Tag Archives: College Football

BC off to 3-1 start thanks to excellent running game


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — After losing Andre Williams to the NFL Draft, the Boston College Eagles took a huge hit in their run game. Last year Williams rushed for 2177 yards on 355 attempts in a true breakout senior year. He was even a runner up in the Heisman trophy voting.

Despite losing one of the most prolific running backs in the team’s history, the Eagles have found a new way to generate yards on the ground — and lots of them for that matter.

Florida transfer and Eagles starting quarterback Tyler Murphy has done his best to fill the void losing Andre Williams left in the offense. In four games, he has already rushed for 500 yards on 55 carries while leading the Eagles’ option-based offense.

In total, the Eagles have six players who have rushed for at least 100 yards meaning that they share the ball well and use the correct personnel for each situation.

Saturday marked the first time all year that Murphy did not rush for 100 yards in a game. He was one shy rushing for 99 yards on 13 carries. The reason why he did not reach the 100-yard mark is because he was taken out late in the game in favor of backup quarterback Darius Wade as the Eagles led 33-10. They ended up winning 40-10.

As usual, Jon Hilliman played effectively against Maine. Second in rushing on the team with 241 rushing yards, he was able to take the rock 21 times totaling 98 yards. Two of his carries resulted in touchdowns.

For backup running back Marcus Outlow, the blowout against Maine very well may have been his breakout game this year. Working in primarily with the second offense, the freshman rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries, with a long run of 27 yards. Before breaking out against Maine, Outlow had only played against UMass, a game in which he carried the ball twice for three yards. After his performance against Maine, expect Outlow to get some carries while the games still matter.

With this in mind, the Eagles rank fifth in the nation in rushing yards averaging with 336.3 a game. As one could imagine, the passing game lags behind. The team ranks just 122nd with 124.3 yards a game.

Still though, the ground game works for the Eagles who are 3-1 on the year including a 37-31 win over a USC team which was ranked the ninth-best team in the nation.

In the running department, Tyler Murphy is a huge upgrade over former Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig who gained -225 yards rushing in his BC Eagles career. Passing is a whole different ballgame, but yards are yards and Murphy has done a good job helping his team gain yards as have the running backs.

Despite a lack of a good throwing arm on Murphy’s part, the team is 3-1 and destined for some sort of a bowl game. He might not be the prolific pocket threat that Tom Brady is, but Murphy does what he does and does it well which leads the team to victory more often than not.

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Going Pro: Looking at the Pats, New England colleges in the 2013 NFL Draft


The New England Patriots are coming off of a disappointing AFC championship loss that was heartbreaking to most fans. But in the offseason, they made some notable moves, which included bringing in wide Danny Amendola from the Rams and drafting some players on both sides of the ball.

Here is my breakdown on each of the New England Patriots’ draft choices:

Aaron Dobson, Marshall

The Pats went with a 6’3″ wide receiver out of Marshall with their first pick. For the most part, I do like this draft selection, because with the departure of Wes Welker, you will never know when the team will need a new guy to step it up. Dobson is a very fast and athletic guy and I feel like he will be a good fit in New England. In his four years at Marshall, he lead the team in receptions and was a pivotal key to the Thundering Herd. The downside is the fact he played in Conference USA, which is not quite a “top notch” defending league, so I don’t know how he will be able to handle these tight corners in the NFL. He has been known to be slow on his cuts which will be very tough for him because Tom Brady loves quick patterns in New England. Grade: C+

Jamie Collins, Southern Miss

The Patriots went with Jamie Collins on their second pick. In his four years at Southern Miss, he had a really good career and put up some really good numbers. He is an overall very good athlete and has shown that he can cut quickly with fast moving feet. However, he lacks a lot of upper body strength at the moment, which will eat him up in the NFL. He also needs to work on his hand speed. Grade: C+

