NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The MIT-Muhlenberg Matchup

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Sean Kent and the MIT Football team are making their second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

In just three days, a trio of New England D-III football teams will begin their pursuit of the ultimate prize: a national championship. And one of those teams is the MIT Engineers, who will travel to Allentown, Pennsylvania to face Muhlenberg College.

MIT is making its second-straight appearance in the NCAA D-III Tournament, as well as it’s third since 2014. The Engineers are 1-2 in their last three national postseason contests and will attempt to even their mark against an impressive Mules squad, which yet to drop a single contest this season.

Below are a few notes about Saturday’s match-up, including some stats (and numbers) on both teams, as well as players to watch.


MIT (7-2) at Muhlenberg (10-0)

Gametime/Location: Saturday, November 23rd at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Scotty Wood Stadium.

Rankings: Muhlenberg is currently fourth in the latest D3Football.com Top 25 Poll. MIT is not ranked nor receiving votes.

Conference Affiliate: Muhlenberg competes in the Centennial Conference (CC) – they finished 9-0 against league opponents. MIT competes in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and won six of seven league tilts this fall.

Last Appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Both teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season. MIT, which captured its first-ever NEWMAC crown last fall, saw its run toward a national championship conclude in the opening round against Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Delaware Valley (20-13) and Randolph-Macon (35-6) before falling to Mount Union, 38-10.

Inside the Numbers with MIT: The Engineers rank 124th in scoring offense, averaging 26.4 points per game. They have scored 30 touchdowns this fall while kicking eight field goals … MIT’s defense and Concordia Wisconsin are tied for 77th in scoring defense, yielding 21.00 points per contest … MIT is averaging 333.6 yards of total offense (153.9 rushing and 179.7 passing yards) … The defense has yielded an average of 174.4 passing yards per game while limiting opposing rushing attacks to just 117.0 yards per game.

Inside the Numbers with Muhlenberg: The Mules are currently the 17th highest-scoring offense in D-III, averaging 41.9 points per game. They have scored 56 touchdowns in 10 contests while recording nine field goals. Muhlenberg has converted 52 PATs and recorded one safety for 419.00 points … The Mules boast the ninth-best scoring defense, yielding an average of 11.70 points per game … Muhlenberg is averaging 439.1 yards of total offense (281.60 passing yards per game and 157.5 rushing yards) … The Mules have limited opposing rushing attacks to 70.6 yards per game while the defense is limiting offenses to just 200.30 yards of passing per game.

MIT Players to Watch: 

  • Chris Mauck (QB) – Enters Saturday’s contest with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a starter … Mauck has completed 121 of 241 passes for 1,609 yards
  • Ashton Robinson (RB) – Has rushed for a career-high 366 yards on 95 carries in eight contests this season, along with three touchdowns.
  • Keithen Shepard (WR) – Leads the Engineers with 10 receiving touchdowns … the third-year receiver has caught a team-high 35 passes for 542 yards.
  • Mark Wright (Kicker) – Wright has connected on 8 of 11 field goals with his longest kick being a 43-yarder … he is 22 of 26 on extra points … he has produced 46 points in nine games.
  • Sean Kent (Defensive Back) – The senior defensive back leads the Engineers with 58.0 total tackles … He has recorded 4.5 tackles for a loss of 10 yards while registering two interceptions and five pass break-ups.

Muhlenberg Players to Watch:

  • Frankie Feaster (DE) – Named the CC Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season … Feaster helped the Mules defense set a conference record of yielding just 91 points in nine conference contests.
  • Michael Hnatkowsky (QB) – Named the CC Offensive Player of the Year … He has tossed a school-record 34 touchdowns with only three interceptions … He ranks third in D-III in passing efficiency, completion percentage (sixth), and passing touchdowns (seven).
  • James Diggs (RB) – Diggs is averaging 70.0 rushing yards per game, which is fourth in the CC … He has scored seven rushing touchdowns this season.
  • Ryan Curtis (TE) – Named a first-team All-CC honoree … has caught 10 touchdowns and set the conference mark for career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end.
  • John Washington (DB) – Washington has recorded 28 tackles, five pass breakups, and two interceptions as a first-time starter with the Mules.
  • Todd Spirt (Kicker) – Spirit leads the conference with 78 points … he is the CC all-time leader in extra points made with 185 (he set a program record with 56 extra points made last season.

