Football Friday Notebook: Friday, February 19, 2021

By Matt Noonan

Happy Friday, everyone!

I am excited to cap the work week with a brand new Football Friday Notebook – it is a piece of content I look forward to producing, so hopefully the stories (and news below) is something you enjoy reading.

Additionally, make sure to enjoy a brand new Football Friday Podcast, which you can listen to in this post, thanks to our friends from Spotify!

Listen to the Football Friday Podcast with Matt Noonan, Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss every Friday!

Alright, let’s share some news and links from the gridiron – as usual, be well, stay safe and have a wonderful weekend!


Football Friday Notebook: Friday, February 19, 2021

  • Carson Wentz will be playing for a new team next season, but according to various reports, including SB Nation, the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller had some serious fall out in the locker room. Additionally, he stopped talking with former head coach Doug Pedersonfor weeks.”
  • Sticking with Carson Wentz – I mean, what else happened these past few days? – he was quite happy to be a member of the Indianapolis Colts, according to Kenny Moore II.
  • This will be an interesting offseason for every National Football League (NFL) team, which may have less money to spend, due to the potential salary cap. And this is certainly is not good news for my Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott.
  • Speaking of Dak, he donated meals to 1,000 homeless people that are “freezing” in Dallas, Texas, due to the bad weather that barreled through the state this week.
  • Alex Smith, who was named the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, told Kyle Brandt on the 10 Questions podcast that the country was apparently not ready for Colin Kapernick, who the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback claimed “was ahead of his time” when it came to social injustice.
  • The third week of the spring football season begins this evening and there are some enticing storylines to follow in the FCS world, including tonight’s clash between South Dakota State and Northern Iowa.
  • Get ready for high school football in California, beginning Friday, February 26.

    Today’s announcement about high-contact sports being able to be played next week certainly excited Ron Gladnick, who is the head coach at Torey Pines.
  • The Lehigh Valley will welcome a new high school football program to its league next fall as the Allentown charter school will become the ninth member of the league.
  • James Madison University is eager to begin its first of two seasons tomorrow when they host Morehead State.

Noontime’s NFL Wild Card Predictions

By Matt Noonan

It’s hard to believe, but somehow the National Football League (NFL) made it through an entire season while finding ways to combat the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

I was unsure if and how the NFL would keep its coaches and players safe these past few months, along with each team’s staff, too, but somehow they did it. And now it is time to move onto the postseason.

Every week, I will share my thoughts on each matchup – this weekend we will be treated to six games – along with a prediction for each contest.

So, without further ado, here is our Noontime Sports NFL Wild Card predictions – enjoy the games, everyone, and let me know what you think by sending me a tweet to @NoontimeSports.


Make sure to listen to our Football Friday Podcast with Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (Saturday, Jan. 9 at 1 p.m.): In my opinion, Josh Allen is the best quarterback drafted in the first round of the 2018 Draft – yes, I know Baker Mayfield was the first signal-caller selected, but Allen has enjoyed his best season as a pro with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Allen and the Bills enter the postseason with a lot of momentum – I believe they have won their last six contests? – and should have no problem getting past the Colts on their home field. PREDICTION: Buffalo 28, Indianapolis 17

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (Saturday, Jan. 9 at 4:40 p.m.): It’s hard to pick against Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll in the postseason – somehow, this quarterback-coach duo knows how to lead the Seahawks to victory, especially on the road. But I expect them to find a way past a Rams team on their home field – earlier this season, I thought the Rams were going to be the best team in the NFC, but they haven’t been that impressive (in my opinion, to be exact) over the last few weeks. PREDICTION: Seattle 17, Los Angeles 9

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team (Saturday, Jan. 9, at 8:15 p.m.): The Washington Football Team has been a great story, despite their seven wins. Ron Rivera overcame cancer last fall while Alex Smith returned to the field after sustaining a devastating injury two years ago. As much as I would love to see this team advance to the second round, I just don’t think they will be able to keep up with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense. Tampa Bay is going to win this game – hopefully, it will be close! – but I think Washington is a team to watch over the next few years. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay 23, Washington 10

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (Sunday, Jan. 10 at 1:05 p.m.): The Ravens enter the postseason with a lot of momentum – in fact, they have won five straight and boast perhaps the best rushing attack amongst all the playoff teams. Last week, they racked up 404 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals, which is something they won’t do this weekend against Tennessee. However, I believe this rushing attack will be the reason why Baltimore scores its first postseason victory since January 3, 2015. PREDICTION: Baltimore 27, Tennessee 21

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, Jan. 10 at 4:40 p.m.): Do I smell a possible upset? I think I do! Chicago has won five contests on the road this year and almost beat New Orleans on their home field last November. According to ESPN, the Bears enter this year’s postseason “with nothing to lose.” PREDICTION: Chicago 24, New Orleans 20