Duron Harmon, Rutgers

The Patriots, with their 3rd pick, got a secondary player from Rutgers by the name of Duron Harmon. It is no surprise that the secondary has been a big issue for New England in the past years and I am glad that Harmon was chosen here. As we have seen in the past with secondary players out of Rutgers, they usually have potential (i.e. Devin McCourty). I like this pick for the most part. I think that he has good height for a secondary player, and from his Combine, it shows he is a very fast and athletic guy – a key at safety. Grade: B

Logan Ryan, Rutgers

I think it is interesting how the Pats picked back-to-back secondary players out of the same college, but a good idea because of some chemistry. For the most part, Ryan is a very hard hitter and very physical when guarding, who was also known to be a great team player. However, he is one of the slower corners at the Draft, but that will not matter if he is able to use his great hitting to be physical on press coverage. Grade: B

Josh Boyce, TCU

In his high school career, Boyce had the chance to work with Robert Griffin III for four years and was a huge part of TCU. He also had the chance to be Andy Dalton’s favorite target in 2010. He is a very fast guy, has very quick hands and awesome upper body strength and he has been known to be a very aggressive player. I like the idea of trying to get another wide receiver, but there are some setbacks to him. He is a very light guy (5’10″) and only can play in the slot. He has also been known to have been easily coverable in the past. He had a lot of opportunities to play against top notch secondary in college and had handled it quite well. There are still some question marks, so this pick gets a B-.

Michael Buchanan, Illinois

In my opinion, the Patriots took a steal and a player with a lot of potential in Illinois defensive end Michael Buchanan, checking in at 6’5″ and 235 pounds. In his past, he has faced a ton of big offensive lineman and will definitely have some experience coming into the NFL. He also has quick feet and has been very good at extending his arms, getting around linemen. However, he lacks upper body strength and his speed is not necessarily the greatest. On the positive side, he has been named one of the best defensive linemen in the Big Ten and is coming off a great season. I definitely will want to see some improvement over the offseason to increase his upper body strength, but I give this pick a C, only because of how low he was picked and his lack of strength.

Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers

Inside linebacker Steve Beauharnais closed the Draft for the Pats and was the third Scarlet Knight taken. Overall, not too much is known about Beauharnais, but from the scouting report, it shows that he is 6’2″ and awesome weight. He also is known for his fast movement and quick hands, but the Big East is not exactly known for the run game, so there may be a lack of advanced preparation seen at the next level. He is also known as an average player and is not near elite in the conference. I give it a C-, but I am interested to see if he can compete with guys like Jerod Mayo.

Other notable players drafted out of New England:

64. Dwayne Gratz, CB, Connecticut: 5’11″ | 201: Very fast and athletic guy, who will benefit the struggling Jaguars a lot in these next couple of years if they use him right.

70. BliDi WrehWilson, CB, Connecticut: 6’1″ | 195: If the name didn’t scare you enough, he is known to be a huge hitter and very fast guy. He will definitely help out the Titans a lot with their defense.

124. Trevardo Wilson, DE, Connecticut: 6’1″ | 241: He is a very big and heavy guy and his scouting report is not the best, but his size and quick feet will help the Texan defense only get better.

Harvard's own Kyle Juszczyk went to the Baltimore Ravens (Photo/Boston.com).

130. Kyle Juszcyzk, FB, Harvard: 6’1″ | 241: “Juice” made the great state of Massachusetts and the Ten Thousand Men of Harvard proud when he was selected by the Baltimore Ravens. I think it is great that the Ravens picked him because he is a hardworking and underrated player who could be very useful to a unit that lost some in the offseason.

201. Ryan Griffin, TE, Connecticut: 6’7″ | 247: This was a great pick for the Texans because of Griffin’s huge size. I think the Texans can combine him and Owen Daniels together and create a huge threat in the receiving game.

241. Jared Smith, DT, New Hampshire: 6’3″ | 302: Smith is a very good pick for the Seahawks because he will help boost the Seattle defensive line.

