Tag: NCAA Football

Noontime’s New England D3 Football Top 10 Poll (Sept. 19, 2022)

Nick Helbig highlighted Wesleyan University’s defensive effort last Saturday against Bates College by recording seven total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two forced fumbles. (PHOTO COURTESY: Steve McLaughlin)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to the fourth week of New England NCAA Division III football season, which technically began yesterday – yes, we know we’re one day late (our apologies!).

Like last week, it’s time to share our latest Top 10 Poll, which saw some teams move up and down, as well as welcome a new member: Western New England.

Despite a 1-2 start to its current campaign, the Golden Bears have shown improvement since its opening day loss to Springfield College – this past weekend, Western New England dropped its second non-league tilt of the 2022 season to Utica College. But despite the loss, it seems like the Golden Bears are headed in the right direction.

Plymouth State moved up one spot following its initial conference win against Bridgewater State while Endicott College remained in the top spot after clinching its third-straight victory of the season against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

Noontime’s Top 10 Poll: Monday, September 19, 2022 (Week Four)

1. Endicott College (3-0, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 1): The last time an Endicott squad began its campaign with three-straight wins was in 2011 when the Gulls competed in the New England Football Conference (NEFC). Endicott clinched its third-straight win last Saturday by defeating TCNJ, 28-7. They will attempt to win their fourth-straight contest on Saturday against Norwich University.

2. Wesleyan University (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC) (LW: No. 4): Wesleyan jumped up two spots after scoring a big opening day win against Bates College. Quarterback David Estevez tossed three touchdowns in the win while Nick Helbig stuffed the stat sheet with seven total tackles, including three tackles for a loss of 18 yards and two forced fumbles.   

3. Trinity College (1-0, 1-0, NESCAC) (LW: No. 2): The Bantams scored an opening day win last Saturday but struggled to contain Tufts University in the second half. Tufts outscored the visitors, 20-0, during the final two sessions. This week, Trinity faces a Colby College squad that beat Williams College in its season-opener.

4. UMass Dartmouth (2-1, 1-0 MASCAC) (LW: No. 7): The Corsairs moved up three spots following an important conference win over Framingham State. With the win, UMass Dartmouth returns to the win column for the second time this season – this week, they visit Worcester State, a team they beat last year by a score of 52-7.  

5. Springfield College (1-2, 0-0 NEWMAC) (LW: No. 3): The Pride dropped their second-straight non-league tilt last Saturday to a Union College squad that had produced 40 points or more in its previous two contests. Springfield limited the Dutchmen to just three touchdowns while the Pride produced a pair of field goals. Husson University visits Springfield on Saturday.

6. Anna Maria College (2-0, 0-0 ECFC) (LW: No. 6): Following an exciting opening day victory last Saturday, the AMCATs scored its second-straight win on Saturday by defeating Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 23-14. Anna Maria will conclude its non-conference slate on Saturday when they welcome Coast Guard Academy to Paxton, Massachusetts.

7. Salve Regina University (2-1, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 5): The early-season success vanished last Saturday as the Seahawks fell to Montclair State, 31-14. Despite suffering its first loss of the season, Salve Regina finished its non-league tilt with a game-high 313 yards of total offense while its defense registered three sacks.

8. Western New England (1-2, 0-0 CCC) (LW: NR): For the second-straight week, the Golden Bears recorded more than 400 yards of total offense. Against Utica College, the Blue and Gold produced a season-high 425 yards of total offense on 79 plays. Additionally, they converted a game-high 10 of 21 third down conversions. Utica finished 3 of 12 on third down.

9. Plymouth State (3-0, 1-0 MASCAC) (LW: No. 10): The Panthers matched their start from 2019 by winning its third-straight contest of the 2022 season. Plymouth State topped Bridgewater State this past weekend, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Braden Lynn.  

10. University of New England (2-1, 0-0 CCC) (LW: No. 8): Coach Mike Lichten’s squad saw its early season momentum disappear last Saturday with a 34-31 setback to Gallaudet University. Despite losing by three points, the Nor’easters defense was able to stop the Bison on 10 of 11 third downs. UNE will be idle this weekend before starting conference play next Saturday, October 1 against Curry College.

