Football Faces No. 14 Western Conn. In FFC Showdown
No. 14 Western Conn. State Colonials (4-0, 1-0 FFC) at Springfield College Pride (3-1, 2-0 FFC)
Friday, Oct. 11, 2002 • 7:00 p.m. • Benedum Field
Game Day Quick Facts
SC holds a 6-2 advantage in the series.
The Last Meeting:
The Colonials defeated the Pride, 13-7, on October 6, 2001 in Danbury, Conn.
Last Time Out:
SC lost to No. 11 Ithaca, 44-20, on October 5; Western Connecticut beat Plymouth State, 47-19, on October 5.
About the Pride:
Since 1998, the winner of this game has gone onto win at least a share of the FFC championship and has earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament ... the three meetings prior to last season's defensive struggle (a 13-7 Western Connecticut win) were wild shootouts with the teams combining for an average of 85.3 ppg ... Saturday's game pits SC's conference leading scoring offense (44.8 ppg) and rushing offense (353.5 ypg) against the Western Connecticut defense, which allows conference lows in points (15.2 ppg) and rushing yardage (93.2 ypg). The two teams are ranked one-two in 12 statistical categories in the FFC ... SC had its five-game winning streak snapped at Ithaca on Oct. 5 ... SC is ranked in the top 20 nationally in five statistical categories, and is the nation's second-best rushing team (353.5 ypg) ... the Pride has scored 12 of 13 times in the red zone (92.3%). Of the 12 scores, nine were touchdowns and the rest were field goals ... at No. 14, Western Connecticut is the lone FFC team in the national poll. SC is listed under 'Others Receiving Votes' ... the Pride has outscored the opposition 75-7 in the first quarter.
The Pride faces its second-consecutive nationally ranked opponent on Saturday. SC is 4-5 against teams in the top 25 since 2000 .... this is the third straight time the Colonials have been nationally ranked when they faced the Pride. Last season, No. 25 Western Connecticut beat SC, 13-7; in 2000, No. 15 SC defeated No. 20 Western Connecticut, 43-36 (Oct. 6), at Benedum Field (all rankings are based on the American Football Coaches Association Poll) ... in this week's New England Division III poll, Western Connecticut is ranked number one, and the Pride is tied for fifth with Amherst.
The Pride has used the big play as a major weapon this season. SC has had nine passing or rushing plays go for 30-or-more yards, including sophomore QB Michael Judge's 97-yard touchdown run at Kings Point (Sept. 21) ... SC's defense has produced five plays of 30-or-more yards, including three touchdowns against Coast Guard (Sept. 28).
The Pride's early-season success can not be directly attributed to one player. Seven players have scored at least two touchdowns, led by sophomore QB Ryan Sylvia (four) ... four players have won FFC Weekly Awards. The latest is freshman KR Mitch Dupuis, who was named the conference's special teams player of the week on Sept 29 ... five of the six backs that have played in all four games are averaging at least 5.2 ypc ... the platoon of sophomore quarterbacks Michael Judge and Sylvia has been very effective. The duo has combined for 179.8 ypg of total offense and 12 touchdowns (eight rushing, four passing) ... three SC backs have eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark: Judge (142 yards vs. Kings Point), sophomore HB Will Davis (145 yards vs. Salve Regina) and sophomore HB Tim Lutgens (127 yards vs. Salve Regina).
On The Front Line:
d3football.com honored the SC offensive line as its 'Offensive Line of the Week' (Sept. 11). The Pride's offensive front of C Nick Asermelly, RT Ben Bristol, RG Matt Fritze, LG Andrew MacFadyen and LT Carl Mintken paved the way for 553 rushing yards against Salve Regina (Sept. 6) ... four starters on the offensive line are back from 2001, including three-year starters Bristol, MacFadyen and Mintken ... SC's veteran offensive line also provides quarterbacks with tremendous protection. The Pride allowed a conference-low eight sacks in nine games in 2001, and has allowed just four sacks this season, which leads the FFC.
The Last Time Out: No. 11 Ithaca 44, Springfield College 20,
Springfield College sophomore quarterback Michael Judge ran for 95 yards with one touchdown on 12 carries but No. 11 Ithaca beat the Pride, 44-20, in a battle of undefeated teams at Butterfield Stadium.
The game marked the first time the home team has won in the last six meetings between the teams. Ithaca freshman quarterback Josh Felicetti completed 10 of his first 11 passes as the Bombers jumped out to a 20-0 first half lead. Felicetti finished 18 for 31 with for 188 yards and one score. Junior running back Pete Celebre scored three touchdowns for Ithaca.
On the defensive side of the ball for the Pride, cornerback Mike Kimmel made 12 tackles, nine unassisted.
After spotting the Bombers a 20-point advantage, the Pride scored with 34 seconds left before intermission when sophomore quarterback Ryan Sylvia hooked up with split end Jay Curtis for a 34-yard pass to cut the lead to 20-7.
With Ithaca leading 27-7, Judge capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run with 2:34 left in the third quarter. Sylvia added a 23-yard scoring run with 2:56 left in the game.
Junior Mike Kimmel leads the FFC in punt return average (12.5 ypr) ... sophomore QB Michael Judge (76.8) is fourth in rushing, and sophomore HB Will Davis (57.2 ypg) and sophomore QB Ryan Sylvia (52.2 ypg) are sixth and seventh, respectively ... Judge is ninth in all-purpose yardage (76.8 ypg) and tenth in total offense (93.0 ypg) ... junior PK Greg Switaj leads the FFC in field goals (1.25 per game, also tied for 13th nationally) and point-after percentage (90.9), and is third in scoring (8.8 ppg) ... senior DE Dwayne Robinson is fourth in sacks (1.0 spg) and sixth in tackles for loss (1.5 per game) ... senior CB Mike Capotosto is third in interceptions (0.75 ipg).
The Pride, which is currently ranked second in rushing yardage (353.5 ypg) in Division III, led the FFC in rushing for the seventh consecutive season at 278.7 ypg in 2001, which was sixth nationally. SC is 6-1 in games when it rushes for more than 300 yards over the past two seasons ... SC captured its second consecutive NCAA Division III rushing title in 2000, and third in five seasons. Only three other teams have won it three-or-more times. SC averaged a Division III-record 427.5 ypg on the ground in 2000. In 1999, the Pride averaged 375.3 ypg and, in 1996, SC rushed for 351.2 ypg.
Pride of New England:
SC football has earned its reputation as one of the region's elite programs. Springfield has the fifth winningest program currently playing Division III football in New England. SC had a 461-401-55 (.533) record in 109 seasons entering the 2002 campaign. Williams (564 wins, 121 seasons), Amherst (549 wins, 122 seasons), Trinity (470 wins, 117 seasons) and Wesleyan (465 wins, 119 seasons) are the top four ... with 106 overall wins in 20 seasons (including two at Maine Maritime), SC head coach Mike DeLong is second among active Division III New England coaches and is tied for 21st in Division III. DeLong has won more games (94) than any other coach in the 109 seasons of the SC program.