Noontime Sports is happy to unveil our first regular season (Week Three) D2 Top 5 Poll.
Our D2 Poll is a part of our blog’s new coverage plan, which we are slowly unveiling over the next few days and weeks.
So, without further ado, here is this week’s (Week 3) Noontime D2 Top 5 Poll.
Assumption (2-0) – Bob Chesney’s squad is off to an impressive start. Through two games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 52 points per game. Can they keep this momentum going against Southern Connecticut State on Friday evening? We’ll find out.
Bentley (1-1) – The Falcons enjoyed a bounce-back game against Saint A’s, thanks to a pair of touchdown strikes by quarterback CJ Scarpa, who concluded the contest 14 of 20 for 185 yards. Joey Piatnik did his job on defense, tallying five total tackles, including four solo stops and one sack. Bentley will look to keep things going at home Friday against Merrimack.
Merrimack (1-1) – Following a tough opening day loss to Bryant, the Warriors rebounded with a come-from-behind win over American International. Give the game ball to quarterback Nick Davis, who helped the Warriors erase a 13-0 deficit en route to claiming a 16-13 victory.
So. Connecticut (1-1) –Quarterback Robert Nittolo enjoyed his best game under center, tossing a trio of touchdowns, while completing 17 of 25 passes for 287 yards. Additionally, he rushed for a season-high 41 yards, along with one score.
American International College (0-2) – Give credit to the Yellow Jackets’ defense, which was led by Azeem Cooper, who finished this past week’s contest against Merrimack with 11 total tackles, two sacks and one quarterback hurry. The Yellow Jackets are showing signs that they’ll crack the win column sooner than later.
Matt Foltz was speechless when asked to describe his heroic performance from one week ago.
The Stonehill College sophomore signal-caller couldn’t recall a past experience of engineering a trio of scoring plays in 62 seconds to guide a squad to an improbable victory.
“I have never experienced anything like it,” Foltz said on Wednesday after receiving the Golden Helmet Award at the New England Football Writers Luncheon at Harvard University. “I was just trying to do my job and afterward you can’t believe it happened.”
Stonehill entered the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s game trailing LIU Post, 30-13, but trimmed the deficit with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Foltz to senior wide-out Corey White, which brought the visitors with 10 points. The Pioneers responded with an eight-play, 97-yard drive to push ahead, 37-20, with 2:13 remaining.
Robert Talley – the head coach of the Skyhawks – considered pulling his signal-caller with the game potentially out of reach, but decided to keep Foltz in the game.
With Foltz under center, the Skyhawks engineered a quick scoring drive that resulted in a 13-yard touchdown strike to freshman tight end Kaleb Lutton that brought Stonehill within 10 points (37-27) with 1:02 remaining.
Stonehill’s defense kept momentum on their side, forcing LIU Post to go three-and-out before the offense – again led by Foltz – engineered a four-play, 43-yard scoring drive that concluded with an 11-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Dave Harrison with just six seconds left.
The Skyhawks – now trailing 37-34 – continued their rally on the ensuing kickoff by recovering an onside kick at the LIU Post 41 yard line. And with just one second left remaining, Foltz again located the end zone with a 41-yard jump ball to White, who hauled in the game-winning reception on the left side.
“I saw (Corey) in the end zone and I know he is one of the most physical and gifted guys on the team. He is big and strong and athletic, so if there is one guy you want to throw a jump ball to it is probably Corey,” Foltz said of his final toss of the afternoon.
“I saw him in the end zone and there were a couple other guys around him, and at that point I was just throwing up a prayer, hoping he would come down with it.”
The win was Stonehill’s fourth consecutive of the season, but it was also their second fourth quarterback comeback in a span of three weeks. Against Merrimack College, Foltz led a pair of scoring drives in the fourth quarter to help the Skyhawks overcome a 20-10 deficit. The final result: Stonehill 24, Merrimack 20
Said Foltz of his fourth quarter success, “Everyone on our team never quits on each other and I think the team chemistry this year is great. I also think it is the preparation we all put in. When it comes to crunch time and high pressure situations (we) reveal who we really are and as a whole team it shows we put in the time and we put in the effort.”
Another weekend of college football has arrived – hooray!
Below are five games to watch/follow (and predictions) – make sure to circle back on on our social media channels this weekend (Facebook and Twitter) for updates, scores and news.
