Tag: UMass

Five New England College Football Teams That Surprised Us This Fall

Phil Lutz enjoyed a very successful senior season with the Tufts University football team. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tufts University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Every season, there are a handful of New England college football teams that surprise me.

Sure, there are the favorites, along with squads many expect to contend for a conference crown – perhaps a national championship? – but with another season of college football slowly winding down, I thought I would highlight five teams that exceeded my preseason expectations.

Assumption University: The Greyhounds enjoyed one of their better seasons this fall, winning eight games to go with their first Northeast-10 Conference crown in five years. Additionally, Assumption advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs where their run toward a national title concluded in the opening round with a 17-14 setback to Slippery Rocky.  

Sure, losing in the first round is not an ideal way to conclude a season, but perhaps this year’s effort is a sign of more exciting things to come for coach Andy McKenzie’s squad.

McKenzie and his staff deserve credit for a successful season after posting a 5-5 record last fall, including a 5-3 record against NE10 foes. The fifth-year coach was tabbed the NE10 Coach of the Year last Wednesday while three members of the Assumption defense earned First-Team All-Conference honors, including linebacker Lorenzo Valencia.

Plymouth State: The last time the Panthers won nine games, they were sharing the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown with Framingham State.

Plymouth State clinched its ninth win this past weekend, thanks to a come-from-behind 21-20 win over Husson University in the New England Bowl.

Halfbacks Manny Sanchez and Willie Lombard were a big reason why the Panthers were in the mix for a conference crown as the duo combined for 20 rushing touchdowns and 1,343 rushing yards.

Jake Donahue led the receiving core with 38 catches for 562 yards and six touchdowns while Evan Wilson paced the defense with 80.0 total tackles, including 49 solo stops and a team-best nine tackles for a loss of 25 yards.

21 seniors made-up this year’s Plymouth State squad, along with six graduate students. It is possible we could see a few of these student-athletes return next season – the NCAA granted student-athletes an extra year of eligibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tufts University: After producing back-to-back 4-5 seasons, the Jumbos concluded its 2022 campaign with six wins and three losses.

Wide receiver Phil Lutz was a big reason why the Jumbos enjoyed their best season since 2018 as the North Caldwell, New Jersey native finished the year with 78 catches for 1,221 yards and 14 touchdowns. Lutz averaged 15.7 yards per catch and established a new single-season record for touchdown receptions in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

Lutz is currently one of 15 NCAA Division III student-athletes being considered for this year’s Gagliardi Trophy.

Quarterback Michael Berluti enjoyed his best year under center, throwing for a career-high 2,749 yards and 26 touchdowns. The Westwood, Massachusetts native completed a career-best 197 passes and averaged 305.4 passing yards per game.

The Jumbos’ 2022 momentum should carry over to the next season, which should help Tufts contend for its first-ever NESCAC crown.

University of Connecticut: The Huskies exceeded my expectations.

Coach Jim Mora guided UConn to its first six-win season in seven years to provide the Huskies with an additional contest this fall: their first bowl game since 2015.

The Huskies’ regular season concluded with a 34-17 loss to Army last weekend, but it was highlighted by halfback Victor Rosa, who rushed for a career-high 111 yards and a touchdown.

Prior to ending their regular season with a two-score setback, UConn scored three-straight wins over Boston College (13-3), UMass (27-10), and Liberty University (36-33).

No matter what transpires in UConn’s upcoming bowl game, the Huskies are heading in the right direction, thanks to their first-year coach.

University of New Hampshire: After concluding its 2021 campaign with an eight-game losing streak, the Wildcats bounced back to share the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) crown with William & Mary while earning a spot in this weekend’s NCAA FCS Tournament.

First-year coach Rick Santos guided the Navy Blue and White to an eight-win season this fall, along with a 7-1 conference mark.

Santos was tabbed the CAA Coach of the Year on Tuesday while halfback Dylan Laube collected a trio of end-of-season honors, including a spot on the All-Conference First team as a punt returner.  

Laube will be one of a few players to watch this Saturday, November 26 when the Wildcats entertain Fordham University.

