Ryan McDonald and the Tufts University football team will look to continue their winning ways on Saturday against Amherst College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tufts University Athletics)
By Brian Willwerth | @BriWillwerth
With three games left in the season, the Tufts University football team sits at 5-1 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), one game behind undefeated Amherst College.
As the Jumbos prepare for Saturday’s big game against the Mammoths, we caught up with Tufts football coach Jay Civetti to discuss the Powder Blue and White’s current success this fall on the gridiron, which recently included a hard-fought 28-21 win over Williams College last Saturday in Somerville.
“Anytime you beat Williams, that’s a big deal, and I’m certainly proud of the effort last week,” said Civetti. “There’s a lot of great accomplishments that came from that win.
“We’ve got a lot of ahead of us, and this weekend we have as good of a challenge as we’ve had all year.”
One of the players who’s stepped up defensively against the Ephs was junior linebacker Greg Holt. The senior linebacker had a game-high 13 tackles in the victory over the Ephs, which earned him the Gold Helmet award and NESCAC defensive player of the week honors.
“Greg’s just a tremendous competitor,” said Civetti. “He’s a very smart player. He’s got a great knack for the ball, and he just plays the game incredibly hard.”
“I think all the hard work he puts in during the week shows on Saturday.”
On offense, quarterback Ryan McDonald is having a solid senior season, throwing ten touchdown passes, while adding an additional six scores on the ground.
“The one thing about Ryan’s game is he’s a runner first before he’s a thrower,” said Civetti. “(He’s) managing the game in different ways, but at the same time, when he has to make moves…he’s doing everything he can to do that.”
McDonald and Holt will certainly be counted on this Saturday when the Jumbos visit the Mammoths of Amherst with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.
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Happy Monday, New England D3 Football fans and friends!
We are a few weeks away from unveiling our first Noontime Sports New England Top 10 Football Poll for the upcoming season, so get excited! Additionally, we are about to kick-off our preseason coverage, too.
So, in honor of a brand new season of coverage, it is time to unveil our first-ever ‘Early Preseason Poll,’ highlighting our early 10 teams to watch heading into camp in a few weeks, along with what teams are ‘on the rise.’
Noontime Sports New England Top 10 Football Poll | Early Preseason Poll Monday, July 30th, 2018
1. Springfield College
2017 Record: 10-1 (NEWMAC)
2. Framingham State
2017 Record: 10-1 (MASCAC)
3. Trinity College
2017 Record: 8-1 (NESCAC)
4. Western New England
2017 Record: 8-3 (CCC)
5. Husson University
2017 Record: 10-2 (ECFC)
2017 Record: 9-2 (NEWMAC)
7. Plymouth State
2017 Record: 9-2 (MASCAC)
8. Amherst College
2017 Record: 7-2 (NESCAC)
9. Curry College
2017 Record: 8-3 (CCC)
2017 Record: 7-3 (NEWMAC)
ON THE RISE: Middlebury College (2017 Record: 7-2 NESCAC) & Williams College (2017 Record: 6-3 NESCAC)
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What are some of the best New England D3 Football rivalries?
That is a tough one, eh?
You know the list includes a fair number of contests, including Amherst-Williams to Framingham State-Bridgewater State to Endicott-WNE.
But are there others? Of course!
Here are some of my favorite New England D3 Football rivalries (below!) – let me know what you think of my list by sending either a tweet to @MattNoonan11 or an email to MattNoonan@NoontimeSports.com.
Amherst vs. Williams: This has to be atop the list, right? This is one of the games to circle, no matter each team’s record. Last season, we saw the Ephs score an exciting win in overtime, thanks to an 11-yard burst by quarterback Bobby Maimaron. Amherst forced the extra session midway through the fourth quarter by scoring a pair of touchdowns in a span of 25 seconds. Both teams enjoyed successful 2017 campaigns, which means this year’s game in Amherst will be one to follow.
Framingham State vs. Endicott: This game has always been my welcome back to college football contest. Sure, they’re two different teams that are headed in different directions at the moment, but you know this is a game both players circle when schedules are released. Framingham State has dominated the series most recently, but this year could be different with Paul McGonagle pacing the Endicott sidelines.
Framingham State vs. Bridgewater State: This is has always been a go-to game in the MASCAC. A lot of the players on both rosters played either with or against each other in high school. So there is some bragging rights on the line. Bridgewater State needed some late heroics in 2016 to beat Framingham State – the win provided the Bears with the conference crown, along with an automatic invite into the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Jaquan Harris clinched the victory for the Rams with a late fourth quarter interception. Framingham State escaped Bridgewater with a six-point (19-13) win.
MIT-WPI: This has become a classic NEWMAC matchup – crazy to think it is a young rivalry, but it keeps getting better every season. Last fall, WPI managed to recover a crucial onside kick with with 20 seconds remaining to secure a 24-21 win over MIT. In 2016, Blaine Bursey kicked a 19-yard game-winning field goal in overtime to send WPI past the Engineers of MIT, 37-34. Bursey was also the difference in 2015 when the two teams met in Worcester as he booted a 26-yard field goal midway through the fourth to provide WPI with a 31-28 win.
