But despite not being able to compete against additional conference foes this spring, coach Sean McDonnell seems excited — perhaps optimistic? — about his team’s upcoming campaign, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday, September 2 when the Wildcats visit Stony Brook for a 6 p.m. kickoff.
Speaking with members of the media during this morning’s Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) virtual media day, the tenured coach noted that the team has some “very good football players coming back.”
One of those players is Evan Horn, a senior safety from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who was named to the CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team. Horn recorded four tackles and a pass break-up in his team’s lone spring contest against the University at Albany in March and was selected to the CAA All-Conference Second Team in 2019 when he led the Silver and Blue in solo tackles (51) and total tackles (70).
Niko Kvietkus, who is a junior defensive tackle, received honorable mention — the Southington, Connecticut native, who played football locally at Xavier High School (Conn.) and Deerfield Academy, played in 11 games in 2019 and recorded career-highs in solo stops (24), total tackles (45), tackles for a loss (eight for 36 yards), and 5.5 sacks for a loss of 34 yards.
Horn and Kvietkus are just two student-athletes to watch this fall, but as McDonnell explained, “I feel very good where we are as a program depth-wise.”
I am excited to cap the work week with a brand new Football Friday Notebook – it is a piece of content I look forward to producing, so hopefully the stories (and news below) is something you enjoy reading.
Additionally, make sure to enjoy a brand new Football Friday Podcast, which you can listen to in this post, thanks to our friends from Spotify!
Alright, let’s share some news and links from the gridiron – as usual, be well, stay safe and have a wonderful weekend!
Football Friday Notebook: Friday, February 19, 2021
Carson Wentz will be playing for a new team next season, but according to various reports, including SB Nation, the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller had some serious fall out in the locker room. Additionally, he stopped talking with former head coach Doug Pederson “for weeks.”
Sticking with Carson Wentz – I mean, what else happened these past few days? – he was quite happy to be a member of the Indianapolis Colts, according to Kenny Moore II.
This will be an interesting offseason for every National Football League (NFL) team, which may have less money to spend, due to the potential salary cap. And this is certainly is not good news for my Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott.
Speaking of Dak, he donated meals to 1,000 homeless people that are “freezing” in Dallas, Texas, due to the bad weather that barreled through the state this week.
Alex Smith, who was named the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, told Kyle Brandt on the 10 Questions podcast that the country was apparently not ready for Colin Kapernick, who the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback claimed “was ahead of his time” when it came to social injustice.
The third week of the spring college football season is quickly approaching, so let’s revisit some news, notes, and stories from the past two weeks, as well as slowly look ahead to this week’s slate of games.
McNeese State outlasted Tarleton State University in its season-opener: The Cowboys of McNeese State kicked-off the FCS spring season last Saturday with a thrilling 40-37 win over the Texans in double-overtime.
Cody Oregon highlighted his team’s victory against Tarleton State with five touchdowns, including two on the ground. Oregon’s 19-yard rushing touchdown during the second overtime period clinched the opening day win for a McNeese, which has not participated in a spring season since the 1890s.
Last Saturday’s win was the first for first-year coach Frank Wilson and the Cowboys, which have dealt with a lot over the past few months, including two major hurricanes that left the squad without a home or facility for close to six months.
The Cowboys are idle this weekendbut will return to the field at the end of the month for their home-opener against Incarnate Word on Saturday, February 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern.
Johnson ready to lead James Madison this Saturday: It’s been a little more than a year since the Dukes of James Madison University last played football, but the Purple and Gold will once again be a team to watch this spring – they enter their initial game against Morehead State on Saturday as the fourth-best team in FCS, per Hero Sports‘ preseason rankings.
Cole Johnson will be the team’s quarterback this spring after spending the past two years as the back-up to Bryan Schor and Ben DiNucci.
Johnson has certainly prepared for this moment, according to a recent interview with the Daily News-Record, and was able to secure the starting spot by beating fourth-year junior Gage Moloney.
Trinity (Texas) leads the SAA: It’s been a successful start to the Tigers’ 2021 spring season as the Maroon and White have won back-to-back games against Austin College and Millsaps College, thanks to some impressive play by its defense. The Tigers are currently in first place in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) with a 2-0 record.
Trinity’s defense has limited opponents to an average of just two touchdowns per game this month – last week, they held Millsaps to just one score while the offense produced three touchdowns, thanks to quarterback Tucker Horn. Ryan Merrifield and Anton Noble combined for three touchdown receptions while Michael Edmonson rushed for a game-high 99 yards on 18 carries and one score.
Michael Jewett led the Trinity defense with two sacks for a loss of nine yards while Ryan Arnold recorded just one interception against Millsaps quarterback Amryn Jeffrey, who ended the contest 7 of 20 for 184 yards.
Prior to their win over the Majors last weekend, the Trinity defense produced four sacks and seven tackles for a loss of 25 yards while registering five pass breakups.
Trinity will entertain Hedrix College this weekend with a kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern.
Mary Hardin-Baylor will enjoy its second bye week before returning to the field next Saturday, February 27 for an enticing matchup against Southwestern University.
The Pirates of Southwestern were initially scheduled to play this weekend, buttheir matchup with Belhaven has been postponed due to “extreme weather conditions” in Texas.
Bryce Verble was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) offensive player of the week on Monday after setting a single-game school record for passing yards last weekend in his team’s 48-43 setback to St. Andrews University.
The Bluefield College signal-caller ended their second contest of the 2020-21 season with 432 passing yards and six touchdowns.
Chris Cline converted two field goals in the win, including a 38-yard boot in the opening quarter, while quarterback Hunter Krause completed 14 of 22 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Krause scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard keeper.
Maine and New Hampshire will also compete this spring – the two teams will compete against members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) North Division. The CAA’s spring season is slated to begin on Saturday, February 20 with Davidson visiting Elon and James Madison hosting Morehead State.
Rhode Island, which is one of seven teams that makes-up the CAA’s North Division, will also be in action this spring – the Rams are currently scheduled to compete against Bryant on Saturday, February 27.
The CAA will not have a championship game like the Patriot League. Instead, the team with “the best overcall conference record” will secure the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Football Championship, which will begin Saturday, April 24.
The Northeastern Conference (NEC) plans to play a four-game conference schedule, which is good news for fans of Bryant, Central Connecticut, Merrimack, and Sacred Heart. Games will be played on Sundays or midweek with a conference championship expected to take place on either Friday, April 16 or Saturday, April 17.
As noted on Twitter, by Brett McMurphy of Stadium, the FCS national title game will be played Sunday, May 16 in Frisco, Texas.