Mass. College Football: Five Games To Watch This Week

By NoontimeSports.com

We’re closing in on the halfway mark of another season of college football. The seventh week, which kicks-off tomorrow, will feature some intriguing, but important conference matchups, so we’ve decided to look ahead to this weekend’s slate in our first installment of the current 2013-14 season with our “Five Games to Watch.”

We started “Five Games to Watch” this past winter during basketball and hockey season to profile a variety of local Division 1, 2, and 3 games. We won’t make predictions, but will provide a quick synopsis of each matchup.

Quick Note: Going forward, we will be continuing our “Five Games to Watch” series during basketball, hockey and lacrosse season. These posts will appear closer to the weekend, though.

So, without further ado, here are five games to watch this weekend.

Harvard at Cornell, 12:30 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): Coming off an exciting triple-overtime win last week against Holy Cross, the Crimson will turn their attention to their second Ivy League foe of the season.

The Big Red, who’re 1-2 overall, are led by quarterback Jeff Matthews, who is the Ancient Eight’s all-time leading passer with 9,303 yards. Matthews and the Big Red struggled last season at Harvard Stadium as the Crimson capped the meeting with a 21-0 run to secure a 45-13 victory.

Paul Stanton Jr. leads Harvard’s ground attack with 258 yards and five rushing touchdowns. He’s averaging 86 yards per game, as well as one touchdown per game, too.

Defensively, keep an eye on Eric Medes, Norman Hayes and Zach Hodges, three players that will want to pressure Matthews.

Harvard has won the last seven meetings and leads the all-time series, 40-32-2.

Stonehill at Southern Conn., 1 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): The Skyhawks suffered their first Northeast-10 Conference setback last weekend against AIC, which held Stonehill to 189 yards of total offense.

This week, Stonehill will look to rebound against Southern Conn., a squad that has won three straight. The Owls have posted at least 40 points or more in all three of their victories.

Anthony Masucci, Tim Bennett and Brian Harrington each registered 10 total tackles against AIC, as well as combined for one tackle for a loss and a forced fumble. Harrington continues to leads the defense with 66 total tackles (31 solo), while Mark Trudeau leads all players with 2.5 sacks.

Stonehill will certainly rely on its defense to stop the Owls, but also look for their offense to bounce back. Quarterback Logan Meyer has tossed 14 touchdowns this season, four of them to Nate Robitaille, who has recorded 100 receiving yards in four-straight contests.

Framingham State at Westfield State, 1 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): Tom Kelley’s squad will play its fifth road contest of the season on Saturday when they travel to Westfield State to face the Owls, who’re on a three-game winning streak.

The Rams are coming off a 21-14 win against UMass Dartmouth last week, which feature three rushing touchdowns from Melikke Van Alstyne. Defensively, Chevere Archer recorded 10 solo tackles, five of them for a loss of 20 yards, as well as one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Westfield recently defeated Plymouth State, 31-0, thanks to another impressive defensive performance, which included seven tackles for a loss of 30 yards; four pass break-ups, three tackles for a loss and two interceptions. Tim Rich completed 11-of-13 passes for 245 yards and one touchdown, while Michael Mercadante rushed for 79 yards on 16 carries for two scores.

Keep an eye on the Westfield defense, which has yielded just seven points in three conference meetings.

Coast Guard at Curry College, 1 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12):  The Colonels snapped their three-game skid last weekend with a victory against MIT. This weekend, they’ll turn their attention to an impressive Coast Guard unit, which defeated Western New England last weekend, 41-38. The Bears have won two New England Football Conference contests and currently remain tied for first with Endicott College and Salve Regina.

As always, expect Curry to rely on Kevin Fruwirth’s arm, which produced two touchdowns last week, as well as running backs Phil Bigelow and Trae Weathers, two players that combined for 171 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns.

The last time these two squads met, Curry defeated Coast Guard in 2011, 44-21. Bigelow led all rushers with 158 yards on 21 carries for two rushing touchdowns.

WPI at Union, 1:30 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): Coming off a tough loss to Hobart, Chris Robertson’s squad will look to rebound against their third Liberty League foe this season.

Against Union a year ago, Chris Turner brought WPI within one point following a 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter before the Dutchmen answered with a pair of touchdowns.

Expect the Engineers to rely on their ground game. Zach Grasis finished last week’s contest with 93 yards on 23 carries. Also, look for quarterbacks John Antonopoulos and Jacob Grills to air it out to either Larry McGillicuddy or Ehab Hamdan.

Defensively, the Engineers finished their contest against Hobart with three pass break-ups and two tackles for a loss. Sean Murphy, Brian Murtagh, Robert Harasimo and Jack Downey each recorded six total tackles in the loss.

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