Tag: Holy Cross

Five New England College Football Teams to Watch In Week Two

Lorenzo Valencia and the Assumption University defense will be a unit to watch this week against Merrimack College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Gil Talbot/Assumption Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

The second week of the New England college football season technically began Sunday, but before we kick off another busy weekend of games, how about we highlight five teams fans should watch (or keep an eye on) this week?

Like we did last year, we will be highlighting five teams from the New England region that fans should keep an eye on every week. This year, we will include all three divisions, not just NCAA Division III teams, and schools.

So, without further ado, here are five teams I’ll be watching on Friday and Saturday.

Anna Maria College (0-0, 0-0 ECFC): When we last saw the AMCATs on the gridiron, their exciting season concluded in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Anna Maria enjoyed its best season in program history last fall, winning its first-ever Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown while also setting a program record for wins in a single season: seven.

As expected, the AMCATs were picked to win the conference crown again this season, but face a challenging non-conference slate, which begins with a home date this Saturday with the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs. Neither team has met before on the gridiron, but this will certainly be a good measuring stick for Steve Croce, who begins his first season as the program’s head coach.

Croce was named the fourth head coach in program history, succeeding Dan Mulrooney, who stepped down earlier this year to accept the head coaching role with Lock Haven University.

Assumption University (1-0, 0-0 NE10): They say defense win championships.

Last Saturday, the Greyhounds’ defense shined in their season-opener, helping the Greyhounds score an impressive 3-0 win over Kutztown University, which entered last week’s tilt as the 13th best team in NCAA Division II.

Assumption’s defense concluded the game with three interceptions and five sacks.

Jael Feliz led the Greyhounds’ defense with 12 total tackles, including nine solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 10 yards. Lorenzo Valencia, who was named the Northeast-10 (NE10) Conference Defensive Player of the Week, chipped in eight total tackles, including four solo stops and two tackles for a loss of 22 yards.

Larsen Wilson led the team with two interceptions while Isaiah Huff recorded two solo stops, three pass breakups, and one interception.

Assumption’s defense will be a unit to watch on Friday evening when they visit Merrimack College.

Holy Cross (1-0, 0-0 Patriot League): The Crusaders scored their initial win of the 2022 season last Friday by defeating Merrimack, 31-17.  

This week, the Crusaders face an early-season test against the Buffalo Bulls, a Football Bowl Subdivision squad that dropped its season-opener on Saturday to Maryland.

Buffalo and Holy Cross have not met since 1970 – additionally, the Crusaders’ last win against the Bulls came in 1963.

Holy Cross currently leads the all-time series, 6-3-1, but is 2-3 against the Bulls in Buffalo.

A win over the Bulls would certainly provide the Purple and White with some additional momentum heading into its Homecoming contest next Saturday with Yale University.

Coach Bob Chesney’s squad scored a win over an FBS squad last season when they defeated Connecticut by a score of 38-28.

Quarterback Matthew Sluka will be a player to watch against the Bison after being named this week’s Golden Helmet Award by the New England Football Writers.

Saint Anselm College (1-0, 0-0 NE10): Quarterback Drew Willoughby was the player to watch last Thursday as the Austin, Texas native led the Hawks to an exciting opening day win over Millersville University.

The Hawks’ 18-point win provided the program with its first win in the opening week since 2014, along with its most recent victory against a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) since 2012.

Willoughby finished his team’s season-opener with 30 completions and 349 passing yards. He connected with three different receivers for touchdowns and became the seventh signal-caller in program history to reach 3,000 career passing yards.

For his effort, he was named the NE10 Offensive Players of the Week and earned the D-II/D-III Golden Helmet Award from the New England Football Writers.

Willoughby will again be a player to watch on Saturday when they host American International College (AIC).

Springfield College (1-0, 0-0 NEWMAC): It was an impressive start for the Pride last Friday night against Western New England.