Yale University Men’s Basketball Picked To Capture The Ivy League

Yale University will enter the 2021-22 college basketball season as the favorite in the Ivy League. (Photo Courtesy: The Ivy League)

By Matt Noonan

The Yale University men’s basketball team was picked to finish first in the Ivy League, according to today’s preseason media poll that the was unveiled earlier today.

Yale garnered seven first place votes while Harvard University, which checked in second, secured four first place votes.

Also receiving first place votes were Princeton University (two), the University of Pennsylvania (two), and Brown University (two). All three teams checked-in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

Dartmouth College, Cornell University, and Columbia University rounded out the eight-team poll by securing the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions.

Yale ended its 2019-20 campaign with a 23-7 record, which was good enough for the top spot in the Ancient Eight – their last outing, however, was an 83-69 setback to Harvard.

The Bulldogs were scheduled to compete in the opening round of the 2020 Ivy League Tournament against the Quakers of Pennsylvania, which secured the fourth seed. The game was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coach James Jones welcomes back some key pieces from the 2019-20 Bulldogs squad, including Azar Swain, who set a single-season school record of 93 three-pointers.

Swain is a Brockton, Massachusetts native and previous competed for The Rivers School where he was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.

Jalen Gabbidon is also back for his final season with the Navy Blue and White after being named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native tied for fourth in the league with 40 steals and was one of only two Bulldogs to start all 30 games.

Yale will tip-off its 2021-22 season on Tuesday, November 9 at home against Vassar College before welcoming UMass to New Haven, Connecticut three days later (November 12).

Noontime’s New England D-I Preseason Football Team

By NoontimeSports.com

As we inch closer to a brand new season of New England college football, Noontime Sports is excited to unveil its first-ever NCAA Division I preseason football team — we will release preseason squads for D-II and D-III in a few weeks.

Without further ado, here is our first-ever New England Preseason D-I Team — offense, defense, and special teams — and as usual, please let us know your thoughts by engaging with us on social media!

Noontime’s New England Preseason D-I Offense

QB: Phil Jurkovec | Boston College | Pittsburgh, Pa.

QB: EJ Perry | Brown University | Andover, Mass.

RB: Kevin Mensah | UConn | Worcester, Mass.

RB: Julius Chestnut | Sacred Heart | Bowie, Md.

WR: Zay Flowers | Boston College | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

WR: Cameron Ross | UConn | Newark, Del.

WR: Andre Miller | Maine | Old Town, Maine

WR: Tyshaun James | Central Conn. | Middletown, Conn.

TE: Trae Barry | Boston College | Summerdale, Ala.

OL: Zion Johnson | Boston College) | Bowie, Md.

OL: Alec Lindstrom | Boston College | Dudley, Mass.

OL: J’Von Brown | Central Conn. | Norwich, Conn.

OL: J.D. DiRenzo | Sacred Heart | Hammonton, N.J.

OL: Josh Sokol | Sacred Heart | Hopkinton, Mass.

OL: Nick Olsofka | Holy Cross | Louisville, Ky.


Noontime’s New England Preseason D-I Defense

DL: Benton Whitley | Holy Cross | Springfield, Mass.

DL: Truman Jones | Harvard University | Atlanta, Ga.

DL: Anthony Nelson | Harvard University | Tampa, Fla.

DL: Jack Daly | Bryant University | South Glastonbury, Conn.

DL: Kevin Peprah | Sacred Heart | Woodbridge, Va.

LB: Jacob Dobbs | Holy Cross | Macomb, Mich.

LB: Jordan Hill | Harvard University | Silver Spring, Md.

LB: Tre Jones | Central Conn. | Providence, R.I.

LB: Foday Jalloh | Central Conn. | West Lawn, Pa.

LB: Chris Outterbridge | Sacred Heart | Long Beach, N. J.

DB: Evan Horn | New Hampshire | Lebanon, Pa.

DB: John Smith | Holy Cross | Lake Worth, Fla.

DB: Niko Mermigas | Dartmouth College | Wexford, Pa.

DB: Andre Brackett | Bryant University | East Windsor, Conn.

DB: Darion McKenzie | Merrimack College | Berlin, Md.


Noontime’s New England Preseason D-I Special Teams

PK: Derek Ng | Holy Cross | Las Vegas, Nev.