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Jan. 10 at 8:15 p.m.): It’s been a LONG time since the Browns last played in the postseason, so you know their fans are eager for the kickoff to arrive as soon as possible. This is certainly a winnable match-up for Cleveland, which beat Pittsburgh last week. Yes, I know Pittsburgh sat a few starters last Sunday, but I just don’t think this Steelers team is that good. But as I said a few times in 2020, what do I know? PREDICTION: Cleveland 28, Pittsburgh 26

Mass. College Hoops: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Feb. 14 – 16)

By NoontimeSports.com 

With another weekend quickly approaching, it is time to unveil our five games to watch this weekend. As always, make sure to circle back for updates. You can also follow along with in-game updates on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog), too.

Men’s Basketball

Harvard @ Columbia (Friday, Feb. 14) – Since falling to archrival Yale last week, the Crimson will look to return to the win column by registering their 19th overall victory and sixth Ivy League win. Their weekend trip begins in New York City against a Lions squad that’s 14-9 overall and 3-3 in Ancient Eight play. Columbia is 1-3 in its last four games, but did manage to earn a win against Princeton.

Harvard, which is 4-1 in its last five outings, has received major contributions from Wesley Saunders, who averaging 14.8 points per game. Siyani Chambers is second on the team in points per game; he’s averaging 10.8, while Kyle Casey is averaging 6.3 rebounds.

Saunders led the Crimson in their last outing against the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Casey pulled down six rebounds.

Bentley @ St. Michael’s (Saturday, Feb. 15) – The Purple Knights’ five-game winning streak concluded earlier this week with an 86-85 setback to St. A’s. They’ll look to return to the win column when they host Bentley tomorrow afternoon, a squad they defeated earlier this season in Waltham.

Since falling to St. Michael’s, Bentley has won nine contests, including six Northeast-10 Conference tilts. They’re currently 2-1 in February and are coming off back-to-back wins against Assumption and Merrimack. Alex Furness secured the team’s 16th win on Wednesday when he sank a go-ahead jumper with two-seconds remaining. The Warriors recorded a turnover on the ensuing possession.

Tyler McFarland is currently fifth in the conference in points per game (19.0). He’s recorded 438 points in 23 games this season.

Women’s Basketball

Lehigh @ Holy Cross (Saturday, Feb. 15) – The Crusaders will look to avenge an 87-82 loss earlier this season when they welcome Lehigh to the Hart Center for a 3 p.m. tip-off. The Crusaders enter the contest 15-9 overall and 7-6 in Patriot League play.

Alex Smith is currently eighth all-time in program history in points (1,546), but is 10 points shy of seventh place. She’s also seven assists away from earning fifth pace in both Holy Cross’ and Patriot League’s assists record book. Also, if she records three more steals, she’ll increase her total to 200, which would be 10th most in program history.

Excluding Smith, Brisje Malone is 25 points away from becoming the program’s 30th player to net 1,000 career points. Also, Molly Hourigan, who ranks seventh in blocked shots with 84, is one swat shy of sixth place and three away from tying teammate Emily Parker, who is fifth all-time with 87 blocks.

No. 6 Washington U. @ Brandeis (Friday, Feb. 14) – The Judges will look to extend their current winning streak to seven when they welcome the UAA’s top squad to Waltham for their first of two weekend contests. Their other weekend matchup will be on Sunday against the Maroons of Chicago.

In their first outing against the Bears, Kasey Dean netted 12 points, while Paris Hodges added eight points, six rebounds and three assists, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Washington University. Yet, since that particular setback, the Judges are 6-1.

Washington University enters the contest 18-2 overall and 8-1 in conference play. Their two losses came to conference foe Rochester and D3Hoops.com’s number one squad, DePauw.

In Brandeis’ last outing against Carnegie Mellon, Dean and Maria Jackson each scored 12 points, while Samantha Mancinelli came off the bench and netted seven points, along with three boards and three assists.

Both games are important for the Judges, who’ll look to keep pace with Washington University and New York University, the UAA’s top two teams.

Wheaton @ Babson (Saturday, Feb. 15) – This is indeed a critical contest for both squads.

Wheaton, which is 19-4 overall and 14-4 in NEWMAC play, will look to extend its current winning streak to six. They currently own the top spot in the conference, but a loss to Babson and a Smith College win against Coast Guard could make things interesting.

Babson has won 10 of 13 contests, including a come-from-behind win on Tuesday against No. 5 Tufts University. Linnett Graber and Giovanna Pickering combined for 32 points and were a major part in the Beavers’ second half effort. Babson outscored Tufts during the final 20 minutes, 45-20.