Six players rushed for a touchdown while the offense concluded the non-conference meeting with 506 yards of total offense.

The team’s impressive ground game led to the entire offensive line – Lou Cocozza, Cam Borges, Vinny Ruggiero, Jon Weber, and Chris Eichler – being named to this week’s D3Football.com Team of the Week.

While it’s only one game, this Springfield team looked pretty good – their momentum will be tested against Rowan University on Saturday.

Like Springfield, Rowan enjoyed a successful debut by defeating Widener University, 42-20.

Rowan lost to Springfield last fall – the Profs defense struggled to contain the Pride’s rushing attack, which was led by Tim Callahan (151 rushing yards and three touchdowns) and Patrick Ladas (115 rushing yards and one touchdown).

Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch (Week One)

Connor Degenhardt and the New Haven Chargers face Bowie State hoping to win their first game against the Bulldogs since 1995. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By NoontimeSports.com

A brand new season of college football has arrived — let’s celebrate!

In honor of the opening weekend of college football, it’s time to share our first installment of Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch.

This season, we will pick games from all three levels, including New England FCS and Division II schools for our weekly post. Last year — and yes, previously — we focused on Division III football, not D-I or D-II.

So, before a busy weekend of games begins, allow us to share our initial picks for the 2022 college football season.

Noontime’s Games to Watch for Week One (Friday, September 2 and Saturday, September 3)

Bentley at West Chester (Friday, Sept. 2 @ 6 p.m.): A new era of Falcons football begins this evening with first-year coach Alvin Reynolds guiding Bentley against a Golden Rams squad they beat last year by a score of 41-17. PREDICTION: Bentley over West Chester

Holy Cross at Merrimack (Friday, Sept. 2 @ 7 p.m.): Last year, Dan Curran’s Warriors scored an upset win, defeating the Crusaders on the road, thanks to a three-score effort in the second quarter. Can they duplicate their effort this evening in from of their home crowd? PREDICTION: Holy Cross over Merrimack  

Western New England at Springfield (Friday, Sept. 2 @ 7 p.m.): Springfield was picked to capture its third conference crown this fall – tonight, look for the Pride’s defense to lead them past the Golden Bears in the “Battle of Springfield.” PREDICTION: Springfield over Western New England

Framingham State at Brockport (Saturday, Sept. 3 @ 12 p.m.): The Rams’ conference title defense begins with some challenging foes, including tomorrow’s foe, which beat Framingham State last season, 31-0. PREDICTION: Brockport over Framingham State

Husson at UMass Dartmouth (Saturday, Sept. 3 @ 12 p.m.): This is truly a toss-up – I can see both teams winning this contest. But in the end, Husson’s Nic Visser will throw one more touchdown than UMass Dartmouth’s Dante Aviles-Santos to lead the Eagles to a thrilling opening day win. PREDICTION: Husson over UMass Dartmouth

Endicott at St. Lawrence (Saturday, Sept. 3 @ 12 p.m.): The Gulls overcame a slow start to beat the Saints last season. They’ll use a faster start to score an opening-day win this year. PREDICTION: Endicott over St. Lawrence

Ithaca at Bridgewater State (Saturday, Sept. 3 @ 12 p.m.): A challenging opening day matchup awaits the Bears of Bridgewater, which should be in the mix for the MASCAC crown this fall. PREDICTION: Ithaca over Bridgewater State

Sacred Heart at Lafayette (Saturday, Sept. 3 @ 12:30 p.m.): The Pioneers have been quite successful against the Leopards in previous meetings with Sacred Heart winning their last five meetings. PREDICTION: Sacred Heart over Lafayette   

New Haven at Bowie State (Saturday, Sept. 3 @ 1 p.m.): If the Chargers want to advance deep in the NCAA Division II postseason, they will need to beat teams like Bowie State, which advanced to the quarterfinals last fall for the first time in program history. New Haven has won three of four meetings with Bowie State – last year, the Bulldogs outlasted the Chargers, 21-13. PREDICTION: Bowie State over New Haven  

Stonehill at Bloomsburg (Saturday, Sept. 3 @ 2 p.m.): A new chapter of Stonehill football begins on Saturday – the Skyhawks moved up to Division I this year and will compete in the Northeast Conference. But before they compete against any conference foe, they should be able to score their initial win as an FCS program against a squad they defeated last year by a score of 35-13.

