Bidding Goodbye to the 18th Season of #NECFB

Safety Gordon Hill was somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike when Week 13 kicked off. Assistant coach Justin Embler had his feet up in front of a TV.

Seven days after clinching their first NEC title since 2001 and the program’s first-ever bid to the FCS Playoffs, Sacred Heart finally had a Saturday off.  They played 12 weeks in a row from their August 31 opener at Marist to their November 16 win at Robert Morris.

With a Week 13 bye built into their schedule, the Pioneers could sit back and rest before the 24-team postseason championship bracket is unveiled on Sunday, November 24 at 11:30 am EST on ESPNU.

Meanwhile, NEC co-champion Duquesne was busy tying a bow on its 2013 season down at the Jersey Shore. The Dukes, who clinched their second shared title in the last three years when they beat Central Connecticut in Week 12, sent their senior class off in style with a 33-23 road win over FCS independent Monmouth.

Duquesne quarterback Dillon Buechel, a finalist for the Sports Network’s Jerry Rice award, went 14-for-27 passing for 223 yards and three scores. He hit senior Ethan Dorsey for a 5-yard touchdown that broke a 23-23 tie 1:41 into the fourth quarter.

Dukes’ linebacker Christian Kuntz played like a man possessed, making 4.5 tackles for loss while harassing Monmouth quarterback Brandon Hill all afternoon. Kuntz and Rick Piekarski totaled 10 tackles apiece for Duquesne, which finishes with a 7-4 mark.

Bryant snapped a three-game slide and closed out 2013 with a 29-16 win over Central Connecticut. Michael Perry ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs. With four catches for 48 yards in the finale, Bryant’s Jordan Harris went over the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season and set the NEC’s all-time receiving yards record at 3,735 yards. The multi-talented Harris was also on the passing end of a successful two-point conversion play.

CCSU’s Rob Hollomon, who has been amongst the top-five all-purpose runners in FCS all season long, totaled 155 all-purpose yards, including 109 rush yards, in the 29-16 setback to Bryant.

Prior to 2012 Saint Francis had never won more than four games in a season at the FCS level. For the second year in a row, the Red Flash finish with five wins. With Walter Payton Award hopeful Kyle Harbridge leading the way, Saint Francis handled Robert Morris, 23-3, at the Pine Bowl.  The SFU victory denied Robert Morris a share of the NEC crown.

Closing out his career as the program’s leading rusher, Harbridge totaled 153 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. He ran for 110 yards and picked up another 43 catching the ball out of the backfield.

Wagner was idle in Week 13, having closed out the season last Saturday with a 10-7 win over Saint Francis. Seahawks’ running back Dominique Williams and kicker David Lopez both achieved mega milestones this season. Williams went over the 4,000-yard rushing mark and leaves as the fourth-leading rusher in NEC history (4,435).

Week 13 Fan Poll

Week 13 Postgame Tweet Sheet

#NECFB Headlines

In the FCS HuddleThe Sports Network (Craig Haley)

Despite loss, Walton exits a champColonialsCorner.com (Andrew Chiappazzi)

Duquesne outlasts MonmouthYahoo! Sports (AP)

Saint Francis shuts down Robert MorrisYahoo! Sports (AP)

RMU can’t finish strong against SFURivals.com (Andrew Chiappazzi)

Late turnover costs CCSU football big in season finaleNew Britain Herald (Matt Straub)

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