On the rise: Colby College (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC), Husson University (1-2, 0-0 CCC), and Nichols College (3-0, 0-0 CCC).

Anna Maria Picked To Win The ECFC Crown

Alex Cohen will be one of many players to watch on Anna Maria College’s football team this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Foley)

By NoontimeSports.com

After capturing its first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown last fall, Anna Maria College was picked to win its second league title this season.

The AMCATs secured the top spot in today’s preseason poll – Anna Maria collected five of seven first-place votes while Alfred State and Dean College secured one vote, respectively.

Alfred State was picked to finish second this season after concluding the 2021 season in the same spot in the standings with a 6-4 overall record. The six wins were the most any Pioneers squad recorded in a single season – they also represented the ECFC in the New England Bowl against UMass Dartmouth.

Castleton University was picked to finish third followed by Dean fourth and Gallaudet University fifth. Maritime College and Keystone College secured the final two placements, checking in sixth and seventh, respectively.

Anna Maria returns some key members from last year’s squad that produced seven wins, including quarterback Alex Cohen, who will be tasked with leading the 12th-ranked passing offense in NCAA Division III that registered 3,198 yards and 24 touchdowns in 10 contests.  

Armstrong Antoine will be the player to watch on Anna Maria’s defense after tallying 74.0 total tackles, including 48 solo stops to go with one forced fumble and one interception.

Anna Maria will be idle during the opening week of the season but will begin its title defense on Saturday, September 10 when they welcome UMass Dartmouth the Paxton, Massachusetts.

Six ECFC squads will begin their respective campaign next week, beginning with Dean College visiting Fitchburg State on Friday, September 2.

Five New England FCS Squads to Watch This Fall

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team concluded its 2021 campaign with 10 wins. (PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

The second week of July is almost over, which means we’re inching closer to a brand-new season of New England college football.

(Insert a celebrate emoji!)

Last week, we shared our ‘Way too Early’ New England NCAA Division III Top 20 Poll – what did you think?

Today, we’re going to highlight five NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams we believe fans of New England college football should keep their eyes on this fall.

Noontime’s Five New England FCS Teams to Watch in 2022

Bryant University: A new chapter of Bryant football begins this fall with the Bulldogs competing in the Big South Conference – the school announced that Black and Gold would be joining a new league in March. Bryant concluded its 2021 campaign by winning seven games for the first time since 2014 – they also won all four of its home contests, too, including a come-from-behind win last October against Saint Francis University. Quarterback Zevi Eckhaus became the program’s first-ever Offensive Rookie of the Year last fall – he completed 233 of 371 passes for 2,392 yards and 21 touchdowns. Additionally, he added 242 yards on the ground with two scores. Eckhaus will certainly be a player to watch on this year’s Bulldogs squad, but the same could be said for halfback Fabrice Mukendi, wide receiver David Zorrilla, and linebacker Ryan Saddler.

Dartmouth College: Quarterback Nick Howard is going to be a player to watch on the Big Green this fall. The Green Bay, Wisconsin native, which earned a spot on the All-Ivy League first team, was one of nine FCS student-athletes to rush for 15 touchdowns or more last fall. He, along with linebacker Marques White and wide receiver Paxton Scott, will be tasked with leading a Dartmouth squad that seeks its third-straight Ivy League title.  

Holy Cross: Not only did the Crusaders match the 1989 squad with 10 wins last fall, but they also captured their program’s initial postseason contest by rallying to defeat Sacred Heart University. And despite ending their season with a 21-16 setback to Villanova University in the second round of the FCS Tournament, the expectation is Holy Cross will once again be in the mix for a Patriot League crown. Quarterback Matthew Sluka and linebacker Jacob Dobbs return with hopes of duplicating their effort from one year ago.  