The last time these two squads met, Babson secured a 37-29 halftime lead and never looked back. Graber paced the Green and White with 16 points, while Erin Young netted nine points in 14 minutes off the bench.

Wheaton’s last victory over Babson occurred during the 2008-09 season when the Lyons defeated the Beavers on their home court, 71-61.

Mass. College Hoops: Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Honor Roll (Week 10)

By NoontimeSports.com 

WORCESTER, Mass. – With another week of college basketball in the Worcester area in the books, it’s time to unveil this week’s Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) honor roll.

Men’s Player of the Week: Dane Jobst (Worcester State) – The junior forward posted his 12th double-double in 18 games with 20 points and a season-best 20 rebounds in a 68-57 triumph over Framingham State. Jobst entered the weekend ranked third in the Division III in rebounding (13.1), fourth in total boards (235) and sixth in double-doubles.

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Marcus Murray (Assumption) – The first-year guard averaged 18.5 points per game, along with 3.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per contest, in a 1-1 week for the Hounds. In addition, Murray finished the week 23-for-26 at the free throw line, shooting 88.5 percent. In the win over Pace, Murray posted 17 points and seven assists while shooting 11-for-12 at the line. He followed that with a team-high 20 points and four assists in a road loss at No. 19 ranked Southern Connecticut. He was 12-for-14 at the free throw line in that game.

Women’s Player of the Week: Alex Smith (Holy Cross) – The senior guard poured in a team-high 15 points against American, which helped her reach the 1,500-point milestone. She converted on 6-of-12 shots from the field and dished out seven assists. Smith became the 11th Holy Cross women’s basketball player to reach the 1,500-point mark, but also the first player to register 1,500 career points and 500 assists. Smith registered a game and team-high 17 points against Loyola Maryland last Wednesday in the Crusaders’ 80-65 win.

Women’s Rookie of the Week: Morgan O’Brien (Assumption) – The first-year guard averaged 14.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from three-point land in a 1-1 week for the Hounds. In a home win over Pace, O’Brien posted a career-high 21 points on 7-for-8 shooting from three-point land. The seven three-pointers tied an Assumption single-game school record, while the 87.5 percent shooting from three in the game set the school mark. She added eight points and five rebounds in a road loss at Southern Connecticut.

Honor Roll:

Dave Dudzinski (Holy Cross) – The senior forward posted his fourth double-double of the season in the victory over Loyola, with game highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds. He added six points and a game-high eight rebounds at American. Dudzinski made 61.1 percent of his field goal attempts on the week (11 of 18).

Anthony Thompson (Holy Cross) – The first-year guard scored eight points in the victory over Loyola, while tying his career highs with six rebounds and four assists. Thompson converted a key three-point play with 2:21 left in the Loyola game to put the Crusaders up by five. He also added 12 points at American, while hitting four of five field goal attempts.

Chris Fitzgerald (Assumption) – The sophomore forward averaged 18.5 points, three rebounds and one block per game in a 1-1 week for Assumption. He also shot 44.4 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from three-point land (8-for-19) and was a perfect 5-for-5 at the line. Highlighting his week was a career-high 26-point effort in the win over Pace as he knocked down five three-pointers and was 5-for-5 at the free throw line. He added 11 points, behind a trio of threes, in the road loss at No. 19 Southern Connecticut.

Andrew Musler (Clark) – In a pair of huge wins over top-flight league opponents that put the Cougars back into the hunt for a playoff spot, the senior forward was fantastic, averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field (12-for-25), including a sizzling 6-for-11 from behind the arc. In a last second 71-70 win over Babson, Musler finished with seventh double-double of the season with a game-high 18 points and ten rebounds. Then in another last second victory – this one a 56-55 win over MIT – he totaled 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Matt Langadas (Nichols) – The junior guard averaged 16.5 points per game while shooting 71.4 percent from the field as the Bison went 2-0 last week and extended their program-record win streak to nine. He tallied 15 points, five rebounds and two assists at Roger Williams on Wednesday. He added a team-high 18 points against Salve Regina on Saturday. Langadas went 3-for-3 from behind the arc and canned 77 percent of his free throws.

Ryan Kolb (WPI) – The senior forward led all scorers with 23 points to go with his team-high eight rebounds as the fourth-ranked Engineers went on the road and defeated Coast Guard, 71-65, on Wednesday. The senior forward added nine points in WPI’s thrilling 71-70 victory Saturday over Springfield, which was a rematch of last year’s NEWMAC Tournament championship game. For the week, Kolb averaged 10 points and 6.5 rebounds.

Dani Davis (WPI) – The junior guard was the game’s leading scorer, tallying 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including three trifectas, in WPI’s key 52-49 road win at Springfield on Wednesday evening. The junior was also a top contributor against Babson, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds, along with four blocks in a tight 55-53 loss Saturday to five-time defending conference champion Beavers.

