NEC Offensive Player of the Week
KYLE FRAZIER, MONMOUTH
5-Sr., QB, 6-3, 225 lbs., Gaithersburg, MD/Damascus
Frazier engineered a game-opening touchdown drive and proceeded to lead Monmouth to a wire-to-wire victory over CAA member Rhode Island. Helping the Hawks to their second win over a CAA foe in as many seasons, Frazier produced 321 yards of total offense. The 6-foot-3 veteran quarterback went 18-of-28 passing for 264 yards and three touchdowns. Frazier added 57 yards on seven rushing attempts, four of which resulted in at least a 10-yard gain and a first down. The fifth-year senior capped the opening 13-play, 85-yard drive by finding KB Asante for an eight-yard scoring strike. With the Hawks holding a 17-3 lead in the second quarter, Frazier struck again. He found tight end Michael McLafferty for a 25-yard touchdown pass.
NEC Defensive Player of the Week
BISHOP NEAL, SAINT FRANCIS (PA)
So., LB, 5-11, 191 lbs., Clairton, PA/Clairton
Neal and the Red Flash defense bottled up Bryant in their season opener, a 39-28 win at home. The sophomore linebacker recorded an interception, a pass break-up, and a team-high 13 tackles, including a tackle for a loss that gave Saint Francis its first lead of the contest. Neal made his most-impactful play of the game in the second quarter with Bryant backed up in its own end. On a 3rd-and-22 screen pass play, Neal dropped All-American running back Jordan Brown in the end zone for a safety that gave Saint Francis a 15-14 advantage. Helping limit the Bulldogs to 272 yards of total offense, the Pennsylvania product also limited Brown to no more than a one-yard gain on two other occasions.
NEC Special Teams Player of the Week
GRANT PRICE, SAINT FRANCIS (PA)
So., P, 6-0, 220 lbs., Fort Wayne, IN/Carroll
Price’s punting allowed Saint Francis to win the field position battle in its NEC opener against Bryant. The sophomore placed four of his five punts inside of the opponent’s 20-yard line in the 39-28 victory. Price’s five punts went for a total of 209 yards, a 41.8 yards per kick average. With Saint Francis protecting a 25-21 lead late in the third quarter, Price booted a ball that was downed at Bryant’s 2-yard line. Hampered by the field position, the Bulldogs went three-and-out and watched the Flash take advantage of a short field by extending the lead to 32-21 on the ensuing possession.
NEC Rookie of the Week
KHAIRI DICKSON, SAINT FRANCIS (PA)
Fr., RB, 6-0, 182 lbs., Cleveland, OH/Cleveland Central Catholic
Saint Francis (PA) was missing veteran running back Kyle Harbridge, but still managed to compile over 300 yards of rushing offense in its NEC victory over Bryant thanks to Dickson. The freshman ran for 148 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries in the Red Flash’s triumphant home opener. Dickson, who also made two receptions for 22 yards, totaled 170 yards from scrimmage in the 39-28 win over a Bryant team that was 4-0 all-time against the Flash. Dickson gave Saint Francis the lead for good late in the third quarter when he plunged into the end zone from two yards out. The TD run came three plays after Dickson carried the Flash into the red zone with a 29-yard jaunt.
Top Performers of Week
? Cole King (Albany)
The sophomore receiver averaged 24.8 yards per reception against NEC foe Robert Morris. King, whose father Emmanuel is a former NFL draft pick, made five catches for 124 yards and three scores.
? Larry McCoy (Duquesne)
The running back reached the 100-yard rushing mark for the 20th time in his career by compiling 124 yards on 27 carries against Dayton.
? Kyle Frazier (Monmouth)
The veteran signal caller effectively managed a 41-6 win over a CAA opponent, totaling 321 yards of offense and throwing three TD passes.
? Patrick O’Connor (Wagner)
O’Connor followed up a standout effort at FAU by turning in 13 tackles and three pass break-ups at Georgetown.
? Serge Kona (Duquesne)
The All-American safety made nine stops and an interception in a 17-7 win.
? Khairi Dickson (Saint Francis)
The Flash lost all-NEC running back Kyle Harbridge for the season, but Dickson stepped up and ran for 149 yards on 21 carries in Week 2.
? Bishop Neal (Saint Francis)
He recorded 13 tackles, an interception, and a safety on his way to winning The Sports Network’s National Defensive Player of the Week honor.
ALBANY AND SAINT FRANCIS (PA) OPEN NORTHEAST CONFERENCE PLAY THE RIGHT WAY
Albany and Saint Francis (PA) have struck first.
Both teams enjoyed triumphant Northeast Conference openers in Week 2 and sit atop the league standings as a result.
