Around the Region

East season in review

Another regular season has come and gone, so I thought I would take this week’s final column to review and wrap up another fantastic season of Division III football Around the East.

Two of the conferences featured in the column, the Empire Eight and New Jersey Athletic Conference, debuted new alignments as we entered the 2015 season. Christopher Newport, Frostburg State, Salisbury and Wesley joined the NJAC; while Cortland State and Morrisville State moved into the E8.

These movements created two super competitive conferences. Just two weeks ago, it was theoretically possible there could have been a six-way tie for the E8 title.

Overall, when you include the Liberty League and Middle Atlantic Conference, not a single preseason favorite captured their conference’s championship outright. Albright took home the MAC title after being picked to finish at .500. St. Lawrence became the LL champs to dethrone four-time defending champion Hobart despite not beating them. Salisbury upset Wesley to capture the NJAC’s automatic bid, while Cortland State captured the E8 bid.

Each of the four conference winners and Wesley, who received an at large bid to the NCAA playoffs, which start Saturday. Seven others will also be in action this weekend in bowl games.

Best Team. I still don’t know. For most of the season, it was Wesley. But Salisbury (who beat Wesley) and Albright (who beat Salisbury) have good arguments too. Cortland State could jump into the conversation if they beat the Sea Gulls this weekend. Wesley would seem to have the best chance of advancing the farthest based on their draw in the bracket and remained number one in the regional rankings even after they were upset by Salisbury on November 7.

Best Shootout. Cortland State 61, Framingham St. 49. On September 12 these two team combined for 110 points and 1071 total yards of offense. The Red Dragons lead wasn’t safe until Matt Goodman returned a fumbled punt for a touchdown with just two seconds left in the game. Both teams earned playoff bids.

Biggest Upset. Salisbury 38, Wesley 35. The Sea Gulls knocked of the fourth-ranked team in the nation in Dover. Alex Potocko booted a 36-yard field goal just over two minutes left in the game and the Sea Gull defense was able to hold the top-ranked offense in D-III scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Biggest Surprise. WPI. The Engineers were picked toward the bottom of the LL standings but finished at 7-3 and by winning their last two and ECAC Bowl bid. It was their first winning season since 2008 and just the second in the last 17 seasons.

Biggest Disappointment. Ithaca lost its last five games after consecutive playoff appearances to finish at 4-6. Oh, and archrival Cortland State captured the E8...

Read the rest of this column


Jason Bowen

Jason Bowen has 10 years of Division III coaching experience at Wesley, where he was also the Sports Information Director. He currently provides color analysis on broadcasts of Wesley games on WDEL Radio 1150AM and has served as a staff and freelance writer for the Delaware State News in Dover. He has been a contributor for since 2006. By day he teaches high school biology. He is a 1992 graduate of and three-year letter winner at linebacker for Mansfield (Pa.) University.

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov
2011-14 columnist: Andrew Lovell


Previous Columns

November 19, 2015
East season in review
Another regular season has come and gone, so I thought I would take this week’s final column...
November 11, 2015
For Salisbury, everything clicked
When looking at the anatomy of an upset, most of the time you see the key factors for the underdog...
November 4, 2015
Tough act to follow
Not much was expected of Delaware Valley this season, after losing almost its entire offense,...
October 28, 2015
Saints sitting pretty, but not resting
St. Lawrence is in the driver's seat in the Liberty League, but the Saints are not ready to take a...
October 21, 2015
Next stop: Medical school
Albright linebacker Colton Ryan always excelled at biology and the sciences. So it’s not too...
October 14, 2015
Making hard choices has helped lift Kean back into contention
With an effective quarterback entering his senior year, Kean could have easily kept the status quo....
October 7, 2015
Big week to be a Pioneer
Beating the defending champ and highest-ranked team in the conference, in overtime, on statewide...
September 30, 2015
Rochester QB all about spreading the credit around
Not long ago, Rochester quarterback Daniel Bronson didn’t even know if he’d play...
September 22, 2015
Red Dragons on fire in 2015
The beginning of the 2014 season was eminently forgettable for Cortland fans. But the Red Dragons...
September 15, 2015
Wesley College giving Drass his due
Mike Drass probably won't be a big fan of seeing his name on the front page of, but...
September 8, 2015
Stevenson looks to keep momentum going
If there is any place on the landscape of NCAA Division III football programs in the east where...
September 1, 2015
10 games to watch for 2015
We have a new-old writer, and two completely remade conferences. Welcome to Around the East for...
 • More Division III football news releases