Welcome to the ninth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season — are you ready for another for a big week of football?
This week, along with the next two, will help us determine what teams will compete in either the national postseason or the New England Bowl(s).
So, without further ado, let’s get excited for another week of football with our latest Top 20 poll.
1. Salve Regina University (7-1, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 5): The Seahawks return to the top of our poll following a come-from-behind victory against Endicott College.
2. Trinity College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 2): A big matchup awaits the Bantams this week against the Ephs of Williams College.
3. Endicott College (6-2, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 1): The Gulls drop two spots after seeing their 14-6 lead disappear in the fourth quarter last Saturday to Salve Regina.
4. Western New England (5-3, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 4): Make it back-to-back wins for the Golden Bears who are still in the mix for their conference crown.
5. Williams College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 3): Another week, another victory for the Ephs.
6. Framingham State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC | LW: No. 6): Are you ready for the Kelley Cup this Saturday?
7. Bridgewater State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC | LW: No. 7): The Bears rolled past Westfield State this past weekend but face a UMass Dartmouth squad that has won three straight since falling to Western Connecticut earlier this month.
8. Wesleyan University (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 8): The Cardinals shut out Middlebury College at home and will look to continue their midseason momentum against Amherst College this weekend.
9. UMass Dartmouth (6-2, 4-2 MASCAC | LW: No. 9): Don’t be surprised if these Corsairs hand the Bears of Bridgewater State their initial conference setback of the season on Saturday.
10. Husson University (5-2, 2-1 CCC | LW: No. 10): The Eagles bounced back from a week seven setback to Endicott with a big win against the University of New England.
11. Springfield College (4-3, 3-0 NEWMAC | LW: No. 11): Make it three-straight wins for the Pride, who now face their toughest test of the season: the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA).
12. Anna Maria College (5-1, 3-0 ECFC | LW: No. 12): Did you know the AMCATs are in first place in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)?
13. Plymouth State (3-4, 3-2 MASCAC | LW: No. 13): Make it three-straight wins for the Panthers, who will look to even their record with a win on Saturday against Westfield State.
14. MIT (3-3, 1-2 NEWMAC | LW: No. 17): A dramatic second-half comeback helped the Engineers outlast Norwich University.
15. Amherst College (4-2, 4-2 NESCAC | LW: No. 20): The Mammoths posted their first shutout of the season last Saturday against Hamilton College. Will this win translate to a big victory this weekend against Wesleyan?
16. Massachusetts Maritime Academy (4-3, 3-2 MASCAC | LW: Not Ranked): The Buccaneers returned to the poll following an impressive 22-20 win over Western Connecticut.
17. University of New England (3-4, 1-2 CCC | LW: No. 15): A big challenge awaits the Nor’easter this weekend at Endicott.
18. Western Connecticut (3-5, 2-4 MASCAC | LW: No. 14): The Colonials will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday at Worcester State.
19. Colby College (2-4, 2-4 NESCAC | LW: No. 19): The Mules will look to bounce back from their week eight setback to Trinity with a CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) victory against Bates College.
20. Bates College (1-5, 1-5 NESCAC | LW: Not Ranked): These Bobcats have provided some challenges to Wesleyan and Williams this fall, so don’t be surprised if they finish their 2021 slate with two – maybe three? – more victories.
The eighth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season is almost here – are you excited?
Last week, we picked seven of ten matchups correctly to bump our overall record to 50-20, so let’s see if we can continue this momentum one week later.
Have a great day (and weekend, everyone) – we’ll be taking a mini-vacation the next few days, but look forward to recapping the action on Sunday while slowly looking ahead to the ninth week of the 2021 season.
