Tag: Tim Murphy

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.

Ivy League Coaches, Players Express Excitement For 2021 Season

The Ivy League will announce plans for the fall sports season on Wednesday, July 8. (PHOTO COURTESY: IvyLeague.com)

By Matt Noonan

After having their season canceled due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic last summer, all eight Ivy League coaches, along with a few players shared their excitement for returning to the field this fall during this morning’s virtual media day.

“I think the 2021 Ivy League football season has the chance to be its best ever because of the collective effort of all these teams and all these amazing student-athletes,” said Cornell University coach Dave Archer.

“We finally get to showcase our football ability, (and) I’m really looking forward to that.”

While Archer’s excitement was echoed amongst his peers, so was the unknown: how good are these teams going to be this fall?  

Like many college football teams returning to campus this summer, there is a lot of unknowns about each squad considering so many rosters will feature a slew of sophomores and first years that yet to play a single down. But the uncertainty was overshadowed by enthusiasm to practice, and yes, compete again, too, later this year – most teams will begin their preseason later this week.

“We’re anxious and ready to go, and open up this Thursday,” said Dartmouth College coach Buddy Teevens.

Princeton University will enter the 2021 season as the favorite – the Tigers, who have accumulated 28 National Championships, along with 12 league titles since their initial campaign in 1869, return some key pieces from its 2019 squad that finished 8-2 overall. Princeton was unable to capture its second-straight Ivy League crown or at least share the title – Dartmouth and Yale University ended the season as co-champions.

But despite not finishing atop the Ancient Eight two years ago, Princeton coach Bob Surace told the media that his group has “worked really hard” over the last 17 to 18 months and will be ready to compete in a few weeks against Lehigh University.  

“We have a lot of guys who love football, who want to be with their teammates, and who want to see how good we can be,” said Surace.

While the Tigers should be pretty good this season, the same could be said for Dartmouth, Yale, and Harvard University — all four teams were picked to finish in the top half of last week’s preseason poll. And while Dartmouth and Yale maybe early favorites to challenge the Tigers for the top spot, one should not rule out the Crimson, who are returning a lot of seniors that coach Tim Murphy believes will help the squad be successful this year.

“It feels like Christmas is coming and we can’t wait for that day,” said Murphy, who will lead the Crimson into their first game next month against Georgetown University. “We have plenty of challenges ahead of us … we have a ton of work to do (and) we can’t wait to get started.”

The 2021 Ivy League season officially kicks off Saturday, September 18 with six games scheduled to appear on ESPN linear networks, according to the conference website.

Harvard Football Unveils 2019 Schedule

7865_harvard_crimson-helmet-0.pngBy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Just weeks after capping its 2018 season with a 45-27 win over Yale University in the 135th playing of The Game, the Harvard University football team unveiled its 2019 slate, which features five home and five road games.

Harvard will entertain Brown UniversityCornell UniversityDartmouth CollegeHoward University and University of Pennsylvania at historic Harvard Stadium, while visiting Columbia UniversityHoly CrossPrinceton UniversitySan Diego and Yale this fall.

The Crimson will commence their 2019 season in San Diego on Saturday, September 21st before hosting Brown one week later on Saturday, September 28th. The Crimson’s home-opener against the Bears will be aired on ESPN+.

Following their home date with Brown, the Crimson will entertain Howard and Cornell in early October before visiting Holy Cross and Princeton.

The Crimson will cap their final month of play with two home games and two road contests, including the 136th playing of The Game against Yale in New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, November 23.

Harvard concluded its 2018 season with a three-game winning streak, while finishing third in the Ivy League. Princeton, which defeated Harvard in October by eight points (29-21), captured the Ancient Eight crown with a perfect 10-0 record, while Dartmouth finished second at 9-1 overall.

The 2019 season will be coach Tim Murphy‘s 26th with the program – the tenured coach currently owns a 174-75 overall record with Harvard, but needs five wins to match Yale’s Carmen Cozza (179) for the most win in conference history.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage by following @Noontime_FB on Twitter today! 

Harvard, Yale Set To Renew Rivalry At Fenway Park

HarvardYaleFenway
Members of Fenway Sports Management pose with both Harvard and Yale Football captains, and Coach Tim Murphy on Tuesday afternoon at Fenway Park. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

Harvard University and Yale University are set to renew their historic football rivalry later this fall at historic Fenway Park as the 135th playing of “The Game” is scheduled for Saturday, November 17th.

Both teams meet in the final week of the regular season annually, but this year’s game will mark the first time “The Game” will be played on the same playing surface as the Boston Red Sox.

“This year, it is our distinct privilege to host what is arguably one of the most celebrated rivalries and marry one of college football’s most classic games with one of America’s most classic venues,” said Fenway Sports Management Managing Director Mark Lev.

Harvard is no stranger to Fenway Park – in fact, the baseball team was the first athletic program to compete at the historic ballpark 106 years ago when the Crimson faced the Red Sox on a rainy-snowy day. The game marked the first-ever contest at Fenway Park.

Additionally, Harvard’s George “Iron” Davis, who pitched for the Boston Braves, was the first-ever ballplayer to toss a no-hitter at Fenway Park on September 9, 1914. Six years later, the Crimson baseball team beat the Bulldogs at the park by a score of 6-3, thanks to pitcher Babe Felton, who quarterbacked the Harvard football team earlier in the school year.

Yale currently leads the all-time football series (67-59-8), but has tied the Crimson eight times over the past 134 years, including in 1968 when Harvard rallied to even the score at 29-29. Those eight ties, according to Harvard Athletic Director Bob Scalise, are considered wins around the Cambridge campus.

“We think (this game at Fenway Park) will be a terrific experience for our student-athletes and fans,” said Scalise.