Attempting to make good on the NEC coaches’ prediction, preseason favorite Albany followed up its Week 1 win over Patriot League member Colgate by running past Robert Morris in its first conference contest since a 31-21 win over Sacred Heart last Nov. 19.
“Total team effort and at times a dominating performance today,” said head coach Bob Ford on the win.
While Albany was tabbed first in the preseason coaches’ poll, Saint Francis (PA) was last in the predicted order-of-finish. Defying those rankings, the Red Flash posted a double-digit victory over NEC rival Bryant in their home opener.
“It feels great,” said Saint Francis head coach Chris Villarrial after his third straight triumphant home opener. “It was the first time we have defeated Bryant. We’re fortunate that we pulled it out.”
The Flash have already matched their 2011 total for league wins as their lone victory last year came at home against Central Connecticut on Oct. 29.
After no conference contests in Week 1 and just a pair on the Week 2 docket, five NEC teams have yet to lift the lid off of their league schedules.
Two of those five teams will dive into NEC action in Week 3 as Monmouth and Wagner are set to clash in the Outer Bridge Rivalry Game on Staten Island.
The first full slate of Northeast Conference action won’t arrive until Week 5.
Monmouth Wins 2nd Straight vs. CAA: Monmouth went the entire 2010 season without winning a non-league game, but that was not the case in 2011 and it will not be the case again in 2012. By breezing past CAA opponent Rhode Island on Sept. 8, Monmouth defeated a member of the nation’s FCS power conference for the second consecutive season. The 41-6 victory over URI came almost one full calendar year after the Hawks topped CAA member Villanova on the road. Monmouth’s 20-9 win over Villanova on Sept. 17, 2011 came only two seasons after the Wildcats won the FCS national title. The Hawks, who took No. 16 Lehigh down to the wire in the 2012 season opener, have one non-league game remaining on this season’s slate. Monmouth will play three consecutive league games before its non-conference finale at Ivy League member Cornell on Oct. 13.
Dukes Back on Track: Not allowing any negative effects from their season-opening setback to linger, Duquesne opened its home schedule by coming from behind to defeat perennial Pioneer League power Dayton. The Dukes suffered a 57-23 loss to No. 6 Old Dominion in Week 1, but rebounded by continuing its recent command of Dayton. Duquesne has faced Dayton during each of the five seasons it has been a NEC member and has won four of those five meetings. Duquesne will look to make it back-to-back victories over Pioneer League members when its visit Valparaiso for a Week 3 bout on Sept. 15. The Dukes, who shared the 2011 NEC crown with Albany, are done with non-league play after Week 3 and open their NEC slate on Sept. 22 at Bryant.
Monmouth’s Defense Dominates: As good as Monmouth’s offense was against Rhode Island, it may be easy for one to overlook the effort of the Hawks’ defense. Monmouth bogged down URI’s attack throughout the 41-6 victory, allowing only 197 yards of offense. Rhode Island, which managed only 49 yards on the ground against the Hawks, converted only 1 of 10 third-down opportunities. Monmouth’s defense undoubtedly received a lift from the return of defensive back Elijah Phillips. In his first game action since Week 3 of the 2011 season, Phillips made six stops and forced a key fumble.
Performance Fit for a King: Albany quarterback Will Fiacchi threw three touchdown passes in the Great Danes’ 35-10 NEC victory over Robert Morris and all three went to sophomore receiver Cole King. The dynamic pass-catcher hauled in scoring strikes of 40, 9, and 41 yards. King totaled 124 yards on five receptions in what was a breakout performance for the sophomore who showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie in 2011. Averaging 18.8 yards per catch, King made 31 receptions for 582 yards and six scores during the Danes’ championship run of a year ago.
Crawford’s Comeback: David Crawford was a preseason all-NEC selection heading into the 2011 campaign before an injury derailed his season in Week 3. After months of rehabilitation, Crawford is back on the field for Wagner as a fifth-year senior in 2012 and has performed rather admirably thus far. The 6-foot-4 target made six catches for 72 yards in the Seahawks’ last-minute loss at Georgetown on Sept. 8. That performance followed up a three-catch effort in the season opener at FBS member Florida Atlantic.
Danes’ Defense Strong in NEC Opener: Albany’s relentless pursuit of the quarterback resulted in five sacks and two interceptions for its defense this past Saturday. The Great Danes held Robert Morris to 10 points and 208 yards of total offense in what was the Northeast Conference opener for both sides. Robert Morris quarterback Matt Layman went 12-for-25 passing for 121 yards against the defending NEC champion Danes and had to withstand pressure almost all afternoon. Defensive lineman Michael Smith sacked Layman for a 13-yard loss, the largest of the day, on a 3rd-and-7 play during the Colonials’ first possession of the fourth quarter. Cornerback Randall Exantus, who finished with four tackles and a pass break-up, joined in on the sack attack as well as he dropped Layman for an 11-yard loss late in the first half. Although they won handily, the Great Danes did not record a sack in their Week 1 win over Patriot League member Colgate.
