Football Headed To Long Island For NEWMAC Clash At Merchant Marine

Football Headed To Long Island For NEWMAC Clash At Merchant Marine

Springfield, Mass. - October 12, 2017 - In a showdown of two of the top rushing offenses in Division III football, the Springfield College football team will hit the road on Saturday, October 14 and clash with Merchant Marine at 2:00 pm in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest. 

Last Week...
The Springfield College football team continued its winning ways on Saturday as it jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead and never looked to cruise past Coast Guard, 38-7, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action. With the victory, Springfield pushed its record to 6-0, 3-0 in conference play.  It marks just the seventh time in program history that the Pride has rattled off six-consecutive wins to open the season, and the fourth since 2000.  Heading into this week, Springfield was one of only 33 Division III football teams to have not suffered a loss, and for the fifth-straight week, was receiving votes in the D3football.com national poll. Jordan Wilcox (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) had a monster day on the ground for the Pride, racking up 187 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, while classmate Jake Eglintine (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) added 106 yards and a score. Hunter Belzo (Middletown, Conn.) found the end zone twice while rushing for 66 yards, and Rich Williams (Wethersfield, Conn.) totaled nine tackles, a sack, and an interception to lead the defensive unit. 

New Conference, Same Mission
The newly formed football league consists of eight elite institutions that come from six different states and have combined for 17 NCAA championship appearances. The eight founding members are; Catholic University of America, MIT, Maine Maritime Academy, Norwich University, Springfield College, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and WPI.

What A Start...
Springfield is looking to start the year with seven wins for the first time since 2006, when the Pride started off the year 7-0.  In 2006, the Pride reached the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, advancing to the second round.

For a program that dates back to 1890, Springfield's impressive season continues, as it has now started the season 6-0 for just the seventh time in program history, including the fourth since 1998. Springfield's 6-0 start makes them one of just four teams in Division III to win their first five games of the season, and one of 22 who have yet to suffer a loss this year in all of college football.

About the Matchup...
Springfield has won 11 of the 15 meetings with Merchant Marine dating back to 1995. Merchant Marine was victorious in 1996, 1997, and in the last two seasons, which broke Sprinfield's 10 meeting win-streak.

Last season, playing in its final Liberty League contest, Springfield College was edged by Merchant Marine, 15-12.  Springfield's Drew Brown (Barringon, R.I.) was the game's leading rusher with 82 yards and a score, while Jake Eglintine (Ballston Spa, N.Y.)added 57 yards on the ground and a TD to go along with two completed passes for 42 yards. Defensively, senior Kenny Calaj (Everett, Mass.) had a team-high 12 tackles and junior Dominic Traversa (Pittsfield, Mass.) had 10 stops.  Springfield got the ball with 4:44 remaining and worked their way down to the Mariner 33-yard line, before burning a timeout with 11 seconds left.  On the game's final play, Springfield's pass was intercepted in the end zone as the hosts perserved the victory.

Rushing Empire...
Springfield College has the top rushing offense in all of college football, averaging 435 yards per game, while Merchant Marine is ranked third among Division III teams with 394 yards per contest. Navy leads the FBS in rushing (414), while The Citadel ranks third in rushing yards in the FCS (307).

These programs all have the common thread of having Springfield alums leading their offense.  At Navy, the fullbacks coach is Mike Judge '05, while Lou Conte '05 G'10 is the offensive coordinator at The Citadel.  Jameson Croall '09 serves as the Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach for the Mariners, and James Kikel '12 G'14 is the quarterbacks coach.  

Back in the Rankings...
After a 6-0 start to the season, Springfield College is the one of only four teams from New England to be receiving votes in the D3football.com National Poll and one of only 47 programs out of the 249 Division III football programs in the country to be mentioned in the poll. Currently with the 25th most votes in the country, this is the highest Springfield has been ranked this season.

In the American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' Poll, Springfield is among those teams receiving votes, currently with the 25th most votes.  The Pride is the top vote getting school among teams in New England, four of which are represented in the poll. 

From a regional standout, Springfield is the top ranked team in New England according to the latest New England Football Writers Grinold Chapter Division III Poll, garnering 11 out of a possible 16 first-place votes. 

National Leaders...
The Springfield College football team has the best rushing offense in all of college football, which consists of 661 teams, as the Pride is averaging 435 yards per game.

Springfield is 10th in scoring offense (41.8) and tied for 13th in first-down offense (136) and 14th in third down conversions (.500), while defensively Springfield is second in the country in red zone defense (.417), third in third-down conversion defense (.214), while also ranking 11th in total defense (227.7 yards per game) and scoring defense (11.5).Individually, Jordan Wilcox is tied for seventh in the nation in total rushing yards (860), is tied for 15th in rushing touchdowns (9), and is tied for 15th in rushing yards per game (143.3), while Jake Eglintine is tied for 24th in the nation in rushing touchdowns (8).

About Merchant Marine…
Merchant Marine is 3-2 on the season, including 2-1 in conference play as it defeated by Norwich (52-17) last week after being bested by MIT (35-7) the week before. The Mariners are averaging 509 yards of total offense a game, including 394 yards per contest on the ground. Defensively, they are surrendering 388.6 yards per game and 31.2 points per outing to their opponents.