Framingham State’s Joshua Smiley and the Rams are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/Framingham State Athletics)
Four New England D3 football teams secured spots in the 2018 NCAA Division III Tournament, which officially begins Saturday, November 17th with 16 opening round contests.
32 teams were selected to compete in this year’s tournament, including a trio of local teams (Framingham State, Husson University and Western New England) which captured their respective conference crown.
MIT, which also earned a spot in this year’s tournament, secured an at-large bid following an exciting 22-7 win yesterday over Springfield College to secure the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown (the NEWMAC title was the Engineers’ first in program history).
All four teams will hit the road this week with Framingham State visiting Brockport, Husson traveling to RPI, MIT heading to Johns Hopkins and Frostburg State entertaining Western New England. All four match-ups will commence at 12 p.m. eastern.
Both Husson and WNE advanced to the tournament last year, while Framingham State is making its first appearance in three seasons (the Rams last competed in the national postseason in 2015). MIT is making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history after making an impressive debut four years ago with an opening round win against Husson.
We’ll have more on all four match-ups later this week, but as always, stay connected with @Noontime_FB on Twitter for news, notes and more from the New England football world!
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_FB
The fourth week of the New England D3 Football season has arrived, which means it is time to unveil our newest Top 10 poll of the season, as well as our ‘teams are on the rise.’
Trinity College slid into the top spot for the first time this season with a convincing 35-0 win over Colby College, while Wesleyan University moved up two spots to the second position with a monstrous win over Middlebury College. Both teams will look to keep their momentum going this week against Bates College and Tufts University.
Salve Regina and Western Connecticut join the poll this week after each squad secured important week three wins. Western Connecticut scored an important win over Plymouth State and will attempt to win their third-straight contest against the Seahawks on Saturday, who defeated Dean College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Finally, MIT moved up to the seventh position with a 31-29 win over Endicott College on the road last weekend. The Engineers have been an exciting story thus far under first-year coach Brian Bubna, who will attempt to earn his first NEWMAC win as a head coach on Saturday when MIT welcomes Catholic University to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This year’s Noontime Sports Top 10 New England D3 Football poll is assembled by local coaches and media members.
New England D3 Football: Week Four Poll | Monday, September 17th, 2018
1. Trinity College
1-0 | Last Week No. 2
Week Four: Bates (9/22)
2. Wesleyan Univ.
1-0 | Last Week No. 4
Week Four: Tufts (9/22)
3. Springfield College
2-1 | Last Week No. 1
Week Four: WPI (9/22)
4. Amherst College
1-0 | Last Week No. 3
Week Four: Hamilton (9/22)
5. Framingham State
2-1 | Last Week No. 5
Week Four: Mass. Maritime (9/22)
2-1 | Last Week No. 6
Week Four: Springfield (9/22)
3-0 | Last Week No. 8
Week Four: Catholic
8. Western Conn.
2-0 | Last Week NR
Week Four: Salve Regina
9. Western New Eng.
2-1 | Last Week No. 9
Week Four: Anna Maria
10. Salve Regina
2-1 | Last Week NR
Week Four: Western Conn.
ON THE RISE: Coast Guard Academy (2-1), Endicott College (1-2), Middlebury College (0-1) Tufts University (1-0), Williams College (1-0) and Worcester State (2-1)
2018 Noontime Sports Top 10 New England D3 Football Polls
A new season of Framingham State football is set to begin tomorrow, (Saturday, September 1st) when the Rams host Endicott College in a non-conference clash at 12 p.m.
Last season, the Rams went 10-1, earning a share of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown with Plymouth State before capturing its second-straight New England Bowl championship.
This season, the Rams hope to continue its momentum from last year by leaning on its upperclassmen, including senior halfback Quron Wright and junior defensive end Joshua Onujiogu. Both players will be counted on to lead the offense and defensive, respectively.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with both student-athletes to share their outlook for the upcoming season, but also what they must do to help their respective unit, too.
Quron Wright (2) will once again be asked to lead the Framingham State ground game this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)
Quron Wright | Senior Halfback | Worcester, Mass.
On the upperclassmen leading this year’s team: We have a bunch of new guys on this year’s team, so coach (Tom Kelley) is really putting an emphasis on the upperclassmen with helping the young guys learn their roles, while also learning where they need to be on the field (during different situations).
On this year’s offense: We’re keeping the focus on the same things we did last year, which is just trying to be a little bit faster, while keeping opposing defenses on their heels. Our biggest goal is making sure the upperclassmen make plays when needed.
On preparing for his final season: I worked out a lot this summer. I was coming off a good season from last year, so I just want to keep improving. I watched a lot of film and found things I needed to improve on this season. But for me, my goal is to be more involved in the blocking game on offense, so that has been something I have been working on this offseason.
On what motivates you to be successful: I keep the focus on myself (and improving every day). I personally think I am one of the best (running) backs in the area, so I am extremely motivated and want to end (my final season with the Rams) on a high note.
On facing Endicott College: We don’t have much film on them, so we don’t (always) know what to expect. We just try to go in there and get a feel for them, and then go from there. But it is always fun playing against them. It should be even more fun this year since we will be at home.
On qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this fall: We finished 10-1 last year, but it wasn’t what we expected, so this year we have emphasized trying to take that next step (to contend for a national title).
Joshua Onujiogu (91) will be counted on to lead the Framingham State Rams defense this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin)
Joshua Onujiogu | Junior Defensive End | Wareham, Mass.
On the team’s defense: I think we’re getting better, but there is a lot more work we need to do (due to some key graduation losses from last year’s squad), but we just need to keep working hard. We will be fine.
On what the defense must improve on: We need to improve our communication.
On facing your team’s offense in practice every day: I think we’re facing one of the best offenses that we are going to see this year, so it definitely helps us get better.
On qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this season: Yeah, that is the top goal and we really want (to compete for a national championship this season).
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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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