as hard as [defensive] zone and blocking shots, but I think that’s probably the two biggest areas. [Also], scoring goals with regularity again and then making sure our special teams are where they need to be.”

Who are some players that you’re expecting to lead the Warriors to victory this season?

“Well, Joe Cannata, who I think has really flown under a lot of people’s radar. He’s one of the most consistent goalies that I’ve been around. He’s a big time goalie, who usually plays his best when it matters. Karl Stollery is a guy who has played literally herculean minutes from day one and then we have a senior line, which is refreshing because I think in the past we’ve really relied on our younger players of Ryan Flaigan, who had 16 goals for us [last season and], Carter Madsen another machine that brought a lot of energy. Mike Collins was on the all-rookie team, Jesse Todd had 17 goals [last season] – we like our team. We’ve got some pretty good depth and really looking forward to the year.”

What’s your overall outlook for the season? Where do you see your team finishing once the season is complete?

“I can’t get that far ahead, [but] I wish I could predict what’s going to happen a week from Friday, but we’re going to have our hands full in Maine – it’s a tough place to go and I think if we cannot get too high with the highs, to low with the lows, I think we have a pretty good team.”

Daily Noontime – September 30, 2011

The Red Sox have a lot of questions to answer this offseason!

Alright – “It’s Friday, Friday – Getting Down on Friday…” Whoops! Sorry Rebecca Black!

Indeed – it’s Friday, and time to hand out some headlines and news. Have a great weekend and of course, enjoy our most recent edition of the Daily Noontime! 

Headlines: 

* After Thursday’s press conference at Fenway Park, it’s safe to say, the Boston Red Sox are a team in turmoil.

* The MLB Playoffs officially begin Friday, which means it’s time to break down the eight squads that’ll be playing in October.

* According to sources, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein admitted that the team’s meltdown wasn’t Terry Francona‘s fault.

* Due to Indianapolis’s quarterback merry-go-round of quarterbacks, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne admitted on Michael Irvin‘s radio show Thursday that he’d like to see Curtis Painter under center instead of Kerry Collins or others.

* The Tampa Bay Rays rookie pitcher Matt Moore is expected to start game one against the Texas Rangers on Friday.

* In case you need some help with a few NFL picks – here’s Sports Illustrated’s Peter King with his week four winners and losers.

Games to Watch: 

* Tampa Bay at Texas (MLB Playoffs) – 5:07pm eastern 

* Detroit at New York Yankees (MLB) – 8:37pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

The 162nd day of the MLB season was fascinating, which is why we’d like to watch it… again! 

New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club – Week Four Awards

By NoontimeSports.com 

This past Wednesday, the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced their week four Golden Helmet Awards to University of New Hampshire’s Kevin Decker and Bentley University’s Bryant Johnson.

Here’s the press release, courtesy of Harvard Athletics Communication Intern, Christopher Hill :

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Quarterbacks Kevin Decker of New Hampshire and Bryant Johnson of Bentley were chosen by the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston as Gold Helmet Award recipients for Week 4 of the 2011 football season. 

Decker was a dual threat for the Wildcats Saturday during their 46-43 victory over Richmond, recording two touchdowns through the air, and adding two more on the ground. The Armonk, N.Y., native kept the Spiders defense off balance throwing for 239 yards and accruing 48 rushing yards in the process. Decker accounted for four of the seven Wildcat scores, including the winning 47-yard touchdown strike with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter.

Johnson threw for a career-high five touchdown passes, amassing 268 yards through the air, to lead the Falcons to their third win of the season, defeating St. Anselm, 43-16. The Hopedale, Mass., native completed 25 of 34 passes, averaging 7.3 yards per throw. Johnson accounted for all but one of the Falcons scores on Saturday, and now has 13 touchdowns on the season. 

Date    Division I    Division II/III   
Sept. 7 Pushaun Brown, RB, Maine Bryce Brown, QB, Western New England
Sept. 14 Joey Orland, WR, New Hampshire Matt Silva, QB, Framingham State
Sept. 21 Kyle-NewhallCaballero, QB, Brown Bobby Tarr, RB, Bentley
Sept. 28 Kevin Decker, QB, New Hampshire Bryant Johnson, QB, Bentley