Mass. College Football: Five Game To Watch (Week Two)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The second week of the college football season is upon us, so let’s pick a few games to watch – five to be exact – and predictions.

Best of luck to all teams competing this evening and tomorrow – make sure to check-back every Friday of the season for our ‘Five Games to Watch’ post.

UMass (0-0) at Colorado (0-1): The Minutemen commence its 2015 season on the road (Saturday, Sept. 12 at 2:00 p.m.), competing against a Buffaloes squad that fell to Hawai’i last Thursday. UMass will look to continue its turnaround from last season, which saw the offensive unit post 45 scores compared to 13 touchdowns in 2013. Second-year graduate student Blake Frohnapfel will be the team’s signal-caller and was recently named to four watch lists, including the Dave O’Brien Award, which is given to the top quarterbacks across college football by Davey O’Brien, according to the UMass Athletic website. He is also in the running for the Manning Award, an accolade that is handed out by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to the top signal-caller in the country. Expect the quarterback to have a big game and lead his team to victory. PREDICTION: UMass 24, Colorado 21

Stonehill College (1-0) at Merrimack College (0-1): On Wednesday, Stonehill head coach Robert Talley described this matchup as a ‘good rivalry.’ This rivalry will be played under the lights in North Andover (Friday, September 11, 7:00 p.m.) as both teams open Northeast-10 Conference play following an interesting first week. The Skyhawks defeated Bloomsburg (originally No. 11 in the country), while the Warriors fell to Bowie State by just three points (35-32). Stonehill is now receiving votes in the national poll.

Matt Clifford highlighted the Warriors’ defensive outing, posting five solo tackles; two pass-breakups and one fumble recovery, while Brian Carroll paced the unit with eight total tackles – all eight tackles were solo stops. Stonehill quarterback Matt Foltz completed 13 of 19 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, running back Colin Markus rushed for one score and 122 yards on 27 carries, and Donovan Phanor, who was tabbed the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week, registered seven total tackles, one interception, one pass-breakup and one fumble recovery. This has the making of a great game, but expect defense to be the focal point. PREDICTION: Stonehill 31, Merrimack 27

New Haven (0-1) at Bentley University (0-1): Last weekend, the Falcons fell behind early, but showed great fight down the stretch in a 35-20 setback to Mercyhurst. Martin Bannerman rushed for a pair of touchdowns, while Michael Baron finished two-for-two on field goals and extra points, respectively. Bryan Hardy had an impressive outing on defense, finishing with seven total tackles – five solo stops – one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery. Bentley will look to utilize its strong finish from a week ago to get off to a good start this evening (Friday, September 11) when they commence NE-10 play against New Haven, which fell to Slippery Rock, 39-13. Bentley anticipates a good crowd this evening that will assist the squad in picking up its initial victory of the season. PREDICTION: Bentley 27, New Haven 21

SUNY Cortland (1-0) at Framingham State University (1-0): Following a week one victory against Endicott College, Tom Kelley and the Rams turn the page to another difficult opponent: The Red Dragons. In 2012, Cortland and Framingham State met in the NCAA Division III Tournament with the Red Dragons prevailing by just one point. Saturday’s game (September 12, 12:00 p.m.) could be a potential playoff preview, however, the Rams will need another strong outing from quarterback Matt Silva, who tossed five touchdowns last weekend against the Gulls. Framingham State will also rely heavily on Svenn Jacobson, who paced the defense with 11 total tackles – five solo stops – and one forced fumble. The Red Dragons rallied to win their first game, posting 13 points in the final frame to overcome a 17-13 deficit at the break. Carson Lassiter led the Red Dragons defense with 13 total tackles, while recording a trio of pass-breakups and one forced fumble. PREDICTION: Framingham State 20, Cortland 17

WPI (1-0) at Worcester State University (0-1): One week after an exciting three-point victory against MIT, the Engineers of WPI will look to continue its momentum on Friday evening (September 11, 7:00 p.m.) when they make the short trip to Worcester State University. WPI’s defense came up with some important stops down the stretch, including a fumble recovery by Brian Murtagh with 3:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. Defense will again be the focal point against a talented Worcester State offense, but so will special teams. WPI will need to contain Terrence Gibson, who recorded 187 yards on three kickoff returns last week. Gibson also hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions from quarterback Trevor Vassey, who completed 16 of 36 pass attempts for 315 yards. Vassey also tossed three touchdowns in his team’s setback to Salve Regina University. This has the making for a classic ‘Friday Night Lights’ contest, but the question is which defense or player will make ‘the play’ to seal the win? PREDICTION: WPI 35, Worcester State 34

Mass. College Football: Camping With Stonehill College Football

Stonehill College football prepares for its upcoming 2015 season. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth)
Stonehill College football prepares for its upcoming 2015 season. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth)

By Brian Willwerth 

EASTON, Mass. — The Stonehill College Skyhawks are looking to improve on last year’s 5-6 record. On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to catch up with the team at practice, on a hot and humid day at W.B. Mason Stadium.

