Football Friday Notebook: Welcome Back Football!

NS Football Notebook Logo

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Welcome back, football (and yes, we are officially back, too – no more vacations, folks!).

A brand new NFL season has officially begun with all 32 teams in action as of today.

Per the Washington Post, the Arizona Cardinals Denver BroncosLos Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings kick-off their respective training camps today – these are the final four teams to report to camp after the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears commenced their respective seasons earlier this month. Both Baltimore and Chicago will compete in the Hall of Fame Game next Saturday, August 4th.

The New England Patriots began their preparations for the upcoming season yesterday at Gillette Stadium. Here are a few stories you should read from the first day of camp:

Let’s switch gears to some local college and high school news from the six New England states:

That concludes a new edition of the ‘Football Friday Notebook’ – vacation time is over, so get excited for loads of football content to come for the next six months!

Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB

Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Stopped By The Rams In Opening Week

Duncan_-_91617_WT30465
Brown University quarterback Nicholas Duncan and the Bears scored an opening-day win a week ago over Bryant University. (PHOTO CREDIT: Brown University Athletics)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

The Ivy League kicked-off its 62nd season with their best season-opening record (6-2) since 2013 last Saturday.

Princeton, the league’s co-favorite, led the way with a 27-17 road win over San Diego.

However, there was one big surprise, as league co-favorite Harvard suffered an upset of sorts at the hands of the Rhode Island Rams, 17-10.

URI quarterback Tyler Harris threw for 235 yards and a touchdown as Rhode Island (1-2) won its first game of the 2017 season (fourth in last three seasons) and first victory over Harvard in five tries.

Cornell was the other Ivy to come up short suffering a 41-14 drubbing at the hands of the Delaware Blue Hens.

This week, the Crimson (0-1, 0-0 Ivy) will face a major emotional challenge as it prepares to face Brown (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) on Saturday at Harvard Stadium. It will be the Ivy League opener for both squads with kick-off set for 12 p.m. (Fans can watch the game on the Ivy League Network (IL) or NESN-Plus).

Brown will enter the contest on a positive note after holding on to defeat Bryant, 28-23, last weekend in Providence.

Bryant dominated play, accumulating nearly 200 yards more total offense than the Bears (and two-to-one time of possession), but fell victim to two costly turnovers.Junior quarterback Nicholas Duncan ran for two touchdowns and threw for 152 yards (14-of-27) and a score to pace the Bears.

Brown’s Scott Boylan returned the opening kick-off 95 yards for a touchdown. Defensively, the Bears received a number of outstanding efforts most noteworthy was senior defensive end Richard Jarvis who had four sacks and eight tackles, which earned him Ivy Defensive Player of the Week honors.

For Harvard to be successful against Brown they will need to finish in the red zone. Quarterback Joe Viviano (17-of-32, 192 yards) had a decent outing against the Rams, but failed to connect for a touchdown.

The Crimson ground game received a solid effort last week from Charlie Booker III (139 yards) and the defense turned in a decent effort, holding the Rams scoreless in the second half.

Harvard’s Tim Murphy, with plenty of talent and experience on both sides of the ball, will be looking for his squad to be more consistent in Week 2.

Bob’s Harvard Prediction: Can Harvard overcome the emotional issues surrounding the serious injury to their team mate? Young men are resilient, particularly football players, but it should be an emotional win. PREDICTION: Harvard 17, Brown 16. 

Next week: Harvard will travel to Georgetown on Sept. 30 (2 p.m.). The game will be played at historic RFK Stadium.

Around the Ancient Eight: The Yale Bulldogs served notice that they are a team to contend with when they clobbered Lehigh 56-28. Yale quarterback Kurt Rawlings was named Ivy Offensive Player of the Week when he threw for 308 yards (20-of-26) and four touchdowns. Rawlings certainly is a front-runner for Ivy League MVP … Yale will host Cornell in Week 2. The Big Red committed five first half turnovers in their loss to Delaware … When Harvard and Brown meet tomorrow it will be the 117th meeting between the two schools … Boylan’s 95-yard kickoff return against Bryant last week was the eighth-longest kickoff return in Brown football history.