McClary Makes a Difference: He is only a rookie and is not a starter, but neither of those two factors prevented Albany cornerback JoJo McClary for making an impact during the NEC opener at Robert Morris. McClary made four tackles, including one for a loss, to go along with an interception and pass break-up in the 35-10 triumph.
All-NEC Cornerback Has Big Day in Defeat: Bryant cornerback Jeremy Woodson made a pair of spectacular plays in the first half of the Bulldogs’ setback at Saint Francis (PA). First, with the Bulldogs trailing7-0, the preseason all-NEC defensive back scooped up a fumbled and returned it 95 yards for the game-tying touchdown only 5:02 into the contest. After recording the longest fumble return in program history, Woodson was not done. With Bryant trailing 15-14 in the second quarter, he picked off a pass and returned it 57 yards to Saint Francis’ 22-yard line. The turnover set up a Bryant touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a 21-15 lead with 5:15 to go before the break.
Williams’ Century Streak Stops at Five: Running back Dominique Williams was in search of a sixth straight 100-yard rushing day heading into Wagner’s date with Georgetown. Held in check by the Hoyas’ defense, the veteran ball carrier managed only 66 yards on 22 attempts in a 13-10 setback to the Patriot League member. Williams, who ran for 117 yards against FBS member Florida Atlantic during Week 1, had reached the century mark in five consecutive contests, and nine of his last 12 games, heading into this past weekend.
The Rooney Field Advantage: Duquesne came alive in the fourth quarter against Dayton and kept its home win streak alive as a result. The Dukes’ 17-7 win over the Flyers was the eight consecutive home win for Jerry Schmitt’s team. Duquesne’s eight-game home win streak is its longest since the Dukes won a program-record 16 in a row from 2002 into 2004. Schmitt is now 12-2 in non-conference home games.
More Tough Sledding Ahead: To say there are no “cupcakes” on Central Connecticut’s non-conference schedule could be an understatement. The Blue Devils opened the 2012 season against defending Big South champion Stony Brook, which was ranked 17th nationally at the time. In Week 2, Central opened its home schedule against No. 16 Lehigh, which is gunning for its third straight Patriot League title this season. Week 3 will pit CCSU against a Top 25 opponent once again as the Blue Devils travel to No. 18 New Hampshire on Sept. 15.
? Nick Doscher, QB (Wagner)
Every time Doscher gains a yard running or passing, he adds to his Wagner all-time total offensive yardage mark which, following the Georgetown game, stands at 6,248.
? Jordan Harris, WR (Bryant)
Harris, whose lone catch against Saint Francis (PA) went for 32 yards and a touchdown, has 1,575 receiving yards in his career. He needs just 76 yards to become Bryant’s all-time leader in career receiving yards.
? Jordan Brown, RB (Bryant)
Jordan Brown is just 92 yards away from becoming Bryant’s all-time rushing leader. He has racked up 3,430 yards in his career.
? Kyle Frazier, QB (Monmouth)
With his second-quarter TD pass vs. URI, Frazier moved into sole possession of third place all-time in touchdown passes at Monmouth.
? Eric Spillane, PK (Monmouth)
Spillane, who now has 148 career points, moved up three spots to sixth all-time in scoring at Monmouth during the Hawks’ Week 2 win.
? Jeff McInerney, Head Coach (Central Connecticut)
“We had some moments. We just couldn’t get anything going in the first half offensively that was consistent. We’re young. I have to build their confidence up and create some energy. It’s easier said than done, but I think we have some things to work off that were positive today.”
- following CCSU’s 35-14 loss to No. 16 Lehigh
? Bob Ford, Head Coach (Albany)
“I like this group a lot and have bought into them from day one this season on how good we can be. At times, I saw that we really were dominating both sides of the ball.”
- on UAlbany’s effort in the NEC opener
? Cole King, Wide Receiver (Albany)
“The chemistry between myself and Will (Fiacchi) have been going on for the last four years. The second touchdown pass was a ‘the perfect throw’ by Fiacchi, which was placed where only I could have caught it between the two defenders.”
- on his relationship with QB Will Fiacchi which started when they both play high school ball in New York State’s Section 3.
? Kyle Frazier, Quarterback (Monmouth)
“The o-line played really well today, they all got settled in after the first quarter of last week. We wouldn’t be able to do anything without those guys. All of them played really hard, they were really just ready to go. It’s cool to see them excited when we’re scoring too because then we know everyone is clicking and we are all on the same page.”
- following a 41-6 win over URI.