Paul Brooks (Worcester State) – The first-year center matched a season high with 14 points and he finished with five boards and five blocks in a 68-57 victory over Framingham State.

Cheyenne Jennings (Worcester State) – The sophomore guard averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in an 0-2 including 17 points and six helpers in a 65-51 setback against Framingham State and 14 points and six boards in a 56-47 defeat at Suffolk.

Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Honor Roll (Week Nine)

By NoontimeSports.com 

WORCESTER, Mass. – With another week of college basketball in the Worcester area in the books, it’s time to unveil this week’s Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) honor roll.

Men’s Player of the Week: Sam Longwell (WPI) – The junior guard averaged 24 points and 6.5 rebounds as the fifth-ranked Engineers won a pair of contests last week. The junior set a career-high with 31 points as WPI in a 81-69 victory over Clark before compiling 17 points, six rebounds and three assists is a come-from-behind 83-69 road win at Wheaton. For the week, Longwell shot 61.5% from the floor and 85.7 from the free throw line while playing in 71 out of 80 possible minutes.

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Marcus Murray (Assumption) – The first-year guard posted a team-high 17 points in the team’s lone game of the week, shooting 6-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. He added six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Women’s Player of the Week: Meaghan Burns (Worcester State) – The senior guard averaged 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3 steals in a 1-1 week for Worcester State including 21 points and nine boards in a 69-62 setback against Westfield State and 21 points, six boards and four steals in a 56-47 victory over Fitchburg State. Became 18th WSU student-athlete to reach 1,000-point milestone in their setback against the Owls, but scored a game-high to help head coach Karen Tessmer claim her 250th career coaching win against the Falcons.

Honor Roll:

Justin Burrell (Holy Cross) – The junior guard led the team in scoring in both games this week. He totaled 15 points in the victory at Lafayette, including a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put Holy Cross up 59-56. Burrell added 17 points in the win at Navy, as well as made all seven of his free throw attempts on the week, while committing only one turnover.

Anthony Thompson (Holy Cross) – The first-year guard had five points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in the victory at Lafayette. He totaled 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in the win at Navy and made 77.8 percent of his free throw attempts on the week.

Alex Smith (Holy Cross) – The senior guard Smith had a strong week for Holy Cross, as she helped end the Crusaders’ three-game losing streak with a win over Lafayette. Against the Leopards, Smith totaled a team-best 22 points to go along with five assists. She went 9 of 15 from the field (.600 FG%) and canned four of nine from behind the arc (.444 3P%). Against Navy, Smith tallied 11 points and a game-best six assists. During the contest versus the Mids, Smith passed the 500 assist milestone and now has 503 in her career, which ranks fifth in Holy Cross history and seventh in the Patriot League record book. Smith is one of six current division one women’s basketball players to have over 1,400 points, 500 assists and 400 rebounds during their career. She is the only Crusader ever to have totaled over 1,400 points, 500 assists and 400 rebounds in a Holy Cross uniform. She is also 32 points away from 1,500 in her career.

Jamie Insel (Assumption) – The senior forward posted her seventh double-double of the season in Assumption’s lone game of the week as she finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds in a comeback 55-47 win over American International as the Hounds improved to 8-1 at home this year. Insel was 6-for-10 from the field while adding three assists and one steal in 34 minutes.

Esther Cohn (Clark) – In a 1-1 week, the senior forward was immense on the glass and defensively. In the win over WPI, she hauled in 11 rebounds handed out two assists and blocked three shots to surpass the 100-block plateau for her career. Then, in a last second loss to Mount Holyoke, Cohn she finished with a career-high 16 points and 14 rebounds. In the two games, she shot a sizzling 64 percent from the field (7-for-11) averaged 9.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Brendan Rios (Worcester State) – The junior guard averaged 19 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2 assists in a 2-0 week for Worcester State, including 18 points, eight boards and three helpers in a 69-66 triumph over Westfield State and a game-best 20 points with five caroms in a 70-53 victory over Fitchburg State. Rios connected for .483 from the field (14-29) and .500 percent from beyond the arc (7-14).

Noris Cuevas-Nova (Worcester State) – The first-year guard averaged 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in a 2-0 week for Worcester State including 16 points and seven boards in a 69-66 win over Westfield State and 15 points in a 70-53 triumph over Fitchburg State. He connected for .556 from the field (11-18) as 25 of his 31 points came in the second half to help spark come-from-behind wins.

Sean Doncaster (WPI) – The first-year guard recorded career-best seven assists in an 81-69 NEWMAC and WACBA victory over Clark.

Siena Mamayek (WPI) – The sophomore forward recorded a career-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor, along with five rebounds in a tight loss at Clark