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NEC Offensive Player of the Week
NICK DOSCHER, WAGNER
Sr., QB, 6-2, 225 lbs., Staten Island, NY/Moore Catholic
Wagner won its second NEC game in a row, and Doscher was at the center of the effort. The veteran quarterback was responsible for four touchdowns and accounted for the highest total offense output in a Northeast Conference contest thus far this season. Doscher totaled 314 yards of offense (246 pass, 68 rush) to power Wagner past Bryant by a 10-point margin on Grymes Hill. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Staten Islander ran for a pair of touchdowns and passed for another two, matching the four touchdowns Albany’s Will Fiacchi accounted for in the Danes’ NEC opener at Robert Morris (Sept. 8). With Wagner trailing Bryant by a 14-10 margin late in the third quarter, Doscher turned the tide by throwing a pair of scoring strikes within a 2:08 span. His five-yard touchdown toss capped a six-play, 50-yard drive and gave the Seahawks the lead with 2:36 left in the third quarter. Following a quick 3-and-out series for Bryant, Doscher struck again by delivering a 70-yard scoring strike that bumped Wagner’s advantage to 24-14. The former Kansas City Royals’ farmhand turned college quarterback put Wagner on the scoreboard by plunging in for a one-yard touchdown early in the second quarter exactly 4:44 after Bryant opened the game’s scoring. His 19-yard scoring scamper, which came on a 2-and-9 play, put the finishing touches on the win with 1:29 left in regulation.
NEC Defensive Player of the Week/Rookie of the Week
MARCELIS BRANCH, ROBERT MORRIS
Fr., CB, 5-11, 175 lbs., Homestead, FL/Miami Southridge
Rookie Marcelis Branch was as important as anyone to Robert Morris’ win over Patriot League member Lafayette, which carried a perfect 3-0 record into Joe Walton Stadium on Saturday night. The freshman cornerback produced a number of impactful plays, one of which resulted in the game’s first touchdown. Making his third collegiate start, the 5-foot-11 defender forced a first-quarter fumble and picked off a pass one quarter later. Branch made 15 total tackles over the course of the 31-28 victory. Two of his tackles came on kickoff coverage, while eight of his 13 defensive hits stopped the opponent short of the first-down marker. Branch delivered his biggest blow with Lafayette operating from its own 10-yard line midway through the first quarter. On a 1st-and-10 pass completion, the first-year Colonial jarred the ball loose from Lafayette receiver Mark Ross and RMU’s Mike Neilsen ran it in for a touchdown. Branch made his presence felt again after the Colonials increased their lead to 21-7 on a second-quarter score. He made the tackle on the Colonials’ ensuing kickoff and proceeded to stunt Lafayette’s drive by intercepting a pass on 3rd-and-5. The play gave RMU the ball at its own 40 and the Colonials scored their fourth touchdown three snaps later. With the contest tied at 28-28 late in the fourth quarter and Lafayette facing a 3rd
-and-20, Branch stopped receiver Rodney Gould 10 yards shy of a first down and forced the Leopards to punt it away. Robert Morris marched downfield on its ensuing possession to set up Greg Langer’s winning field goal.
NEC Special Teams Player of the Week
KEVIN CHILLIS, ALBANY
So., WR, 5-9, 175 lbs., Buffalo, NY/McKinley
Chillis contributed to Albany’s 55-24 victory over Monmouth in a number of ways, including two huge plays with the Danes’ special teams unit. After Monmouth jumped out to a 7-0 lead by taking the opening kickoff 82 yards on 10 plays, Chillis electrified the home crowd less than one mite later. Facing a 4th-and-10 from its own 23-yard line, Albany faked a punt and Chillis took a reverse 77 yards for a touchdown. The 5-foot-9 receiver ran the second-half kickoff back 58 yards all the way to Monmouth’s 42-yard line. The Danes didn’t score on the ensuing possession, but were able to take control of the field position battle and pin Monmouth deep inside its own 10-yard line. He added a 44-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and finished with 207 all-purpose yards.
