D3 Football: NCAA & New England Bowl Predictions

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming NCAA Tournament games tomorrow, along with two New England Bowls.

As usual, Friday’s mean one thing: games to watch and predictions. So, allow me to dish out my picks for the three NCAA Tournament games with New England teams, along with both New England Bowls.

Have a wonderful weekend, stay warm – it is going to be COLD tomorrow – and I’ll do my very best, as usual, to keep you all updated on social media!


NCAA Tournament Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

Brockport at Western New England (12 p.m.): This is a very evenly matched contest – it is even a game the Golden Bears could (and should) win. I’ll give the edge to WNE since they are playing at home, but they will need a big day from their offense, as well as a stellar performance by their run defense. PREDICTION: WNE 31, Brockport 28 

Framingham State at Wesley College (12 p.m.): The Rams have never won an NCAA Tournament game, so perhaps this is the contest Framingham State wins. FSU’s offense and defense have been rather impressive the past few weeks, especially against some talented conference foes, which should translate to a one-point (or two-point) victory on Saturday. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Wesley 27 

MIT at Muhlenberg College (12 p.m.): This is a tough draw for the Engineers, who are set to face the fourth-best team in the country, per the latest D3 Football Top 25. MIT has been impressive in their last three outings – they needed to win all three to advance to the postseason – but something tells me the Mules will make a few more plays from the get-go to secure an opening-round win. PREDICTION: Muhlenberg 30, MIT 10 


New England Bowl Games | Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

Dean College at Endicott College (12 p.m.): This one is for the seniors. Look for a monstrous game from the seniors on both sides of the ball to send the Gulls into the offseason with some momentum for the 2020 season. PREDICTION: Endicott 35, Dean 16 

Western Connecticut at WPI (1 p.m.): After losing to the Engineers of Cambridge earlier this month, WPI has looked unstoppable, winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University by a combined score of 124-35. Look for the Engineers to continue their recent momentum against the Colonials in Worcester. PREDICTION: WPI 38, Western Conn. 14 

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 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

D3 Football: Senior Leadership Has MIT Primed For A Successful 2019 Season

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Members of the MIT offensive and defensive line go head-to-head during a situational drill at last Wednesday’s practice. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

It was an ideal ending to a mid-week practice for the MIT football team: a long touchdown pass down the far seam that ignited a celebration that would continue following a few words from second-year coach Brian Bubna.

Players departed the field with smiles on their faces – there were even sounds of laughter and high-fives, too.

MIT appeared ready and eager to translate their hard work from this particular preseason practice to a game, which they will have the opportunity to do this Saturday, September 7th when the Engineers welcome Carnegie Mellon to the Cambridge, Massachusetts campus for a 12 p.m. kick-off.

The Engineers enter the 2019 season as a team to watch in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) after capturing their first-ever league title one year ago but do have some holes to fill from last year’s senior class. But that doesn’t seem to faze this year’s seniors, especially the squad’s four captains, who credit both last year and prior senior classes for teaching them what they must do to help both their classmates and underclassmen continue the program’s previous success.

“It starts with leading by example while also making sure that every one that is younger than us knows what it takes to compete at an elite level and they can follow the lead,” said linebacker Sam Cantrell, who is one of 18 seniors on this year’s MIT football team.

Cantrell says both the offense and defense have competed at an “elite level” throughout the preseason, but have also exhibited a great deal of energy, too, which should translate into some impressive plays this fall by both upperclassmen and first-year players. 

“We bring it on both sides of the ball,” said Cantrell, who finished tied for second on the team last fall with 52 total tackles.

“We strive to be the best on both sides of the ball, so really competing with each other and holding each other to a higher standard is the biggest thing from last year to this year.”

Senior Ben Bennington, who plays defensive line for the Engineers, agreed with his classmate and defensive counterpart, but also added that both the freshmen and sophomore classes have stepped-up and improved since the squad’s initial practice last month.

Said Bennington, “The freshmen and sophomore classes have really stepped up. (They are) playing faster now and everyone has picked-up where they’re supposed to be or where they’re supposed to be going (from studying our plays) and everyone is flying around (out there).”

MIT’s roster features 22 first-year players and 24 sophomores – all 46 student-athletes will certainly be asked to help the team this fall as they attempt to defend their conference crown.

But no matter if its a first-year or a senior, halfback John Robertson just seems excited to compete with his teammates this fall and continue the program’s recent tradition of competing every day in practice, while “playing for each other.”

“With turnover (every year) there is kind of an identity that is up to the senior class each year, and I think this year we’re really trying to play for each other,” said Robertson.

“We’re trying to play in-between the whistles, go after these guys – (our defense, to be exact) – right here, and then tap each other each play.”


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.