253. Michael Cox, RB, UMass: 6’1″ | 214: The Dorchester native had an awesome career at UMass, but was under looked during the first season of FBS football for the Minutemen. I think that he will get some looks with the New York Giants, but I do not know how much. It will be interesting to see how he will fit in, joining UMass’ own Victor Cruz.

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Football practices begin Tuesday as Eagles look to soar to new heights

Associated Press


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.-- An old adage states “hope springs eternal” and for the Boston College Eagles, they hope that that adage rings true this season. After a dismal 2-10 campaign, the Eagles enter 2013 completely revamped. For starters, former Temple head coach Steve Addazio will be entering his first season at The Heights. Addazio replaces former Eagle defensive coordinator and head coach Frank Spaziani who after leading the Eagles to moderate success ended his tenure unceremoniously in November.

Signing Day brought more hope to the Eagles and their fans, as 17 recruits were brought in including the head coach’s son Louis and former Florida Gator offensive lineman Matt Patchan. According to a report from Boston College-based sports blog BC Interruption Boston College’s current roster, (totaling 80 players) heading into spring practices (which begin today) breakdown as follows:

Seniors 15 (18.8%)
Juniors 29 (36.3%)
Sophomores 22 (27.5%)
Redshirt Freshman 14 (17.5%)

Furthermore, BC Interruption also broke the roster down by position.

wide receiver / tight end 17
offensive line 15
defensive back 12
defensive line 11
linebacker 11
running back / fullback 5
punter / kicker 4
quarterback 4
long snapper 1

As if that wasn’t enough, they also broke it down by state or province.

Massachusetts 21 (26.3%)
New Jersey 12 (15%)
Ohio 7
Pennsylvania 6
Florida 5
Illinois 4
New York 4
Connecticut 3
Virginia 3
Quebec 2

Even though he is gone, Spaziani’s presence is still felt on the roster. Throughout his tenure at Boston College, he had a pipeline in Ohio and New Jersey (where he is from). Ohio has yielded some good recruits , most notably current Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. What is striking to me about these numbers is that there are six from Pennsylvania and five from Florida. Prior to being the head coach at Temple, Addazio served under current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer at Florida. He was the offensive line coach, assistant head coach, and offensive coordinator. In turn, it makes sense that there is a large contingent of Pennsylvania and Florida recruits are currently on the roster.

Boston College’s spring game is Saturday, April 20 at 1:00 PM. Rain and the date (March 31) yielded poor attendance at last year’s edition so hopefully there will be a better turnout for this one. I would imagine so given the amount of intrigue with the new head coach and new recruits in the fold. For now however, here we sit marred by snow, sleet, and ice with the spring game a little more than a month away. Snow is not on the minds of the Eagles and their coaches however as their practice bubble gives them welcome shelter as they begin their spring practices and in turn strive for a winning season as they try to return the glory and respectability of the program.

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Looking ahead to Possible Patriots draft targets


Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Tavon Austin of West Virginia is an excellent option as a versatile slot receiver (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images).

As the National Football League season winds down, and the “Har-Bowl” is decided, April’s draft looms over the needy hearts of NFL junkies, and could not come too soon. Belichick abandoned the customary New England tradition of trading down picks last year, and having witnessed Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower’s remarkable rookie seasons, Belichick’s draft prowess cannot be questioned.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s draft strategy is anyone’s guess, and predictions in regards to a draft pick usually turn out about as well as the decision to pick JaMarcus Russell first overall (This is not a Russell comeback article).

However, as of when this article is being written (1/24/13), New England owns the 29th overall pick. There are two players who I would be ecstatic to see join the Patriot’s roster, come April 25.

One player who has caught my attention throughout his senior season is Alabama’s nose tackle, Jesse Williams. Williams’ tenacious playing style was valued with high regards in Nick Saban’s 3-4 defense. Williams plays a Wilfork style nose guard, and is rarely dislodged from his territory in the middle of the line.