Top Performers of Week
? Jordan Harris (Bryant)
The junior receiver posted the NEC’s single-game season high by racking up 201 yards on nine receptions at Wagner. The league’s leading receiver had a 224-yard day in 2011.
? Larry McCoy (Duquesne)
The running back surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth week in a row and the 23rd time in his career.
? Keion Wade (Saint Francis)
The senior running back scored all three of the Red Flash’s touchdowns in a 24-21 Week 5 setback at Keystone State rival Duquesne.
? Dorian Bell (Duquesne)
The former Ohio State linebacker had his third consecutive big day for Duquesne. He made a team-high 12 tackles in the Homecoming win over Saint Francis and has 35 stops in his last three outings.
? Ryan Kirchner (Albany)
The veteran receiver went for 121 yards and one touchdown on five receptions against rival Monmouth.
? Justin Sexton (Sacred Heart)
The linebacker continued to pile up tackles and make key plays in the Pioneers’ Week 5 win over rival Central Connecticut. He made 12 tackles to run his league-leading total to 42 and also picked off a pass.
SO FAR, SO GOOD FOR 2011 NEC CO-CHAMPIONS ALBANY AND DUQUESNE
The two teams who reside atop the Northeast Conference standings following a month of football are the same two who finished the 2011 season tied for first.
Reigning co-champions Albany and Duquesne are both off to 4-1 overall starts and are the lone two remaining NEC teams who have yet to incur a conference defeat this season.
The Great Danes (2-0) passed a difficult test with flying colors in Week 5. Albany hosted five-time NEC champion Monmouth ,which entered Saturday’s game with a 3-1 record that was identical to that of the home team.
Monmouth jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Albany exploded for 24 consecutive points to take control in an eventual 55-24 triumph.
“I think Albany proved they are an outstanding football team and they proved why they are getting votes for the Top 25,” said Monmouth’s head coach Kevin Callahan. “This game was completely one-sided, they were in control of the game from the start. They won or dominated in pretty much every aspect of it. We didn’t win the one-on-one battles on offense, defense or special teams.”
Albany produced 511 yards of total offense and became the first of Monmouth’s four opponents to defeat the Hawks in the turnover game and time of possession battle.
“I think we played, at times, absolutely lights out. As good as we could play,” said Albany head coach Bob Ford, who leads all active NCAA Division I coaches in career wins.
Meanwhile, out in Pittsburgh, Duquesne (2-0) erased a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit and posted their second win in a row over a NEC foe. The Dukes edged Saint Francis (PA), 24-21, when kicker/punter Charlie Leventry nailed a 20-yard field goal with 00:32 remaining.
Duquesne rides a four-game win streak into its Week 6 bye. The Dukes have not lost since a Week 1 setback at No. 4 Old Dominion. Duquesne led that game by a 20-10 margin at halftime before ODU erupted for a 57-23 win.
Since that disappointing second half, the Dukes have posted road wins over Bryant and Valparaiso as well as home victories over Dayton and Saint Francis (PA).
Both Albany and Duquesne posted 7-1 Northeast Conference records during the 2011 season. The former earned the NEC’s automatic berth into the NCAA FCS playoff bracket by virtue of its 38-10 head-to-head victory over the Dukes on October 8, 2011.
This season, Albany and Duquesne won’t meet until Week 11 in Pittsburgh. Will they both manage to complete the tall task of remaining undefeated until then?
Bryant received some staggering offensive numbers from receiver Jordan Harris. In the Bulldogs’ Week 5 setback at Wagner, Harris posted the second-highest single-game receiving total in program history. Bryant completed only 12 passes during the game and nine of those went to Harris who turned the nine catches into 201 yards and two touchdowns. The 201-yard performance ranks second only to the 224 yards that Harris himself accounted for in a 2011 win over Albany. Over his last two games, Harris had totaled 337 yards and four touchdowns on 16 catches. All five of his touchdowns this season either tied the score or gave Bryant a lead.
Big Bye Week:
Duquesne, Monmouth and Central Connecticut will be idle during Week 6. Duquesne goes into the bye on a high note. The Dukes eked out a 24-21 win over Keystone State rival Saint Francis (PA) on Homecoming Weekend at Rooney Field. Meanwhile, Monmouth and CCSU will had an extra week to regroup following double-digit losses in Week 5. With only six NEC teams in action, Week 6 is the lightest on the 2012 schedule. All six teams will contest conference games.
Williams Turns Heads in Win:
It wasn’t the 106-yard rushing total that wowed those on hand at Wagner Stadium on Saturday. Although eclipsing the 100-yard mark in a game is a notable feat, fans of Wagner’s Dominique Williams have become accustomed to seeing the junior running back reach that plateau. On the way to reaching the century mark for the 15th time in 24 games, Williams ripped off a 29-yard fourth-quarter run that earned him national exposure. Wagner was leading 24-21 late in the fourth quarter and had the ball near midfield when Williams drew the awe of the crowd. The play, which was highlighted by Williams’ hurdling over a Bryant defender, made ESPN’s College Football Plays of the Weekend, checking in at No. 8. The highlight reel run gave the Green & White a first down at the Bryant 20. Williams ranks fourth on the NEC leader board thus far this season, having run 90 times for 457 yards and three scores.
Sinclair-led Colonials Snap Slide
: Robert Morris broke into the win column by sending Patriot League member Lafayette to its first defeat. The Colonials, who held a 28-7 advantage at halftime, avoided falling victim to a furious comeback bid when Greg Langer hit a 33-yard, tie-breaking field goal with 00:19 remaining. Robert Morris opened the scoring on a defensive touchdown, but was able to compound its lead thanks to a prime performance from veteran quarterback Jeff Sinclair. Making only his second start of the season, and first at home, the former all-NEC passer totaled 285 yards of offense (201 pass, 84 rush) and was responsible for all three of RMU’s offensive scores. First, he found Duane Washington for a 26-yard scoring strike before tossing a three-yard TD pass to Paul Evans. Sinclair’s eight-yard TD rush put the Colonials up by 21 points midway through the second quarter. Donte Jeter led RMU’s receiving corps by snagging seven balls for 131 yards. Sinclair, who missed the last two games of 2011 and the first two of 2012, had his best season in 2010 when he threw 22 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions and led the Colonials to the FCS playoffs.
NEC vs. Patriot League:
Robert Morris scored a victory over Lafayette, snapping the NEC’s three-game slide against members of the Patriot League. The NEC saw two of its teams face PL foes on Opening Day with Monmouth dropping a tight decision at two-time defending champion Lehigh but Albany posting a convincing victory over Colgate. The NEC then incurred three straight losses in the coming weeks with Wagner falling in the waning minutes of its Week 2 bout at Georgetown. Constitution State rivals Central Connecticut (Lehigh) and Sacred Heart (Colgate) dropped games in Week 2 and 3 respectively. RMU’s win under the lights over Lafayette will give the NEC a chance to even the season series with the Patriot League. Wagner has a November date with Holy Cross and Bryant will face a Week 12 test by Bucknell.
Smithfield Next Stop for NEC-TV:
After spending back-to-back weeks in the state of Connecticut, NEC-TV will head north to Smithfield, Rhode Island to air a live telecast from Bryant’s Bulldog Stadium for the first time ever. Bryant, which began its move to the FCS ranks in 2008, will host the NEC-TV Featured Game of the Week for the first time since joining the conference. The Bulldogs will host defending champion Albany in a game that will kick off at 12:00 pm on October 6 and air live on Fox College Sports and ESPN3. In 2011, Bryant was the lone NEC team to defeat Albany by posting a 31-17 win in New York’s capital. The game will feature two of the top-five rushers on the NEC season leader board. Albany’s Drew Smith stands second, having ran 82 times for 501 yards in five games. Meanwhile, Preseason All-American Jordan Brown has gained 455 yards on 115 carries for Bryant.
Rivalry Win Allows Sacred Heart to Avoid 0-4 Start:
Sacred Heart was without its starting quarterback, but the Pioneers still managed to give interim head coach Mark Nofri his first career victory. Playing before a national TV audience in the NEC Featured Game of the Week, Sacred Heart built a 27-3 lead over Central Connecticut and never looked back on the way to winning the Constitution State rivalry game for the second year in a row. Junior Luke Wischnowski stepped in under center in place of the ill Tim Little and performed effectively. The 6-foot-2 Wischnowski completed his first 10 throws and finished 12-of-16 passing. His first career touchdown pass went to Rock Tate, a 15-yard scoring strike that bumped SHU’s lead to 14-0. It was also Homecoming Weekend at Sacred Heart with the Pioneers improving to 10-3 all-time in Homecoming games.
Movin’ On Up:
Monmouth tight end Tyler George made seven catches for 75 yards against Albany to continue his climb up the program’s all-time receptions list. The 6-foot-5 George has 111 receptions in his career and moved into fourth place all-time this past Saturday. The milestone came one week after he surpassed former Monmouth tight end, and NFL Draft pick, John Nalbone, for fifth place on the list. He has amassed 1,009 receiving yards on those 111 career catches.
Sacred Heart’s 34-21 win over Central Connecticut further closed the gap in the all-time series, which the Blue Devils lead 9-6. Prior to Saturday, the Pioneers had not beaten the Blue Devils on Campus Field since the 2002 season. … Albany’s 55 points were the most yielded by a Monmouth defense since a 1999 loss to Lehigh (56 points). … Albany has scored 24 or more points in 18 of its last 20 games, owning a 15-5 record in that span.
? Albany Great Danes
The Danes topped Monmouth, 55-24, for the 250th victory in the program’s history. In 40 seasons of varsity football, UAlbany owns a 250-158 record.
? Larry McCoy, RB (Duquesne)
The preseason all-NEC running back eclipsed the 4,000-yard rushing mark for his career in the Dukes’ Week 5 win over Saint Francis (PA). He has amassed 4,099 yards over three-plus seasons and needs only 162 more to surpass Donte Small and become the program’s all-time leader.
? Ryan Kirchner, WR (Albany)
The senior pass-catcher made five receptions against Monmouth and moved within six more of setting Albany’s all-time record. His 142 career receptions have him closing in on Tim Bush’s 147.
? Dom Williams, RB (Wagner)
The veteran’s 106-yard rushing effort against Bryant moved him into fifth place on Wagner’s all-tme rushing list. He has 2,439 rushing yards over two-plus seasons and has his eyes on Kito Lockwood, whose 3,156 yards from 1992-95 have him in fourth place.
? Drew Smith, RB (Albany)
The senior tailback moved into fourth all-time at UAlbany with 2,696 career rushing yards. He needs 262 more yards to move into third.
? Eric Spillane (Monmouth)
The placekicker’s 38-yard field in the second quarter against Albany was his 43rd career make, setting the program’s record for successful field goals in a career.
? Walt Hameline, Head Coach (Wagner)
“I think he’s coming into his own. He’s as tough as nails. You want go to war with him any day of the week. We threw the ball a little bit more and we threw it efficiently. Nick looked like his old self.”
- on QB Nick Doscher, the NEC Offensive Player of the Week
? Nick Doscher, Quarterack (Wagner)
“The only numbers that count are the 31-21 on the scoreboard. The win last week (at Central Connecticut) was great and this adds to it. We just have to keep everything going in the right direction.”
- on his numbers in Wagner’s Week 5 win.
? Bob Ford, Head Coach (Albany)
“I thought we could (convert). And because I’m 75-years-old and I can call anything I want to call.”
- on the surprising fake punt call with UAlbany on its own 23-yard line in the first quarter.
? Chris Villarrial, Head Coach (Saint Francis)
“Our guys played very hard today and we did several things well but we just came up short. But now we have to put this one behind us and start getting ready for a big match up at home with Robert Morris.”
- on Saint Francis’ three-point loss at Duquesne
? @C_Cappella (Robert Morris fan)
The band is here, the cheerleaders are ready, the team is warming up! @NECFootball trying to stick up to the bad guys of the Patriot League!
? @isayaaa10 (Albany’s Drew Smith)
@dsull59 good job today bro. hold the @necfootball down next year, u and cooper play hard as hell.