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The Early Preseason Outlook: Framingham State Rams

FSU RAMS

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports

We continue with our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ by highlighting the Framingham State University Rams, who will begin their conference title defense on Friday, September 6th when they visit Endicott College.

The Rams’ 2018 Season: It was another successful season for coach Tom Kelley‘s crew, which captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown with an 8-3 mark. Framingham State returned to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 2015 but saw their national championship hopes dashed in the opening round against Brockport State.

Yet, despite falling to the Golden Eagles, the Rams remained one of New England’s top programs last fall, as well as the team to beat in the MASCAC. The Rams played their best football late in the season when they scored wins against UMass DartmouthWestern Connecticut, and Worcester State.

The 2019 Outlook: Framingham State graduated 19 student-athletes from last year’s unit, including halfbacks Quron Wright and Sebastein Robert, and wide receivers Mike Calicchio and Napoleon Miller. Additionally, the Rams bid farewell to some key members of their defense, too, so this season is all about the squad’s rising seniors, juniors and sophomores, who will be tasked with attempting to guide the Rams back to the national postseason for the second-straight season.

Quarterback Adam Wojenski returns for his final season and will most likely target Shaquille Joseph, who enjoyed a very successful second season with the Rams. Joseph ranked third on the team in receptions (27) while finishing second in touchdown receptions (6).

Fullback Rufus Rushins could be tasked with being more than just a third-down back for the Rams after finishing third on the team in rushing yards (235 yards). The Rams may also rely on Chris Jenkins or Nick Caliri, too.

Anthony Behonick and Joshua Smiley will be tasked with leading the Rams’ defense this fall – the duo combined for 115 total tackles last season, including five stops for a loss of 17 yards. Additionally, keep an eye on Joshua Onujiogu, who will join Smiley on the defensive line.

The Rams will need some help in the secondary as defensive back Rashaun Rivers graduated this past spring, along with DeSean Hart and Kenny SullivanCully Curran will be the defensive back to watch heading into camp in a few weeks.

Framingham State’s Schedule: The Rams will be tested immediately with trips to Brockport and Endicott before welcoming Westfield State to Framingham on Saturday, September 21st for a 12 p.m. kick-off in week three.

Framingham will enjoy an early bye week during the final weekend of September before entertaining UMass Dartmouth on Friday, October 4th.

Framingham State closes the month of October with two key contests against Plymouth State and Western Connecticut before heading to Massachusetts Maritime Academy to compete in the annual Kelley Cup game.

After the Kelley Cup, the Rams will play their final home game against Bridgewater State. The game could decide this year’s MASCAC champion, so make sure to circle Saturday, November 9th on your calendar.

Players to Watch: Joshua Onujiogu (Defensive End/Wareham, MA), Adam Wojenski (Quarterback/Stratford, Conn.), Shaquille Joseph (Wide Receiver/Somerville, Mass.), Rufus Rushins (Fullback/Defensive Line/Lynn, Mass.), Henrique DeBoni (Kicker/Rio Claro, Brazil), Jared Archer (Offensive Line/Mansfield, Mass.), Andrew Fennelly (Offensive Tackle/Wayland, Mass.), Anthony Behonick (Linebacker/Rutland, Mass.), Joshua Smiley (Defensive Line/Springfield, Mass.), Jack Sullivan (Linebacker/Dartmouth, Mass.), and Cully Curran (Defensive Back/Arlington, Mass.).


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

Teams To Watch In 2017: Framingham State Rams

Quron Wright

Framingham State’s football team will once again be a squad to follow (and watch) this season in New England. (PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Poulin Photography)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Name: Framingham State Rams

Ranking:
The Rams checked-in fourth overall on our ‘Preseason Top 10’ poll, which was posted on Twitter on Monday, July 31st.

2016 Recap: Last season was not your typical campaign for the Rams. Instead of contending for some national hardware in the NCAA Division III Tournament, Coach Tom Kelley‘s squad capped it season by capturing the first-ever New England Bowl championship. Yet, prior to defeating the Salve Regina in the region’s inaugural bowl game, the Rams sustained a few difficult plays, bounces and moments in a trio of games, including a heart-breaking 28-27 overtime loss to Bridgewater State, which provided the Bears with the conference crown and automatic bid to the postseason. Excluding the team’s three setbacks, the Rams did secure some quality wins over Endicott College (32-21), Western Connecticut State (23-17) and Fitchburg State (14-0). Framingham State will face all three teams this fall.

Key Losses: Trevon Offley (Running Back), Jalen Green (Running Back), Chris Dagg (Specialist), Aaron Owens (Linebacker) and Jaleel Wingard (Defensive Back).

Players to Watch: Adam Wojenski (Quarterback), Zak Walker (Quarterback), Quron Wright (Running Back), Napoleon Miller (Wide Receiver), Mike Calicchio (Wide Receiver), Stephen Beahn (Wide Receiver), Joe Wilder (O-Line), Thomas Burns (Defensive Back), Svenn Jacobson (Linebacker), Campbell Marchant (D-Line), Brian Donahue (Linebacker), Jaquan Harris (Defensive Back) and Joshua Onujiogu (D-Line).