At 6’3,” 320, Williams’ unyielding firmness would make him a staple in any defense. However, if New England managed to land him, their defense’s future would be built around him. Currently, Vince Wilfork congests the middle of Belichick’s 3-4 defense, however, Wilfork is 31, and when his contract ends in 2014, he will be 33 years old, and requesting more money than Belichick would ideally pay for a nose tackle on the decline.

Jesse Williams is an inch taller, and just five pounds lighter than Wilfork. Both Williams and Wilfork are known for their size and ability to cause havoc in the middle of the field. The only negative comment to be said about both is their mediocre pass rush. Other teams have to create schemes built around avoiding these men.

Lastly, Williams can bench over 600 pounds and is speculated to break the NFL combine’s record for bench press. His versatility was exhibited throughout the year as Saban often utilized Williams in goal-line sets as a fullback.

CBS Sports’ Rob Rang predicts Williams going 17th to Pittsburgh, which is a reasonable assumption, considering Casey Hampton’s deteriorating performance, and lack of a suitable replacement. No drafts that I have seen have Williams going in between Pittsburgh and New England, so if the Steelers pass on the big guy, Belichick has to make his move.

While the possibility of Williams going early remains, there is one man, entering the 2013 draft, whose explosiveness could bring a new dimension to New England’s offense. Tavon Austin, from West Virginia was an incomparable go-to man in his four years with the Mountaineers.

Austin collected 114 receptions his senior year, putting him second in all of college football. Meanwhile, his 1,289 receiving yards earned a spot at 11th in that category. However, Austin is surely not a one-trick-pony. He caught 12 touchdown passes, good enough to tie for eighth in the nation.

I have not lauded Austin’s versatility to only showcase superb receiving stats. Austin carried the ball 72 times in 2012, averaging just below 9 yards per carry. His three trips to the end zone aren’t too shabby, either.

Although he is not a primary running back, his unique playing style will bring an unpredictable dimension to the team on which he lands. However, with Welker getting older and requesting more money, Belichick could be frustrated with franchising him again in 2013.

At 5’9,” 175, Austin is just ten pounds lighter than Welker. With some work in the weight room, Austin could transform into one of the NFL’s best options in the slot. He would be the subject of many successful “End Around” plays, in addition to attainment in the slot. With Austin’s adroitness in the run, a fair comparison would be a mix of Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead, who have both thrived in New England’s offense.

Jesse Williams, if available, would be the safer pick for New England. His ability to consummate at least 2 linemen every down is valued in the Patriots’ 3-4 defense. However, Tavon Austin could complement an already fast-paced offense in New England, with unmatched explosiveness and unpredictability. If either one of these men were to be drafted by the Patriots, Belichick would have drafted successfully.

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Diaco to interview for BC head coaching position

South Bend Tribune

By Danny Jaillet

CHESTNUT HILL— According to a EagleAction.com’s Eric Hoffses, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will be on campus this week for an interview regarding Boston College’s open head coaching position. Diaco will reportedly meet with athletic director Brad Bates, and the meeting is expected to take place early this week.

Diaco has been coaching at Notre Dame since 2010 and was promoted to the position of assistant head coach this year. Along with being the assistant coach and defensive coordinator, he also holds the title of linebackers coach. Currently, his Irish defense led by Manti Te’o is preparing for the National Championship Game against Alabama on January 7.

The Cedar Grove, New Jersey native was part of Brian Kelly’s staff as defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2009. During that season, the Bearcats had two defensive players (Aaron Webster and Ricardo Matthews) who were named to All-Big East teams.

Before he took the coaching position with Cincinnati, he was part of Al Groh’s staff at Virginia from 2006-08 and served the positions of linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. According to Diaco’s profile on Notre Dame’s website, Virginia’s defense allowed only 3.7 yards per carry and just over 21 points per game during the 2008 season.

