Tag: William & Mary

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.

Holy Cross, New Hampshire Advance To The NCAA FCS Tournament

Matthew Sluka and the Holy Cross football team secured the eighth seed in this year’s NCAA FCS Tournament. ((PHOTO COURTESY: Mark Seliger Photography/Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

A pair of New England NCAA Division I FCS teams are headed to the postseason.

Holy Cross and New Hampshire heard their names called Sunday afternoon when the NCAA unveiled its 24-team tournament.

The Crusaders were one of eight teams to earn a spot in the second round – Holy Cross clinched its first 11-0 season in 31 yesterday after capturing its fourth-straight Patriot League title earlier this month with a 42-14 win over Lehigh University.

Holy Cross will host the winner of New Hampshire-Fordham University, which is scheduled to commence Saturday, November 26 at 2 p.m. The Wildcats will host the Rams after concluding their regular season as co-champions of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

William & Mary shared the CAA title with the Wildcats after New Hampshire outlasted Maine and the Tribe beat Richmond.

Like Holy Cross, William & Mary earned a first-round bye and will compete against the winner of Eastern KentuckyGardner-Webb.   

Holy Cross is making its four-straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Tournament. The Crusaders boast a 1-4 record in postseason play with their initial playoff win occurring last November with a come-from-behind victory over Sacred Heart University.

New Hampshire last competed in the FCS Tournament in 2017, winning back-to-back contests against Central Connecticut (14-0) and Central Arkansas (21-15) before falling to South Dakota State in the quarterfinals.  

In 2014, the Wildcats competed against the Rams of Fordham in the second round, scoring a 44-19 win, which was followed by a quarterfinal victory against Chattanooga. Illinois State ended New Hampshire’s championship run in the semifinals.

Getting To Know Matt Eberflus (Bears) & Brian Dabol (Giants) 

Matt Eberflus was named the head coach of the Chicago Bears on Thursday, January 27, 2022. (PHOTO COURTESY: Associated Press/Toledoblade.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

The National Football League (NFL) coaching carousel continues to spin. But it has also stopped three times in the last two days with a pair of coaches earning head roles with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, respectively.

Shortly after Nathaniel Hackett was named the head coach of the Denver Broncos, Matt Eberflus was tabbed the new leader of the Bears.

One day later, Brian Dabol went from calling offensive plays for the Buffalo Bills to becoming the head coach of the Giants.

Both the Bears and Giants are desperate for a turnaround — we are sure the league office would like to see two of the oldest franchises compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy next February. But like we have previously with Nathaniel Hackett, it’s time to get to know not one, but two new head coaches in the NFL.

Who is Matt Eberflus?

A coach with 30 years of experience, including 17 in the collegiate world, but there is more, of course.

Eberflus becomes the 17th head coach of the Bears after spending the last four seasons as the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator.

With the Colts, Eberflus helped the Blue and White become the least penalized team in 2019 and 2021 and finish in the top-10 in scoring, run defense, and takeaways the last two seasons (2020 and 2021).

One thing Eberflus did quite well as the leader of the Colts defense was to develop Darius Leonard into one of the best linebackers currently. Leonard, who was named the 2018 Associated Press (AP) Defensive Rookie of the Year, has tallied 121 total tackles or more in four seasons with the Colts while producing a career-best eight forced fumbles this past fall.

Eberflus, who played linebacker at the University of Toledo, coached the position with the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys — he was also the Cowboys’ passing game coordinator in 2016 and 2017. And like Leonard, he made an impact on two former Dallas linebackers: Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.

This will be Eberflus’s first head coaching role – he certainly will have his work cut out for him as the Bears have not produced a winning season since 2018 when they lost in the Wild Card round to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brian Dabol will be tasked with leading the New York Giants back to the postseason in 2022. (PHOTO COURTESY: Getty Images/New York Post)

Who is Brian Dabol?

For starters, he was the previous offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. And if you know anything about the Bills, then you certainly know they have a pretty good quarterback named Josh Allen. Dabol made both Allen and the Bills’ offense fun to watch these last few seasons, but can he duplicate that same success with Daniel Jones?

We believe he can, but as many believe (and know), he has his work cut out for him.

Dabol, who played defensive back for the University of Rochester, has held a slew of offensive coordinator roles over the past few years, including one with the University of Alabama where he also coached the quarterbacks. He coached three quarterbacks with the New York Jets in 2007 and 2008, including Brett Favre.