“We hope that this rendition of ‘The Game’ will be an instant classic to add to the rivalry and rich tradition,” he added.

This year’s contest certainly has a special meaning to Harvard coach Tim Murphy, who grew up in Kingston, Massachusetts and idolized Rico Petrocelli, who played shortstop for the Red Sox for 13 seasons.

“It’s such an iconic place whether we come here for Red Sox games or concerts it’s always an amazing experience,” said Murphy. “I think it is going to be a great event for any of the alumni fans or players who were involved (with this rivalry).”

Added Harvard captain Zach Miller, “To be able to (have the game played) here (is) awesome, it’s so amazing for us.”

Miller said he and his team had a chance to watch Brown University and Dartmouth College compete at Fenway Park last season under the lights on a chilly Friday evening in November. Harvard-Yale will most likely be an afternoon game, however, the start time of this year’s game has yet to be announced.

“It was very cool (seeing Brown-Dartmouth) on tv and just knowing we were going to be playing there next year was very cool,” said Miller, who was elected the program’s 145th captain. “Just the opportunity to be at Fenway, this historical park, our team – it’s huge for Harvard football, Yale football and this rivalry. It means a lot to us.”

Similar to Miller, Yale captain Kyle Mullen is also excited about competing this fall at Fenway Park. “I’m really excited for the game,” said Mullen, who hails from New Jersey and roots for the New York Mets, not the Red Sox.

Yale captured last year’s meeting, defeating Harvard, 24-3, in New Haven, Connecticut. Mullen, who plays defensive end for the Bulldogs, recorded a trio of solo stops in the win, including a pair of tackles for a loss of six yards.

The senior captain of the Bulldogs said he was looking forward to beating the Crimson at Harvard Stadium this fall, but said Fenway Park works for him as well.

“I was looking forward to beating Harvard at their home stadium, but I guess I will have to settle for this,” he said with a big smile.

Both Harvard and Yale will begin their respective seasons on Saturday, September 15th with the Crimson hosting San Diego and Bulldogs visiting Holy Cross.

Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Keeps Title Hopes Alive

496202By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

They were on the brink of elimination but Coach Tim Murphy’s Crimson football team, along with a superb relief effort from quarterback Joe Viviano, kept their 2017 Ivy League title hopes alive with their second consecutive come-from-behind victory.

Last week the Crimson defeated the Columbia Lions for the 14th consecutive time, 21-14, in the Bronx.

The Crimson 5-3 (4-2) dramatic triumph over the Lions 6-2 (3-2) sets up another important showdown on Saturday, November 11th against the Penn Quakers 4-4 (2-3) at Harvard Stadium.

Murphy made a call to his bullpen and Viviano, who came off the bench in the second quarter and went 6-for-12 (120 yards), while connecting on a pair of touchdowns and rushing for one to lead the Crimson comeback.

Viviano and Henry Taylor hooked-up on a 65-yard TD pass in the second quarter and followed that up with a 1-yard keeper to give the Crimson a 14-7 lead at the half.

Harvard added an insurance tally to make it 21-7 in the third quarter when Viviano found Jake Barann on 2-yard TD toss.

It was a bitter loss for Coach Al Bagnoli’s Lions who had a chance with a win to control their own destiny in the Ivy League title chase. Now the Lions need help to remain in the hunt and face possible elimination in this week’s contest at Cornell.

Penn invades Harvard Stadium this week in a spoiler roll after a stunning 38-35 victory over Princeton 5-3 (2-3) at Franklin Field last week.

Abe Willows rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Tre Solomon added 116 yards on the ground as Penn accumulated 531 total yards of offense in the victory which put a damper on Princeton’s title hopes.

Saturday’s contest will mark the 88th meeting between the Ivy rivals, with the Crimson leading the series, 48-37-2. Last season, the Quakers prevailed 27-14 at Franklin Field.

The kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. and will be broadcast on NESN Plus and the Ivy League Network. Alex Vispoli and Eric Gallanty will have the call.

Bob’s Prediction: With weather expected to be cold and very windy the Crimson must control the line of scrimmage or the Quakers could spoil Harvard’s title bid. All signs point to New Haven and THE GAME! Harvard 14, Penn 7 

Next week: It’s the Yale Bowl, November 18 for a 12:30 kickoff (CNBC).

Around the Ancient Eight: Yale 7-1 (4-1 Ivy League) is in sole possession of first place and has total control of their Ivy League title hopes entering the final two weeks of the season. The Bulldogs will travel to face pre-season favorite Princeton on Saturday and with a win will have a chance to capture the title outright against Harvard in THE GAME.

Dartmouth 6-2 (3-2) will look to keep their title hopes alive when they face Brown 2-6 (0-5) this evening, Friday, November 10th at Fenway Park while Columbia 6-2 (3-2) is in Ithaca Saturday afternoon against Cornell 3-5 (3-2).

Harvard’s Tim Murphy registered his 200th coaching win (168 at Harvard) in the Crimson’s 21-14 victory over Columbia.

Harvard’s defensive tackle Richie Ryan was named Ivy Defensive Player of the Week for his monster game in the win over Columbia. Ryan had 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble to lead the Crimson defensive unit.

Penn’s senior wide receiver Justin Watson broke the Quaker record for career receptions (265) and tied the Ivy record for consecutive games with a touchdown reception (8) in last week’s win over Princeton. Watson was named Ivy Offensive Player of the Week.

Hopefully, Harvard and Yale will prevail this weekend to setup plenty of Ivy League drama in THE GAME at the Yale Bowl next Saturday, November 18th (12:30 p.m. CNBC).

Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

(Compiled from various Ivy League media outlets)