Merrimack at Assumption (Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.): Both teams will look to capture their first Northeast-10 Conference victory this evening as the Greyhounds host the Warriors in what promises to be an exciting ‘Friday Night Lights’ contest. Assumption’s Brendan Tobey is second in the conference in passing yards per game (246.5) and has tossed three touchdowns thus far, while Alex Shain is the top rusher in touchdowns (three) and yards per game (126.0). Merrimack’s defense is sixth in the NE-10, but tied for fourth in sacks (four). Brian Carroll has had an impressive season for the Warriors on defense, tallying 20 total tackles, including 17 solo stops, so expect him and his teammates to challenge Tobey and Shain. PREDICTION: Assumption 25, Merrimack 23
Boston College vs. No. 9 Florida State Univ. (Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.): Following a pair of non-conference clashes, the Eagles host their first conference contest against an impressive Seminoles squad that captured their initial games against Texas State (59-16) and South Florida (34-14). Dalvin Cook is second in the nation in rushing, compiling 422 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. The Eagles defense will need to focus on Cook, while winning the time of possession on offense. PREDICTION: Florida State 34, Boston College 20
Harvard at Rhode Island (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): The Crimson’s title defense begins tomorrow as they travel one state over to face a Rhode Island, which has lost a pair of games this season, including a 47-0 setback to Syracuse. Harvard signal-caller Scott Hosch will start the season under center, looking to guide the Crimson to their fourth consecutive week one victory. PREDICTION: Harvard 30, URI 17
American International College (AIC) at New Haven (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.): This should be an interesting match-up with both squads claiming NE-10 victories last weekend. New Haven rallied to defeat Bentley with a late field goal, while AIC quarterback Kwame Jarvis tossed a trio of touchdown passes in the Yellow Jackets’ 44-13 victory over So. Connecticut State. Andre Anderson of New Haven is second in the conference in rushing yards, averaging 110 yards over two games, while locating the end zone twice. Jerrod Shelby has paced the Yellow Jackets’ defense with a team-high 17 total tackles (eight solo stops) and one sack (six yard loss). New Haven captured this contest last year, registering a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to claim a 31-24 victory. PREDICTION: AIC 28, New Haven 25
UMass vs. Temple (Saturday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m./Gillette Stadium): The Owls – currently receiving votes in the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll – have won back-to-back games, including an opening week victory against Penn State (27-10). Last week, the Owls defense intercepted Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel four times en route to 34-26 victory. This week, Temple travels takes on a UMass squad that lost its opener against Colorado, 48-14, but wide receiver Tajae Sharpe finished the game with 11 catches for 138 yards. The Minutemen will need to limit their mistakes from one week ago to defeat a talented Temple squad. PREDICTION: Temple 31, UMass 26
The second week of the college football season in Massachusetts was a wild one. There were some interesting outcomes and upsets, along with numerous teams stretching its win total to two games.
Here are a few notes and takeaways from the second weekend of the season:
* Boston College made headlines this weekend, routing Howard, 76-0. The Eagles held the Bison to just 11 yards of total offense, while quarterback Troy Flutie – the former Natick High School signal-caller – completed seven of eight passes for 88 yards and one touchdown.
The Eagles, winners of back-to-back contests, host Florida State University on Friday, September 18 at 8:00 p.m. This will be Boston College’s first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) clash of the season.
* UMass head coach Mark Whipple wasn’t too pleased with his team’s performance against Colorado, stating in a press release, “Give Colorado a lot of credit; they played better in all phases.”
The Minutemen dropped their season-opener to the Buffaloes by a score of 48-14. They registered one touchdown in the first and second quarter, respectively, while Colorado ended the game with 558 yards of total offense.
The Minutemen will look to rebound on Saturday when they host Temple at Gillette Stadium – the team’s home opener.
* As noted in the Northeast-10 Conference weekly report, Assumption College kicker Cole Tracy broke a pair of conference records this past weekend – most field goals in a game (six field goals) and most points by a kicker (19 points). Tracy is in his second season with the Greyhounds and has converted seven field goals this season.
* Sticking with special teams, the NE-10 weekly report also highlighted Bentley University’s Tyler Ford, who matched the Falcons’ program record for the longest punt, a 68-yard boot. Ford, who hails from Amherst, New Hampshire, registered five punts last Friday in his team’s heartbreaking defeat to New Haven. He did, however, record a quartet of punts that landed between the Chargers’ 20-yard-line and goal line.
* Stonehill College won its second consecutive contests, defeating Merrimack College, 24-20. Quarterback Matt Foltz, who was tabbed the NE-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Week, engineered his first career fourth quarter comeback, while finishing the contest 22-of-36 for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Foltz also rushed for 25 yards on 11 attempts.
McCourt, who made is first collegiate start at quarterback, concluded the contest 21-of-26 for a school-record 444 yards and six touchdowns. According to the Nichols College Athletics website, McCourt concluded the first quarterback with five completions for 165 yards and three touchdowns.
* WPI picked up its second consecutive ‘Friday Night Lights’ victory, defeating cross-town rival Worcester State University, 27-13. Quarterback Dan Eckler completed 21-of-31 attempts for 381 yards and one touchdown – he did not toss an interception. Zach Grasis rumbled for 74 yards and Brandon Eccher recorded a season-high 168 receiving yards and one touchdown.
