Coast Guard Hosts No. 15 Football
Springfield College Pride (No. 15, AFCA, 3-0, 1-0 FFC) at Coast Guard Bears (1-1, 0-0 FFC)
Sat., Sept. 27, 2003 • 1 p.m. • New London, Conn.
SC leads, 11-4. The Pride has won the last three meetings.
The Last Meeting:
SC defeated the visiting Bears, 64-14, on Sept. 28, 2002 on Benedum Field.
Last Time Out:
SC beat No. 25 Kings Point, 49-28, on Sept. 20 in Springfield; the Bears lost at RPI, 44-7, on Sept. 20.
About the Pride:
SC moved to No. 15 in this week's American Football Coaches Association Division III National Poll. This is the Pride's highest national ranking since SC finished No. 10 in the final AFCA poll in 2000 ... Saturday's contest is SC's third road game in four outings ... the Pride has won seven straight regular-season games ... since SC joined the FFC in the '95 season, home-field advantage has meant everything when these two teams square off. In Springfield, the Pride is 4-0 and has won by an average of 35 ppg. It's a different deal in New London, where the series stands at 2-2 and the average margin of victory is 8.3 ppg. In fact, the Bears have won two of the last three meetings on Cadet Memorial Field ... SC's 481 rushing yards in last Saturday's win over Kings Point is the most by a Division III team this season, and third to only Division I-AA Northeastern (593 rushing yards) and Nicholls State (515 rushing yards) in college football ... SC, which is currently second in Division III in rushing (344.7 ypg), is 21-2 in games when it rushes for more than 300 yards over the past four seasons ... with a win on Saturday afternoon, the '03 Pride will go to 4-0 for just the fourth time since 1970. SC also opened 4-0 in 1970, '79, '98 and 2000.
A Look Ahead:
SC is in the midst of the most difficult part of the ’03 schedule. Following Saturday’s game at Coast Guard, the Pride hosts No. 12 Ithaca on Sat., Oct. 4, when it will attempt to end a two-game losing streak to the Bombers. SC then travels to Western Connecticut on Sat., Oct. 11 for a crucial Freedom Football Conference showdown. Since 1998, the winner of the SC-Western Conn. game has gone on to win at least a share of the FFC championship and has earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Junior QB Ryan Sylvia and senior SS Ryan Santo were honored by the Freedom Football Conference this week. Sylvia was the FFC co-Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 117 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and throwing for 128 yards and three scores in the win over Kings Point (Sept. 20). Sylvia was also the conference's offensive player of the week on Sept. 7, and won the conference’s rookie-of-the-week award twice in the 2001 season ... Santo, who was also the ECAC Division III Northeast Defensive Player of the Week and a D3football.com Defensive Team-of-the-Week honoree, had a huge day in the victory over Kings Point. He made 11 tackles (8 solo), had a pass defended and forced a fumble. Santo led a defense that held All-American tailback David McNeal to just 56 yards on 20 carries. McNeal entered the game as the conference’s leading rusher at 143.0 yards-per-game ... Santo follows teammate Jesse Baker, a senior LB, who won the FFC Defensive Player of the Week Award on Sept. 15.
When junior QB Ryan Sylvia rushed for 117 yards vs. Kings Point (Sept. 20), it marked the fifth time he had eclipsed the 100-yard mark in his career, and the second time in '03 (135 yards at Salve Regina) ... junior FB Tim Lutgens, who had a career-best 172 yards vs. Kings Point and has rushed for 100+ yards four times in his career, and Sylvia are the only SC backs to crack the 100-yard mark this season ... in '02, five SC backs reached the 100-yard mark as the Pride led Division III in rushing (356.7 ypg): junior HB Will Davis (145 yards vs. Salve Regina), junior HB Kevin Domurat (three times), junior QB Michael Judge (twice), Lutgens (three times) and Sylvia (156 yards vs. Union).
Although the Pride posseses one of the best running games in college football, it also uses the pass effectively. SC QBs are 9-of-18 for 261 yards with six TDs this season ... junior QB Ryan Sylvia typifies the Pride's big-play capability with five TDs passes of 20 yards-or-more ... at Salve Regina (Sept. 6), junior QB Michael Judge hooked up with junior HB Kevin Domurat for a 45-yard score ... in '02, SC completed 23 passes for an average of 24.0 yards-per-catch and 11 touchdowns.
SC's efficiency in the red-zone was a major reason why it averaged 36.5 points in '02. The Pride scored 24 of 28 times in the red zone (85.7%) last season ... in '03, SC is 10-of-10 in the red zone (nine TDs, one FG).
The Pride ranks among Division III's leaders in five categories:
Rushing Offense: 344.7 ypg (rank: 2nd)
Total Offense: 431.7 ypg (rank: 26th)
Scoring Offense: 36.3 ppg (rank: 28th)
Rushing Defense: 69.7 ypg (rank: 18th)
Total Defense: 212.0 ypg (rank:12th)
It came as no surprise that senior PK Greg Switaj was selected to the D3Football.com and Don Hansen's Football Gazette Pre-season All-American teams. A first-team D3Football.com All-American in '02, Switaj was one of the nation's most efficient place-kickers, drilling 9-of-10 attempts and converting 40-of-44 point-after touchdown attempts. He led all conference kickers in scoring (6.7 points-per-game, 26th nationally) and field goal percentage on the way to winning FFC Special Teams Player-of-the-Year honors ... Switaj has converted 21 consecutive PAT dating back to last season.
SC Football Joins Empire 8:
On Oct. 11, 2001, Springfield College announced that it accepted an invitation to join the Empire 8 Athletic Conference as an affiliate member in the sport of football. SC, along with Norwich, will play in the Empire 8 beginning in the 2004 season ... in football, the Empire 8 is comprised of five small, private New York-based institutions: Alfred University, Hartwick College, Ithaca College, St. John Fisher College and Utica College. The conference sponsors 15 other sports but SC will only compete in football.
SC, which is nationally ranked 18th in total and rushing defense, has been very impressive in all three outings in '03 ... in the season-opener at Salve Regina (Sept. 6), the Pride allowed the just three first downs and 58 yards in the first half. At Montclair State (Sept. 13), SC forced five turnovers and blocked two field goal attempts. Against No. 25 Kings Point (Sept. 20), SC held All-American back David McNeal to 56 yards on 20 carries, which was 87 yards below his average ... seven starters return from a relentless defense that ranked at the top of the FFC in scoring defense (17.5 ppg) and rushing defense (117.9 ypg) in '02. Last season, coordinator Jack Holik’s 3-4 defense recorded five turnover returns of at least 30 yards, and scored three touchdowns. The Pride ranked 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense (86.3) and 22nd in total defense (253.5 yards-per-game) ... three of SC captains are defensive stalwarts: senior LB Jesse Baker, senior DE Jason MacDonald and senior SS Ryan Santo.