NCAA D3 Football Tournament: Inside The MIT-Muhlenberg Matchup

Sean Kent WBE

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: Renzi’s Late Boot Sends Brockport To NCAA D3 Semifinals

Mizro & Keith

The Brockport Golden Eagles is headed to the NCAA Division III Football Semifinals! (PHOTO CREDIT: Brockport Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Brett Renzi connected on five of six kicks this afternoon, including the game-winning 33-yard field goal as time expired, which helped Brockport defeat Delaware Valley, 31-28, in the 2017 NCAA Division III Football Tournament Quarterfinals at James Work Memorial Stadium in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.

The win – the Golden Eagles’ 13th straight – secures the Green and Gold a spot in next weekend’s national semifinals against top-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Mary Hardin-Baylor, which has also won 13 consecutive games this season, defeated St. Thomas, 24-10, in its quarterfinal match-up earlier today. Mount Union and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh also clinched spots in next weekend’s semifinals by capturing their respective contests, too.

Per the Brockport Athletics’ Twitter handle, this is the first-time in program history that the Golden Eagles have reached the national semifinals.

Brockport quarterback Joe Germinerio accounted for a trio of scores, including two rushing touchdowns, while Tyree Brown concluded the contest with 23 yards on five carries and one score, along with a reception for 16 yards.

The Golden Eagles led the Aggies, 21-7, at the break and 28-7 after three quarters before DelVal rallied with three consecutive fourth quarter touchdowns, including a pair of strikes from Dashawn Darden to Marquis Ellis, which evened the score at 28-28.

DelVal attempted to take the lead on its next two possessions, but saw both drives conclude with a punt from Stephen Adams.

Brockport would take over with 55 seconds remaining – they started their drive at the DelVal 48 – and would reach the 16 before sending in Renzi for the game-winning boot.

The loss snaps DelVal’s 12-game winning streak, which included a pair of postseason victories over Husson University and Western New England.

Brockport has now won three-straight postseason games, including a second round victory over Wesley. The Golden Eagles began their quest for a national championship by defeating Plymouth State, 66-0, in the opening round.

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode 14 (James Baker | In The HuddLLe)

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By NoontimeSports (@NoontimeSports

In honor of the NCAA Division III Football Tournament, which kicks-off this weekend, Noontime Sports the Podcast welcomed back James Baker, who is one of the co-hosts of In The HuddLLe – yes, two ‘L’s’ – to discuss the first round of the playoffs.

Baker and host Matt Noonan discussed the ‘Alfred’ section of the tournament tree, primarily the Saxons’ game against Bridgewater State, Western New England hosting Husson and Hobart drawing perennial powerhouse Mount Union.

In addition to some NCAA Tournament talk, Noonan and Baker also discussed the inaugural New England Football Bowl, which takes place this Saturday (Salve Regina versus Framingham State), and the final week of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football season, too.

Make sure to follow Baker and co-host Frank Rossi on Twitter!