* Harvard University kicks-off its season next Saturday, September 19 when they travel to URI for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. The Crimson was picked to capture the Ancient Eight this season, as noted in the preseason poll.
* We’re two weeks away from starting another New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season. Amherst, Tufts and Williams each begin its campaign on the road, Saturday, September 26.
American International College (AIC) enters the 2015 season projected to be the runner-up in the Northeast-10 Conference, but that prediction isn’t what head coach Art Wilkins is focused on at this time.
Instead, the legendary head coach, who enters his 21st season with AIC, is focused on preparing the Yellow Jackets for its week one opponent: Bryant University.
“I think Mr. (Bill) Belichick has the right approach (to a new season),” said Wilkins, “one game at a time.”
AIC will travel to Rhode Island this Saturday (Sept. 5) to face a Bulldogs squad that was picked to capture the Northeast Conference. Bryant garnered four first-place votes and is coming off an impressive campaign that included eight victories, which tied a program record for wins.
“(We have) a one game season right now and after (we play Bryant) there will be another one (game season), but it is a one game season,” said Wilkins.
Quarterback Kevin Arduino has graduated after a very impressive four-year career, but is expected to assist the team as an assistant coach.
“You (can) never replace a great player (like Kevin), but we’re doing the second best thing. Since he can’t play anymore, we’re going to let him coach and see if some of the magic dust (helps),” said Wilkins.
The Yellow Jackets have five quarterbacks on its roster, including sophomore Shawn Brathwaite, who completed four passes last season and tossed a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards and one score.
Another quarterback to keep an eye on is senior Adam Salvador, who competed in nine games last season, but did not register a single pass. Instead, the senior signal caller rushed for 137 yards on 43 attempts and averaged 15.2 yards per game.
At tailback, expect the Yellow Jackets to rotate five or six players, including junior Marcel DePina, who hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts. DePina registered one touchdown last season on 19 carries, while rushing for 133 yards. He also returned a pair of punts for 34 yards.
“DePina has looked great,” said Wilkins. “I think he is going to be an exceptional player. He is the one we’re counting on right now (at halfback).”
Similar to tailback, the wide receiving core will rely on five or six players to assist the offense. Junior Evan Graham – a Springfield, Massachusetts native – is back after finishing second on the team in receptions (41). Graham, who competed in 11 games, was second on the team in touchdowns (five) and receiving yards (655).
“We think (our receiving core) is the best position on offense right, so we’ll see how it comes together during the first several games,” Wilkins said. “This is an exciting bunch.”
On defense, the Yellow Jackets will count on senior linebacker Demetrius Steed – a Boston native that competed for Bedford High School. Steed ranked third on the team in total tackles (72), but recorded 38 solo stops, four sacks, seven tackles for a loss and a trio of pass-breakups.
“He’s the guy that leads by example and has a high energy level and (can) translate that to his teammates,” said Wilkins. “He is everything you could want.”
AIC also returns seniors Andrew Justice (defensive end), Danny Omoregie (defensive line) and Daquan Holmes (defensive back). Sophomore Rob Hansen returns after leading all freshmen defenders with five total tackles and three solo stops.
Following the Yellow Jackets’ season-opener against the Bulldogs, AIC will commence conference play with a home contest against Southern Connecticut University on Saturday, September 12. The Yellow Jackets will then travel to University of New Haven on Saturday, September 19 before concluding the first month of play with a 1:00 p.m. kick-off against Saint Anselm College at home.
AIC and LIU Post, which competed in the conference’s championship last season, will meet in Springfield on Saturday, October 3 for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. LIU Post was picked to capture the NE-10 crown for the second consecutive season.
WALTHAM, Mass. –Bill Kavanaugh is starting his second season as the head coach at Bentley University, and is looking to keep the momentum going from a team that won four of its last five games in 2014. On Tuesday, we caught up with the coach after practice.
First and foremost, there is a quarterback competition going on in Waltham. Matt Montalto and C.J. Scarpa are vying for the starting job.
“Both kids, we have confidence, can lead our team,” said Kavanaugh. “So we feel really good about that. But we’re just not sure which way we’re going to lean.”
Kavanaugh has his leading rusher returning this season, Martin Bannerman, who scored five touchdowns in 2014. The coach also feels good about his depth on the offensive line and at the wide receiver position. Offensive lineman Matt Biscardi has been named a co-captain.
The defensive line consists of four seniors – Jeff Amell, Quincy Giles, Paul Norris and Bob Richman. The latter three are co-captains.
“As they go, our team will go. We know they’re going to be working as hard and competing as hard as anybody across the country,” said Kavanaugh.
In the secondary, the coach is happy to see some young guys stepping in at linebacker. There is also some experience at the defensive back position.
Bentley opens the season on Saturday, September 5 at Mercyhurst.
“The guys are ready to get into the groove and play a football game. They’re tired of seeing each other, and we’re tired of seeing them against each other,” said Kavanaugh.