D3 Football: Team Of The Week (Oct. 8th, 2019)

D3 TEAM OF WEEK

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

With the fifth week of the 2019 New England Division III football season in the books, it is now to unveil our Zelos Athletics Team of the Week.

Similar to our ‘Players of the Week’  Zelos Athletics is also powering our teams of the week, too – these posts (and teams) can be seen every Tuesday throughout the 2019 season.


Offensive Team of the Week 

Matt Dunn (Norwich University): Dunn completed 11 of 25 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns against Springfield College.

Stephen Gacioch (UMass Dartmouth): Against Framingham State, Gacioch amassed 440 total yards of offense, including 343 passing yards and two touchdowns. The junior signal-caller also rushed for a game-high 97 yards on 20 carries and two scores.

Zach Levy (Curry College): Levy helped the Colonels score their first win of the 2019 season by rushing for a game-high 216 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns last Saturday against the University of New England.

Seamus Lambert (Trinity College): Lambert connected on 15 of 23 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns while adding 41 yards on 14 carries.

Matt Long (Mass. Maritime Academy): Long accounted for 232 yards of total offense, including a game-high 160 rushing yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns. He also completed 10 of 19 passes for 72 yards.

Joey Mauriello (Salve Regina): Mauriello rushed for a game-high 163 yards on 20 carries (8.2) and three touchdowns last Saturday against Endicott College.

Shea McManaway (Endicott College): McManaway led all receivers last Saturday against Salve Regina with 118 yards on nine catches and two touchdowns.

Jacob Maher (Framingham State): Maher hauled in five catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday against UMass Dartmouth.

Alex Maldjian (Middlebury College): Maldjian rushed for a game-high 125 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns against Amherst College.

Sean McAllen (WPI): McAllen rushed for 183 yards on nine carries and three touchdowns last Saturday against Maine Maritime Academy.

Aaron-Moses Williams (Worcester State): Williams completed 30 of 41 passes for 405 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday against Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Nikolas Moquin (Maine Maritime Academy): Moquin completed 22 of 32 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns while adding 19 yards on four carries against WPI.

Randy Morgan (Becker College): The first-year tailback rushed for a team-high 152 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown last Saturday against Husson University.

Brian Peters (Univ. of New England): The third-year signal-caller completed 33 of 49 passes for a game-high 444 yards and three touchdowns against Curry College.

Michael Pina (Nichols College): Pina completed 34 of 50 passes for a game-high 325 passing yards and two touchdowns against Western New England.

Garrett Poussard (Husson University): Against Becker College, Poussard rushed for a game-high 159 yards on 31 carries (5.1 yards) and two touchdowns.

Keithen Shepard (MIT): Shepard caught a game-high seven catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday against Merchant Marine.

Jeremy Soule Jr. (Bridgewater State): Soule Jr. rushed for a game-high 195 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns as the Bears defeated Westfield State last weekend.

Adam Wojenski (Framingham State): Wojenski completed 14 of 25 passes for 422 yards and five touchdowns last Saturday against UMass Dartmouth while adding 53 yards on 11 carries.


Defensive Team of the Week

Tyshawn Anderson (Anna Maria College): Anderson registered 14 total tackles, including seven solo stops and one sack for four yards, along with a forced fumble last Saturday against Apprentice.

Zack Catarius (Salve Regina): Catarius stuffed the stat sheet last Saturday against Endicott College with 12 total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 22 yards and two sacks for a loss of 18 yards. Additionally, Catarius scooped one fumble.

Noah Clack (Bowdoin College): Against Wesleyan University, Clack tallied a team-high 10 total tackles, including seven solo stops and three tackles for a loss of seven yards.

Jack Fontana (Mass. Maritime Academy): Fontana paced the Buccaneers’ defense last Saturday with 14 total tackles, including nine solo stops. He also recorded one sack for a loss of three yards.

Kyle Johnston (Mass. Maritime Academy): Against Worcester State, Johnston tallied six total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 19 yards and two forced fumbles.

Joe Kelly (Amherst College): Kelly paced the Mammoths’ defense with 11 total tackles, including 10 solo stops and three tackles for a loss of 10 yards. He also recorded five quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.

Colin McCabe (Mass. Maritime Academy): McCabe tallied eight total tackles, including four tackles for a loss of 30 yards and two fumble recoveries last Saturday against Worcester State.