He is considered one of the bigger and more high-profile names to be connected to the BC football coaching search. Bringing him in for an interview is certainly a step in the right direction for BC as the football program hopes to get back to its winning ways.

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Report: Boston College already looking to replace Spaziani?

According to multiple media reports this weekend, Frank Spaziani could soon be out as the head football coach at Boston College (Lee Coleman/Icon SMI).

By Danny Jaillet

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — According to Mark Blaudschun of AJerseyGuy.com, the football coaching search at Boston College has begun. The story first broke on Saturday night, when he wrote a piece indicating that the administration had begun searching for new candidates. One particular piece of information about the search was particularly telling:

Make no mistake, (athletic director Brad) Bates is already well into the evaluating and search process. Last week he met off campus with a group of advisors to talk about plans for the future of BC football. He has put together a list of potential replacements for Spaziani, who still has three-years remaining on his contract.

BC Interruption also weighed in on this matter and their report indicated that BC might be looking at two groups of coaches. One is composed of recognizable and well-known names such as Miami’s Al Golden, Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Ole Miss’ Dan Mullen. However, the article stresses that those big name coaches “have to be huge reaches for BC.”

The other group according to the report is made up of those who may not be “big-name material,” but are still very good coaches. Mario Cristobal from FIU and Bob Doreen from Northern Illinois are two names that have been mentioned. According to Blaudschun, that second group of coaches could also include Troy Calhoun from Air Force and James Franklin, the head coach at Vanderbilt.

Spaziani has had a decent run while at Boston College. Since taking over as the primary head coach in 2009, he has led the Eagles to the Emerald Bowl (2009) and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (2010). However, the last two seasons have been dismal, as the Eagles finished 4-8 last season and are headed for another deep losing campaign as their current record stands at 2-9.

Now the waiting game begins as Boston College reportedly prepares to find their new “head man.”

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Three Division III Teams Fall in NCAA Playoffs

Framingham State players James Muirhead (52) and Joe Masucci (66) after their 20-19 loss to SUNY-Cortland. (picture courtesy of Framingham State Athletics)

by Tim Scott

The Division III Playoffs got underway on Saturday afternoon, with 32 football squads from across the country participating. Of those 32, three New England teams (Framingham State, Bridgewater State, and Mount Ida) were selected to compete for the Division III crown.

On Saturday, the number of remaining teams from New England went from three to zero. Despite valiant efforts from all three teams, the three New England schools were all eliminated in the first round.

Framingham State, the NEFC Champions, went to Cortland, New York, to challenge the upstart SUNY-Cortland Red Dragons of the Empire Eight Conference. The Red Dragons, whose passing offense got the job done, defeated the Rams, 20 to 19. Despite the loss, several Framingham State players performed well. Melikke Van Alstyne ran for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the one that got the Rams within 1 point of the lead. Olajuwon Dickerson had 2 sacks, and Ony Ramos had an interception for the Rams.

Also playing on Saturday were the Bridgewater State Bears, who traveled to Chester, Pennsylvania to play the Widner Pride. Led by quarterback Chris Haupt (317 passing yards), the Pride defeated Bridgewater State, 44 to 14. For the Bears, Caleb Gelsomino went 8 for 12 with 71 yards and a touchdown. Mike McCarthy also ran for a touchdown for the Bears.

Mount Ida, gaining an at-large bid, challenged Wesley at Dover, Delaware. Wesley gained 584 yards total, leading to a 73-14 rout over the Mustangs. Being outscored 32-0 in the second half, Mount Ida was eliminated from the tournament. Kaylin Smithson returned an interception for a touchdown, and Jordan Hyman caught a 17-yard touchdown for the Mustangs.