After using several different quarterbacks in 2014, Matt Foltz will be leading the offense this year. He went 2-1 in the three games last year. He was very effective with his legs, scoring six touchdowns on the ground. Through the air, he completed nearly 64% of his passes, throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions.

“He’s really coming along,” said head coach Robert Talley. “He has a really good grasp of the offense, and every day he seems to improve.”

One of the players Foltz will try to get the ball to is wide receiver – and co-captain – Gordon McLeod. He has 1,350 receiving yards in his Stonehill career.

“We expect to be fast,” said McLeod. “We weren’t too consistent last year….so that’s what we’re striving for.”

The running game will be led by tailback Colin Markus, whom Talley called “a game breaker.” Markus rushed for over 700 yards and five touchdowns in 2014.

The Skyhawks’ defense — ranked first in the Northeast-10 last year in just about every single category — lost some players to graduation, including two key members of the secondary, so others will need to step up and fill the void.

“We’re pretty talented on that side of the ball. It’s just a matter of how quickly we can come together as one unit,” said Talley.

Talley said special teams have been a strong point, and he expects this year to be no different. Kicker Steve Grzywacz is a four-year starter.

Stonehill opens the season on the road, on September 5 against the Huskies of Bloomsburg University.

Mass. College Football: 8 Northeast-10 Players Earn USA College Football Div. II Preseason All-American Honors

By NoontimeSports.com 

The 26th Annual USA College Football Division II Preseason All-American teams were released today and eight Northeast-10 Conference players were selected to the First and Second Teams.

Below are the eight players that received preseason honors, along with their school and position.

First Team:

Colin Markus (Stonehill College/ Running Back)

Danny Omoregie (American International College/ Defensive Lineman)

Bakari Blunt (Assumption College/ Defensive Back)

Second Team:

Eric Beckwith (Bentley University/ Offensive Line)

Jere Brown (Merrimack College WR/Second Team)

Jarrod Casey (Assumption College/ Linebacker)

Paul Norris (Bentley University/ Defensive Line)

Devonte Jones (Merrimack College/ Defensive Back)

Mass. College Football: Week 11 Honor Roll

By NoontimeSports.com 

With another weekend of college football in the books, it is time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Andre Williams (Boston College) – The senior tailback, who is the current leading rusher in the ACC and No. 2 in the nation among FBS (Football Subdivision) players, rushed for a single-game school record of 295 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 48-34 win over New Mexico State

Chase Rettig (Boston College) – The senior quarterback passed for 230 yards and tossed three scores.

Peter Pujals (Holy Cross) – The first-year signal caller amassed 292 yards of total offense in his team’s setback to Lehigh, along with one touchdown pass.

Matt Pedone (Assumption College) – The senior halfback rushed for a career-high 209 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries, which helped the Hounds defeat LIU Post, 37-27, and finish 5-0 on the road in league play.

Tad Beuchert (Assumption) – The senior placekicker was a perfect 3-for-3 in field goals and 4-for-4 in extra-point attempts.

Sterry Codrington (Stonehill) –The junior defensive back helped the Skyhawks hold Merrimack to just 14 points and 359 total yards by registering a career-best 12 tackles, including one for a loss of two yards, a forced fumble, interception and pass breakup.

Kevin Arduino (American International) – The junior quarterback rushed for three scores and passed for 94 yards in his team’s win over So. Connecticut.

Mike Bates (Assumption) – The senior linebacker recorded 11 total tackles, five solo stops, one interception, one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.

Jere Brown (Merrimack) – The sophomore wide receiver hauled in nine receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown.

Colin Markus (Stonehill) – The sophomore halfback recorded a career-high 31 carries for 185 yards in his team’s win over the Warriors.

Brian Harrington (Stonehill) – The junior linebacker recorded a game-best 16 tackles, eight solo stops, one sack for a loss of nine yards and a pass breakup.

Nate Robitaille (Stonehill) – The junior wide receiver caught seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Taylor Russell (Stonehill) – The junior defensive lineman matched his career-high with five tackles, including one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 10 yards, one sack, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Robert Baker (Becker) – The senior quarterback amassed 243 yards in the Hawks’ 20-3 win over Castelton State. Baker tossed two touchdowns and rushed for 41 yards on 14 carries.