Ricky Montalvo (Western New England): Against Nichols College, Montalvo tallied 11 total tackles, including three-and-a-half tackles for 15 yards and one-and-a-half sacks for 13 yards.

Philip Orlando (Coast Guard Academy): Orlando stuffed the stat sheet last Saturday against Catholic University with 13 total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of 11 yards and two forced fumbles.


Special Teams of the Week

Matt Alswanger (Tufts University): Alswanger connected on all five kicks, including one field goal for 21-yards against Bates College.

Michael Chen (Bowdoin College): Chen tallied seven points off two field goals and one extra point. His longest field goal was a 40-yarder.

J.P Dallazem (Trinity College): Against Hamilton College, the first-year kicker (and punter) tallied a career and season-high seven points off four extra points and a 31-yard field goal for seven points.

Nick DiCairano (Endicott College): DiCiarano tallied 12 points on six kicks, including a trio of field goals. The senior kicker booted a career and season-long 47-yard field goal.

Kieran Lombard (Western New England): Lombard connected on six kicks last Saturday against Nichols College, including three field goals with his longest kick being a 44-yard field goal.

Bryce Wade (WPI): Wade registered nine points off six extra points and a 38-yard field goal last Saturday against Maine Maritime Academy.

D3 Football Saturday: Roundup: Carnegie Mellon Tops MIT, WNE Rolls Past Springfield

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MIT’s Keithen Shepard was the lone Engineer to locate the end zone on Saturday afternoon. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

It was not the ideal second half for the MIT Engineers.

Miscues, penalties, and turnovers allowed Carnegie Mellon the opportunity to break-open a 7-7 tie in the second half with two touchdowns and one field goal for a 24-7 non-conference victory on Saturday afternoon in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Luke Bikulege and Michael Lohmeier each recorded third-quarter touchdowns, while Brandon Nguyen converted a 33-yard field goal in-between both scores.

MIT attempted to respond after Lohmeier pounced on a loose fumble in the end zone, but struggled to move the ball against a potent Tartans defense, which limited the Engineers to just 289 yards of total offense.

“Going into half (it was) 7-7, basically a 0-0 game, but then we came out in the third quarter and we just made too many mistakes,” said MIT coach Brian Bubna.

“Defensively, we were missing a lot of tackles (followed) by some special teams errors, which put us back in our own end and then a bad snap into the end zone.”

While MIT struggled in the second half, Bubna felt his team played well in the first half – the Engineers scored the game’s initial touchdown late in the first quarter when Chris Mauck connected with Keithen Shepard for a 72-yard score before Carnegie Mellon responded late in the second with a 78-yard strike from JD Dayhuff to Willie Richter.

MIT may have concluded the game with 14 more total yards than Carnegie Mellon, but the Engineers lost two fumbles and were flagged five times for 33 yards.

“(Carnegie Mellon) is a good team, we knew that coming in. We (also) knew they would be disciplined, and they are well-coached, too,” said Bubna.

“But when you make that many mistakes against a good team, that is what happens.”

Western New England 33, Springfield College 17: Alec Coleman recorded 351 yards of total offense, including 305 passing yards, while scoring two touchdowns as the Golden Bears captured the Pynchon SAW Game for the first time since 2016. WNE’s Kieran Lombard concluded the game by converting seven kicks, including four field goals.

Norwich University 22, Salve Regina 19: Matt Dunn completed 24-for-41 for 307 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 1:46 remaining in the fourth. Dunn connected with Manni Romero on a five-yard touchdown pass, which capped 11 plays, 64-yard drive.

Maritime (N.Y.) 24, Maine Maritime 21: Joseph Gagliardi converted on four kicks, including a game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired to send the Privateers past the Mariners in Throggs Neck, New York. Maine Maritime’s Nikolas Moquin concluded the game with three touchdown passes.

Western Connecticut 12, William Patterson 9 (OT): David James connected with Will Daniels for a game-winning 25-yard touchdown in overtime after Jordan D’Onofrio secured the extra session with his second field goal of the afternoon with 3:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Morrisville State 39, Bridgewater State 7: Bill Flatow tossed two touchdowns and ran for a score, too, as the Mustangs rolled over the Bears in Bridgewater. Stefano D’Emilia recorded Bridgewater State’s lone touchdown in the third quarter.