Despite all three teams from Division III getting eliminated, one team remains in Division II. Getting a bye week, the New Haven Chargers had a good opportunity to get R&R&R (Rest, Relaxation, and Reading Scouting Reports). Next Saturday, New Haven will host Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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Championship Weekend 2012 Brings on the Intensity

by Tim Scott

It is that time of year again. The time of year where football teams attempt to take home conference glory, and maybe even take home a spot in their respective NCAA tournaments. Championship Weekend 2012 has come around, and many spots in the NCAA Division II and III Tournaments are up for grabs.

Notably, the Northeast Ten Conference will host their Conference Championship game on Saturday, November 10, when two Top-Ten squads square off for the second consecutive week. The number-one team in New England, the New Haven Chargers, will host ninth-ranked American International. Last week, the Chargers defeated the Yellow Jackets, 37-6 at Springfield (the site of the 2012 Conference Championship).

The Chargers, who became the first non-Division I school to be ranked number-one in New England, will bring a strong passing game that will challenge a young American International secondary. However, the Yellow Jackets have one of the strongest rushing cores in the Northeast 10. It will be an interesting game, and that will start at 12:00 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In Division III, the New England Football Conference will host its annual championship

Framingham State running back Melikke van Alstyne hopes to lead the Rams to a NEFC Championship. (picture courtesy of Framingham State Athletics)

game in Framingham, Massachusetts. There, fifth-ranked Framingham State will host sixth-ranked Salve Regina. Last year, Framingham State attempted to win the conference championship, but fell shorto Western New England. This year, however, the rushing game led by Melikke Van Alstyne has been a lethal weapon in the quest for a NEFC Championship. For Salve Regina, who started the season unranked, defense is the biggest strength. The Seahawks only allowed 133 points on the season, and look to hold the Rams to a similar fate. That game will start on Saturday at 1:00.

Lastly, even though the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) does not allow its teams to compete in the NCAA Tournament (similar to the Ivy League), the Trinity Bantams have the opportunity to complete an undefeated season in their tilt with the Wesleyan Cardinals. That game will begin at 12:00, and will be held in Middletown, CT.

In sum, those three games, two of which will send two teams to the NCAA Tournament, will be very exciting to watch, and will be a major source of entertainment on a beautiful fall weekend.


New Haven maintains their top ranking in New England for the third straight week.

1. New Haven Chargers (DII)
2. Trinity Bantams (DIII)
3. New Hampshire Wildcats (DI-FCS)
4. Harvard Crimson (DI-FCS)
5. Framingham State Rams (DIII)
6. Salve Regina Seahawks (DIII)
7. Bridgewater State Bears (DIII)
8. Bentley Falcons (DII)
9. American International Yellow Jackets (DII)
10. Brown Bears (DI-FCS)
11. Endicott Gulls (DIII)
12. Norwich Cadets (DIII)
13. Mount Ida Mustangs (DIII)
14. Amherst Lord Jeffs (DIII)
15. Middlebury Panthers (DIII)
16. Springfield College Pride (DIII)
17. Castleton State Spartans (DIII)
18. Connecticut Huskies (DI-FBS)
19. Dartmouth Big Green (DI-FCS)
20. Curry Colonels (DIII)

NEW ENGLAND BASKETBALL TOP 20 UPDATE: Starting in the third week in November, Boston Sports U18 will release a weekly basketball poll profiling the top teams in New England.

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Clancy Continues Hot Streak as Warriors Overcome Greyhounds

North Andover- Merrimack’s homecoming weekend proved to be lucky, as the Warriors edged out the Assumption College Greyhounds. This was the final regular season matchup for both teams; however, Merrimack earned a playoff berth with this victory.

Entering the game, Joe Clancy, senior quarterback, has hurled over 300 yards in 7 of 8 games. Clancy finished his final college regular season game with 415 passing yards and 5 touchdowns.

There were two scores in the first quarter, as Bobby Jordan, Assumption’s junior quarterback connected with his leading receiver, Eddy Frazier, for a 15 yard score.

