The final NCAA D-III football game of 2020 will take place tomorrow between Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) with the winner claiming the Secretaries’ Cup.
Last season, the Mariners topped the Bears, 56-41, thanks to quarterback Krystian Abbott, who finished the game with 298 yards of total offense.
Coast Guard captured the 2018 meeting by a score of 26-12 to secure the Secretaries’ Cup for the first time since 2014.
Tomorrow’s matchup – the 49th meeting between these two academies – will be streamed on ESPN3 with kickoff scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
Below is our pregame preview, as well as our prediction – let us know if you agree or disagree by sending a tweet to @NoontimeSports. Enjoy the game, everyone!
Noontime’s Coast Guard-USMMA Preview: It’s been nearly a year since the Bears and Mariners tangled on the gridiron, but it seems as if both teams are eager and ready to play some football.
Coast Guard enters the contest with a great deal of experience on both sides of the ball. Quarterback John Barbera, who has appeared in five contests, including three last season, will start his first game for the Bears – expect the Glen Mills, Pennsylvania native to target Justin Moffatt, who led the NEWMAC last season with 66 receptions while posting a career-best in receiving yards (872) to go with five touchdowns.
Linebacker Eugene Bizer will be tasked with leading a Coast Guard defense that will need to slow down a Mariners squad that averaged 41.1 points per game last fall. Merchant Marine’s offense is very run-heavy and it is expected that the Mariners will lean heavily on halfback Matt Restifo, who finished last season with career-bests in rushing yards (389), yards per game (43.2), and touchdowns.
Eric Davidson and Colton Ray will be two players to watch on the Mariners defense tomorrow – this particular unit limited opposing foes to 112.7 rushing yards per game last season.
Noontime’s Prediction: This has the potential for a back-and-forth affair, but I think this contest will come down to whichever defense can slow down the opposing attack. I don’t anticipate a high-scoring affair like we witnessed last season, but instead both teams scoring at least three, maybe four touchdowns. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 30, USMMA 26