|Adham Talaat brings a huge
presence to the Gallaudet front line, and NFL scouts to
Gallaudet athletics photo
Put the 35 teams together that make up the NESCAC, MASCAC, NEFC and ECFC and you have but four remaining without a blemish on their record. Gallaudet from the ECFC is 5-0 and Wesleyan, Amherst and Trinity are the NESCAC teams with 4-0 records. The elite group will have its number reduced to at least three this week as Wesleyan and Amherst meet.
Gallaudet is the most different of the undefeated teams, for sure. The Bison squad numbers only 54 players.
The world-renowned school for education for deaf and hard of hearing students has a different approach due to its small numbers.
"We don't have scout teams and we are never in full equipment during the week," Gallaudet coach Chuck Goldstein said. "But we bring it on Saturday."
The Bison have a reputation as being a physical team and it has made them one of the top rushing teams in the country with their trademark option attack.
The fifth win came against Norwich and it marked the first time the Bison have beaten the Cadets. They had a 27-7 lead but had to hold the Cadets off to win 30-22. "We need to finish games," Goldstein said.
There is a benefit to the smallish roster, however. "This is the closest and tightest group we have had," Goldstein said. "Maybe when you have 120 you have some cancers or some stragglers. All 54 kids have bought into the program."
Quentin Williams ran for two scores as the Bison went to 2-0 in the league.
The small numbers also necessitate some creative maneuvering of personnel. The defense had some holes this season so Tyler Snider was moved to the defensive line this season even though he was a two-time all-conference offensive lineman. He has responded by leading the team in sacks.
Nick Elstad was an outstanding running back and emergency quarterback last year. He has been moved to safety where he is a key player.
There have also been NFL scouts making their way to the Northeast Washington, D.C. campus to look at 6-6, 270-pound defensive end Adham Talaat.
"We have had over 20 NFL scouts in to see him," Goldstein said.
Because of the style of offense, that defense also has the luxury of staying fresh. "We spend about 40 minutes a game holding on to the ball," Goldstein said.
Goldstein said 'The 54' are all the same page as the coaching staff when it comes to not looking ahead.
|Mike Hantge leads Gallaudet
in receiving yards. Now, since this is a triple option team, that
team-leading total is 71 yards, but Hantge is the third-leading
rusher as well.
Gallaudet athletics photo
"We don't even use the 'C' word," Goldstein said. "We won't talk about a conference championship. And the captains and the leaders make sure the team is the same way."
Trinity has achieved its perfect record by improving on offense and special teams as the season has gone along.
"I like that we are playing well as a full team now," Trinity coach Jeff Devanney said. "Earlier we were a little shaky on offense and special teams and our defense was keeping us in games."
Now, the Bantams are playing solidly in all phases.
Special teams was on display in the 43-7 victory over Tufts as Ian Dugger took a kickoff 99 yards to a touchdown. The offense was balanced as Evan Bunker rushed for 104 yards and Chris Ragone had 106 receiving yards.
And that defense is still outstanding. "Our senior outside linebacker Mike Weatherby has been playing great," Devvaney said.
Weatherby returned an interception for a touchdown against Tufts as did Tom Haverty.
There's plenty of excitement stirring in Connecticut with Trinity and Wesleyan both being 4-0 with the regular season finale against one another at the end of it all.
"Wesleyan has really made a commitment to football," Devanney said. "It's bringing the Trinity-Wesleyan rivalry back. That was the game for the guys who played in the 60s and 70s and now it's coming back."
Not that he is looking ahead.
"We have to take care of business," Devanney said.
And that first order of business is a visit by Bowdoin this week.
Wesleyan did its part of beating Bates 35-7. The Bobcats scored first before the Cardinals ran off the 35 straight points. Kyle Gibson had a 139 yards with a touchdown on 16 carries for Wesleyan which also saw Sebastian Aguirre tie a school record by making all 22 PATs this year.
Amherst had two fourth-quarter scoring drives to beat Colby 14-10. Max Lippe tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Wade McNamara with 33 seconds left for the game-winner.
If William Perry was The Refrigerator, Mount Ida's offensive lineman Jon Lague is the whole kitchen. Lague is 6-7, 435 pounds.
He was once in the West Virginia program.
"He hasn't played college football in about three years. He is getting in shape," Ida quarterback Jawad Yatim said.
Lague is definitely getting back into shape and played the whole game on offense as Yatim threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-19 win against Castleton.
Yatim missed all but the final week of camp due to an academic commitment but is finding his stride. Ida coach Mike Landers believes the team is also.