One of the most interesting plays of this game came at the Assumption 15, as Clancy was under pressure, and dumped it off to his roommate and left tackle, Kevin Marks. The Warriors followed up on that as Clancy hit his favorite sophomore target in Zach Ingalls for a touchdown, followed by a 2-point conversion.

Assumption started the second quarter with a bang as sophomore Matt Heriveaux scored on a 55 yard run. Merrimack fought back as Joe Clancy threw a bullet into double coverage that was caught by Steve Serwon for his 5th touchdown pass from Clancy on the year.

Serwon, along with Clancy and many other members of the Merrimack team had their senior day, as they were escorted to the field by members of their family.

Greyhound quarterback Bobby Jordan had a 30 yard touchdown run to follow up. Jordan finished the day as the team’s leading rusher. He put forth an impressive 100 ground yards including a touchdown on 25 carries. He threw for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns, but was sacked 5 times.

Entering the fourth quarter, Merrimack was ahead 28-27. Bobby Jordan made yet another connection with Eddy Frazier for a 65 yard touchdown, which gave the Greyhounds a 33-28 lead.

After a 35 yard kick return from Quinn McDonough, John Perry’s explosive offense came back. A flea flicker reiterated the Clancy to Isaiah Voegeli connection that has worked so well for the Warriors all year, as they hooked up on a 55 yard touchdown pass. Jimon Hill, Merrimack’s senior halfback later capitalized with a 49 yard touchdown catch for himself.

Assumption scored again to make the game within a field goal, but as Merrimack got the ball back with 1:36 left on the clock, there was no denying that the Warriors would continue their season into the playoffs.

Joe Clancy held on to his Northeast-10 passing yards record, as did Voegeli in receiving yards. Isaiah Voegeli finished the game with 163 receiving yards and a touchdown.

In a high scoring game, Merrimack’s leading defender, junior Matt Tripicchio, sacked Assumption’s Bobby Jordan an impressive 3 times. Tripicchio added 13 total tackles to his record on the day, also.

Merrimack now has a lifetime record of 13-3 against the Greyhounds. The Warriors will take on St. Anslem in the Northeast-10 playoff game next Saturday.


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Lack of Dominant Division I Squads Intensify New England Rankings

by Tim Scott

Usually, when rankings are composed in football, the general consensus is that the teams in the higher divisions would get the better rankings due to the level of competition. In the inaugural year of the New England Top 20 (2011), 8 Division I squads occupied spots in the final Top Ten Rankings.

Damarr Aultman reels in a pass for Maine in a recent contest against James Madison. The Black Bears enter next week with a 3-5 record. (picture courtesy of Maine Athletics)

However, as the season makes its final turn, only 3 Division I programs (New Hampshire, Harvard, Brown) remain in the Top 10. Of those three teams, only one program (Harvard) has one loss. More competitive conferences, lesser amounts of talents, and the emergence of Division II and Division III squads have resulted in this newfound plight.

Ever since the conception of the rankings in 2011, a Division I team (FBS or FCS) has maintained the top ranking in each of the rankings. After Harvard lost to Princeton two weeks ago, a Division II team (New Haven) took over the top spot. Since New Haven and DIII Trinity are undefeated, they occupy the first two spots in the rankings.

For the once prominent Division I-FCS squads in New England, the new competitive schedule has enhanced competition, but downgraded performance. For example, the CAA added Old Dominion and Georgia State to the conference, and are in the process of adding Albany in 2013. New Hampshire lost to Old Dominion in the 64-61 shootout in September, and the other New England CAA teams (Maine, Rhode Island) have fallen victim to the Lions.

A smaller talent base has also impacted the talent level that each FCS team possesses. Since programs have gotten more competitive in recruiting, the New England FCS squads have fewer talented individuals than in previous seasons. Depth is a lacking factor, and that is what hurts. Brown, who lost running back Spiro Theodosi with a season-ending injury, now lacks the depth that carried them to the Top 5 of the rankings, and have since lost 2 of their last 5 games.