Additionally, Dabol gained experience coaching the defense with the New England Patriots in 2000 and 2001 — he was a defensive assistant — after beginning his career on the sidelines as a volunteer assistant with William & Mary in 1997.

Dabol has never been a head coach so it will be interesting to see how he does in his first season with Giants, who have not posted a winning season since 2016.

Daily Noontime (Monday, September 28, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Monday, everyone! 

We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and ready for a great week. And speaking of a new week, did you know we’re just a few days away from a brand new month? Yep, October is on the horizon – perhaps 2020 is moving a bit quicker than previous years? 

Anywho, let’s kick-start a brand new day with the ‘Daily Noontime.’ 

Sunday was a WILD day in the NFL 

Week three of the 2020 National Football League (NFL) was wild – would crazy be a better word to describe some of Sunday’s outcomes?

For starters, you had the Chicago Bears erasing a 16-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons to the Buffalo Bills halting a crazy comeback by the Los Angeles Rams with a game-winning touchdown pass from Josh Allen to Tyler Kroft.  And then there was the Detroit Lions beating the Arizona Cardinals to Russell Wilson throwing five touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys

Finally, did you watch the Cincinnati Bengals‘ game against the Philadelphia Eagles? The game concluded with a 23-23 tie (in overtime) – did anyone want to win this game? 

The Bengals and Eagles played to a 13-13 tie in 2008, which was something former Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb did not know could happen in the NFL. 

The third week of the season concludes this evening with a tremendous Monday Night Football (MNF) clash between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs

Are you ready for some postseason baseball? 

The 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is over, which means it is time to move onto a 16-team tournament – yay! 

Unlike past seasons, MLB will have 16 teams compete for the ultimate prize – eight teams on each side – beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, September 29 with Wild Card matchups, which will be followed by the Divisional and Championship rounds. 

The Tampa Bay Rays are the top team in the American League while the Los Angeles Dodgers secured the number one position in the National League. 

Who do we think will win the fall classic? That is a good question, but our gut instinct is either the Rays or Dodgers, but definitely not the New York Yankees

Miami tops Boston in Game 6, Advances to NBA Finals on Wednesday

The Miami Heat secured a date with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA) 2020 Finals last night by defeating the Boston Celtics in the sixth game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Miami outlasted Boston, 125-113, to clinch the Eastern Conference championship despite some NBA folks thinking the Green and White would come back and beat the Heat after winning the fifth game of the series last Friday. 

Highlights from the sixth game of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals is below courtesy of the NBA’s YouTube channel


Other news and links from the world wide web: 
  • After leading the New England Patriots to its second win of the 2020 season yesterday against the Las Vegas Raiders, quarterback Cam Newton told the media that he wants opposing defenses to be worried about his team’s offense. 
  • Keep your eyes on the college of William & Mary this week, which made headlines over the weekend for its announcement regarding cuts to its athletic department, specifically “seven varsity athletic teams,” which would violate “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.” 
  • Finally, the 28th season of South Park is set to hit the airwaves this Wednesday, September 30 with a one hour special about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This should be interesting, right? 
 

NU, Harvard Pick Up Important Road Wins

By Brian Willwerth 

It’s not over yet for the Northeastern men’s basketball team.The Huskies defeated the Tribe from William & Mary last night, 57-49, in the opening round of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament in Richmond, Virginia.

NU, the No. 7 seed, got 18 points from freshman Quincy Ford. Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Next up for the Huskies is a tough task tonight against No. 2 seed VCU. Game time is 6 p.m. In their only meeting during the regular season, Northeastern dropped a three-point decision to the Rams in Richmond,

It took overtime, but Harvard stayed in good shape to win at least a share of the Ivy League title. The Crimson defeated Columbia last night in OT, 77-70. Harvard remains a half-game ahead of Penn. The Quakers also won last night. Harvard wraps up the regular season tonight at Cornell. In order to win the Ivy League title outright, the Crimson need to win tonight, and have Penn lose one of its remaining two games. If there’s a tie, there’ll be a one-game playoff for the title and NCAA berth.

Boston University takes on Hartford tonight in an America East quarterfinal on the Hawks’ home court. Tip is set for 8:15 p.m. The 3rd-seeded Terriers won both meetings against Hartford during the regular season.