By Matt Noonan
Framingham State University’s football team is coming off an impressive opening day win. The Rams defeated Endicott College, 42-6, last Saturday to commence its season, but now face a tough test in SUNY Cortland, which rallied to defeat Heidelberg University last weekend.
Framingham State and Cortland last met in 2012 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Tournament. The Red Dragons escaped with a one-point victory before ending its season the following weekend against Wesley – a team that has made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.
“(Saturday) is going to be a big test,” Framingham State head coach Tom Kelley said following his team’s initial victory of the season. “They’re a fast team and we’re going to have to bring our A-game. The good news is we’re at home (this weekend), so that will be nice, but we’ll find out who we are (during this game).”
Against the Gulls, the Rams relied heavily on senior quarterback Matt Silva, who tossed five touchdowns and was tabbed the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Player of the Week.
“Matt has that it factor,” Kelley said of his team’s signal-caller. “He is a senior and he is a coach on the field and he reads the defenses awfully well. He has a tremendous core of wide receivers and we gave him some time to throw the ball and we ran it a little bit, so we kept Endicott’s (defense) off-balanced and I think that was huge for us.”
Silva finished Saturday’s game 29-for-35 for 261 yards. He connected with seniors Tevin Jones and Jared Gauthier for a pair of touchdowns, respectively, while targeting sophomore Mike Calicchio for one score.
Excluding Silva’s performance, the Rams defense did their job, limiting Endicott to 12 first downs and 220 yards of total offense. Sophomore Svenn Jacobson, who was named the MASCAC Defensive Player of the Week, led the unit with a game-high 11 tackles, including five solo stops with a forced fumble. Framingham State also held its opposition to just 60 yards on the ground.
“I am really proud of all the guys, but we certainly have to cleanup some stuff on both sides of the ball,” said Kelley. “We have a new coordinator (on defense) and new coaches over there too, so really we are happy with (our week one_ outcome, but have a real long way to go on both sides of the ball.”