I hope you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming NCAA Tournament games tomorrow, along with two New England Bowls.
As usual, Friday’s mean one thing: games to watch and predictions. So, allow me to dish out my picks for the three NCAA Tournament games with New England teams, along with both New England Bowls.
Have a wonderful weekend, stay warm – it is going to be COLD tomorrow – and I’ll do my very best, as usual, to keep you all updated on social media!
NCAA Tournament Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019
Brockport at Western New England (12 p.m.): This is a very evenly matched contest – it is even a game the Golden Bears could (and should) win. I’ll give the edge to WNE since they are playing at home, but they will need a big day from their offense, as well as a stellar performance by their run defense. PREDICTION: WNE 31, Brockport 28
Framingham State at Wesley College (12 p.m.): The Rams have never won an NCAA Tournament game, so perhaps this is the contest Framingham State wins. FSU’s offense and defense have been rather impressive the past few weeks, especially against some talented conference foes, which should translate to a one-point (or two-point) victory on Saturday. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Wesley 27
MIT at Muhlenberg College (12 p.m.): This is a tough draw for the Engineers, who are set to face the fourth-best team in the country, per the latest D3 Football Top 25. MIT has been impressive in their last three outings – they needed to win all three to advance to the postseason – but something tells me the Mules will make a few more plays from the get-go to secure an opening-round win. PREDICTION: Muhlenberg 30, MIT 10
New England Bowl Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019
Dean College at Endicott College (12 p.m.): This one is for the seniors. Look for a monstrous game from the seniors on both sides of the ball to send the Gulls into the offseason with some momentum for the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Dean 16
Western Connecticut at WPI (1 p.m.): After losing to the Engineers of Cambridge earlier this month, WPI has looked unstoppable, winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University by a combined score of 124-35. Look for the Engineers to continue their recent momentum against the Colonials in Worcester. PREDICTION: WPI 38, Western Conn. 14
Joshua Onujiogu (91) will be counted on to lead the Framingham State Rams defense this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
In just two days, the Framingham State University football team will take the field for the first time this season when they visit Endicott College for an important week one contest.
Framingham State and Endicott have met 14 times – the series is tied at 7-7 – but the Rams have won the last six meetings, dating back to a 35-23 win in week one of the 2013 season.
Before the Rams and Gulls tangle under the lights in Beverly, Massachusetts, here are some things you need to know about this year’s Framingham State football team, which will once again be led by coach Tom Kelley.
Framingham State Rams | 2019 Team Capsule
The Rams’ 2018 Season: Framingham State won eight of 11 contests last fall en route to claiming a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title and spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Coach Tom Kelley was tabbed the MASCAC Champion’s Choice Coach of the Year, while 13 student-athletes landed on the first and second all-conference teams, including defensive lineman Joshua Smiley and quarterback Adam Wojenski.
Framingham State captured one of two non-conference games while ending the regular season on a four-game winning streak.
The Rams drew The College at Brockport in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament but saw their bid toward a national championship dashed with a 40-27 setback. Wojenski concluded the game with 450 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Wojenski’s New Targets: Heading into his final season with the Rams, quarterback Adam Wojenski is adjusting to some new wide receivers and tight ends he will be throwing the ball to this fall, including Jacob Maher, who transferred from Worcester State.
Maher, who played high school football for Marshfield High School, was recently named to the D3Football.com Preseason All-American team after earning a pair of New England Football Writers Division II/III All-New England honors as a member of the Lancers.
“He’s a beast,” said Wojenski when asked about building a rapport with his new tight end. “(Once) we get our timing down then we’ll be good to go.”
Maher won’t be the only wide receiver or tight end Wojenski will be targeting this fall as the Stratford, Connecticut native is expected to target Austin Nunn, Elijah Nichols, and Manny Exilhomme, too.
Wojenski is confident in his new receivers, who he claims have “stepped up” in preseason practices. “They will be ready,” he said.
New Leadership on Defense: Similar to the Rams’ offense, the defense will also look a bit different than last year due to some key graduation losses, but that doesn’t seem to faze Josh Smiley, who claims “(the) defense (has) bought into our system and we’re all ready to go.”
Smiley is just one of a few returners on defense this fall – he will be joined up front by Rufus Rushins, Facundo Isas, and Joshua Onujiogu.
The unit also returns linebackers Brian Donahue and Cully Curran, and strong safety Carls Alphonse.
