Mass. College Football: Five Games To Watch This Week

By NoontimeSports.com

We’re closing in on the halfway mark of another season of college football. The seventh week, which kicks-off tomorrow, will feature some intriguing, but important conference matchups, so we’ve decided to look ahead to this weekend’s slate in our first installment of the current 2013-14 season with our “Five Games to Watch.”

We started “Five Games to Watch” this past winter during basketball and hockey season to profile a variety of local Division 1, 2, and 3 games. We won’t make predictions, but will provide a quick synopsis of each matchup.

Quick Note: Going forward, we will be continuing our “Five Games to Watch” series during basketball, hockey and lacrosse season. These posts will appear closer to the weekend, though.

So, without further ado, here are five games to watch this weekend.

Harvard at Cornell, 12:30 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): Coming off an exciting triple-overtime win last week against Holy Cross, the Crimson will turn their attention to their second Ivy League foe of the season.

The Big Red, who’re 1-2 overall, are led by quarterback Jeff Matthews, who is the Ancient Eight’s all-time leading passer with 9,303 yards. Matthews and the Big Red struggled last season at Harvard Stadium as the Crimson capped the meeting with a 21-0 run to secure a 45-13 victory.

Paul Stanton Jr. leads Harvard’s ground attack with 258 yards and five rushing touchdowns. He’s averaging 86 yards per game, as well as one touchdown per game, too.

Defensively, keep an eye on Eric Medes, Norman Hayes and Zach Hodges, three players that will want to pressure Matthews.

Harvard has won the last seven meetings and leads the all-time series, 40-32-2.

Stonehill at Southern Conn., 1 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): The Skyhawks suffered their first Northeast-10 Conference setback last weekend against AIC, which held Stonehill to 189 yards of total offense.

This week, Stonehill will look to rebound against Southern Conn., a squad that has won three straight. The Owls have posted at least 40 points or more in all three of their victories.

Anthony Masucci, Tim Bennett and Brian Harrington each registered 10 total tackles against AIC, as well as combined for one tackle for a loss and a forced fumble. Harrington continues to leads the defense with 66 total tackles (31 solo), while Mark Trudeau leads all players with 2.5 sacks.

Stonehill will certainly rely on its defense to stop the Owls, but also look for their offense to bounce back. Quarterback Logan Meyer has tossed 14 touchdowns this season, four of them to Nate Robitaille, who has recorded 100 receiving yards in four-straight contests.

Framingham State at Westfield State, 1 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): Tom Kelley’s squad will play its fifth road contest of the season on Saturday when they travel to Westfield State to face the Owls, who’re on a three-game winning streak.

The Rams are coming off a 21-14 win against UMass Dartmouth last week, which feature three rushing touchdowns from Melikke Van Alstyne. Defensively, Chevere Archer recorded 10 solo tackles, five of them for a loss of 20 yards, as well as one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Westfield recently defeated Plymouth State, 31-0, thanks to another impressive defensive performance, which included seven tackles for a loss of 30 yards; four pass break-ups, three tackles for a loss and two interceptions. Tim Rich completed 11-of-13 passes for 245 yards and one touchdown, while Michael Mercadante rushed for 79 yards on 16 carries for two scores.

Keep an eye on the Westfield defense, which has yielded just seven points in three conference meetings.

Coast Guard at Curry College, 1 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12):  The Colonels snapped their three-game skid last weekend with a victory against MIT. This weekend, they’ll turn their attention to an impressive Coast Guard unit, which defeated Western New England last weekend, 41-38. The Bears have won two New England Football Conference contests and currently remain tied for first with Endicott College and Salve Regina.

As always, expect Curry to rely on Kevin Fruwirth’s arm, which produced two touchdowns last week, as well as running backs Phil Bigelow and Trae Weathers, two players that combined for 171 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns.

The last time these two squads met, Curry defeated Coast Guard in 2011, 44-21. Bigelow led all rushers with 158 yards on 21 carries for two rushing touchdowns.

WPI at Union, 1:30 p.m. (Saturday, Oct. 12): Coming off a tough loss to Hobart, Chris Robertson’s squad will look to rebound against their third Liberty League foe this season.

Against Union a year ago, Chris Turner brought WPI within one point following a 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter before the Dutchmen answered with a pair of touchdowns.

Expect the Engineers to rely on their ground game. Zach Grasis finished last week’s contest with 93 yards on 23 carries. Also, look for quarterbacks John Antonopoulos and Jacob Grills to air it out to either Larry McGillicuddy or Ehab Hamdan.

Defensively, the Engineers finished their contest against Hobart with three pass break-ups and two tackles for a loss. Sean Murphy, Brian Murtagh, Robert Harasimo and Jack Downey each recorded six total tackles in the loss.

Mass. College Football: Week Five Honor Roll

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the fifth week of the college football season in the books, it’s time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Honor Roll.

Paul Stanton (Harvard) – Against Brown, the sophomore tailback rushed for two scores on 16 carries for 91 yards. His 91-yards on the ground were the most he’s recorded this season.

