New England College Football: Harvard Is Prepared To Contend For An Ivy League Crown

Harvard Crimson Logo

By Brian Willwerth 

In about a month, the eight teams in the Ivy League will kick off the 2016 season.

The preseason media poll was released this morning, and there is a familiar name at the top: Harvard.

The Crimson top the poll for the eleventh time overall, and the sixth in the last nine years. In order to claim another league title, Harvard will have to replace what is arguably the most successful football class in Harvard football history.

“To lose that nucleus of 15 starters last year (it) is a little bit daunting and certainly unprecedented for us,” said head coach Tim Murphy during the Ivy League media conference call. “But there are a lot of guys really looking for the opportunity to replace those guys.”

The biggest question mark is at quarterback. Senior Joe Viviano and sophomore Tom Stewart are vying for the starting job. Whoever the starter is will have big shoes to fill: replacing the Ivy League offensive player of the year, Scott Hosch.

“I can’t remember coming into the season with a competition at quarterback where really neither guy has ever taken a meaningful snap in a college football game,” said Murphy.

The running back position will be a platoon situation, at least to start the season. Murphy expects junior Semar Smith, and sophomores Noah Reimers and Charlie Booker to all get some carries.

Up front, Murphy says some players to watch include lineman Larry Allen and Max Rich, H-Back Anthony Firkser, and wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley.

The leading returner on defense is Sean Ahern, a fifth-year cornerback who is also team captain. Doug Webb and Miles McCollum return to anchor on the defensive line.

Murphy expects a lot of seniors, who haven’t had much playing time, to step up.

“You’ve got to recruit character kids. And if you recruit character kids….they know what it takes. The starting point is ‘lead by example’,” he said.

Harvard begins its 2016 campaign on Friday, September 16th against Rhode Island.

The Crimson and the rest of the Ivy League teams will have to deal with some changes on kickoffs. They’ve been moved to the 40-yard line. And on touchbacks, the ball will be placed at the 20. The goal is to reduce the number of concussions and other injuries on returns.

Mass. College Hockey: Power Play Goals Lift No. 5 BC Past No. 7 Harvard In Beanpot Semifinal

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday's semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald netted the quickest goal in the last 10 years of the Beanpot as the Eagles beat Harvard in Monday’s semifinal. (Photo Credit: BCHeights.com)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – A pair of second period power play goals by sophomore Zach Sanford and freshman Colin White proved to be the difference as the fifth-ranked Boston College Eagles defeated seventh-ranked Harvard University, 3-2, in the 64th Boston Beanpot semifinals on Monday evening at the T.D. Garden.

With the win, the Eagles will compete in their 35th championship in program history. Boston College will face either ninth-ranked Boston University or Northeastern University next Monday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The Crimson will compete in the consolation game with puck drop scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Boston College freshman Casey Fitzgerald provided the Eagles with an early lead, potting his third goal of the season at 1:35 in the opening stanza. Fitzgerald’s goal was the quickest marker since Bryan Ewing lit the lamp 10 years earlier as a member of the BU Terriers.

Harvard, which did not register a single shot for close to 10 minutes, capitalized on its initial attempt as freshman Ryan Donato netted his first-ever Beanpot goal after racing into the Eagles zone at 9:47. Classmate Adam Baughman pushed the Crimson ahead, 2-1, minutes later as he slid the puck past BC junior goalie Thatcher Demko at 14:44. The goal marked Baughman’s initial collegiate marker.

The Crimson would not locate the back of the net for the remainder of the game as Demko turned aside 21 shots. Harvard sophomore goaltender Merrick Madsen denied 30 shots, including 13 attempts in the final session.

“(Boston College) played a strong game and were really able to limit us. (We) didn’t get the amount of zone time and possession of the puck that we needed (so we could) create more offense, so give them a lot of credit for (the win), but we’re disappointed and frustrated that we didn’t execute a lot of the things we needed to do to be more successful,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato.

Monday’s win marked Boston College’s 12th consecutive victory against Harvard in the Beanpot, while head coach Jerry York improves to 14-1 against the Crimson.

“It was a good test for us,” York said following his team’s 18th win of the season. “I thought Harvard gave us all we could handle tonight, I thought the ability for us to kill (a late third period) penalty was a major factor, and then our five versus six – we never really let them get settled coming up the ice, so those are kind of key parts of the game.”