"We are slowly going to get better week to week," Landers said.
The Mustangs showed fans something many have never seen. A drop kick for the extra point. Matt Greenman dropped the ball on the turf and booted it through the uprights after the game's first score.
"We've had kicking issues," Landers said.
Last week the Mustangs missed an extra point and a field goal in a 7-6 loss to Gallaudet. This time the kicker missed the bus and was not in Castleton.
Frank Greene returned a blocked extra point all the way to the end zone for two points for Mount Ida.
A drop kick and a PAT return for a touchdown. It was a little bit of everything at Spartan Stadium. You could say the Mustangs threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Spartans. But they did that, too.
Husson has been the ECFC doormat the last couple of years. SUNY-Maritime started the season 0-3 with its out-of-conference schedule. Guess what? They are both 2-0 and keeping pace with Gallaudet at the top of the league.
It might be premature to say that Gabby Price has brought the Husson program back to where it was in his first stint at the school, but he certainly has revived it upon his return. Quarterback Joe Seccareccia rushed for 133 yards and passed for a touchdown, Byron Jackson ran for 122 yards and Ernest Wiggins was a wrecking ball on defense with right tackles, four of them for a loss. He also had two sacks as Husson beat Anna Maria 35-14.
SUNY Maritime trimmed Becker 30-7 with workhorse Kyle Gardner getting 31 carries. He used them to gain 123 yards and score a touchdown.
UMass-Dartmouth was 22 points down but the Corsairs stormed back to beat Bridgewater State 33-29. It was a dramatic finish with Abiola Aborishade catching a 39-yard touchdown pass with 1:22 to cap the comeback. Cullen Hanna threw three touchdown passes.
And Derek Tarpey had one of those career days for UMD on defense. All he did was make 22 tackles, five for a loss, and force two fumbles. Best of all for the Corsairs, the linebacker is just a sophomore.
Octavias McKoy set school record at Western Connecticut by rushing for 372 yards. He also had five touchdowns to show for his 42 carries. The 30 points he scored was also a school record.
Yet, it was not enough as Mass. Maritime beat the Colonials in a 54-53 shootout with Mike Stanton throwing for 349 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite receiver and senior classmate Keith Caruso had 153 receiving yards.
John Trudel ran for the winning touchdown with four minutes left.
Stefan Gustafson had his own mind-boggling numbers for the Bucs. He rushed for 235 yards and four touchdowns on his 35 carries.
Salve Regina went to 4-1 and 3-0 in the NEFC by beating Western New England 47-26 as Steven Wilken threw for 324 yards and three touchdown and ran for another. Richie Edwards had another 100-yard rushing game and ran for two scores.
Endicott has to feel good about heading into its bye week and then first-time meeting with Coast Guard. The Gulls thrashed Nichols 51-7 as Drew Frenette threw three touchdown passes and Andrew Cross rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown. Dylan Rushe nailed a 41-yard field goal has made all seven he has attempted this year. His booming foot also was good for four touchbacks.
The workhorse backs were on parade when Framingham State beat Westfield State 17-15 in a key MASCAC game. Framingham's Melikke Van Alstyne had 112 yards and two touchdowns on his 29 carries and Michael Mercadante had his number called 31 times for Westfield and had 153 yards to show for it.
Curry got past Coast Guard 27-24 with a balanced attack that saw Jordan Shairs rush for 161 yards and a score and Kevin Fruwirth throw for two more touchdowns.
Middlebury went to 3-1 in the NESCAC when Joey Zelkowitz scored on an eight-yard run with 4:03 left to beat Williams 21-14.
Bowdoin also got a NESCAC and homecoming win as Mac Caputi threw for two touchdowns and Zach Donnarumma rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time since 2011 the Polar Bears have won two in a row.
Traditions are important in the NESCAC. Things like the Little Three championship (Wesleyan-Amherst-Williams) and the CBB Trophy (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) matter greatly.
When two of the Little Three meet and they are both 4-0 that adds all the more spice to what is already a big event. That is the case this week when Wesleyan travels to Amherst.
The key ECFC game has SUNY-Maritime making the trip to Norwich. The Privateers are 2-0 in the league and hoping to keep pace with Gallaudet. Norwich is 1-1 and also considered a contender but the Cadets can hardly afford a second league loss.
Salve Regina's visit to Curry looks like the marquee game in the NEFC and Westfield's State's home game against Mass. Maritime is the most attractive contest in the MASCAC.