FEATURED GAME:Endicott College (6-1, 3-0 CCC) at Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: This is a must-win for the Seahawks, who are still in the mix for the conference crown. Endicott has looked pretty good these last two weeks, especially last weekend against Husson University. PREDICTION: Endicott 28, Salve Regina 24
Keystone College (0-7, 0-3 ECFC) at Castleton University (3-3, 1-1 ECFC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: The Spartans return from their bye week as one of four teams in the mix for the conference crown, so this particular matchup is a must-win for the Green and White. PREDICTION: Castleton 23, Keystone 16
Massachusetts Maritime Academy (3-3, 2-2 MASCAC) at Western Connecticut (3-4, 2-2 MASCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: Both teams are eager to bounce back from week seven setbacks – we expect the team wearing Blue and Orange (the Colonials, to be exact) to squeak out their fourth win with a late touchdown drive. PREDICTION: West Conn. 28, Mass. Maritime 21
Springfield College (3-3, 2-0 NEWMAC) at WPI (1-5, 0-2 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: The Pride have won back-to-back conference games but could be tested against an Engineers squad that provided challenges to the top team in the conference: the United States Merchant Marine Academy. PREDICTION: Springfield 30, WPI 20
Nichols College (2-4, 0-2 CCC) at Western New England (4-3, 2-1 CCC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: The Bison seemed to provide some challenges for the Seahawks last week, but these Golden Bears know this is a must-win contest so they can remain in the conference championship mix with Endicott (and yes, Salve Regina, too). PREDICTION: Western New England 30, Nichols 17
Husson University (4-2, 1-1 CCC) at University of New England (3-2, 1-1) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: Both teams are in the mix for their conference crown with one league loss, so this is somewhat an elimination game. Look for the Eagles to bounce back after losing to Endicott last weekend by a touchdown. PREDICTION: Husson 30, UNE 21
Norwich University (2-5, 1-2 NEWMAC) at MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: We picked against the Engineers of Cambridge last week (and maybe earlier this season?), so let’s pick them this week against the Cadets. PREDICTION: MIT 28, Norwich 17
Tufts University (0-5, 0-5 NESCAC) at Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: We picked against the Polar Bears the last two weeks, but we expect their recent victory over the Mammoths, which snapped a 14-game losing streak, to provide them with enough momentum to edge the Jumbos on Saturday. PREDICTION: Bowdoin 28, Tufts 25
Dean College (2-5, 1-2 ECFC) at Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC) Saturday, October 23 at 1:30 p.m.: Look for both teams to put up some points in this one — in the end, we expect the AMCATs to score one more touchdown than Dean. PREDICTION: Anna Maria 35, Dean 32
Westfield State (0-6, 0-4 MASCAC) at Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 MASCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 4 p.m.: The Bears return from a week off with a matchup they should win, however, these Owls did not make it easy on the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs last week. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 29, Westfield State 14
New Haven is also a team to watch — like Bentley, they have yet to drop a conference game this fall, but will be challenged over the next few weeks, including this Saturday when they visit Stonehill.
Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)
The Leader: Endicott College (6-1, 3-0)
In the Hunt: Husson University (4-2, 1-1), Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1), University of New England (3-2, 1-1), and Western New England (4-3, 2-1)
Matchup(s) to watch this week:
Endicott at Salve Regina (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
Husson at UNE (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
Nichols College at Western New England (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
Synopsis: Endicott enters the fourth week of conference play with a great deal of momentum heading into an important matchup with Salve Regina. A win against the Seahawks would provide the Green and White with the inside track to the conference crown.
Endicott beat Salve Regina in 2019 by six points (30-24) but lost to the Seahawks one year earlier after beating Western New England.
A win for the Seahawks would make the next few weeks rather interesting, despite suffering a 41-3 setback to Western New England earlier this month.
Western New England rebounded from its 45-21 setback to Endicott with a 23-10 win over Curry College — they will be the favorite heading into this week’s matchup with the Bison.
The winner of Husson-UNE will remain in the mix with one conference setback.
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)
The Leaders: Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0) and Gallaudet University (5-0, 3-0)
In the Hunt: Alfred State (2-4, 1-1) and Castleton University (3-3, 1-1)
Matchup(s) to watch this week:
Alfred State at Gallaudet (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
Dean College at Anna Maria (Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.)
Synopsis: If things remain the way they are currently in two weeks, then Anna Maria-Gallaudet in Paxton, Massachusetts will be the game that most likely decides the conference champion.
Both Anna Maria and Gallaudet appear to be the “teams to beat” heading into the eighth week of the season, but the Pioneers of Alfred State can change that with a win on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
Like Alfred State, Castleton is still in the mix, too, but they must win their remaining contests so they can keep pace with Anna Maria and Gallaudet.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
The Leaders: Framingham State (5-2, 5-0) and Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0)
Matchup to watch this week:
Westfield State at Bridgewater State (Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.)
Synopsis: The Bears and Rams have yet to drop a single conference contest while a few teams have suffered two or three setbacks.
So, these are the two teams to watch over the next few weeks – the Rams are idle this weekend but will conclude the month by visiting Massachusetts Maritime Academy while Bridgewater State will play back-to-back games at home against Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth.
After hosting the Corsairs, the Bears will visit Framingham State with the outcome most likely deciding who will represent the conference in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Framingham State has scored two important wins against UMass Dartmouth and Western Connecticut while Bridgewater State has only beaten one of those teams.
