D3 Football: NCAA & New England Bowl Predictions

WNESOCIALNCAAUPDATE

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

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.