Afternoon Assessment – Reviewing the State of NEC Football Following Week 8

What to Take Away from the Weekend
Wagner’s good fortunes continued in Week 8 with the Seahawks posting a 31-24 road win over Saint Francis (PA). 

The team’s fourth consecutive Northeast Conference win means Albany, which was idle this past weekend, has some company in the title race.  Although the Great Danes (4-1) are the lone remaining NEC unbeaten, the Seahawks (4-1) are only one-half game off that pace and will get a shot to go toe-to-toe with Albany on November 3.

First, though, both Albany and Wagner will host Week 9 NEC matchups.

With Wagner’s surge and Albany making good on its preseason favorite nod thus far, the two teams leading the race for the NEC title happen to be two of the winningest active coaches in all of Division I football.  Wagner’s Walt Hameline has 209 wins to his credit, ranking him eighth amongst active FCS coaches.

Meanwhile, Bob Ford IS THE winningest active coach in all of Division I (FBS & FCS). The “Architect of UAlbany Football” has 261 career victories.

Oh, and don’t forget about Duquesne. Jerry Schmitt’s Dukes (3-1) were NEC co-champs last year and have rebounded from their first league loss by topping Sacred Heart at home.  They face Albany and Wagner in Weeks 11 and 12, respectively.

Game Balls
Rob Hollomon
When we first saw his stat line, we thought it was a misprint, but the CCSU sports information department confirmed that what we were looking at was real.  Hollomon compiled 377 yards of all-purpose running in Central Connecticut’s 37-31 setback at Robert Morris.  The sophomore running back, who transferred to CCSU from FBS member Kent State, totaled 208 yards rushing, 56 yards receiving and another 113 yards on kick returns.  Hollomon’s 208-yard rushing day was the first in a NEC contest this season.  His 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was one yard shy of the NEC’s longest ever.  Oh, and that insane APY total is the highest in a NEC game since former Blue Devil Cory Harge went for 340 in 2004.

Jordan Brown
With Bryant dropping the first six games of the 2012 schedule, the season did not start as Jordan Brown and Co. would have liked. Instead of packing it in, however, Brown and his teammates have done the opposite, playing some of their best football of late.  Brown has his best day of the fall by running for 152 yards and two scores, including the game-winner, at Monmouth.  He has eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in four of the last five games and his team has won two in a row.

Dorian Bell
In addition to filling up the defensive stat sheet, the Duquesne linebacker spent much of the day making impact plays.  Bell, who is earning an Overtime! Game Ball for the second time this season, played like a man possessed.  He sacked the Sacred Heart quarterback FOUR TIMES, picked off a pass and forced a fumble.  Had he not received a Game Ball for such a performance, it would be criminal.

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Photo courtesy of Duquesne Athletics Communications

Pigskin Tweets of the Week

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And she certainly picked a good one to make her first. 68 points scored and a win for Robert Morris.  We are thinking she will be back at Joe Walton Stadium when the Colonials host Steel City rival Duquesne on November 3.

 

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Wagner’s senior quarterback isn’t shy to rally his troops using Twitter.

 

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This alumnus feels like many of us do. Who doesn’t wish they could go back to their college years?

 

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Even on his bye week, this all-NEC receiver (Albany’s Ryan Kirchner) is studying the game of football and wondering What Would Ford Do?

 

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This Duquesne receiver is happy his team bounced back from a loss at Central Connecticut by treating the Rooney Field crowd to a win over Sacred Heart.  At 3-1, the Dukes, last year’s co-champs, have their sights on another conference crown.

 

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Just another case of Wagner’s athletics communications staff making fans happy.

 

Three Points of Prep for the Week Ahead
Pivotal Matchup in Pittsburgh:  Host Duquesne is looking to stay within arm’s length of first-place Albany, while visiting Monmouth is looking to stay alive.  The Hawks were stunned at home by Bryant in Week 8 and are 2-2 in league play as a result.  Never has a team even with three league losses even tied for the NEC crown.

A lot of Line on Staten Island:  Wagner will welcome Robert Morris to Hameline Field in hopes of notching the program’s first-ever five-game Northeast Conference win streak.  More importantly, if the Seahawks can avoid tripping up in this one, they will have a chance to play for first place come Week 10.

Harris’ Chase on Hold: With Bryant on its bye week, Jordan Harris’ climb up the Northeast Conference’s career receiving yards list is on hold.  The 5-foot-11 Harris (2,270) moved into seventh place on the NEC all-time receiving yards list in Bryant’s win at Monmouth.  He can move into sixth place by gaining 35 more yards. Already his program’s career record holder for receiving yards, he needs just one more receptions to become the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in that category.

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