RECAP: Second Half Surge, Strong Defensive Play Carries Harvard Past MIT, 59-39

Harvard Crimson Logo

By Matt Noonan 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard commenced its 2015-16 men’s basketball season with a 59-39 victory over MIT on Friday evening, but the team’s initial win didn’t come easily.

MIT kept pace with its Massachusetts Avenue neighbor, trailing by six-points (25-19) at the break, but Harvard responded with a 25-9 run in the second half to push ahead for good.

Harvard freshman Tommy McCarthy led all scorers with 12 points, netting nine points in the second session, while senior Agunwa Okolie finished with 10 points.

As a team, the Crimson converted 20-of-52 field goals and netted 14-of-21 free throws. Harvard limited MIT to just 14 field goals, while the Engineers converted 3-of-17 trifectas and 8-of-14 free throws.

“I was pleased with our defense,” Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker said. “I think it’s been a calling card of our program – part of our identity and it is so important for us – (but) I feel like we lived up to that defensively (this evening).”

Harvard’s defense certainly helped the hosts limit MIT to numerous one-shot series, while defending freshman Bradley Jomard, who paced the Cardinal and Gray with 10 points.

“He is a good player,” Amaker said of Jomard. “He is very athletic and (he’s) an active kind of player.

“I think the key for us (in this game) was defending (Justin) Pedley, (who) has been a terrific shooter (and) scorer for their team. We really did a nice job (defending him as) he scored just two points from the foul line, so again, I thought it was a good team effort to allow us to hold (MIT) to 39 points.”

Junior Tim Butala concluded the contest with seven points; senior Russell Johnson recorded a team-high eight rebounds, while classmate Ryan Frankel dished out a trio of assists.

Harvard senior Patrick Steeves competed for the first time in his collegiate career, netting just one point at the stripe, but it was an important contribution for the Crimson.

“I am very happy for Patrick because he has been injured and banged-up throughout his career and (I know) how hard it is to come back and spend that time to get healthy with the injuries he had, so I was very happy for him,” said Amaker. “Our team was very happy for him and I think that is a really cool thing.”

Harvard will look to double its win total tomorrow evening when they travel to Providence College for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off. MIT returns to action next Tuesday, November 17 when they host Bridgewater State University at 8:00 p.m.

Yale Men’s Basketball Picked To Capture Ivy League Crown

Yale Bulldogs

By NoontimeSports.com 

Yale University received a special honor on Wednesday as the Bulldogs were picked to capture the Ivy League crown, according to the league’s preseason media poll.

The Bulldogs earned the top spot in an extremely close vote – it is the first time Yale was pegged to finish atop the Ancient Eight since the preseason media poll began 31 years ago.

Yale garnered five first-place votes, earning 117 points, while Columbia University (six first-place votes) and Princeton University (six first-place votes) were picked to finish second and third, respectively.

Harvard University collected 96 points, which was good enough for fourth place, while Brown University was picked fifth, Dartmouth College sixth, University of Pennsylvania seventh and Cornell University eighth.

Last season, the Bulldogs were picked to finish second, but wound up sharing the Ivy League title with Harvard, which defeated Yale in a one-game playoff by two points (53-51). The Crimson then went onto compete in the NCAA Tournament, but fell in the second round to University of North Carolina.

“The vote was really close so the league is wide open,” Yale head coach James Jones said in a press release. “I feel good about where our team is [in the preseason], and it is nice to be recognized.”

Yale begins its season on Friday, November 13 when they take on Fairfield University in the Connecticut Six Classic with tipoff scheduled for 3:00 p.m. The Bulldogs will face Harvard twice this coming season with the initial meeting scheduled to occur on Saturday, February 13 in Cambridge at 7:00 p.m.

Mass. College Football: Harvard Looks To Continue Early Season Success

Harvard Crimson Logo

By Matt Noonan 

It has been quite the season for the Harvard University football team.

The Crimson posted their second shutout of the season on Saturday, defeating Lafayette College by a score of 42-0.

Paul Stanton Jr. rushed for a pair of scores and amassed 123 yards on the ground, while Ben Braunecker hauled in six passes for a career-high 123 yards to lift the Crimson to their fifth straight victory and 19th consecutive win.

As noted in Saturday’s release, the Harvard defense has yielded just three points in its last three contests – the last Harvard team to surrender three points over a three-game span was the 1930 squad.