Norman Hayes (Harvard) – The junior registered four tackles (two solo), one-and-a-half tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, one interception and one pass breakup against Brown.

Peter Pujals (Holy Cross) – Against Dartmouth, the first-year quarterback scored four touchdowns (two through the air, two on the ground), which helped the Crusaders earn their second win of the season. He completed 25-of-37 passes for 290 yards and rushed for 142 yards on 17 carries.

Roman SanDoval (Holy Cross) – The senior linebacker led all defenders with 12 total tackles (eight solo) and one tackle for a loss.

Joe Clancy (Merrimack) – The senior gunslinger tied his previous career high of seven touchdown passes last week in the Warriors win against Pace. Clancy completed 26-of-41 passes for 434 yards.

Brian Harrington (Stonehill) – For the fourth straight week, the junior linebacker recorded double-figures in total tackles. He finished with six solo stops against Bentley.

Tad Beuchert (Assumption) – His 44-yard field goal with just over three minute remaining in regulation secured an impressive road victory for the Hounds on Friday against AIC. The Danvers kicker also kicked a 28-yard field goal and was 2-of-3 on extra points.

Artis Holt (Merrimack) – The senior from Baltimore recorded 10 tackles (seven solo) and three pass breakups in his team’s win against Pace.

Jamal Johnson (Stonehill) – The Brockton native rushed for 151 yards on 31 carries and a career-high matching two scores against the Falcons.

Jordan Koehler (Anna Maria) – The senior linebacker recorded a game-high 18 total tackles (10 solo), as well as two tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery against Catholic.

Ehab Hamdan (WPI) – Against RPI, the senior wide out posted a season-best 117 receiving yards with one touchdown in the opening session, which propelled the Engineers to their first conference victory.

Eric Lacroix (WPI) – The sophomore defensive back recorded eight tackles (five solo), one tackle for a loss and a 33-yard interception in the second quarter.

Jonathan Marrero (Springfield) – Against Union, the sophomore signal caller accounted for four scores – three on the ground, one through the air. Marrero rushed for 167 yards in 22 carries and completed 4-of-14 passes for 43 yards.

Kevin Bumpus (Worcester State) – The junior gunslinger went 22-for-33 with 333 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for a score in his team’s bounce back effort against Massachusetts Maritime.

Brian Gencarelli (Worcester State) – Against the Buccaneers, the sophomore defensive back recorded 11 total tackles (eight solo), as well as a pair of interceptions and pass deflections.

Matthew Green (Bridgewater State) – The junior wide out finished with nine grabs for 136 yards and two touchdowns against Fitchburg State.

Drew Frenette (Endicott) – The junior quarterback tossed four touchdowns and rushed for 21 yards on five carries to lead the Gulls to their second victory of the season against Curry.

Jake Cox (Endicott) – Against Curry, the junior defensive back finished with 10 total stops (eight solo), one interception and one pass breakup.

Jake Laux (MIT) – Despite falling to Salve Regina, the senior linebacker recorded 15 total tackles (10 solo), one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.

Max Dietz (Amherst) – The senior defensive back recorded four tackles, four pass breakups and an interception against Bowdoin, a game Amherst claimed, 27-11.

Adam Datema (Williams) – The junior defensive end recorded a team-high 10 tackles and one sack against Trinity.

Jackson Bockhorst (Tufts) – The first-year kicker kicked three field goals, including a 27-yarder in the fourth quarter, which provided the Jumbos with a two-point lead.

Mass. College Football: Week Five Teams Of The Week

Stonehill captured their third win of the season by defeating Bentley on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth for NoontimeSports.com)

Stonehill captured their third win of the season by defeating Bentley on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth for NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the fifth week of the college football season in the books, as well as the first month, it’s time to unveil this week’s Noontime Sports Teams of the Week.

Division 1 – Harvard University: For the second straight week, the Crimson earned our Division 1 Team of the Week following an impressive performance by quarterback Conner Hempel, who scored two touchdowns (one through the air, one on the ground). Running back Paul Stanton rushed for two scores against Brown, while Ricky Zorn led all receivers with four catches for 112 yards and one touchdown.

Eric Medes led Harvard’s defense with 10 total tackles (seven solo) and Norman Hayes recorded four total tackles (two solo), one-and-a-half tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, one interception and one pass breakup.

Harvard improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Ancient Eight. They head to Worcester next week to face Holy Cross, who is coming off a win against Dartmouth.   

Division 2 – Assumption College & Stonehill College: Both the Hounds and Skyhawks each earned a share of this week’s Division 2 honor for their effort on Friday and Saturday evening.

Assumption rallied to defeat AIC, while Stonehill earned an early lead against Bentley and never looked back.

Tad Beuchert kicked two field goals and converted two of three extra points for the Hounds. His second field goal with 3:21 remaining sealed the win for Assumption, who hadn’t beaten AIC since the 2009 season.

The Skyhawks relied on their ground attack against Bentley as Jamal Johnson rushed for 151 yards on 31 carries and two scores. Brian Harrington recorded 13 total tackles (six solo) and one tackle for a loss in the team’s third win of the season.

