Harvard University and the University of New Hampshire last met on the gridiron in 1939.
In two years, the two schools will square off in a home-and-home series, which will see the Wildcats visit Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 5, 2024, followed by the Crimson visiting to Durham, New Hampshire on September 19, 2026.
Holy Cross, which captured its third-straight Patriot League crown last fall, secured the 18th position while the University of Rhode Island tied with the University of Richmond for the 24th spot.
The Crusaders concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins – they also captured the program’s initial postseason victory against Sacred Heart University. Additionally, Holy Cross scored its first football bowl subdivision win in its season-opener last September against the University of Connecticut.
Holy Cross: Not only did the Crusaders match the 1989 squad with 10 wins last fall, but they also captured their program’s initial postseason contest by rallying to defeat Sacred Heart University. And despite ending their season with a 21-16 setback to Villanova University in the second round of the FCS Tournament, the expectation is Holy Cross will once again be in the mix for a Patriot League crown. Quarterback Matthew Sluka and linebacker Jacob Dobbs return with hopes of duplicating their effort from one year ago.
Harvard University: Coach Tim Murphy’s Crimson enjoyed a successful season last fall, despite falling short of finishing in a three-way tie with Dartmouth and Princeton University atop the Ancient Eight standings. Harvard led all FCS teams in rushing defense last fall – they will certainly miss linebacker Jordan Hill this season, who secured a tryout in the spring with the Philadelphia Eagles. While Hill, along with halfback Aaron Shampklin will be missed, Harvard should be able to fill those voids with some key returners, including linebacker Jack McGowan, halfback Aidan Borguet, and kicker Jonah Lipel.
University of Rhode Island: Despite ending its season with a 43-28 setback to Elon University, the Rams concluded their 2021 campaign with seven victories, which is the most Rhode Island has recorded since coach Tim Stowers guided the Blue and White to an 8-3 record in 2001. URI’s offensive line will be a unit to watch this year – the early expectation is they will provide quarterback Kasim Hill with plenty of time to throw the ball. Halfback Kevin Brown Jr. returns after missing last season due to an injury.
It’s hard to pinpoint some of the best storylines of 2021 when it comes to New England small college basketball, but there have been a few, including two conference championship celebrations in March.
The biggest storyline has been the return to the court — like so many schools, teams, and student-athletes that did not compete this past winter due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been an exciting few weeks for so many that can finally play and practice again.
Here are a few storylines from the current year worth revisiting — yes, there are quite a few, but these are a few that we will certainly remember next year and beyond.
UMass Dartmouth wins the Little East Conference (LEC) crown: After losing to Eastern Connecticut in overtime in late February, the Corsairs rebounded with three straight wins, including a pair of conference tournament victories over Keene State College (108-68) and Rhode Island College (93-89).
Babson’s Spencer Cline led all players with 17 points on 6 of 17 shooting, including five of nine from beyond the arc, while Nate Amado recorded a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Harvard leads the all-time series, 6-1, with Babson’s last win coming in 1991.
Jim Calhoun departs the University of Saint Joseph: Following his team’s third contest of the 2021-22 season, coach Jim Calhoun announced his retirement from the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) men’s basketball program.
The former Division I bench boss with the University of Connecticut guided the Blue Jays to a 47-17 record in three-plus seasons, which included a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship last year to go with a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Calhoun was the program’s first-ever coach — he was succeeded by Glen Miller, who guided the Blue Jays to an exciting 75-62 win over Tufts University two days after the announcement.
Fans of New England small college women’s basketball should keep their eyes on Roger Williams — the Hawks enter the holiday break with an 8-0 record. On the men’s side, Clark University has enjoyed a nice start to its season, winning nine-straight contests.
Another season of New England college football — and yes, preps and high schools, too — are slowly ending. But the 2021 season is still on my mind.
After not seeing so many local teams compete last fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an amazing feeling to pace the sidelines these last few months and watch numerous student-athletes compete on the gridiron.
There were some of the “usual suspects” that either won or were in the mix for their respective conference title to some new teams, especially in NCAA Division III that deserve our attention going forward.
Before we officially say so long and farewell to a fun season of coverage, allow me to revisit a few stories that I certainly will remember from this season.
Holy Cross not only won its third-straight Patriot League title, including two in the same year, thanks to a shortened spring season to go with their first postseason victory in program history. And despite losing on Friday in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs to the University of Villanova, the future is very bright for coach Bob Chesney’s squad.
Harvard University captured their 137th meeting with Yale University last month, thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Luke Emge to Kym Wimberly. The 34-31 victory by the Crimson clinched their first eight-win season since 2015.
Sacred Heart University made its second-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament, but came up short to Holy Cross, which edged the Pioneers in the opening round by a score of 13-10. The Red and White will graduate some key pieces from this year’s squad, but will attempt to win their third-straight Northeast Conference crown next fall.
Bentley University and the University of New Haven were two teams to watch in New England NCAA Division II.
Both teams met twice last month, including in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Two weeks earlier, the Falcons and Chargers squared-off in an early November contest with New Haven not only winning the game, but also securing their first Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown since 2012.
The Chargers lost to Kutztown University last weekend in the second round of the playoffs, but they will certainly be a team to watch next season — the same could be said for the Falcons.
Bentley’s Stephen Sturm was one of a few NE10 signal-callers to watch this fall as he concluded the season with a league-high 23 touchdown passes.
Saint Anselm’s Drew Willoughby, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Year, threw for a league-high 2,803 passing yards to go with 22 touchdowns. He averaged 311.4 passing yards per game.
Anna Maria College won its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) title with seven wins, which is the most victories any AMCATs squad has recorded in a single season. And despite losing to Delaware Valley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, coach Dan Mulrooney’s squad will certainly be a team to watch next fall, both in and outside of the ECFC.
The 2021 Williams College football team made history by becoming the first squad to win nine games in a single season.
The Ephs capped their campaign with three impressive wins over Amherst College (24-19), Trinity College (42-3), and Wesleyan University (25-0) to clinch a 9-0 record, their first perfect season since 2010.
Colby College could be a team to watch next fall as they matched their 2013 squad with four wins.
The Mules captured their second-straight Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) crown with a pair of victories over Bates College (10-2) and Bowdoin College (21-10).
Tom Kelley and the Framingham State University football team won their third-straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown outright. The Rams concluded their season with an 8-3 overall record for the third consecutive season, as well as posted a perfect 8-0 league mark for the second-straight year.
The Rams will continue to be the team to watch (and yes, follow) in 2022, but will certainly be challenged by a slew of teams in the MASCAC.
Endicott College captured its first conference crown since 2013, as well as hosted its first-ever NCAA playoff game.
Coach Paul McGonagle’s Gulls will certainly be a team to watch next fall — the Green and White are young and will return a slew of talent from this year’s squad on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Mike Ingraffia and wide receiver Shane Aylward.
After starting its season with a 1-3 record, Springfield College bounced back with six-straight wins to capture its second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride ended their season with three important wins against Catholic University (28-14), MIT (17-7), and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (28-23).
NCAA D-III Football Teams to Watch in 2022: Bridgewater State, Husson University, Salve Regina University, Plymouth State, Trinity College, Tufts University, UMass Dartmouth, University of New England, and WesternConnecticut.