Springfield-Western New England: Who will win this year’s Pynchon SAW? Springfield captured it last season, downing Western New England, 35-21. Perhaps this year’s game will be different – it is scheduled for Friday evening of Labor Day Weekend. Both programs are expected to be in the hunt for their respective conference crowns, so this is a great way to begin a new campaign with a solid win against a talented opponent.
Trinity vs. Wesleyan: It’s the battle of Connecticut! These two teams will once again be in the mix for a NESCAC crown this fall, so you know how important this game is, especially since it is the final contest for both squads. Trinity scored a convincing 28-3 victory last fall, so you have to wonder how the Cardinals of Wesleyan will respond this November.
Other Rivalries to Watch in New England D3 Football
Salve Regina-Western New England: This game has often decided the conference championship.
Husson-Western New England: The Eagles of Husson proved they are a team to keep an eye on in New England last year with an impressive win over Springfield. These two teams met last year with WNE winning the game by a touchdown (21-14)
Becker-Nichols: If you’re looking for another ‘battle of Worcester’ then look no further than Becker-Nichols.
Bates-Bowdoin, Bates-Colby & Bowdoin-Colby (CBB Trophy): Bates captured last season’s CBB (Colby, Bates & Bowdoin) trophy with victories over Bowdoin and Colby. Can they do it against this fall?
Castleton-Norwich: It’s the battle for the Sap Bucket! Castleton won it last season, so can Norwich win it this year?
Coast Guard-Merchant Marine: This game was on ESPN last year and will continue to be a game to circle with both teams playing in the NEWMAC.
Fitchburg State-Worcester State: Looking for another Worcester rivalry? Then look no further than Falcons-Lancers.
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Grove arrives in Amherst, Massachusetts after concluding a successful collegiate career at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio.
As noted in the team’s post on Twitter, Grove was a three-year starting quarterback for the Falcons, finishing his career with 7, 647 passing yards and 2,198 rushing yards. He tossed 103 touchdowns and currently holds the NCAA Division II record for best career interception ratio (1.29%), only 13 interceptions in 1,0008 attempts.
Grove will oversee a rushing unit that averaged 178.6 yards per game last season and led the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with 20 touchdowns on the ground. Jack Hickey concluded last season by leading the Amherst rushing attack with 640 yards on 106 carries and nine touchdowns. Additionally, quarterback Ollie Eberth found success on the ground, finishing the season with 244 yards on 70 carries and five touchdowns.
Mother Nature extended the NCAA Division 3 Women’s Lacrosse season an extra day and fans were treated to an exciting final contest between Gettysburg College and Middlebury College on Monday morning at Kerr Stadium in Salem, Virginia.
Middlebury stormed back to close the gap from a five-goal deficit to two, but Gettysburg managed to halt the rally with its defense to secure its second-straight national crown. Prior to facing Gettysburg in the national championship, Middlebury defeated TCNJ in the semifinals last Saturday.
The Panthers enjoyed an exciting postseason run, which began with a late-second half surge to beat Bowdoin College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) finals before knocking-off Babson College, Illinois Wesleyan and York College (Pa.). Middlebury will graduate some key players from this year’s squad, but will certainly be back in the mix next season.
Amherst College provided some serious challenges to this year’s national champion – in fact, it almost appeared as if the Mammoths were going to beat Gettysburg and advance to the national semifinals. Unfortunately, that did not happen, but this young squad will certainly be a team to keep an eye on next spring.
Rounding out the top five positions is Trinity College, Bowdoin and Wesleyan University – all three teams appeared in this year’s national tournament. Bowdoin and Wesleyan were not easy outs in the playoffs, so expect both teams to be back in the mix next year for both a NESCAC and national crown.
As always, stay connected with @Noontime_Lax on Twitter for lacrosse news, notes, scores and more!
Women’s D3 New England Top 10 Poll | Weds. May 30th, 2018
1. Middlebury College
20-3, 9-1 NESCAC
2. Amherst College
17-3, 9-1 NESCAC
3. Trinity College
13-7, 6-4 NESCAC
4. Bowdoin College
14-6, 6-4 NESCAC
5. Wesleyan University
12-7, 6-4 NESCAC
6. Tufts University
13-5, 8-2 NESCAC
7. Babson College
13-8, 7-1 NEWMAC
8. Springfield College
15-7, 7-1 NEWMAC
9. Endicott College
14-4, 8-0 CCC
10. Westfield State
18-3, 7-0 MASCAC
ON THE RISE: Castleton (11-7, 7-0 NAC), Johnson & Wales (17-3, 10-0 GNAC), Plymouth State (14-0, 6-0 LEC)