P: Jon Sot | Harvard University | Clark, N.J.

LS: Evan Deckers | UMass | Avon, Conn.


Honorable Mentions: RB: Zane Dudek (Yale), RB: Peter Oliver (Holy Cross), RB: Joey Kenny (Rhode Island), TE: Joey Luchetti (Boston College), TE: Tyler Roberts (Merrimack College), TE: Jihad Edmond (Bryant University), TE: JJ Howland (Yale University), OL: Chad Broome-Webster (Brown University), OL: Spencer Rolland (Harvard University), OL: Nick Gargiulo (Yale University), OL: Clay Legault (Merrimack College), P: Patrick Haughney (Holy Cross), DB: Dexter Lawson, Jr. (Central Conn.), DB: Melvin Rouse II (Yale University), and P: Noah Gettman (Sacred Heart)

Let The Countdown Begin For The 2021 College Football Season

The 2021 College Football season is slowly approaching — yes, we advise you to enjoy your summer, but as of today, we’re less than 100 days away from the first set of games. (PHOTO COURTESY: Pilot MKN on Visualhunt / CC BY)

By Matt Noonan

Sure, we’re just a day (or two) away from Memorial Day Weekend, but we’re also another day closer to a brand new season of college football.

Of course, we want everyone to enjoy their summer, especially after a tumultuous year for many, but countdowns have begun to emerge through social media — some teams and coaches are counting the days until their first contest, which will most likely occur on either Friday, September 3 or Saturday, September 4.

According to ESPN.com, ten teams, including Hawaii and UCLA are slated to compete one week earlier on Saturday, August 28 while more matchups will follow on Wednesday, September 1, and Thursday, September 2.

Alabama, which captured the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title in January, will begin its campaign on Saturday, September 4 against Miami — the game is one of many to watch on the first official weekend of the season — while Clemson will entertain Georgia that evening at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be televised on ABC.

Notre Dame and Florida State will square off on Sunday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. before Louisville and Ole Miss cap the weekend on Monday, September 6.

While we’ll be keeping our eyes on various teams from the northeast to the west coast (and other pockets of the country this fall), there will be a few local games to watch (and yes, follow!) during the opening weekend, including Colgate at Boston College (Sept. 4), UMass at Pittsburgh (Sept. 4), and Holy Cross at UConn (Sept. 4).

September 4 will also be a busy day for numerous NCAA Division II and III teams — it will certainly be an exciting moment for many that are eager to return to the field as most teams did not play last fall or this spring due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

All in all, we’re excited about the upcoming college football season — be on the lookout for more content over the next few weeks and months as we get closer to kickoff — but also eager to produce some additional content on the pros and high schools.

Daily Noontime (Tuesday, September 22, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to Tuesday, everyone! 

As you know, we’re back to producing a ‘Daily Noontime’ every day – well, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to be exact – and we are excited. And speaking of being excited – yes, we’re smiling while writing this post! – let’s kickstart a brand new day with the Daily Noontime for Tuesday, September 22, 2020. 

Be well, stay safe, and keep smiling, everyone! 

Viva Las Vegas (Raiders)! 

After scoring a wild – and yes, crazy – opening day win against the Carolina Panthers, the Las Vegas Raiders won its first-ever contest in the state of Nevada as the Silver and Black topped the New Orleans Saints by a score of 34-24. 

Derek Carr highlighted his team’s second-straight win by completing 28 of 38 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns while Darren Waller led all receivers (and yes, tight ends) with 12 catches for 103 yards and one score.

Las Vegas has posted 34 points in back-to-back games and will look to continue its early-season momentum on Sunday when they visit the New England Patriots.  

DraftKings continues to expand its portfolio 

While 2020 has been a year of ups and downs, it has also been a year of positives for DraftKings, which not only when public in the spring, but has continued to expand its daily fantasy (and yes, sportsbook) empire. 

Recently, the Boston-based daily fantasy company inked a new deal with Athletes Unlimited to expand the league’s fan experience as they head into the final days of their initial softball season. 

Athletes United has been in the news lately for its professional women’s softball league, which concludes September 28, but they will also have an indoor volleyball league that will startup next February. 

More headlines (and yes, links!):