As many New England football fans know, Bill Belichick has a soft spot for certain positions and players, both past and present, including opposing members of teams his New England Patriots meet on a weekly basis.
When asked about a certain member of the San Francisco 49ers, who will be competing against the Patriots this weekend, Belichick responded with some positive and kind words about their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, who played locally at Harvard University before being selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2013 National Football League (NFL) Draft.
Since becoming a professional football player, the former Crimson has recorded 186 catches for 1,722 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 111 yards on 28 carries and two scores in 112 contests. His best season as a pro occurred in 2015 when he hauled in a career-best 41 receptions for 321 yards and four touchdowns. He also moved the sticks 17 times.
While Juszczyk may not receive the same attention or recognition as his other teammates do like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or tight end George Kittle, he is certainly someone to watch every week, according to Belichick, who considers him a “versatile player,” but also one of the best fullbacks in the league.
“When he was with the Ravens, they used him in a lot of different ways and then San Francisco signed him to a big contract for a fullback,” Belichick said when addressing the media via Zoom this morning. “(He) certainly is the highest paid player at his position by quite a bit if I remember correctly, and he continues be used in a variety of ways.”
Belichick would continue by highlighting the various personnel the 49ers use when he is in the game, including 11, 12 and 21 personnel, before adding that the 49ers “use the fullback more than any other team in the league.”
“He’s been very productive for them,” said Belichick.
Through six games this season, Juszczyk has caught six of ten targets for 75 yards while rushing for 18 yards on three carries and one score. He is averaging close to two targets per game and one catch per contest while averaging 12.0 yards per reception.
Juszczyk will be the third Harvard alum Belichick and the Patriots will face this season – New England defeated Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins in the opening week by a score of 21-11 before falling to Tyler Ott and the Seattle Seahawks in week two.
It’s the final day of September – man, this month moved quickly! I guess it is time to begin the countdown for Halloween, right?
We hope it has been a great month for you (and your families), as well as your friends – we have enjoyed hosting a slew of podcasts to generating some new content on football and other subjects over the past few weeks. And as we head into the final stretch of 2020, we’re excited to produce even more football content, along with some other blogs, podcasts, and videos, so stay tuned, Noontime fans and friends!
Alright, let’s kickstart a brand new day with the ‘Daily Noontime’ for Wednesday, September 30, 2020 – have a great day, everyone!
NFL vs. Covid-19
News broke yesterday morning regarding the National Football League‘s (NFL) enduring its first official coronavirus hurdle with eight members of the Tennessee Titans, including three players testing positive.
Both the Titans and Minnesota Vikings, who was Tennessee’s most recent opponent, have closed their respective facilities and will be working remotely this week – how do you work remotely in professional sports? I don’t know, but I am guessing there will be a LOT of Zoom meetings.
As of now, it appears both teams will be back on the field this weekend but stay tuned.
The firm believes sports will fuel “the next great wave of technological innovation,” and we certainly will be keeping our eyes on this group, which was raised $55 million has some impressive partnerships in place already.
The 2020 NBA Finals tips-off this evening
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will compete against the Miami Heat this evening in game one of the 2020 National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals.
James and the Lakers outlasted the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, while the Heat beat our beloved Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Miami enters the championship round with a great deal of momentum and should not be taken lightly.
Framingham State’s Melikke Van Alstyne chases Endicott College’s PJ Bandini after an interception in the second half. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)
By Matt Noonan
Happy Friday, everyone!
And welcome to our second installment of ‘Football Friday,’ a post where we revisit stories, teams, coaches, and student-athletes that we have covered over the past decade.
Today, we’re jumping back to 2012 to highlight a Framingham State University football team that not only won the New England Football Conference (NEFC) championship against Salve Regina University but also advanced to its first-ever NCAA D-III Tournament.
The Rams’ run toward a national championship, unfortunately, concluded in the opening round against SUNY Cortland – the Red Dragons edged Framingham State, 20-19, despite a fourth-quarter rally by the Black and Gold.
Yet, despite a one-point setback in the national tournament, the 2012 season was quite a memorable one for the Rams, which captured the program’s first and only NEFC title, while four members of the squad, including coach Tom Kelley, garnered major postseason awards from the conference. Additionally, Framingham State won 10 games for the first time in program history and only lost once in the regular season to Endicott College, which defeated the 2011 NEFC Bogan Division and Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) champions on the opening day of the 2012 season.