Harvard University: Coach Tim Murphy’s Crimson enjoyed a successful season last fall, despite falling short of finishing in a three-way tie with Dartmouth and Princeton University atop the Ancient Eight standings. Harvard led all FCS teams in rushing defense last fall – they will certainly miss linebacker Jordan Hill this season, who secured a tryout in the spring with the Philadelphia Eagles. While Hill, along with halfback Aaron Shampklin will be missed, Harvard should be able to fill those voids with some key returners, including linebacker Jack McGowan, halfback Aidan Borguet, and kicker Jonah Lipel.

University of Rhode Island: Despite ending its season with a 43-28 setback to Elon University, the Rams concluded their 2021 campaign with seven victories, which is the most Rhode Island has recorded since coach Tim Stowers guided the Blue and White to an 8-3 record in 2001. URI’s offensive line will be a unit to watch this year – the early expectation is they will provide quarterback Kasim Hill with plenty of time to throw the ball. Halfback Kevin Brown Jr. returns after missing last season due to an injury.

Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe Selected By The New England Patriots

Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. (PHOTO COURTESY: DraftWire.USAToday.com)

By Matt Noonan

Did the New England Patriots add some competition to its quarterback room?

Perhaps they did by selecting Bailey Zappe this afternoon in the fourth round of the 2022 National Football League (NFL) Draft.

Zappe quarterbacked Western Kentucky University last fall to a 9-5 overall record while establishing new single-season FBS records for passing yards (5,967) and touchdowns (62).

The 62 touchdown passes erased the original mark of 60, which was established by Joe Burrow in 2019.

Prior to becoming the quarterback at Western Kentucky, Zappe was spotted under center for three seasons (2018, 2019, and 2020) at Houston Baptist University, but elected to transfer after the Huskies’ 2020 season concluded after four games.

The team elected to not compete in the Southland Conference’s spring season.  

Zappe, who was selected with the 137th pick, may not be the flashiest quarterback selected in this year’s NFL Draft. However, he certainly seems to fit the “Patriot mold” given the squad may need an extra arm if Mac Jones were to get injured. Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham are still on the roster, but it is possible one or both quarterbacks may not make the final cut.

The Victoria, Texas native is not the biggest signal-caller or has the arm strength of North Carolina’s Sam Howell, but he does throw a “catchable ball” that should create some explosive plays. Zappe led all FBS signal-callers last fall in completions (51) and yards (1,805) on deep passes and could certainly develop into a capable backup quarterback.

With drafting Zappe, it’s possible Jarrett Stidham’s time in New England could be coming to an end. The 2019 draftee, who has played eight games for the Patriots, could be a valuable target for some teams looking for a younger backup quarterback.

As of this afternoon, it seems likely that Brian Hoyer would step in if Mac Jones were to get injured.  

Holy Cross, Chesney Agree To Contract Extension

Bob Chesney will be coaching the Holy Cross football team for the next five seasons. (PHOTO COURTESY: Boston Globe/Holy Cross Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Bob Chesney will be sticking around Worcester area for a few more years — five, to be exact.

The former Assumption College and Salve Regina University head coach inked his name on a five-year contract extension this morning to continue coaching Holy Cross through the 2026 season.

Chesney’s extension was announced this morning by Holy Cross Director of Athletics, Kit Hughes.

“I could not be happier with this process and the opportunity to reaffirm the College’s commitment excellence for Holy Cross Athletics,” Hughes said in a statement. “Under Coach Chesney’s leadership, our Crusader student-athletes have achieved new heights in the classroom, community, and field of competition.”

In four seasons with the Crusaders, Chesney has guided the Purple and White to 25 wins, along with three Patriot League titles and three appearances in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) postseason. Additionally, he led the Purple and White to its first-ever postseason win last November with a come-from-behind win against Sacred Heart University.

“Worcester has become home for my family, and we are humbled and grateful for the opportunity to continue our time in this great community and at Holy Cross,” Chesney said in this morning’s release about his extension.

Chesney was named the New England Coach of the Year by the New England Football Writers and the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston after leading the Crusaders to a 10-3 record last fall, including a 6-0 mark in the Patriot League.

Holy Cross has improved every season under Chesney since his initial campaign in 2018 when the Crusaders placed second in the Patriot League with a 4-2 record while registering single-season records with seven blocked kicks, six blocked punts, and four blocked punts returned for touchdowns.