While Bridgewater State and Framingham State will certainly be the two teams to watch over the next few weeks, keep your eyes on UMass Dartmouth down the stretch as they could possibly conclude the season in second place, as well as secure a bid to the New England Bowl.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
The Leaders: Trinity College (5-0, 5-0), Wesleyan University (5-0, 5-0), and Williams College (5-0, 5-0)
In the Hunt: Amherst College (3-2, 3-2)
Matchup(s) to watch this week:
Williams College at Bates College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
Trinity College at Colby College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
Middlebury College at Wesleyan University (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
Synopsis: The final four weeks of the NESCAC are going to be interesting – maybe we should not overlook Amherst College, which has won three of five matchups this fall?
The Mammoths, along with the Bantams, Cardinals, and Ephs will all compete against each other during the final three weeks, which makes us think that maybe the Purple and White could play spoiler to these three undefeated teams. Perhaps they finish second or third?
Trinity has been fun to watch (and follow), but rather impressive from what we have watched on film. The same could be said for coach Mark Raymond’s Ephs.
As for Wesleyan – sorry, the “Cardiac Cardinals” – they have found ways to win games, especially these last three weeks against Bates, Bowdoin College, and Tufts University.
The Bantams are “the team” we believe will finish with either eight or nine wins, along with the conference crown, but anything is possible – get ready for an exciting ending to the 2021 NESCAC football season!
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)
The Leaders: Catholic University (5-2, 3-0), Springfield College (3-3, 2-0), and United States Merchant Marine Academy (6-0, 3-0)
Matchup(s) to watch this week:
Springfield at WPI (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
Catholic at Merchant Marine (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
Synopsis: Before every NEWMAC team began competing against each other, the Mariners of Merchant Marine appeared to be well on their way to securing the league title. But things have changed.
Heading into this weekend, the Mariners are one of three teams that have yet to lose a conference matchup – this week, Merchant Marine hosts Catholic in a very important contest that we’ll be watching from afar.
Catholic has been a great story this season – the Cardinals have won five of seven matchups thus far, including a non-league tilt with Endicott College last month. Their two setbacks came against Randolph-Macon College and Christopher Newport University, but it seems as if both losses provide the Cardinals with a better understanding of what they must do to be successful once conference play commenced.
After starting its season with a 1-3 record, the Pride of Springfield have rebounded by winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy (60-0) and Norwich University (56-7), thanks to an impressive ground attack that is led by Isaiah Cashwell-Doe, Patrick Ladas, and Tim Callahan.
Look for the ground game to carry Springfield to their fourth win on Saturday when the Pride heads to Worcester to compete against WPI.
The eighth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III football season officially began Sunday, October 17, 2021, so that means it is time to unveil our latest Top 20 Poll!
1. Endicott College (6-1, 3-0 CCC | LW: No. 1): Mike Ingraffia and the Gulls remain in the top spot following an important conference win against Husson University.
2. Trinity College (5-0, 5-0 NESCAC| LW: No. 2): The Bantams cruised past Bates College this past weekend.
3. Williams College (5-0, 5-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 3): The Ephs have outscored their opponents, 178-52, through five contests.
4. Western New England (4-3, 2-1 CCC | LW: No. 4): The Golden Bears returned to the win column with a bounce-back win against Curry College.
5. Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC | LW: No. 5): A big third quarter last Saturday helped the Seahawks push ahead for good against Nichols College.
6. Framingham State (5-2, 5-0 | LW: No. 6): Make it five-straight wins for the Rams, who head into their bye week with a lot of momentum.
7. Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 | LW: No. 7): The Bears return from their bye week with a home date against Westfield State.
8. Wesleyan University (5-0, 5-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 9): Wesleyan moves up after scoring its fifth consecutive victory – this week, they host Middlebury College, which beat the Cardinals two years ago in Vermont by a score of 45-21.
9. UMass Dartmouth (5-2, 3-2 MASCAC | LW: No. 11): The Corsairs erased a 16-6 deficit at the break to score their fifth win of the season on Saturday against Westfield State.
10. Husson University (4-2, 1-1 CCC | LW: No. 8): The Eagles dropped two spots following a one-score setback (24-17) setback to Endicott. Let’s see if the Green and Gold can bounce back this week against the University of New England.
11. Springfield College (3-3, 2-0 NEWMAC | LW: No. 14): Springfield has outscored its last two opponents by a score of 116-7. Crazy, right?
12. Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC| LW: No. 15): Make it four straight wins for Alex Cohen and the AMCATs.
13. Plymouth State (2-4, 2-2 MASCAC | LW: Not Ranked): Make it back-to-back wins for the Panthers, who beat Fitchburg State after securing a hard-fought victory one week earlier against Western Connecticut. Sure, this is the first appearance for the Green and White on our list, but they have not made it easy on a few teams ahead of them this fall, including Bridgewater State and Husson University.