(Report compiled from various Ivy League media sources).

Follow Bob on Twitter @WhitneyBob; like him on Facebook and Instagram.

Ivy League Football Set To Kick-Off This Weekend

f51a077c5a28dd23444f68623302ba0b
Ivy League Football returns this weekend with a big match-up looming after the first week between Harvard and Brown at Harvard Stadium. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob)

The Ivy League does things just a tad different. As opposed to the Power 5 conferences, which enter their third week of play, the Ivies get around to starting their 62th football season with a full slate of games this weekend.

All eyes will be on the Princeton Tigers, which claimed its second title in the past four years in 2016, was picked to finish first in the preseason poll.

Harvard, a dominant force in the league over the past decade (six titles) and still smarting from last year’s upset in THE GAME (21-14) to the Yale Bulldogs, joined Princeton as a preseason favorite.

Penn, Yale and Dartmouth figure to contend for the title with Brown, Columbia and Cornell projected to be real long shots.

Harvard opens its 144th season on Saturday (1 p.m.) at Rhode Island (0-2).

The game with the Rams will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools. The Crimson won the first game in 1923 at Harvard Stadium, 35-0, and last year, trounced the Rams, 51-21, at Harvard Stadium.

The Crimson has a number of All-Ivy players returning from last year’s squad 7-3 (5-2 Ivy League) which include defensive stalwarts, Luke Hutton, Raishaun McGhee, DJ Bailey, Jake McIntyre, Tanner Lee, Adam Scott and wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley.

Shelton-Mosley was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy League first team last year, with 48 catches for 568 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, Hutton and Lee will lead the defensive unit that was among the nation’s best in scoring defense and rushing defense in 2016.

Offensively, the Crimson should be in good shape, with experience at the skilled positions in quarterback Joe Viviano and running back Semar Smith along with Shelton-Mosley.

URI is led by quarterback Tyler Harris who has thrown four touchdown passes in their two losses. Last week, in a 35-18 loss to Stony Brook, Harris was 15-of-32 for 185 yards. Wide receivers Aaron Parker and Marven Beauvais will pose a challenge for the Harvard secondary.

Defensively, D.J. Stewart has been a force with a team-high 22 tackles.

Bob’s Prediction: It is the first game for Harvard, but the offense and Shelton-Mosely should have a field day with an under-performing Ram defense in Kingston, Rhode Island. Harvard 42 – URI 10

Next week: Harvard will host Brown in its home opener on Saturday, September 23 with a noon kickoff. The game will be televised on NESN.

Around the Ancient Eight: In other local Ivy action of note, Brown will open their 140th season on Saturday against Bryant University at Brown Stadium. Former Ivy League Player of the Year James Perry, who led Brown to the Ivy title in 1999, is the first year coach at Bryant.

The Ivy League football teams have fared well on opening day with a 49-39 (.557) record over the past 11 seasons (2005-15).

The NFL opened the season with 20 former Ivy Leaguers on NFL rosters (14 on active rosters).

When Harvard faces URI it will mark the 1,303rd varsity football game. The Crimson’s all-time record is 864-388-50 (.683).

Various Ivy League media outlets utilized to compile this report. 

Follow Bob Whitney on Twitter @WhitneyBob; like him on Facebook and Instagram

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode Two (Nick Coit | ABC6 Providence)

Noontime Sports Podcast

By NoontimeSports.com 

Ah, the second episode of Noontime Sports: The Podcast has arrived!

Matt Noonan chats New England Patriots offseason news – yes, DeflateGate – with Nick Coit, who is a weekend sports anchor and reporter for ABC 6 in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to some pre-season Patriots chatter, Noonan and Coit share their thoughts on the sports broadcasting business and what they both think will occur in the future.

Make sure to follow Nick on Twitter and Instagram, too.

Mass. College Football: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Week Three Predictions)

Harvard University senior Scott Hosch will commence the season under center for the Crimson. (Photo Credit: AmericanSportsnet.com)
Harvard University senior Scott Hosch will commence the season under center for the Crimson. (Photo Credit: AmericanSportsnet.com)

By Matt Noonan 

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