The struggling FCS squads of New England look mighty compared to the struggling FBS squads. The three programs that occupy spots in college football’s most prestigious division (Boston College, Connecticut, Massachusetts) currently have losing records. Despite winning last week against Maryland, Boston College enters Week 9 with a 2-6 mark. Connecticut, who is still ranked #12, has a 3-5 record, and Massachusetts has gone 0-8 in their inaugural season in the FBS.

With the FBS and FCS squads still trying to find their footing in their new environments, the emergence of Division II and III squads has shaken up the rankings. Entering Week 9, 3 Division II teams (New Haven, American International, Bentley) and 4 Division III teams (Trinity, Bridgewater State, Framingham State, Salve Regina) maintain spots in the Top 10. Of those teams, two are undefeated, and four have been only defeated once.

Since the rankings have been shaken up to a degree, how will the final few weeks of the college football season play out? Who will get postseason bids, and who will wait until September to try again? That all remains to be seen, and that is what makes the conclusion of the 2012 football season exciting to witness.

WEEK 9 NEW ENGLAND TOP 20 RANKINGS (Week of: October 29, 2012)
1 (1). New Haven Chargers (DII, 8-0)

The New Haven Chargers maintain the top ranking in the New England Top 20 heading into their game with #5 AIC. (picture courtesy of New Haven Athletics)

2 (2). Trinity Bantams (DIII, 6-0)
3 (3). UNH Wildcats (DI-FCS, 7-2)
4 (4). Harvard Crimson (DI-FCS,  6-1)
5 (5). American Intl. (DII, 7-1)
6 (7). Bridgewater St. Bears (DIII, 8-1)
7 (8). Framingham St. Rams (DIII, 8-1)
8 (9). Salve Regina Seahawks (DIII, 8-1)
9 (10). Bentley Falcons (DII, 6-2)
10 (6). Brown Bears (DI-FCS, 4-3)
11 (12). Mount Ida Mustangs (DIII, 7-1)
12 (11). Connecticut Huskies (DI-FBS, 3-5)
13 (13). Norwich Cadets (DIII, 6-2)
14 (15). Amherst Lord Jeffs (DIII, 5-1)
15 (16). Maine Black Bears (DI-FCS, 3-5)
16 (18). Endicott Gulls (DIII, 7-2)
17 (19). Springfield Pride (DIII, 5-3)
18 (14). Middlebury Panthers (DIII, 5-1)
19 (NR). M.I.T. Engineers (DIII, 5-3)
20 (NR). Castleton State Spartans (DIII, 6-2)

Rankings Drop Outs: Dartmouth (#17), Western New England (#20)

Saturday, November 3
12:00-William & Mary at #3 New Hampshire (at Durham, NH)
12:00-#6 Bridgewater State at Maine Maritime (at Castine, ME)
12:00-Worcester State at #7 Framingham State (at Framingham, MA)
12:00-Nichols at #8 Salve Regina (at Newport, RI)
12:00-#11 Mount Ida at Gallaudet (at Washington, DC)
12:30-#14 Amherst at #2 Trinity (at Hartford, CT)
12:30-Yale at #10 Brown (at Providence, RI)
1:00-#1 New Haven at #5 American International (at Springfield, MA)
1:00-Columbia at #4 Harvard (at Cambridge, MA)
1:00-#9 Bentley at Southern Connecticut State (at New Haven, CT)
1:00-Maritime (NY) at #13 Norwich (at Northfield, VT)
1:00-Husson at #20 Castleton State (at Castleton, VT)
3:30-James Madison at #15 Maine (at Orono, ME)
5:00-#19 M.I.T. at #16 Endicott (at Beverly, MA)
7:00-#12 Connecticut at South Florida (at Tampa, FL)

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