Framingham State’s defense will be guided by Mike Landers, who coached the wide receivers last fall.
Onujiogu has enjoyed working with Landers, who he claims has helped both him and his teammates understand more than just the typical x’s and o’s.
“(We’re) learning more things (that) we may have not thought of before,” said Onujiogu of Landers’ defensive formations and schemes.
Added Smiley, “We do (get) more freedom, but this is going to be a fast-moving defense.”
Youth Movement: For the Rams to enjoy a successful campaign this fall, they will need some first-year players to step-up on both offense and defense.
The Rams’ 2019 roster features a slew of first-year players, including halfback Devaun Ford, who is expected to start on Friday against Endicott.
Ford played locally for Mashpee High School and competed for a trio of Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Super Bowl teams, including the 2017 Division 7 squad that beat Blackstone Valley, 22-16.
Danny Marinaccio is also a first-year back that is expected to step up and help the offense this fall.
On defense, Issac Nascimento is a student-athlete that can help the secondary – he will certainly learn a great deal from the upperclassmen and coach Shawn Theriault.
“We’re going to be young and we’re going to have to count on some of the young guys to step up,” said Kelley.
In the past, both first and second-year players have done quite well in Kelley’s system, and have helped the squad by making some key plays when needed.
Conference Favorites: The Rams were picked to win the MASCAC this fall, according to the 2019 preseason coaches poll.
Framingham State secured seven first-place votes, while Western Connecticut, which secured the second position, earned a pair of first-place nods.
Bridgewater State, Plymouth State, and UMass Dartmouth rounded out the top five, checking-in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, while Westfield State secured the sixth position.
Fitchburg State checked-in seventh, Massachusetts Maritime Academy secured the eighth position, while Worcester State placed ninth.
Conference play for most teams will begin in week three with the Rams hosting Westfield State at 12 p.m.
Stay connected with our New England Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.
The win – the Golden Eagles’ 13th straight – secures the Green and Gold a spot in next weekend’s national semifinals against top-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Mary Hardin-Baylor, which has also won 13 consecutive games this season, defeated St. Thomas, 24-10, in its quarterfinal match-up earlier today. Mount Union and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh also clinched spots in next weekend’s semifinals by capturing their respective contests, too.
Brockport quarterback Joe Germinerio accounted for a trio of scores, including two rushing touchdowns, while Tyree Brown concluded the contest with 23 yards on five carries and one score, along with a reception for 16 yards.
The Golden Eagles led the Aggies, 21-7, at the break and 28-7 after three quarters before DelVal rallied with three consecutive fourth quarter touchdowns, including a pair of strikes from Dashawn Darden to Marquis Ellis, which evened the score at 28-28.
DelVal attempted to take the lead on its next two possessions, but saw both drives conclude with a punt from Stephen Adams.
Brockport would take over with 55 seconds remaining – they started their drive at the DelVal 48 – and would reach the 16 before sending in Renzi for the game-winning boot.
The loss snaps DelVal’s 12-game winning streak, which included a pair of postseason victories over Husson University and Western New England.
Joe Germinerio tossed three touchdowns, while completing 30 of 38 passes for 292 yards, while Tyree Brown hauled in a game-high 118 yards on 11 catches – he also caught a touchdown, too.
Nathaniel Keith III led the Golden Eagles’ defense with 10 total stops, including seven solo tackles, while scooping a fumble. Julius Mizro concluded the contest with one sack for a loss of 21 yards, one forced fumble, one pass break-up, one interception (four yards) and six total tackles (one solo stop).
Brockport’s defense limited Wesley tailback E.J. Lee to just 82 yards on 23 carries – he did rush for a touchdown, though. Alex Kemp recorded three grabs for 94 yards and one touchdown reception, while quarterback Khaaliq Burroughs concluded the afternoon 16 of 35 for 233 yards and one touchdown.
Both teams entered the break tied at 21-21, but a three-score third quarter, jumpstarted by a Joseph Ortiz touchdown reception helped the Golden Eagles push ahead for good.
Brockport led 42-28 after three quarters before scoring their final touchdown midway through the final session with 9:01 remaining.
Wesley concludes its season 10-2 overall, while the Golden Eagles picked-up their 12th consecutive victory of the season.
Delaware Valley 37, Husson 15: One week after stunning the NCAA Division III Football world with their first-ever postseason victory, the Husson Eagles saw their run toward the ultimate prize conclude in Pennsylvania as the Aggies rolled to their 12th straight win, thanks to four touchdowns from Dashawn Darden (three through the air, one on the ground).