Week One Scoreboard 

  • Nichols College 37, Dean College 12
  • Stevenson 34, Curry College 0
  • Becker College 33, Anna Maria 19
  • Endicott College 55, Framingham State 27
  • Maritime (N.Y.) 24, Maine Maritime 21
  • UMass Dartmouth 54, Alfred State 7
  • Plymouth State 23, Castleton University 17
  • Morrisville State 39, Bridgwater State 7
  • Cortland 63, Fitchburg State 0
  • Western Connecticut 12, William Patterson 9 (OT)
  • Union College 42, Westfield State 7
  • Norwich University 22, Salve Regina 19
  • Carnegie Mellon 24, MIT 7
  • Western New England 33, Springfield College 17
  • Coast Guard Academy 27, University of New England 17

Stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

The Early Preseason Outlook: MIT Engineers

MIT Engineers

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ coverage continues with a closer look at the MIT Engineers, who will look to capture their second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown this fall.

MIT kicks-offs its 2019 slate on Saturday, September 7th, 2019 when they host Carnegie Mellon at 12 p.m.

The Engineers’ 2018 Season: MIT enjoyed a very successful 2018 campaign by capturing its first-ever NEWMAC championship while making its second appearance in program history in the NCAA Tournament.

Yet, despite ending its season with a first-round setback to Johns Hopkins University, coach Brian Bubna‘s squad proved they can win games with both its offense and defense, as well as its special teams, too.

MIT pitched three shutouts last season, including a pair in October against Coast Guard Academy (13-0) and Maine Maritime Academy (35-0), while limiting Springfield College to just seven points in their regular-season finale.

Quarterback Udgam Goyal enjoyed one of his best seasons under center, tossing a career-high 18 touchdowns, including three to Eddy Garcia-Montes, who led the receiving core with 45 receptions.

Keithen Shepard enjoyed a very successful second season with the Engineers by catching a career-high 39 receptions for 513 yards and six touchdowns. Shepard will certainly be a player to watch this season – it’s possible he could be the team’s go-to receiver.

The 2019 Outlook: MIT graduated 13 student-athletes from last year’s team, including Udgam Goyal, who was the team’s primary quarterback for the past three seasons, and their top wide-out Eddy Garcia-Montes. Additionally, the Engineers bid farewell to halfback/wide receiver Miguel Wagner, linebacker Andrew DeNucci and defensive back Mitch Maisel.

Replacing all five student-athletes, along with other members of the Class of 2019 won’t be an easy task for Buban and his staff, but they do return some key pieces from last year’s squad, including halfback John Robertson, wide receiver Eric Bradford, and linebacker Sam Cantrell.

The Engineers did graduate a pair of offensive linemen but do return Will Roberts, who will be the anchor of MIT’s line this fall. The Sacramento, California native appeared in 11 contest last season and was named NEWMAC First-Team All-Conference.

The biggest question facing the Engineers is can they repeat their success from a year ago? We’ll find out once a new season of MIT football commences in a few weeks.

MIT’s Schedule: The Engineers commence their title defense with a home date against Carnegie Mellon before embarking on a three-game road trip, beginning Saturday, September 21st at Becker College. MIT will then visit Catholic University before heading to U.S. Merchant Marine in early October.

The schedule gets more challenging in late October when MIT visits Coast Guard before entertaining Norwich University and WPI in early November.

A mid-to-late November clash with Springfield could possibly determine the conference’s representative in the NCAA Tournament.

Players to Watch: John Robertson (Halfback/Brentwood, Tenn.), Keithen Shepard (Wide Receiver/Vancouver, Wash.), Eric Bradford (Wide Receiver/Dublin, Ohio), Jack Montinaro (Wide Receiver/Riverside, Conn.), Will Roberts (Offensive Line/Sacramento, Calif.), Mark Wright (Kicker/Fort Worth, Texas), Sam Cantrell (Linebacker/Seattle, Wash.), Tyler Ray (Defensive Back/Suwanee, Ga.), Ben Wolz (Defensive Line/College Station, Texas), and AJ Iversen (Defensive Back/Kansas City, Mo.).


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

D3 Football: Bubna, MIT Begin New Chapter of Engineers Football

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John Robertson rushes past members of the MIT defense during Tuesday’s practice at Steinbrenner Stadium. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan | @MattNoonan11

It’s football season – yes, it has finally returned. And for the past few days, I have had the opportunity to visit with a few teams, including MIT, which seems eager to begin its season next Friday, August 31st when they host Becker College at 7 p.m.