14. Western Connecticut (3-4, 2-3 MASCAC | LW: No. 10): The Colonials drop four spots following a difficult setback to Framingham State.
15. University of New England (3-2, 1-1 CCC | LW: No. 13): The Nor’easters were idle this past weekend but face a big challenge this weekend against Husson University.
16. Curry College (2-4, 0-3 CCC | LW: No. 12): The Colonels’ defense did not make things easy on Western New England this past weekend as the unit recorded two tackles for a loss of 22 yards, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.
17. MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC | LW: No. 18): Despite falling to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the Engineers produced 34 points while registering 409 yards. Additionally, the defense recorded two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
18. Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC | LW: Not Ranked): The Polar Bears cracked the win column this past weekend by defeating Amherst College for the first time since 2005 – maybe they should have two wins? They provided plenty of challenges for the Cardinals of Wesleyan.
19. Colby College (2-3, 2-3 NESCAC | LW: Not Ranked): The Mules returned to the poll following a big win over Middlebury College for the first time since 2010.
20. Amherst College (3-2, 3-2 NESCAC | LW: No. 17): The Mammoths secured the final spot, despite losing to Bowdoin College last weekend.
It’s that time again when we highlight five teams to watch (and yes, keep an eye on) this weekend in New England NCAA Division III football.
Bowdoin College (0-4, 0-4 NESCAC): The Polar Bears played their best game of the 2021 season last week. However, their effort did not result in a victory against Wesleyan University, but a message was sent to their conference foes: watch out.
From what I saw last weekend (from afar, of course) was a team that certainly could provide problems for opposing offenses and defenses. Additionally, Bowdoin’s quarterback – Andrew Boel – will be a player to watch, as well – he was named this week’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Week.
Boel enjoyed a successful first start with Bowdoin last Saturday by completing 21 of 30 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns.
This week, the Polar Bears host an Amherst College squad that has won three of four matchups but has allowed at least 10 points – sometimes more – in all four meetings.
Endicott College (5-1, 2-0 CCC): The Gulls surprised us last weekend against Western New England.
Not only did Endicott beat the Golden Bears, who put up 41 points one week earlier in its conference opener against Salve Regina University, but also scored on its first five series (four touchdowns, one field goal).
Quarterback Mike Ingraffia and halfback John Kenney combined for six touchdowns while the Endicott defense limited Western New England’s passing attack to a season-low 161 yards.
This week, the Gulls will attempt to continue its midseason momentum when they visit Husson University for an important conference matchup.
The Eagles have won four straight contests and have not lost since their season-opener against UMass Dartmouth.
Springfield College (2-3, 1-0 NEWMAC): The Pride scored their first win at home last week, defeating Coast Guard Academy, 60-0.
This week, Springfield will hit the road with hopes of winning their second-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup against Norwich University.
The Cadets also beat Coast Guard two weeks earlier in New London, Connecticut.
Springfield enters the seventh week as one of three teams in the NEWMAC with a perfect record in conference play – Catholic University and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) have yet to lose a league matchup, as well.
Keep your eyes on Springfield’s Tim Callahan and Patrick Ladas, who combined four rushing touchdowns last week against the Bears.
Springfield has won all three meetings against Norwich since both teams joined the NEWMAC in 2017.
Western Connecticut (3-3, 2-2 MASCAC): The Colonials are looking to bounce back after seeing their comeback fall short one week ago to the Plymouth State Panthers.
Western Connecticut’s rushing attack was held to a season-low 102 yards on 32 carries while the Plymouth secondary provided a lot of challenges for quarterback John Giller, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 147 yards. Giller did toss two touchdowns in the three-point (16-13) setback to bump his season total to nine but also threw one interception.
This week, the Colonials visit Framingham State, which has yet to lose a conference game this fall. The Rams and Bridgewater State remain the top two teams in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), but a win by Western Connecticut could keep their league title hopes alive.
Western New England (3-3, 1-1 CCC): The Golden Bears are looking for a bounce-back week.
After losing their first conference tilt of the 2021 season, the Blue and Gold will attempt to return to the win column on Saturday when they visit Curry College.
In 2019, the Golden Bears topped the Colonels at home by a score of 49-27, thanks to three touchdowns – two through the air and one on the ground – from Alec Coleman.
Coleman won’t be competing for the Golden Bears on Saturday, but a few members of the 2019 team will, including Erich Keutmann, who led the Western New England defense last week with 11 total tackles.
Despite last week’s loss to Endicott, Western New England is still in the hunt for the conference crown.