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: Endicott, WNE Secure Spots On East Regional Rankings

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

For the second-straight week, two New England D-III football teams appeared on the most recent NCAA East Regional Rankings, which were posted (and announced) earlier today.

Western New England, which checked-in fifth one week ago, secured the sixth position in this week’s rankings, while Endicott College checked in tenth overall.

WPI, which secured the ninth position last week, did not appear on the ten-team list.

Salisbury University remained the top team in the East region for a second-straight week, while Wesley College and Delaware Valley checked in second and third, respectively. Union College, which boasts an impressive 9-0 record, slid into the fourth position while the College of Brockport checked-in fifth.

SUNY CortlandHobart, and Stevenson University secured the seventh, eighth, and ninth positions.

Endicott and Western New England conclude their respective regular-season campaigns this Saturday, November 16th with the Golden Bears hosting Husson University and the Gulls visiting Nichols College.

WNE, which defeated Endicott earlier this season, secured the conference’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament – we will learn who their first-round opponent will be on Sunday, November 17th.

The Gulls of Endicott will most likely represent the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) in the New England Bowl. Endicott competed in its initial New England Bowl last fall but lost to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which competes in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

Football Friday Notebook: NCAA Tweaks Redshirt Rule For D1 Football, Plus D3 Football Captains & More

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By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Happy Friday, everyone!

Let’s kick-start your weekend with some football news and notes from the D3 world to the pros and high schools.

The NCAA recently made some tweaks to its redshirt rules, which should make college football fun to follow this season, as well as a little unpredictable, too.

More on the NCAA redshirt rule change from Sports Illustrated – this will certainly help coaches get first-year players even more ready for future success, both at the college and pro level.

On Thursday, the Maritime (N.Y.) Privateers announced on their Instagram account their captains for the upcoming season. Congrats to Payton Campbell, Liam Bailey and Dean Lynch – best of luck this season, gents!

The St. John Fisher College football unveiled on Twitter its uniform combos for the upcoming season. Thoughts?

Also announcing captains for this upcoming season was Gettysburg College earlier this week – congrats to Chase FeeMiles McKnight and Nick Rella!

A feel-good feature from the USA Today on how a school, fatherhood and football connect former Temple University teammates. It may get a little dusty in your room after reading it!

What should Dallas Cowboys fans expect from their offense this season? A massive amount of rushes from Ezekiel Elliott … duh!

Speaking of the Cowboys, make sure to check-out Charles Robinson‘s piece from Yahoo! SportsDallas needs to have a bounce back season, per his report. Otherwise, things could get pretty interesting in Big-D!

Finally, Mike Pereira told PFT Live the following: “If at the end of this year there are more concussions on kickoffs, forget it. It’s gone.” Clock is ticking, NFL rules committee!

Have a great weekend, everyone and make sure to stay connected with our Football handle on Twitter: @Noontime_FB 

D3 Football: Lebeau Elevated To Head Coach At WNE

WNE_Circle_logo_small_400x400By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

It was announced yesterday – Wednesday, May 8th, to be exact – that Jason Lebeau has been elevated to the head coaching position of the Western New England football team.

Lebeau, who has spent the past six seasons as the squad’s offensive coordinator, takes over for Keith Emery, who is stepping aside to relocate with his family. Emery will remain involved with the team as a in an advisory capacity, per Wednesday’s release.

“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I accept the tremendous opportunity to lead the Western New England Football program,” Lebeau said in the Wednesday release. “It is my honor and privilege to lead a team of student-athletes that remind me of my “why” each and every day while working for an academic institution committed to success both on and off the field.”

Lebeau, who has spent the past eight seasons with the Golden Bears football program, was a three-year starter for the team on the o-line – he also earned the squad’s MVP honor his senior season before graduating in 2010. He would continue his education at WNE, earning his MBA in coaching six years later.

Under Lebeau’s direction, WNE’s offense has been tough to stop – the unit concluded its 2017 campaign second in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) in points (30.8) and yards (395.5) per game. The Golden Bears registered 300 or more yards in 10 of 11 contests last season, while tallying a season-best 534 yards in a 42-28 win over Curry College. The win over the Colonels helped the Golden Bears capture the inaugural CCC crown.

WNE concluded its 2017 season 8-3 overall, including 5-0 in conference play. The Golden Bears kick-off their 2018 season on Friday, August 31st when they visit Springfield College at 7 p.m.

D3 Football: Wojenski Leads Framingham State To Second-Straight New England Bowl Win

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Framingham State quarterback Adam Wojenski tossed five touchdowns in his team’s New England Football Bowl victory against Curry College. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Framingham State quarterback Adam Wojenski tossed five touchdowns, while completing 19 of 28 passes for 246 yards as the Rams topped Curry College, 48-14, in the 2017 New England Football Bowl this afternoon at Bowditch Field.

With the win, Framingham State has now won a pair of New England Football Bowls, including the inaugural game last year when they defeated Salve Regina in Newport, Rhode Island.

All five of Wojenski’s touchdowns were recorded in the first half as he connected with Khaneil Bruce and Quron Wright for a pair of strikes, respectively, while locating Shaquille Joseph on his team’s initial drive for a 24-yard score.

Wojenski would toss his next four touchdowns in the second quarter, which provided the hosts with a 34-7 advantage at the break.

Napoleon Miller and Sebastein Robert extended Framingham State’s advantage with rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, while Curry mustered just one score in the third quarter when quarterback Alex Corvese hauled in a two-yard score on the far side from wide receiver Spencer Tyler.

The Rams conclude their 2017 season at 10-1 overall, while Wojenski ended his second season with the Black and Gold by tossing 19 touchdowns in eight contests.