New England FCS Football Week One Schedule

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team begin its 2022 campaign on Friday against Merrimack College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Earlier today, we unveiled the opening week schedule for New England Division II and III football.

Now, it’s time to share the schedule for the regions’ NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams, which will be something our blog will post regularly throughout the season.

New England FCS Week One Schedule

Thursday, September 1, 2022

  • Monmouth at New Hampshire at 7 p.m.
  • Rhode Island at Stony Brook at 7 p.m.
  • Bryant at Florida International at 7 p.m.

Friday, September 2, 2022

  • Holy Cross at Merrimack at 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

  • Central Conn. at University of Conn. at 12 p.m.
  • Sacred Heart at Lafayette at 12:30 p.m.
  • Stonehill at Bloomsburg at 2 p.m.
  • Maine at New Mexico at 8 p.m.

Holy Cross, URI Ranked In AFCA FCS Preseason Poll

Quarterback Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team checked in 18th today in the first AFCA FCS Preseason Poll of the 2022 season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

A pair of New England schools earned spots on today’s American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Coaches’ Top 25 FCS Poll.

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 returns key members from its 10-win team, including linebacker Jacob Dobbs, who was tabbed the Patriot League’s Defensive Player of the Year last season.

URI, which was picked to place third this fall in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), enjoyed its best season in nearly two decades last fall, winning seven of 11 contests. The Rams return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball, including All-CAA cornerback Jordan Jones.

Caleb Warren (tight end) and Nick Correia (offensive line) joined Jones on the league’s Preseason All-Conference Team.

Harvard University and Dartmouth College each received votes – both squads are expected to contend for the Ivy League crown this season.

URI will begin its season on Thursday, September 1 when they visit Stony Brook while Holy Cross will commence its 2022 campaign with a trip to Merrimack College on Friday, September 2.

Five New England FCS Squads to Watch This Fall

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

The second week of July is almost over, which means we’re inching closer to a brand-new season of New England college football.

(Insert a celebrate emoji!)

Last week, we shared our ‘Way too Early’ New England NCAA Division III Top 20 Poll – what did you think?

Today, we’re going to highlight five NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams we believe fans of New England college football should keep their eyes on this fall.

Noontime’s Five New England FCS Teams to Watch in 2022

Bryant University: A new chapter of Bryant football begins this fall with the Bulldogs competing in the Big South Conference – the school announced that Black and Gold would be joining a new league in March. Bryant concluded its 2021 campaign by winning seven games for the first time since 2014 – they also won all four of its home contests, too, including a come-from-behind win last October against Saint Francis University. Quarterback Zevi Eckhaus became the program’s first-ever Offensive Rookie of the Year last fall – he completed 233 of 371 passes for 2,392 yards and 21 touchdowns. Additionally, he added 242 yards on the ground with two scores. Eckhaus will certainly be a player to watch on this year’s Bulldogs squad, but the same could be said for halfback Fabrice Mukendi, wide receiver David Zorrilla, and linebacker Ryan Saddler.

Dartmouth College: Quarterback Nick Howard is going to be a player to watch on the Big Green this fall. The Green Bay, Wisconsin native, which earned a spot on the All-Ivy League first team, was one of nine FCS student-athletes to rush for 15 touchdowns or more last fall. He, along with linebacker Marques White and wide receiver Paxton Scott, will be tasked with leading a Dartmouth squad that seeks its third-straight Ivy League title.  

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.