Division 3 – Worcester State: Coming off a loss to Bridgewater State, Worcester State rebounded with a 64-63 win against Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Quarterback Kevin Bumpus completed 22-of-33 passes for 333 yards and five touchdowns. His final strike to the end zone came at the end of the contest when he connected with Aaron Witkus for the game-winning score.

Bumpus also found the end zone with his feet as he rushed for nine yards and one score on two carries. Running back Dana Valentine recorded 126 yards on 29 carries for one score, while Dana Barry hauled in seven catches for 158 yards and two scores.

Mass. College Football: Week Four Teams Of The Week

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the fourth week of the college football season in the books, it’s time unveil this week’s Division 1, 2 and 3 teams of the week.

Division 1: Harvard University – In their first trip to the west coast since 1949, the Crimson commenced their season with an impressive 42-20 victory against San Diego.

Quarterback Conner Hempel, who made his first-career start, tossed four touchdowns, two of them to Andrew Fischer (six catches, 71 yards). Paul Stanton led the Crimson ground attack with 64 yards on six carries and one touchdown, while Seitu Smith hauled in four catches for 89 yards.

Norman Hayes led the defense with 12 tackles (four solo), as well as registered one-and-a-half tackles for a loss and one interception.

Division 2: Stonehill College – The Skyhawks posted 41 points in a wild Northeast-10 Conference showdown Friday evening against Assumption College to earn their second win of the season, as well as their second conference victory, too.

Logan Meyer accounted for six touchdowns (five through the air, one on the ground), while Nate Robitaille hauled in a career-best 13 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Brian Harrington matched his career-best 16 tackles (eight solo), which included one tackle for a loss. Stonehill’s defense recorded two sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

Division 3: Springfield College – Against Mount Ida, the Pride’s defense recorded seven sacks, forced three turnovers and got a defensive score to push Springfield’s overall mark to 3-0. The win was also their second straight shutout of the season.

Quarterback Jonathan Marrero tossed one touchdown and rushed for three more on 14 carries, as he finished the contest with 150 yards on the ground.

According to the Pride’s website, Springfield has now outscored its last two opponents, 77-0. Also, Springfield hadn’t recorded back-to-back shutouts since their 1957 season when they blanked American International and Rhode Island.

Mass. College Football: Harvard Picked Second In Ivy League Preseason Media Poll

By NoontimeSports.com

Courtesy of the Harvard University sports information department, here’s today’s release about the Crimson football team, which was selected to finish their upcoming season in second place, according to the preseason media poll:

PRINCETON, N.J. – In a vote of Ivy League football media members, Harvard was selected to finish second in the Ancient Eight this season. The media poll was released Tuesday as part of the league’s annual football media day.

Harvard received five of the 17 first-place votes and finished with 121 points, while Penn, who won last year’s conference crown, earned 11 first-place votes and amassed 129 points. Brown also picked up a first-place tally and was chosen third with 88 points.

Dartmouth was fourth with 76 points, followed by Cornell (57 points), Yale (46) and Columbia (22).

Harvard has registered at least seven wins in each of the last 12 seasons, making the Crimson the only team in the history of the Ivy League to post such a string of successful campaigns. In 2007, Harvard became the first Ivy team to put together seven straight seven-win seasons. The Crimson has also reeled off 13 straight wins at home since October 2010.

Entering his 20th season in Cambridge, Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football, will look to capture another conference crown in the program’s 140th season of football, despite being significantly younger at most positions than recent Harvard teams.

From last year’s squad, Harvard graduated Colton Chapple, the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, as well as tight end Kyle Juszczyk, who was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. The Crimson, which scored an Ivy record 394 points in 2012, will need to replace a good deal of experience on offense, but Harvard does return tight end Cameron Brate, who has garnered several preseason All-America accolades this year.

On defense, Harvard brings back captain and linebacker Joshua Boyd, as well as standouts Nnamdi Obukwelu, Zach Hodges and Jack Dittmer on the defensive line, and defensive backs D.J. Monroe, Norman Hayes and Chris Splinter, among others. The Crimson also returns senior kicker David Mothander, who holds Harvard’s career scoring lead for kickers with 197 points (21 field goals, 134 extra points). Mothander’s 197 points also ranks ninth in Ivy League history.

The Crimson will open the season on the road at San Diego Sept. 21, before hosting Brown under the lights at Harvard Stadium on NBC Sports Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Harvard will play two other games on NBC Sports: vs. Penn at Harvard Stadium Nov. 16 and at Yale in the 130th playing of The Game Nov. 23.

Harvard finished the 2012 season with an 8-2 overall record and a 5-2 mark in Ivy League play.

2013 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll

Rank      School (First-Place Votes)           Points

1.              Penn (11)                                          129

2.              Harvard (5)                                       121

3.              Brown (1)                                          88

4.              Dartmouth                                       76

5.              Princeton                                          73

6.              Cornell                                                57

7.              Yale                                                      46

8.              Columbia                                           22