Additionally, Harvard has not allowed a touchdown since Brown University reached the end zone in the fourth quarter during their Ivy League meeting last month.

Finally, Harvard’s offense has been very impressive thus far, tallying 221 points through five games. In 1892, the Crimson registered 231 points in a five-game span.

On Monday, quarterback Scott Hosch was one of 32 players selected to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) 2015 Midseason FCS National Performer of the Year Watch List. Hosch is the program’s first signal-caller to start her career 11-0 and is currently eighth in the country in passing yards per completion and 15th in passing efficiency.

Harvard will look to continue its momentum this weekend when they host Princeton University on Saturday, October 24 at 12:00 p.m. The Tigers currently sit third in the Ancient Eight standings, but head coach Tim Murphy knows this is an important game for his team.

“Our playoffs start with the Princeton game,” Murphy told the Harvard Magazine.

Mass. College Football: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Week Three Predictions)

Harvard University senior Scott Hosch will commence the season under center for the Crimson. (Photo Credit: AmericanSportsnet.com)

Harvard University senior Scott Hosch will commence the season under center for the Crimson. (Photo Credit: AmericanSportsnet.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Another weekend of college football has arrived – hooray!

Below are five games to watch/follow (and predictions) – make sure to circle back on on our social media channels this weekend (Facebook and Twitter) for updates, scores and news.

Merrimack at Assumption (Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.): Both teams will look to capture their first Northeast-10 Conference victory this evening as the Greyhounds host the Warriors in what promises to be an exciting ‘Friday Night Lights’ contest. Assumption’s Brendan Tobey is second in the conference in passing yards per game (246.5) and has tossed three touchdowns thus far, while Alex Shain is the top rusher in touchdowns (three) and yards per game (126.0). Merrimack’s defense is sixth in the NE-10, but tied for fourth in sacks (four). Brian Carroll has had an impressive season for the Warriors on defense, tallying 20 total tackles, including 17 solo stops, so expect him and his teammates to challenge Tobey and Shain. PREDICTION: Assumption 25, Merrimack 23 

Boston College vs. No. 9 Florida State Univ. (Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.): Following a pair of non-conference clashes, the Eagles host their first conference contest against an impressive Seminoles squad that captured their initial games against Texas State (59-16) and South Florida (34-14). Dalvin Cook is second in the nation in rushing, compiling 422 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. The Eagles defense will need to focus on Cook, while winning the time of possession on offense. PREDICTION: Florida State 34, Boston College 20 

Harvard at Rhode Island (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): The Crimson’s title defense begins tomorrow as they travel one state over to face a Rhode Island, which has lost a pair of games this season, including a 47-0 setback to Syracuse. Harvard signal-caller Scott Hosch will start the season under center, looking to guide the Crimson to their fourth consecutive week one victory. PREDICTION: Harvard 30, URI 17 

American International College (AIC) at New Haven (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): This should be an interesting match-up with both squads claiming NE-10 victories last weekend. New Haven rallied to defeat Bentley with a late field goal, while AIC quarterback Kwame Jarvis tossed a trio of touchdown passes in the Yellow Jackets’ 44-13 victory over So. Connecticut State. Andre Anderson of New Haven is second in the conference in rushing yards, averaging 110 yards over two games, while locating the end zone twice. Jerrod Shelby has paced the Yellow Jackets’ defense with a team-high 17 total tackles (eight solo stops) and one sack (six yard loss). New Haven captured this contest last year, registering a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to claim a 31-24 victory. PREDICTION: AIC 28, New Haven 25 

UMass vs. Temple (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m./Gillette Stadium): The Owls – currently receiving votes in the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll – have won back-to-back games, including an opening week victory against Penn State (27-10). Last week, the Owls defense intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel four times en route to 34-26 victory. This week, Temple travels takes on a UMass squad that lost its opener against Colorado, 48-14, but wide receiver Tajae Sharpe finished the game with 11 catches for 138 yards. The Minutemen will need to limit their mistakes from one week ago to defeat a talented Temple squad. PREDICTION: Temple 31, UMass 26 

Mass. College Football: Links From Around The Web Heading Into Week Three

By NoontimeSports.com 

The third week of the college football season begins this evening with a non-Massachusetts contest. Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long as some games kick-off tomorrow evening, but here are some links and news from around the web to get you set for another weekend of football.