Football Looks For Share Of FFC Title
Springfield College Pride (5-1, 4-0 FFC) at
WPI Engineers (2-4, 1-1 FFC)
Saturday, Oct. 26, 2002 • 7 p.m. • Worcester, Mass.
Game Day Quick Facts
SC leads the series, 23-0-2.
The Last Meeting:
The Pride defeated the Engineers, 47-20, on Oct. 20, 2001 at Benedum Field.
Last Time Out:
The Pride beat Plymouth State, 41-0, on Oct. 19; WPI beat Norwich, 34-17, on Oct. 12.
About the Pride:
SC is listed under 'Others Receiving Votes' in the latest American Football Coaches Association Top 25 Poll. With 83 points, the Pride trails Wheaton-Ill. (101 points), Central-Iowa (99) and Wartburg-Iowa (90) points, which are all close behind No. 25 Howard Payne (Texas) ... in the Division III New England Poll, the Pride is ranked second behind top-ranked Westfield State for the second consecutive week ... SC is ranked in the top 30 nationally in six statistical categories, and is third in the nation in rushing (338.8 ypg). The Pride ranks at the top of the FFC in 12 categories ... SC has scored 16 of 19 times in the red zone (84.2%), which is the best in the conference. Of the 16 scores, 13 are touchdowns and the rest are field goals ... the Pride has outscored the opposition, 96-9, in the first quarter ... when senior DE Dwayne Robinson was selected the FFC's Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 21), he became the fifth SC player to win a conference weekly award, but the first member of the Pride's defense to be honored by the FFC. Senior CB Mike Capotosto, however, won the Coca Cola Gold Helmet College Division Award (Oct. 14) for his performance in the Pride's win over Western Connecticut (Oct.11). This award is presented on a weekly basis to the top Division II or III player in New England.
Division III New England Poll (Oct. 21)
1. Westfield State (6-0)
2. SPRINGFIELD (5-1)
3. Williams (5-0)
4. Western Connecticut (5-1)
5. UMass-Dartmouth (7-0)
6. Worcester State (6-1)
t7. Wesleyan (4-1) and Trinity (4-1)
9. Amherst (4-1)
10. Curry (5-2)
With two games left on SC's conference schedule, the Pride can clinch at least a share of the Freedom Football Conference championship with a win over WPI on Saturday. The winner of the FFC earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Pride captured the conference title and the NCAA Tournament berth in 1998 and 2000. SC also won the FFC crown in 1996, but did not compete in the post-season ... SC took sole possession of first place in the FFC with an 18-15 win over previously undefeated and No. 14 Western Connecticut (Oct. 11).
The Pride's 41-0 victory over Plymouth State (Oct. 19) is its second shutout of the season. It's the first time since 1968 that SC has recorded two shutouts in a season ... the last time an SC team posted back-to-back shutouts occurred in 1957 (vs. AIC, 20-0 and URI, 14-0) ... the school record for most shutouts in a season is seven, which Coach John L. Rothacher's 1927 and 1930 teams both accomplished.
By the Numbers:
In addition to boasting Division III's third-ranked rushing offense (338.8 ypg), the Pride ranks in the top 30 nationally in five other categories:
Total Defense: 224.0 ypg (rank:8th)
Pass Efficiency Defense: 80.1 rating (rank:11th)
Scoring Offense: 39.7 ppg (rank:14th)
Turnover Margin: +1.5 (rank: t-17th)
Scoring Defense: 14.3 (rank: t-28th)
The Pride has used the big play as a major weapon this season. SC has had 16 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 success cannot be directly attributed to one player. Five players have won FFC Weekly Awards, and senior CB Mike Capotosto won the Coca-Cola Gold Helmet Award (Oct. 14) ... the platoon of sophomore quarterbacks Michael Judge and Ryan Sylvia has been very effective. The duo has combined for 177.7 ypg of total offense and 16 touchdowns (11 rushing, five 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) ... SC's veteran offensive line features a trio of three-year starters: Bristol, MacFadyen and Mintken ... SC's offensive front 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:
Springfield College 41, Plymouth State 0
Springfield College senior defensive end Dwayne Robinson recorded 3.5 sacks in the first half, and sophomore quarterback Ryan Sylvia ran for a touchdown and threw for a score as the Pride beat Plymouth State, 41-0, in a Freedom Football Conference (FFC) game at Benedum Field.
This was the Pride’s (5-1, 4-0 FFC) second shutout of the season, marking the first time since 1968 that SC has posted two shutouts in a season. The SC defense held the Panthers (0-6, 0-4 FFC) at bay, allowing just 179 yards of total offense and forcing three fumbles. Robinson, who also had eight tackles and five tackles-for-loss, and senior defensive end Jim Galliher, who totaled two tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks, led the Pride.
Offensively, SC racked up 429 yards on the ground to eclipse the 400-yard mark for the second time this season.
SC sophomore quarterback Michael Judge ran for two first-half touchdowns (five and eight yards) and sophomore Tim Lutgens scored on a 25-yard rush to stake the Pride to a 21-0 halftime advantage.
SC extended its lead to 27-0 on Sylvia’s 40-yard scoring run with 13:37 left in the third quarter. Less than four minutes later, Sylvia hit senior split end Farrand Violette with a 57-yard scoring strike to give the Pride a 34-0 lead.
Sophomore fullback Will Davis added a six-yard touchdown run with 6:19 left in the third quarter to cap the scoring.
Junior PK Greg Switaj leads the FFC in field goals (1.0 per game, also tied for 17th nationally) and point-after percentage (92.9), and is fifth in scoring (7.3 ppg) ... freshman KR Mitch Dupuis is the FFC's top kick returner (24.8, also 38th nationally ) ... senior CB Mike Capotosto and junior CB Chris Teel are tied for second in interceptions (0.67 ipg), and sophomore FS Jeremiah Goodnow is tied for ninth (0.33 ipg) ... junior PR Mike Kimmel is second in punt return average (10.4 ypr) ... sophomore QB Michael Judge (69.3 ypg) is fifth in rushing, and sophomore QB Ryan Sylvia (56.0 ypg) and sophomore HB Will Davis (55.8 ypg) are sixth and seventh, respectively ... Sylvia is 10th in total offense (89.5 ypg) ... Judge is ninth in all-purpose yardage (69.3 ypg) ... senior DE Dwayne Robinson is second in sacks (1.33 spg, also tied for 12th nationally) and fourth in tackles-for-loss (1.67 per game).
The Pride, which is currently ranked third in rushing yardage (338.8 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 7-1 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.