November 9, 2010

One race left? Outstanding!

More news about: Cortland State | Montclair State | Rowan
Despite not playing a conference game this week, Cortland State might have the most to gain in terms of NJAC tiebreaker status.

While the other three conferences covered in Around the East clinched playoff berths and/or conference titles, one is still outstanding, and that’s also a good word to describe what Week 11 will mean in terms of play for the top three teams in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

All three are ranked in the Top 25 D3football.com poll (Rowan at 20, Cortland at 22 and Montclair at 23).

Cortland, which routed William Paterson on Saturday 38-7, has finished its conference season at 8-1, with only a 20-17 loss at Rowan as a blemish on the slate.

So what Rowan and Montclair need to do to match them is easy to understand -- like Herm Edwards, the old Jets coach said, “You play to win the game” -- the Profs and Red Hawks need to win their final games of the year (Rowan at TCNJ, Montclair at William Paterson) to get to 8-1 in the NJAC.

Now, if they do it, all three teams would be 8-1 in conference, all with losses to one of the others (Rowan lost to Montclair, 26-7, in Week 2, and Montclair lost to Cortland 10-9 in Week 9.

So how to figure it out, you ask?

This is the not-so-easy part.

I initially wrote in last week’s Around the East that if all three teams ended up 8-1, Cortland would win out. Surprisingly, I was wrong (yes, I say that as sarcastically as humanly possible) and thanks to my good friend and Cortland Sports Information Director Fran Elia, he keyed me into the NJAC tiebreaker.

Which, frankly, reads like Greek in some parts.

If I have this right (and I’m sure someone will alert me if it isn’t, since my readers rule) if only two teams end up tied at 8-1, it is based on head-to-head competition. So, for example, if Rowan loses, Cortland would be the Pool A qualifier, but both them and Montclair would share the conference title.

If all three end up 8-1, the criteria is somewhat different. The first is head-to-head, which doesn’t help since they all lost to each other. The next is “results versus the next highest ranked conference team until the tie is broken.”

I’m not sure if this means wins and losses, but that wouldn’t count either since they all beat the rest of the teams in the NJAC anyway.

So we get down to the numbers of OOWP, opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage in all of Division III. D3football.com has the numbers for that on the website, and the NCAA has some information on that as well. That will be the point where things may be settled, since Cortland still has to face Ithaca.

There’s also OOWP in-region, the Rose Bowl rule and a coin toss at the end. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that, but no matter what happens, fans of the three teams will definitely be doing some scoreboard watching on Saturday.

Would all three teams get in at 9-1 to the NCAA playoffs? If I was a betting man (which I’m not, because I lose too often to say so) I would say yes, but the real question of that will be if Cortland can take down its Route 13 rival Ithaca at the Cortaca Jug game at home on Saturday.

In the Empire 8, Alfred clinched the automatic qualifier Pool A bid after a 31-16 win over Ithaca at Merrill Field. The Saxons needed St. John Fisher to lose to clinch the conference title outright, and Springfield obliges, taking down the Cardinals 55-49 in a crazy Saturday shutout.

Alfred has used a good mix of youth and veterans toward their first Empire 8 title in conference history, and on Saturday, it was the youth who stepped up against the Bombers.

Freshman tailback Austin Dwyer rushed for 273 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries as the Bomber defense couldn’t find an answer for him.

Dwyer has been a force all season, as he reached 1,000 yards with his performance, and his 117 yards a game leads all Empire 8 rushers.

For St. John Fisher, they had no answer for the Springfield rushing attack, as the Pride ran the ball from the triple option 88 times for 429 yards on the day.

Sophomore quarterback Austin Bateman did the blunt of the damage, rushing 37 times for 237 yards and three touchdowns in the 55-49 win.

Cardinals quarterback Tim Bailey did set a bunch of single-season school records in the contest, including completions (212), TD passes (32) and yards (2,889). Receiver Ryan Schmidt had 10 catches for 146 yards, giving him 80 for the season, a school record, and making him only the second receiver in St. John Fisher history to have more than 1,000 yards.

St. John Fisher has an outside shot at the NCAA playoffs and an at-large Pool C bid, but it will come down to Week 11 and other teams around the country. They have two losses on the year, so it’s feasible the Cardinals could be the 33rd team -- last one out. But there are a dozen one-loss teams currently that would almost all be considered ahead of St. John Fisher, and only six at-large bids.

St. Lawrence got blasted by Rochester 34-14, but managed to “sneak” into a Pool A automatic bid as Hobart lost on a field goal by Peter Nilson with no time left against RPI. The Saints are 4-1 in the Liberty League, but 4-5 overall. According to D3football.com records, no team has made it into the playoffs with a losing record overall, but SLU couldn’t be the first to do it if it loses to WPI next week.

This is the fourth playoff appearance for the Saints, as they made it in 1976, 1978 and 1982 previously. Coach Mark Raymond has done a terrific job in his first year as coach in Canton.

In the MAC, Delaware Valley clinched the title outright with a 42-17 victory on Senior Day over Albright.

Matt Cook was held to 84 yards rushing, but he went over 1,000 for the third consecutive season, a DVC record. With the win, DVC clinched a share of the title, then took it outright after Wilkes, in second place in the MAC, lost 41-21 to Widener.

