We’re posting a bit earlier than usual — maybe we will start producing (and sharing) our 10 Games to Watch every Thursday throughout the New England NCAA Division III football season?
Either way, we’re excited for another busy weekend — this Saturday, ten new teams will join the fun as the 2021 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season kicks off in various parts of our region.
Last week, we finished 8-2 to bump our overall record to 18-2 thus far — not bad, eh? Let’s see if we can continue this momentum, both tomorrow (Friday, September 17) and Saturday, September, 18.
Enjoy the games, everyone, and make sure to circle back throughout the weekend for roundups and insight!
FEATURED GAME: Middlebury College (0-0) at Williams College (0-0): This might be the game of the weekend and we’ll be keeping you updated from our Noontime Sports studios — well, more our Noontime Sports desk, to be exact — but this game features the two teams that are expected to contend for the NESCAC crown. Look for a late scoring drive by the Panthers to secure a hard-fought three-point victory. PREDICTION: Middlebury 17, Williams 14
Dean College (1-1) at Husson University (1-1) (Friday, September 17, 2021 at 6 p.m.): The Eagles enter the weekend as a team to watch, but the same could be said for the Bulldogs, who provided some challenges last weekend when visiting UMass Dartmouth. Look for a big game from quarterback David Curry and wide receiver Errol Breaux. PREDICTION: Dean 27, Husson 17
Westfield State (0-2) at Western Connecticut (1-1) (Friday, September 17 at 7 p.m.): Both teams enter conference play looking to bounce back after a week two setback. Look for a big game on Friday from quarterback Joshua Bagwell, who recorded 331 yards of total offense last week against Albright College. PREDICTION: Western Conn. 35, Westfield State 13
Endicott College (2-0) at Catholic University (1-1) (Saturday, September 18 at 12 p.m.): The Gulls have recorded back-to-back second half comebacks to score a pair of wins — will that trend continue in Washington, D.C.? The Cardinals are looking to bounce back after a 62-10 setback to Randolph-Macon. PREDICTION: Endicott 28, Catholic 20
UMass Dartmouth (2-0) at Framingham State (0-2) (Saturday, September 18 at 12 p.m.): The Corsairs have scored two hard fought wins over Dean and Husson, and can take a BIG step forward in the conference race with a win over the Rams. For Framingham State to secure a much-needed win, they must find a way to slow down UMass Dartmouth quarterback Dante Aviles-Santos, who recorded six touchdowns (five passing, one on the ground) last Saturday against Dean. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 35, Framingham State 14
University of New England (1-1) at Alfred State (0-2) (Saturday, September 18 at 12 p.m.): The Nor’easters moved up our Top 20 Poll on Monday after rallying to beat Bridgewater State last Saturday. Look for the Blue and White’s early season momentum to continue on Saturday against the Pioneers. PREDICTION: UNE 24, Alfred State 14
Amherst College (0-0) at Bates College (0-0) (Saturday, September 18 at 1 p.m.): Bates quarterback Brendan Costa is back for his final season with the Bobcats, who capped their 2019 season with back-to-back wins over Bowdoin College and Hamilton College. Bates enters the 2021 season with high hopes and optimism, along with a great deal of depth that should help them in their season-opener against the Mammoths. PREDICTION: Bates 21, Amherst 17
Tufts University (0-0) at Trinity College (0-0) (Saturday, September 18 at 1:30 p.m.): Tufts wide receiver OJ Armstrong will be one of a few Jumbos to watch in this contest — this meeting between Tufts and Trinity is certainly an important one as both squads are expected to be in the mix for the conference crown. Keep your eyes on Trinity linebacker Brian Casagrande, who was named to our New England D-III Football Preseason Team. PREDICTION: Tufts 23, Trinity 21
Salve Regina (2-0) at Montclair State (0-2) (Saturday, September 18 at 2 p.m.): The Red Hawks are looking for their initial win of the 2021 season — they almost beat RPI in their season-opener, but saw their two-touchdown lead disappear during the final session. They limited Delaware Valley to just 26 points last week, but will certainly have their hands full at stopping Joey Mauriello and the Seahawks offense, which found a way to score a hard fought win last Saturday against MIT. PREDICTION: Salve Regina 25, Montclair State 22
RPI (2-0) at WPI (1-1) (Saturday, September 18 at 2:30 p.m.): The RPI Engineers have been a fun team to watch this fall, winning a pair of dramatic victories against Montclair State and Stevenson University. Will their momentum continue against the Engineers of Worcester, who are looking to bounce back after losing to Endicott? The winner of this game will walk away with the Transit Trophy. PREDICTION: RPI 21, WPI 17