The fourth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season is set to begin tomorrow with Bridgewater State hosting Western Connecticut in a very important Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) meeting.
Both teams enter the contest with identical 1-0 marks in conference play, but a win will certainly provide either the Bears or Colonials with a leg-up heading into the second month of conference play.
But before the Bears and Colonials kick off the fourth week of the 2021 New England D-III football season, allow us to share our five teams to watch this weekend.
In case you missed it, make sure to check out this week’s Noontime Sports New England D-III Top 20 Poll, which featured both Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut.
Bridgewater State (1-2, 1-0 MASCAC): The Bears have been competitive this fall, despite losing two of three contests, but Friday’s tilt with the Colonials of Western Connecticut is somewhat of a “must-win.”
Bridgewater scored its first victory of the 2021 season last Saturday by defeating Plymouth State by a score of 27-24.
Halfback Adam Couch was a big part of his team’s win by rushing for a game-high 150 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown — he also caught two passes for five yards.
Brendan Albert led the Bridgewater State defense with 11 total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery returned for 12 yards.
Plymouth State won the time of possession — they also outscored the hosts 14-0 in the final session.
Bridgewater will need to play one of its best games of the season on Friday — one of the biggest tasks for the Red and White’s defense is slowing down a Western Connecticut offense that is second in the MASCAC in yards per game (388.7).
If you like offense, then you will be in for a treat as both squads rank in the top three in yards per game behind UMass Dartmouth (409.0) while Western Connecticut leads all MASCAC teams with 94 points through three games. Bridgewater has tallied 67 points through three contests.
Framingham State (1-2, 1-0 MASCAC): Tom Kelley celebrated his birthday last Saturday with a Homecoming Day victory over UMass Dartmouth, which has provided the Rams with some much-needed momentum after dropping back-to-back non-conference games to Brockport and St. John Fisher.
Quarterback Nicolas Goffredo was tabbed the MASCAC Offensive Player of the Week on Sunday after tallying 248 yards of total offense, including 166 through the air to go with two touchdown passes.
Matthew Farley was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week — the first-year kicker converted all six extra points to go with a 23-yard field goal.
This week, the Rams welcome Westfield State to Framingham — it is a game we believe they will win to even their record at 2-2 heading into an important October stretch.
MIT (1-1, 0-0 NEWMAC): The Engineers were idle last week after seeing their comeback against Salve Regina fall short in week two.
This week, coach Brian Bubna’s squad heads to Dean College in what should be an interesting matchup for both the Engineers and Bulldogs.
Both MIT and Dean are seeking their second win of the 2021 season after scoring opening day victories earlier this month
Through two contests, MIT has limited its opponents to just two touchdowns, but can this Engineers defense slow down a Dean offense that is averaging 28.3 points per game? Additionally, Dean’s passing attack could provide challenges for the MIT secondary — that is one matchup to watch — but keep an eye on the Engineers’ rushing attack, which is led by Jay Theriault (115 yards and one touchdown) and Brady Klein (82 yards and two touchdowns).
Springfield College (1-2, 0-0 NEWMAC): Similar to Bridgewater State, the Pride of Springfield has also been quite competitive this fall, despite dropping two of three games to Union College and Western New England.
Against Union, the Pride tallied 435 yards of offense after registering a season-best 495 one week earlier against Rowan University while limiting the Dutchmen to a season-low in total points (30).
Springfield College quarterback David Wells registered season-highs in completions (four), passing yards (145), and one passing touchdown to go with 56 rushing yards and two scores on the ground. Kicker Christian Hutra tallied five points on two extra points and a 30-yard field goal, which brought the visitors within a touchdown with 2:54 remaining.
The Pride head to Husson University this Saturday for a chance to even their record before their initial New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) clash next month against Coast Guard Academy.
Springfield last competed against Husson in 2017 when the two squads met in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Williams College (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC): The Ephs were impressive in their initial game of the 2021 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season by scoring a big win over the league’s 2019 champions Middlebury College last Saturday.
Quarterback Bobby Maimaron accounted for three touchdowns, including two on the ground while Joel Nicholas added 41 yards on 13 carries and three scores.
On defense, Jarrett Wesner, Edward Manzella, and TJ Rothman combined for 22 total tackles to go with two interceptions. The defense did not make things easy on Middlebury quarterback Will Jernigan, who threw for a game-high 215 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with three interceptions.
The opening day win momentum should continue this week as Williams travels to Tufts University for an enticing matchup between two teams that are expected to contend for the conference crown.
Tufts dropped its season-opener to Trinity College, but a few Jumbos, including quarterback Matt Crowley, wide receiver Jackson Butler, and linebacker Spencer Alligood played well — all three, along with others will be players to watch on Saturday against Williams.
The last time the Ephs topped the Jumbos in Somerville was October 20, 2012.