For the Aggies, it’s the third straight MAC title and fifth in the past seven years. It’s the second straight NCAA berth and the win was their 16th in a row in the Middle Athletic Conference.

All-American linebacker Kyle Gesswein had 11 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble as he wreaked havoc on the Lions’ offense.

The week that was

For 59 minutes and 38 seconds, TCNJ and Kean played to a scoreless tie, with some movement between the 20-yard lines, but no one able to punch it home. Then TCNJ scored with 22 seconds left to beat the Cougars for their fifth win of the season.

Kean’s Jerelle Peay had 11 tackles and 3.5 for loss in the defeat as the defenses ruled the roost.

Union got 232 rushing yards from Chris Coney, but the Merchant Marine Academy got 201 yards and three touchdowns from John Leon Gosselin in a 28-21 win over the Dutchmen. Coney’s 232 was his 18th career game of more than 100 yards, and leaves him just 101 short of 4,000 for his career -- a total only surpassed in Union history by Tom Arcidiacono.

The Dutchmen have five straight losses, the first time it’s had that many in a row since 1974.

Although there were no playoff implications involved, the game between Buffalo State and Morrisville State had a ton of offense and a ton of achievements.

For Buffalo State, quarterback Ryan Lehotsky only completed 11 passes, but they went for 405 yards and four touchdowns, an average of nearly 40 yards a completion.

The beneficiary was wide receiver Rob Smith, who had seven catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns, one of the highest receiving totals of the year nationally and the highest in the NJAC since 2008.

The Bengals had eight plays of 42 yards or more on the day.

Lebanon Valley’s Ben Guiles broke the school record for yards in a season after his 110-yard, two-touchdown day in a 28-14 win over Lycoming. Guiles has 1,143 yards on the year. His performance was enough to lead LVC, overcoming a 9-catch, 149-yard performance by senior Ryan Wagaman.

Hartwick’s Anthony Casimano had a career day rushing for the Hawks against Utica on Saturday. Casimano rushed for 232 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries as the Pioneer defense had no answer for the Hartwick rush attack.

Hartwick won 24-21 for their first Empire 8 win of the season. Utica remained winless in conference play.

King’s got its first win of the season, beating FDU-Florham 45-14. Senior quarterback Corey Lavin tied the school record for touchdown passes in a career at King’s with 31, matching the record set in 2001 by Tom Pierantozzi. Lavin threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns on the day, giving Jeff Knarr his first win as coach.

comments powered by Disqus

Andrew Lovell

Andrew Lovell is an associate news editor for ESPN.com and a former sports staff writer/editor for the New Britain Herald (Conn.). He has contributed freelance work to ESPN Rise and has been a regular contributor to D3football.com since 2007. Andrew has also written for a number of daily newspapers in New York, including the Poughkeepsie Journal, Ithaca Journal and Auburn Citizen. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with B.A. in Sport Media and a minor in writing. A native of Hyde Park, N.Y., Andrew currently resides in New Britain. 

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov 

Previous Columns

September 17, 2014
From the Orioles to the Bengals
His baseball dreams played out after a few seasons in the minor leagues, Kyle Hoppy turned to his...
September 11, 2014
Need a hammer? Lycoming has one
Craig Needhammer's unique style on the field and off helps drive Lycoming, as the Warriors try to...
September 4, 2014
10 games to watch for 2014
Around the East is back for the 2014 season with a look at the top games involving teams from the...
November 21, 2013
New life for St. John Fisher
Cody Miller sat anxiously, surrounded by a handful of teammates and coaches. Fingers tapped and feet...
November 14, 2013
Playoff-bound Ithaca has a new star every week
Just two years removed from the worst season in decades, the Bombers have clinched a spot in the...
November 7, 2013
Lebanon Valley making history
The Flying Dutchmen can clinch at least a share of the MAC title on Saturday, their first since...
October 31, 2013
Glad to be back
Injuries can be overcome and opponents can be game-planned for. But Mike Toop and his coaching staff...
October 24, 2013
Acevedo returns to Utica, redeems himself
Out of school entirely last year, Anthony Acevedo knew he was letting his team down and worked his...
October 17, 2013
Morrisville finds reason to believe
At halftime of the Mustangs' win vs. Rowan, coach Curt Fitzpatrick saw the usual blood, sweat and...
October 10, 2013
No hangover at St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence hasn't let last season's winless disaster carry over into 2013. St. Lawrence is 4-1, a...
October 3, 2013
For Accorsi, football was a calling
Jay Accorsi went back to football after working at a package delivery company and is now the...
September 26, 2013
Hobart back on the run
When defenses line up against Hobart, they know the Statesmen will run the ball. It's being unable...
September 19, 2013
In third season, Stevenson is cooking
Stevenson has had a lot on its plate the past couple of years, but things are starting to come...
September 12, 2013
Fenti finally off and throwing
After two major injuries, hours of standing on the sidelines and years of waiting, Tyler Fenti...
September 5, 2013
Games to watch for 2013
I've highlighted below what I feel are the 10 best games to watch this season. This is now my third...
November 16, 2012
A second senior season
As Mitch McClune lay in the hospital waiting to undergo surgery to reconstruct the lower part of his...
November 7, 2012
Six years later, Fuentes' recovery continues
The scouting report was clear and Julio Fuentes knew exactly where to be. But if you ask him about...

Other Columnists