Endicott’s defense shined in its week one victory against the Rams as the unit finished the contest with five interceptions, five tackles for a loss, one fumble recovery, and a trio of pass break-ups.
“We stuffed them on first down (and) forced them (into) long second downs (and) that really got them out of their groove,” Endicott’s Andrew Holfinger said following his team’s initial win of its 2012 campaign.
Luckily, the loss to the Gulls was quickly forgotten six days later when Framingham State scored its first win of the 2012 season against Nichols College.
The Rams, who defeated the Bison by a score of 34-6, leaned on its ground game as both Matthew Mangano and Melikke Van Alstyne combined for four touchdowns and 393 rushing yards.
The victory over the Bison seemed to provide the Rams with a ton of momentum as they would go onto capture its next nine contests, including a 16-0 win over rival Bridgewater State University followed by an exciting overtime victory against Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Not only did the Framingham State offense shine throughout the 2012 season, but so did the defense, which limited its numerous foes to 12.8 points per game, along with 63.0 rushing yards per contest.
After registering just seven points in the opening week, the Rams concluded seven contests with 30 points or more. But during the team’s final regular-season contest against Worcester State University, all three units – offense, defense, and special teams – collaborated to produce a season-high 65 points.
The 65-21 win over the Lancers allowed the Rams to clinch its second-straight NEFC Bogan Division crown, as well as secure a spot in the conference’s championship round one week later against Salve Regina.
“We’re certainly going to be tested,” Kelley said when previewing his team’s contest against the Seahawks at the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston luncheon, which was held at Harvard University.
Salve Regina entered the contest with an identical 9-1 record. The Seahawks averaged nearly 400 yards of offense while the defense limited opponents to roughly two touchdowns per game.
But despite scoring the first points of the 2012 NEFC title game, Salve Regina struggled to contain both Melikke Van Alstyne and Matthew Silva, who combined for three rushing touchdowns.
James Muirhead led the Rams defense with eight total tackles, including three stops for a loss of 17 yards and one forced fumble.
Salve Regina, which trailed Framingham State by four points (14-10) at the break, attempted to mount a late comeback during the final minutes of the fourth quarter but saw its rally dashed when the Rams recovered its onside kick.
Moments after the final kickoff of the game was recorded, the Rams celebrated a hard-fought championship, which Muirhead considered “so surreal.”
“All the hard work paid off,” said Muirhead, who was named the Bull Mottola Championship Game Most Valuable Player Award following the final whistle.
“I don’t really have any words to explain it,” he would add.
The 28-16 win over the Seahawks was a culmination of the Rams’ commitment of hard work and determination that was fueled by an overtime setback one year earlier in the same contest to Western New England. And while the victory over the Seahawks did not spark a deep postseason run, it was certainly the beginning of many more conference titles and postseason appearances for a squad that has maintained its success over the past few years.
Watching – and yes, covering – this team truly made me fall in love more with small college football. The 2012 season truly marked the beginning of my tenure of producing content on various New England D-III athletic teams and programs, and I am thankful for the time both Tom Kelley and the players provided me throughout this exciting and historic campaign.
A decision about winter and spring sports will be made at a later date, according to today’s press release.
While no games will be played this fall, the Ivy League will permit “practice and other athletic training opportunities” for those student-athletes who are on campus. The league will also provide its members with guidelines to help its coaches and student-athletes with conditioning and practice plans.
According to Heather Dinich of ESPN.com, the Ivy League’s decision to cancel its fall sports season was due to the various “COVID-19 policies” each school had put in place two weeks earlier for their upcoming school year.
How will today’s announcement impact the rest of the college sports landscape? The answer: we should know more in the coming days and weeks.
As of now, it appears some college football, as well as fall sports, will occur later this year, but it’s likely we will see more schools and conferences follow the Ivy League like they did earlier this year after the conference canceled its basketball tournaments at Harvard University in March. The Ivy League also canceled its spring sports season.
The Sox will play games against its American League (East) opponents, as well as the National League (East) teams.
Following their first three games against the Orioles, the Sox will welcome the New York Mets to Boston for two games. They will then head to New York to play two more followed by a trip to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees.