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NEC Offensive Player of the Week
DOMINIQUE WILLIAMS, WAGNER
Jr., RB, 5-9, 200 lbs., Bridgeton, NJ/Milford Academy
Williams was behind the extension of two streaks this past Saturday at Sacred Heart. The junior running back produced his third consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and his Wagner Seahawks won a Northeast Conference contest for the third week in a row. Williams ran 20 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 12-3 victory over Sacred Heart. The veteran ball carrier delivered all the scoring Wagner would need 5:50 into the game. With Wagner facing a 1st-and-10 from its own 19, Williams ripped off an 81-yard sprint to pay dirt. The touchdown was the longest rush in a Northeast Conference game since Monmouth’s David Sinisi went 99 yards for a score against Sacred Heart in 2007. Williams added another touchdown on a two-yard burst in the second quarter. The South Jersey product finished the game with 147 total yards from scrimmage, including 25 yards on two receptions.
NEC Defensive Player of the Week
JUSTINIAN MASON, ALBANY
Jr., SS, 6-1, 190 lbs., Mason, OH/Cincinnati St. Xavier
Mason made a play that changed the course of Saturday’s nationally-televised affair at Bryant and propelled Albany to a 31-14 NEC road victory. With Bryant threatening for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter of a 14-14 game, Mason produced the “Play of the Day.” He picked off a 3rd-down pass at Albany’s 25-yard line and took it 75 yards in the opposite direction for the tie-breaking touchdown with 1:19 left in the third. The strong safety recorded two solo tackles and a pass breakup in addition to his highlight-reel interception return as the Great Danes won for the fifth consecutive time in NEC play. Mason’s pass breakup came against preseason all-NEC receiver Jordan Harris with Bryant operating at midfield early on in the final quarter. The third-year Great Dane was a part of a defensive effort that limited Bryant to 202 yards of total offense, including a NEC single-game season-low 27 rush yards.
NEC Special Teams Player of the Week
TYLER FOEHR, SACRED HEART
Sr., DL, 6-3, 255 lbs., Florence, NJ/Florence
Foehr has made a habit of wreaking havoc for opponents on both defense and special teams this season and he continued that trend against NEC foe Wagner in Week 6. Sacred Heart’s senior defensive lineman blocked a kick for the league-leading third time this fall. Foehr stuffed David Lopez’s extra-point attempt after Wagner scored the game’s first touchdown early on in the second quarter. The 6-foot-3 Foehr produced another notable special teams play later in the quarter when he rumbled downfield on punt coverage and dropped the Seahawks’ returner one yard from where he caught the kick. The veteran lineman added another five tackles, including a pair of sacks, on defense in the 12-3 defeat.
NEC Rookie of the Week
ANTHONY ABEID, SAINT FRANCIS (PA)
Fr., RB, 5-8, 175 lbs., Youngstown, OH/Youngstown Christian
Abeid provided the lone touchdown in the Red Flash’s 10-3 triumph over Keystone State rival Robert Morris. The rookie running back totaled 136 all-purpose yards while helping Saint Francis snap a six-game losing streak in its series with RMU. Abeid gained 116 of those yards on three receptions. He opened the game’s scoring on a 50-yard catch-and-run 2:54 into the second quarter. The freshman returned one kick on the day, taking the game’s opening kickoff 20 yards to Saint Francis’ 28.
Top Performers of Week
? Ryan Kirchner (Albany)
The all-NEC receiver accounted for 103 yards on seven receptions at Bryant. The performance led all NEC pass-catchers in both receptions and receiving yards in Week 6.
? Dominique Williams (Wagner)
His third straight 100-plus yard rushing day resulted in Wagner’s third NEC victory in a row. The veteran ball carrier’s day was highlighted by an 81-yard touchdown run, the NEC’s longest this season.
? Drew Smith (Albany)
The senior running back scored all three of Albany’s offensive touchdowns in the 31-14 win at Bryant. Smith totaled 104 rush yards on 23 attempts.
? Jake DeMedal (Saint Francis)
The strong safety made eight tackles and forced a key fumble for the Flash in their first win over Robert Morris since 2005.
? Justinian Mason (Albany)
The veteran Great Dane scored the deciding touchdown in a road victory at Bryant. Mason’s 75-yard interception return gave Albany the lead for good late in the third quarter.
? Tyler Foehr (Sacred Heart)
The defensive lineman recorded 2.0 sacks and also stuffed a PAT attempt in Sacred Heart’s setback to Wagner.
DEFENSE DOMINATES DURING LIGHTEST WEEK OF SEASON’S SCHEDULE
Those who love defense must have loved what transpired during Week 6 of the 2012 NEC football schedule.
There were three Northeast Conference contests on the docket and when the dust settled only a total of eight offensive touchdowns had been scored by six teams.
Two of the three games did not contain more than 15 points combined. Sacred Heart and Robert Morris only managed three points apiece in defeat, while their opponents scored 12 (Wagner) and 10 (Saint Francis) points, respectively.
First-place Albany totaled a week-high 31 points in its defeat of Bryant, but seven of those points came as a result of Justinian Mason’s interception return.
It’s not only the low-point totals that illustrate the defensive dominance that transpired on Saturday.
Albany held Bryant to the lowest single-game rushing output (27 yards) in a NEC contest thus far this season. The Bulldogs’ 11 first downs also marked a NEC season low.
“They saved my butt today, they really did,” said Albany tailback Drew Smith of the Great Danes’ defense. Smith, who ran for 104 yards and three touchdowns in the victory, lost two fumbles, but Bryant scored no points off the two turnovers. Following both of Smith’s miscues, the Danes’ defense stepped up and forced Bryant to go 3-and-out on the ensuing possessions.
Meanwhile, in Fairfield, Sacred Heart and Wagner combined for the fewest passing yards (149) in a league game this fall. While Wagner’s Nick Doscher was limited to 82 yards through the air, the Seahawks’ defense held Sacred Heart’s aerial attack, which led the entire NEC in 2011, to a paltry 67 yards.
“We had a lot of people stepping up,” said Wagner head coach Walt Hameline’s of his defense’s effort at Sacred Heart. “We’ve been running a lot of players through and they’re starting to get the (defensive) concept.”
Linebacker Mike Lombardo and cornerback Torian Phillips were two of those players to deliver for Wagner on Saturday. Lombardo logged eight total tackles, one sack, and one pass break-up. Phillips, who missed the season’s first three games, broke up a pass and made a team-high six solo stops.
The defense-dominated week transpired despite the fact the NEC’s top-ranked team in total defense (Monmouth) was idle. The conference’s top run defense (Monmouth) and first-ranked pass defense (Central Connecticut) were also on a bye in Week 6.
Another Double-Digit Win for Danes:
Even in Saturday’s hard-fought NEC battle at Bryant, Albany found a way to pull away. The Great Danes faced a 14-7 halftime deficit, but posted a 17-point victory. The second-half turnaround allowed Albany to continue its streak of double-digit triumphs. All five of the Danes’ wins have come by no fewer than 10 points. In addition to a 30-20 win over then-No. 23 Maine, Albany proved 17 points better than Patriot League member Colgate. The Danes’ lone loss came by a mere touchdown on Sept. 15 at then-No. 5 Youngstown State in a game that was tied three times. Albany has won its three NEC contests thus far – having beaten Bryant, Monmouth and Robert Morris – by an average of 24.3 points per victory.
Saint Francis’ Stock on the Rise:
The Red Flash managed a total of five victories during the last four seasons prior to the current campaign. Halfway through its 2012 schedule, Saint Francis has three victories to its credit and is guaranteed to finish the season with as many wins as the program’s has ever had during the Northeast Conference era. Since the inception of NEC football in 1996, Saint Francis has had five three-win seasons with the latest having come in 2007. The Flash, who have beaten Pioneer League member Morehead State as well as NEC foes Bryant and Robert Morris, are one win away from clinching their best season in the last two decades. The Red Flash’s 2-1 start in NEC play matches the best-ever in program history. Saint Francis won two of its first three NEC contests in 2005, a season that saw the team post a 3-8 overall record (3-4 NEC).
Not First Time He Broke a Big One:
It was the longest run of Dominique Williams’ career, but it wasn’t the first time he’s had a long sprint to pay dirt. Wagner’s junior running back produced an 81-yard scoring scamper in the Seahawks’ Week 6 win at Sacred Heart, marking the third time in the past two years he has gained over 75 yards on a run play. Williams notched a 79-yard gain against Robert Morris and a76-yard run against Monmouth during the 2011 campaign. All three of his 75-plus yard runs have come in road games.
Pioneers, Hawks Will Try to Trim Ivy:
Although NEC teams have played 23 contests against out-of-conference competition thus far this fall, none have come against members of the rival Ivy League. Week 7 is home to the only two contests between a NEC member and an Ivy League team this season. Monmouth will close its non-league schedule at Cornell, while Sacred Heart will visit Dartmouth for its final out-out-conference date of the slate. The NEC will be looking to “prune the Ivy” for a third consecutive season. NEC teams won two of the three meetings between the two leagues in 2010 before taking three of four from the Ivies in 2011. Sacred Heart was responsible for two of the NEC’s win over Ivy League members last year as the Pioneers topped both Dartmouth and Columbia.
Dukes, Blue Devils Meet Off Bye Week:
Duquesne and Central Connecticut were both idle in Week 6, and the two will resume their seasons against each other in Week 7. New Britain’s Arute Field will provide the backdrop for the October 13 meeting. The Dukes will look to remain unbeaten in NEC play when they visit the Blue Devils, a team still looking to break into the win column. Dating back to last season’s NEC co-championship run, Duquesne has won seven league games in a row. Meanwhile, Central Connecticut will be hoping history remains on its side come Saturday. The Blue Devils are 4-1 all-time against Duquesne, including a perfect 3-0 at Arute Field. Central has not lost (5-0) coming off a bye week during head coach Jeff McInerney’s tenure.
Wagner held Sacred Heart to its lowest point total in over two years. The Pioneers’ three points in Week 6 were the fewest they’ve scored since suffering a shutout at Saint Francis (PA) on Sept. 18, 2010. … Albany is 5-0 this season when recording an interception. The Danes have a total of eight interceptions over the season’s first six games and three of them have come courtesy of Justinian Mason. … Bryant’s preseason all-NEC receiver Jordan Harris has caught at least on touchdown pass in each of his past three games. … Albany has the top-ranked scoring offense in the NEC and is in the midst of quite a run. The Great Danes have scored 24 or more points in 19 of their last 21 games, owning a 16-5 record during that span. … Sacred Heart’s home loss to Wagner napped a trend in the all-time series that saw the home team win each year dating back to 2002. The last Wagner win in Fairfield came in the first-ever meeting in 1998. … Sacred heart linebacker Justin Sexton posted a double-digit tackle total for the third time this season, making 13 stops against Wagner. … Duquesne will enter Saturday’s game at Central Connecticut State looking to extend a four-game win streak. The Dukes have trailed in the fourth quarter of three of the four victories.
? Nick Doscher, QB (Wagner)
The mobile signal caller netted 53 yards on the ground in Week 6. The total was enough to push Doscher onto the Seahawks’ Top-10 all-time rushing list. His 1,945 career yards place him in 10th place and he needs 29 yards to move into ninth place. Doscher is ranked No. 1 on the Seahawk all-time list in total offense (6,935), No. 2 in passing yards (4,990), No. 2 in completions (374) and No. 4 in touchdown passes (34).
? Ryan Kirchner, WR (Albany)
The senior pass-catcher needed only five, and he finished with seven. Kirchner’s seven catches at Bryant allowed him to move past former teammate Tim Bush (147) for Albany’s all-time lead in receptions. Kirchner now has 149 career catches.
? Drew Smith, RB (Albany)
The senior tailback accounted for 100-plus all-purpose yards for 23rd time in his career this past week. One more 100-plus game and Smith will tie David McCarty’s record of 24 in a career. The senior also currently ranks fourth all-time at UAlbany for rushing yards (2,800 yards). He needs 158 yards to move into third.
? Jordan Harris (Bryant)
The third-year Bulldog was already the all-time leading receiver in Bryant’s history heading into Week 6. With his 12-yard scoring play, Harris inched closer to Bryant’s all-time mark in TD receptions. Harris has 17, two behind former all-NEC tight end Matt Tracey’s record.
? Larry McCoy (Duquesne)
The senior running back (4,099 yards) needs 162 yards to pass Donte Small and become DU’s all-time leading rusher. He is one of just six NCAA players (all levels) with over 4,000 career rushing yards. Only one player in college football (all levels) has carried the ball more than McCoy (829 entering Week 7).
? Walt Hameline, Head Coach (Wagner)
“The most important thing is we’re playing hard. You can have all the schemes in the world and if you don’t play hard, you’re probably not going to win. “
- on his team’s three-game win streak
? Chris Villarrial, Head Coach (Saint Francis)
“I am very proud of this team, the heart they showed and the way they kept battling all afternoon. This was a very hard nose game and our players did a great job staying in this game and making huge plays in key situations.”
- on his team’s 10-3 win over Robert Morris
? Ryan Kirchner, Receiver (Albany)
“Tim’s a good friend of mine. To be up there with him is an absolute honor. I’m proud of it, but we still have some business to take care of. We’ve got to get another ring here.”
- on breaking Tim Bush’s program record for career receptions
? Justinian Mason, Safety (Albany)
“I haven’t beaten Bryant since I’ve been here, and it’s just a great feeling getting them, finally.”
- on Albany’s Week 6 win over Bryant, the lone NEC team to beat UA in 2011.
? @whitty2486 (Albany fan)
Watching @UAlbanyFootball football on ESPN 3. Go Danes you look strong! :) #purplefam #necfb
? @RochelleDMarch (Saint Francis fan)
Touchdown SFU!!! Congrats to @AyyYoAbeid on his first touchdown