This fall, MIT will be guided by the program’s former defensive and recruiting coordinator, Brian Bubna, who takes over for Chad Martinovich, who left earlier this year to accept the head coaching role with the University of Rochester.

Since being named the new leader of the Engineers, Bubna has implemented a unique culture that values two things: hard work, but also making sure his student-athletes are have fun.

Additionally, Bubna and his student-athletes have also embraced another word (or phrase, which appeared on the team’s Twitter handle a few days ago) – sure, it may not always be associated with the sport of football, but it seems to be keeping a smile on the players’ faces, though.

So, what is this word? The answer … party!

But, why party?

Well, allow senior linebacker Andrew DeNucci to explain what it means to this group of Engineers: “(Coach Bubna’s) big thing is party. Come out here, have a good time … we’re playing football, so we are out here to party and have fun.”

Added Bubna, “We try to keep it competitive and fun because these guys have so much academic responsibilities and internships, so when they get out here it has to be fun and it has to be excitable, too.

“We work hard and have fun doing it, so the guys enjoy it. We go from drill to drill with different stuff. We try to change it up, so it is not the same thing every day, so we can keep them on their toes.”

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MIT quarterback Udgam Goyal leads the offense during an 11-on-11 drill during Tuesday’s morning session. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan)

Tuesday’s morning session seemed like a fun practice – I was able to watch the final hour, which included a few group drills, as well as a competitive 11-on-11 that featured a touchdown strike over the middle from senior quarterback Udgam Goyal. Goyal enjoyed a successful junior season, recording a few career-bests, including completions (170), passing yards (1,922) and touchdowns (14).

Goyal should continue last season’s success this fall – he will have some familiar teammates to target, including classmate Eddy Garcia-Montes, who led the MIT receiving core with 55 receptions for 719 yards and six touchdowns.

Another receiver to watch this fall will be sophomore Keithen Shepard, who finished his initial season with 32 receptions for 365 yards and one touchdown. Shepard should also be seen on special teams again this fall – last season, he fielded 12 punt returns (129 yards) and 11 kick returns (261 yards).


Extra Notes from Tuesday’s Practice 

I had a chance to chat with Andrew DeNucci about the MIT defense, which yielded an average of two scores per game (16.3) last fall.

DeNucci will certainly be the focal point of this year’s unit due to a few graduation losses, including linebacker Matt Nicolai and defensive back Mitch Turley.

But the good news for the Engineers is DeNucci is back after recording multiple career-highs last fall, including total tackles (70.0), tackles for a loss (7.5) and sacks (2.5).

So, what worked for you last fall, Andrew? “I think the biggest thing is we have a great d-line and it starts with those guys up front. The less guys that are blocking the linebackers, the more free we are to make plays.”

DeNucci should certainly be able to make a few plays this fall, thanks to some key returners on the defensive line, including juniors CJ Reilly and Ben Bennington. Additionally, the unit returns juniors Sam Cantrell (linebacker) and AJ Iversen (defensive back).

In addition to some key returners, DeNucci is confident that some of the newcomers and first-years will make an impact, as well.

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A member of the MIT defense attempts to get past the o-line during Tuesday’s morning session. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan)

The defense will certainly be counted on with finding ways to slow down their opponents, especially Springfield College and WPI, two teams that will certainly be in the mix with MIT for the top spot in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). MIT finished 7-3 overall last season, including 5-2 in the NEWMAC, but junior halfback John Robertson believes his team’s current confidence should help the unit contend for its initial NEWMAC regular season crown.

“I think (what) makes all the difference in a season is believing you can actually go out there and win the title, win the conference,” said Robertson, who led the rushing unit with 882 yards on 166 carries for 11 touchdowns.

“There is a confidence (amongst the current group, along with some) excitement, so we know we can do it because we have been that close before, so I think last season really did set the pace and (we’re) looking to see it carry over to this season.”

For MIT to contend for some hardware, they will certainly need Robertson to enjoy another successful season in the backfield. Robertson appeared to be in midseason form on Tuesday, zigzagging through various gaps on both sides of the line, while bursting past defenders in the secondary. Similar to DeNucci, Robertson will also be a player to watch for the Engineers this fall.


We’ll have more coverage of the MIT football team, along with other New England squads as we inch closer to a brand new season. But in the meantime, make sure to stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – you can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel, as well!