2017 Schedule: The road back to the NCAA Division III Tournament will begin with a visit to ‘the nest’ on Labor Day Weekend when Framingham State tangles with Endicott College in Beverly. One week later, the Rams will play its first home game of the season against a talented Cortland State squad from the Empire 8. The Red Dragons defeated the Rams last season in New York, but the Rams’ offense still managed to tally 327 total yards of offense, while the defense recorded a pair of sacks and interceptions. This will be another quality test for the Rams before they hop into Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play in week three against Bridgewater State. Their 28-27 overtime loss from last year should certainly be motivation for the squad heading into this particular outing. Framingham State will conclude its initial month of play against Massachusetts Maritime Academy – this is always a fun game to attend because of the Kelley connection between both schools (Tom’s son Mike Kelley is a MMA alum and assistant coach for the Buccaneers. He is also the school’s baseball coach, too). Visits to Fitchburg State and Plymouth State highlight the month of October, while November will feature a pair of home dates against Western Connecticut State and Worcester State.

Season Outlook: Checking-in second on the conference’s preseason coaches poll, the Rams, who perhaps could have been picked to capture the league’s crown this fall, will certainly be one of many MASCAC squads to watch this season. Both non-conference games to start the season will be critical for the squad’s success, but the same could be said for its week three match-up at Bridgewater State. On paper, this squad looks ready to challenge the Bears for the conference’s crown, as well as the automatic bid to the ‘big dance.’ Quarterback Adam Wojenski gained a great deal of experience last year under center – the MASCAC Offensive Rookie of the Year appears ready to lead an offense that will feature a great deal of talent on the line and in the back field. Keep an eye on wide-out Stephen Beahn this season – he could be in for an exception senior year. On defense, linebacker Svenn Jacobson highlights a unit that should provide challenges to opposing offenses – this particular unit posses a great deal of experience and depth, which should help them be successful against both the run and pass.

Mass. College Football: Kelley, Framingham State Know SUNY Cortland Will Be A ‘Big Test’

Framingham State University head coach Tom Kelley was happy with his team's week one victory, but knows week two will be a challenge against SUNY Cortland. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

Framingham State University head coach Tom Kelley was happy with his team’s week one victory, but knows week two will be a challenge against SUNY Cortland. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Framingham State University’s football team is coming off an impressive opening day win. The Rams defeated Endicott College, 42-6, last Saturday to commence its season, but now face a tough test in SUNY Cortland, which rallied to defeat Heidelberg University last weekend.

Framingham State and Cortland last met in 2012 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Tournament. The Red Dragons escaped with a one-point victory before ending its season the following weekend against Wesley – a team that has made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.

“(Saturday) is going to be a big test,” Framingham State head coach Tom Kelley said following his team’s initial victory of the season. “They’re a fast team and we’re going to have to bring our A-game. The good news is we’re at home (this weekend), so that will be nice, but we’ll find out who we are (during this game).”

Against the Gulls, the Rams relied heavily on senior quarterback Matt Silva, who tossed five touchdowns and was tabbed the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Player of the Week.

“Matt has that it factor,” Kelley said of his team’s signal-caller. “He is a senior and he is a coach on the field and he reads the defenses awfully well. He has a tremendous core of wide receivers and we gave him some time to throw the ball and we ran it a little bit, so we kept Endicott’s (defense) off-balanced and I think that was huge for us.”

Silva finished Saturday’s game 29-for-35 for 261 yards. He connected with seniors Tevin Jones and Jared Gauthier for a pair of touchdowns, respectively, while targeting sophomore Mike Calicchio for one score.

Excluding Silva’s performance, the Rams defense did their job, limiting Endicott to 12 first downs and 220 yards of total offense. Sophomore Svenn Jacobson, who was named the MASCAC Defensive Player of the Week, led the unit with a game-high 11 tackles, including five solo stops with a forced fumble. Framingham State also held its opposition to just 60 yards on the ground.

“I am really proud of all the guys, but we certainly have to cleanup some stuff on both sides of the ball,” said Kelley. “We have a new coordinator (on defense) and new coaches over there too, so really we are happy with (our week one_ outcome, but have a real long way to go on both sides of the ball.”

Mass. College Football: Framingham State Tops Endicott In Season-Opener, 42-6

By Matt Noonan 

BEVERLY, Mass. – Framingham State University senior Matt Silva tossed five touchdowns and rushed for one score as the Rams rolled past Endicott College, 42-6, in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon at Endicott Stadium.

The Rams overcame a slow start, scoring on three consecutive drives to claim a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Silva connected with classmate Jared Gauthier for a pair of touchdowns, while locating Mike Calicchio on a 16-yard strike with 4:38 remaining in the opening stanza.

Endicott trimmed the deficit halfway through the second quarter when junior Chris Lipscomb hauled in an 11-yard fade pass by classmate Joe Picard, but that would be the Gull’s lone touchdown of the afternoon.

Framingham State University senior Matthew Silva accounted for all six touchdowns this afternoon in the Rams' week one victory. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

Framingham State University senior Matthew Silva accounted for all six touchdowns this afternoon in the Rams’ week one victory. (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

Silva helped the Rams push ahead for good minutes later by capping a 10 play, 72-yard drive with a 10-yard strike to senior Tevin Jones, which provided the visitors with a 28-6 cushion at the break.

Framingham State tacked on an additional two scores in the second half to secure an opening day win.

The Rams registered 32 first downs and 473 yards of total offense. Senior tailback Trevon Offley rushed for a game-high 84 yards on 10 carries, while Gauthier led all receivers with 11 receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Sean Wlasuk finished booted all six extra points and sophomore Svenn Jacobson led the Rams defensive unit with 11 total tackles (five solo) and one forced fumble.

Endicott senior Lawrence Gonzalez and freshman William Rivera each recorded nine total tackles, respectively, while junior Craig Anderson registered his initial sack of the season.

Framingham State is back in action next Saturday as they host SUNY Cortland – a 2012 NCAA Division III tournament first round rematch – while Endicott travels to No. 16 Hobart. Both games are slated to kick-off at 12:00 p.m.