Melvin Booker (Becker) – The senior linebacker recorded a game-high 18 total stops, which included four-and-a-half sacks for a loss of 31 yards and five tackles for a loss of 31 yards.

Zach Grasis (WPI) – The junior tailback rushed for 155 yards and two scores in the Engineers’ 31-21 victory over Rochester.

Sean Murphy (WPI) – The sophomore defensive back recorded five solo tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery against Rochester.

Melikke Van Alstyne (Framingham State) – The senior running back rushed for a game-best 158 yards and three scores as the Rams defeated the Bears and claimed the inaugural MASCAC crown.

Mike McCarthy (Bridgewater State) – The senior quarterback completed 10-of-19 passes for 117 yards and rushed for 95 yards and three scores on 27 carries.

Patrick McGrath (Framingham State) – The senior linebacker finished with 13 total tackles, 10 solo stops and a fumble recovery.

Trevor McNeil (UMass Dartmouth) – The first-year linebacker recorded 10 total tackles, five solo stops, which included two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, one sack for a loss of six yards, a forced fumble and fumble recovery against the Falcons of Fitchburg State.

Steph’fon Teague (Fitchburg State) – The junior halfback rushed for 182 yards and one score on 27 carries. He also caught one pass for five yards and one touchdown in the Falcons’ 25-20 victory.

Mike Stanton (Mass. Maritime) – The senior quarterback completed 15-of-24 passes for 203 yards and tossed four touchdowns, as well as rushed for 57 yards and one score in his team’s 46-44 win over Plymouth State.

Sam Calley (Curry) – The senior defensive lineman finished his team’s contest against Nichols College with nine total tackles, which included six sacks for 21 yards, eight tackles for a loss of 24 yards and two forced fumbles.

Drew Frenette (Endicott) – The junior quarterback tossed three touchdowns and completed 17-of-32 passes for 323 yards in the Gulls’ win over Western New England.

Peter Williams (MIT) – The junior quarterback completed 15-of-18 passes for 264 yards and five touchdowns against Maine Maritime.

Chris Tamasi (Amherst) – The junior linebacker concluded his team’s season with six solo tackles, which included two tackles for a loss of eight yards and one sack for a loss of seven yards.

Mass. College Football: Week 11 Teams Of The Week

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the second to last week of the regular season in the books, it is now time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Teams of the Week.

Division 1 – Boston College: The Eagles matched their longest winning streak of the season (two games) with a 48-34 win over New Mexico State. The Eagles outscored the Aggies, 28-17 in the second half to earn their fifth win.

Andre Williams, who is currently the leading rusher in the ACC and No. 2 in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), rushed for 295 yards on 30 carries and two scores, while quarterback Chase Rettig tossed three touchdowns.

The Eagles finished with 550 yards of total offense, along with 18 first downs. They converted on 5-of-13 third downs and were 1-for-1 on fourth down.

BC will return to conference play next weekend when they host North Carolina State, which will be their final home game of the 2013 season.

Division 2 – Stonehill College: For the first time since 1996, the Skyhawks won their fifth straight game by defeating Merrimack College, 26-14.

Brian Harrington led Stonehill’s defense with 16 tackles, as well as established a new single-season record with 134 stops.

Colin Markus rushed for 185 yards on 31 carries and Nate Robitaille caught seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Stonehill raced out to a 13-0 lead thanks to two Steve Grzywacz field goals and a touchdown pass from Joe Della Vecchia to Robitaille. Merrimack did comeback in the third, but the Skyhawks padded their lead with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Paul Piccirillo.

The Skyhawk, who earned a share of the Northeast-10 Conference regular season crown, will travel to Springfield on Saturday to face AIC in the title game. A win for the Skyhawks would most likely secure them a spot in the NCAA Division 2 tournament.

Division 3 – WPI: The Engineers snapped a four-game losing streaking on “Senior Day” with a 31-21 victory over Rochester.

Halfback Zach Grasis rushed for 155 yards on 22 carries and two scores, while quarterback John Antonopoulos amassed 179 yards of total offense. He also tossed one touchdown in the opening quarter to Gallagher Hogan, which evened the score at 7-7.

Defensively, Sean Murphy led the unit with two interceptions, along with five solo stops, one fumble recover and two pass break-ups. Brian Murtagh finished with a team-high nine total tackles and two pass break-ups.

The Engineers, who improved to 3-6 overall, will conclude their season on Saturday when they travel to Springfield to face the Pride.