NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The MIT-Muhlenberg Matchup

Sean Kent WBE

Sean Kent and the MIT Football team are making their second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

In just three days, a trio of New England D-III football teams will begin their pursuit of the ultimate prize: a national championship. And one of those teams is the MIT Engineers, who will travel to Allentown, Pennsylvania to face Muhlenberg College.

MIT is making its second-straight appearance in the NCAA D-III Tournament, as well as it’s third since 2014. The Engineers are 1-2 in their last three national postseason contests and will attempt to even their mark against an impressive Mules squad, which yet to drop a single contest this season.

Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.


MIT (7-2) at Muhlenberg (10-0)

Gametime/Location: Saturday, November 23rd at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Scotty Wood Stadium.

Rankings: Muhlenberg is currently fourth in the latest D3Football.com Top 25 Poll. MIT is not ranked nor receiving votes.

Conference Affiliate: Muhlenberg competes in the Centennial Conference (CC) – they finished 9-0 against league opponents. MIT competes in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and won six of seven league tilts this fall.

Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Both teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. MIT, which captured its first-ever NEWMAC crown last fall, saw its run toward a national championship conclude in the opening round against Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Delaware Valley (20-13) and Randolph-Macon (35-6) before falling to Mount Union, 38-10.

Inside the Numbers with MIT: The Engineers rank 124th in scoring offense, averaging 26.4 points per game. They have scored 30 touchdowns this fall while kicking eight field goals … MIT’s defense and Concordia Wisconsin are tied for 77th in scoring defense, yielding 21.00 points per contest … MIT is averaging 333.6 yards of total offense (153.9 rushing and 179.7 passing yards) … The defense has yielded an average of 174.4 passing yards per game while limiting opposing rushing attacks to just 117.0 yards per game.

Inside the Numbers with Muhlenberg: The Mules are currently the 17th highest-scoring offense in D-III, averaging 41.9 points per game. They have scored 56 touchdowns in 10 contests while recording nine field goals. Muhlenberg has converted 52 PATs and recorded one safety for 419.00 points … The Mules boast the ninth-best scoring defense, yielding an average of 11.70 points per game … Muhlenberg is averaging 439.1 yards of total offense (281.60 passing yards per game and 157.5 rushing yards) … The Mules have limited opposing rushing attacks to 70.6 yards per game while the defense is limiting offenses to just 200.30 yards of passing per game.

MIT Players to Watch: 

  • Chris Mauck (QB) – Enters Saturday’s contest with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a starter … Mauck has completed 121 of 241 passes for 1,609 yards
  • Ashton Robinson (RB) – Has rushed for a career-high 366 yards on 95 carries in eight contests this season, along with three touchdowns.
  • Keithen Shepard (WR) – Leads the Engineers with 10 receiving touchdowns … the third-year receiver has caught a team-high 35 passes for 542 yards.
  • Mark Wright (Kicker) – Wright has connected on 8 of 11 field goals with his longest kick being a 43-yarder … he is 22 of 26 on extra points … he has produced 46 points in nine games.
  • Sean Kent (Defensive Back) – The senior defensive back leads the Engineers with 58.0 total tackles … He has recorded 4.5 tackles for a loss of 10 yards while registering two interceptions and five pass break-ups.

Muhlenberg Players to Watch:

  • Frankie Feaster (DE) – Named the CC Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season … Feaster helped the Mules defense set a conference record of yielding just 91 points in nine conference contests.
  • Michael Hnatkowsky (QB) – Named the CC Offensive Player of the Year … He has tossed a school-record 34 touchdowns with only three interceptions … He ranks third in D-III in passing efficiency, completion percentage (sixth), and passing touchdowns (seven).
  • James Diggs (RB) – Diggs is averaging 70.0 rushing yards per game, which is fourth in the CC … He has scored seven rushing touchdowns this season.
  • Ryan Curtis (TE) – Named a first-team All-CC honoree … has caught 10 touchdowns and set the conference mark for career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end.
  • John Washington (DB) – Washington has recorded 28 tackles, five pass breakups, and two interceptions as a first-time starter with the Mules.
  • Todd Spirt (Kicker) – Spirit leads the conference with 78 points … he is the CC all-time leader in extra points made with 185 (he set a program record with 56 extra points made last season.