Darden accounted for three first half touchdowns, which helped the hosts secure a 19-0 advantage at the break, but Husson responded early in the third quarter with a nine-yard touchdown run by John Smith. Smith’s score capped an eight play, 71 yard drive, which brought the visitors with 12 points of the Aggies with 10:50 remaining in the third.
DelVal would counter on the ensuing possession with a two-yard plunge by LaQuille Nesbitt, which helped the Aggies push ahead for good.
Smith concluded the contest with a game-high 161 yards on 32 carries, while Devauntay Ellis led the Aggies’ rushing attack with 100 yards on 18 carries.
Husson concludes its season at 10-2 after claiming its second-straight Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown earlier this month when they defeated Alfred State in Maine.
John Smith and the Husson Eagles defeated Springfield in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. (PHOTO CREDIT: Monty Rand Photography/Husson University Athletics)
By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and two scores as Husson stunned Springfield, 23-21, in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Stagg Field.
Smith reached the end zone twice – once in the second quarter and once in the third – while quarterback Cory Brandon got the visitors on the board with a second quarter touchdown strike to Kyle Gaudet (36-yard reception).
Husson led Springfield, 14-6, at the break, and 20-14 after three quarters of play before Devin Pickett extended the visitors’ advantage to 23-14 with a 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Springfield trimmed the deficit with a Hunter Belzo 52-yard touchdown run to pull within two-points (23-21), but that would be the closest the Pride would get to the Eagles.
Brandon completed the contest with 209 yards and one touchdown pass, connecting on 20 of 30 passes, while Kyree Calli led all receivers with 64 yards on seven reception.
Husson’s defense limited the top-ranked rushing offense to just 264 yards. Belzo paced the Pride’s rushing attack by tallying 113 yards on nine carries, while Jordan Wilcox rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries and two scores.
The win extends the Eagles’ campaign to next weekend where they’ll face Delaware Valley in the second round, while Springfield concludes a historic season at 10-1 overall.
Husson, which captured the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown this fall, will face Delaware Valley next weekend in the second round of the tournament. The Aggies secured a date with the Eagles by defeating Western New England, 35-0.
Saturday’s win marked the first time an ECFC team has won a postseason contest.
Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0: Sammy Mohr clinched an opening round win for the Aggies with a 100-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the final session as DelVal earned its 11th consecutive win of the season. Aaron Nelson led DelVal and all receivers with 121 yards on two receptions and one score, while WNE’s Dante Aiken rushed for a game-high 98 yards on 21 carries. WNE concludes its season at 8-3 – the Golden Bears captured the first-ever Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown a few weeks ago when they defeated Curry College, 42-28.
Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0: Joe Germinerio accounted for four touchdowns, including three through the air, as the Golden Eagles soared past the ‘Mountain Men’ of Plymouth State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Germinerio completed 19 of 27 passes for 316 yards, while Tyree Brown rushed for a game-high 156 yards on eight carries and one score. The Panthers conclude their season with a 9-2 overall record – Plymouth State also captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown this year, too.
Framingham State 48, Curry 14: Adam Wojenski tossed five touchdowns, while completing 19 of 28 passes for 246 yards as the Rams won their second New England Bowl at Bowditch Field in Framingham. Quron Wright led all rushers with 60 yards on 16 carries, while Curry’s Nick Villanueva hauled in a game-high 92 yards on four receptions. Framingham State’s Joshua Onujiogu led all defenders with a pair of sacks for 13 yards, while concluding the game with a pass break-up and four total tackles, including a trio of solo stops. The Rams conclude their season with a 10-1 overall ledger, while Curry finished 8-3.
WPI 17, SUNY Maritime 3: Sean McAllen and Lain Zembekeach rushed for one touchdown, while Spencer Herrington booted a 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter, which helped WPI defeat SUNY Maritime, 17-3, in the New England Bowl on Saturday evening at Alumni Stadium in Worcester. SUNY Maritime’s Matthew Murphy trimmed the deficit mid-way through the fourth with a field goal, but that was the closest the Privateers would get to the Engineers. WPI concludes its season on a seven-game winning streak, while matching the 1992 team for nine wins, which is the most victories recorded by any Engineers squad in a single-season. SUNY Maritime ends its season with a 9-2 overall ledger, too.