D3 Football Saturday Roundup: Nichols, WNE Open Conference Play With Wins

SATURDAY ROUNDUP

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Saturday was a busy day across New England with some exciting outcomes in the Division III football world.

Nichols College scored its first win over Salve Regina University since 2009 as the Bison outlasted the Seahawks, 25-15, in Dudley, Massachusetts.

Quarterback Michael Pina completed 15 of 30 passes for 173 yards and one touchdown while adding two scores on the ground.

The Bison led 15-12 at the break and held the Seahawks to just three points in the second half.

With the win, Nichols improves to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) play. The Bison visit Western New England next Saturday, October 5th with kick-off scheduled for 1 p.m.

Speaking of the Golden Bears, they bounced back from a week three setback with a commanding 50-38 victory against University of New England. Quarterback Brendan Smith tossed three touchdowns in the win, while halfback Jamyre Soberanis rushed for a game-high 168 yards on 21 carries and three scores.

UNE quarterback Brian Peters completed 31 of 41 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns.

Erich Keutmann led the Western New England defense with 12 total tackles, including nine solo stops and one sack.

In Vermont, Middlebury College defeated Trinity College, 32-27, to improve to 3-0 for the second time in three seasons. The win over the Bantams was also the Panthers’ first since the 2014 season.

Middlebury’s defense recorded eight tackles for a loss of 44 yards, including five sacks for a loss of 29 yards. Alex Norton concluded the game with seven total tackles, including five solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 26 yards and two sacks for a loss of 16 yards.

Will Jernigan tallied 241 total yards of offense and two scores (one passing and one rushing touchdown).

WPI moved to 4-0 and 1-0 in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play with a 35-21 victory over Springfield College.

Connor Field rushed for 116 yards on 30 carries and for two touchdowns, while Billy Mitchell (five receptions for 104 yards) and Nic Rossi (four receptions for 76 yards) each caught one touchdown pass from Julian Nyland.

Sam Casey and Nick Ostrowski paced the WPI defense with 10 total tackles, respectively.

In Washington, D.C, Chris Mauck tossed two touchdowns, while John Robertson rushed for a game-high 122 yards as MIT topped Catholic University, 32-13.

With the win, the Engineers improve to 2-1 and 1-0 in league play. MIT visits Merchant Marine next week – the Mariners defeated Maine Maritime Academy this afternoon by a score of 62-13.

Western Connecticut erased a two-score deficit at the break with five touchdowns in the second half to defeat Worcester State University, 42-28.

David James tossed four touchdowns in the win, including two to Will Daniels, who led the Colonials receiving core with 157 receiving yards on six catches.

Stephen Gacioch‘s three-yard touchdown strike to Jeremy Jackson with 5:49 remaining in the second quarter helped the Corsairs of UMass Dartmouth defeat Plymouth State, 21-14, to improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play.

Gacioch concluded the contest with 305 passing yards while adding 104 yards on 22 carries.

UMass Dartmouth visits Framingham State next Saturday for an important conference clash, which is scheduled to commence at 12 p.m.


New England D-III Football Week Four Scoreboard 

  • Morrisville State 42, Husson University 15
  • Endicott College 58, Becker College 12
  • Nichols College 25, Salve Regina University 15
  • Coast Guard Academy 17, Curry College 7
  • Western New England 50, University of New England 38
  • Kean University 47, Dean College 13
  • RPI 38, Anna Maria College 0
  • Norwich University 35, Castleton University 14
  • Bridgewater State 50, Fitchburg State 6
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy 31, Westfield State 7
  • Western Connecticut 42, Worcester State 28
  • UMass Dartmouth 21, Plymouth State 14
  • Hamilton College 45, Colby College 24
  • Williams College 41, Bowdoin College 10
  • Amherst College 26, Tufts University 16
  • Middlebury College 32, Trinity College 27
  • Wesleyan University 48, Bates College 12
  • Merchant Marine 62, Maine Maritime Academy 13
  • MIT 32, Catholic University 13
  • WPI 35, Springfield College 21

D3 Football Saturday: Roundup: Carnegie Mellon Tops MIT, WNE Rolls Past Springfield

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MIT’s Keithen Shepard was the lone Engineer to locate the end zone on Saturday afternoon. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

It was not the ideal second half for the MIT Engineers.

Miscues, penalties, and turnovers allowed Carnegie Mellon the opportunity to break-open a 7-7 tie in the second half with two touchdowns and one field goal for a 24-7 non-conference victory on Saturday afternoon in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Luke Bikulege and Michael Lohmeier each recorded third-quarter touchdowns, while Brandon Nguyen converted a 33-yard field goal in-between both scores.

MIT attempted to respond after Lohmeier pounced on a loose fumble in the end zone, but struggled to move the ball against a potent Tartans defense, which limited the Engineers to just 289 yards of total offense.

“Going into half (it was) 7-7, basically a 0-0 game, but then we came out in the third quarter and we just made too many mistakes,” said MIT coach Brian Bubna.

“Defensively, we were missing a lot of tackles (followed) by some special teams errors, which put us back in our own end and then a bad snap into the end zone.”

While MIT struggled in the second half, Bubna felt his team played well in the first half – the Engineers scored the game’s initial touchdown late in the first quarter when Chris Mauck connected with Keithen Shepard for a 72-yard score before Carnegie Mellon responded late in the second with a 78-yard strike from JD Dayhuff to Willie Richter.

MIT may have concluded the game with 14 more total yards than Carnegie Mellon, but the Engineers lost two fumbles and were flagged five times for 33 yards.

“(Carnegie Mellon) is a good team, we knew that coming in. We (also) knew they would be disciplined, and they are well-coached, too,” said Bubna.

“But when you make that many mistakes against a good team, that is what happens.”

Western New England 33, Springfield College 17: Alec Coleman recorded 351 yards of total offense, including 305 passing yards, while scoring two touchdowns as the Golden Bears captured the Pynchon SAW Game for the first time since 2016. WNE’s Kieran Lombard concluded the game by converting seven kicks, including four field goals.

Norwich University 22, Salve Regina 19: Matt Dunn completed 24-for-41 for 307 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 1:46 remaining in the fourth. Dunn connected with Manni Romero on a five-yard touchdown pass, which capped 11 plays, 64-yard drive.

Maritime (N.Y.) 24, Maine Maritime 21: Joseph Gagliardi converted on four kicks, including a game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired to send the Privateers past the Mariners in Throggs Neck, New York. Maine Maritime’s Nikolas Moquin concluded the game with three touchdown passes.

Western Connecticut 12, William Patterson 9 (OT): David James connected with Will Daniels for a game-winning 25-yard touchdown in overtime after Jordan D’Onofrio secured the extra session with his second field goal of the afternoon with 3:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Morrisville State 39, Bridgewater State 7: Bill Flatow tossed two touchdowns and ran for a score, too, as the Mustangs rolled over the Bears in Bridgewater. Stefano D’Emilia recorded Bridgewater State’s lone touchdown in the third quarter.


Week One Scoreboard 

  • Nichols College 37, Dean College 12
  • Stevenson 34, Curry College 0
  • Becker College 33, Anna Maria 19
  • Endicott College 55, Framingham State 27
  • Maritime (N.Y.) 24, Maine Maritime 21
  • UMass Dartmouth 54, Alfred State 7
  • Plymouth State 23, Castleton University 17
  • Morrisville State 39, Bridgwater State 7
  • Cortland 63, Fitchburg State 0
  • Western Connecticut 12, William Patterson 9 (OT)
  • Union College 42, Westfield State 7
  • Norwich University 22, Salve Regina 19
  • Carnegie Mellon 24, MIT 7
  • Western New England 33, Springfield College 17
  • Coast Guard Academy 27, University of New England 17

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