Preseason #NECFB Cheat Sheet

The 14 student-athlete representatives pose for a photo in MetLife Stadium during 2017 #NECFB Social Media Day.


Here’s a quick reference sheet to prepare you for the 22nd season of Northeast Conference Football…


Preseason Rankings

Team (Head Coach)

1 – DUQUESNE (Jerry Schmitt)

2 – SAINT FRANCIS (Chris Villarrial)

3 – WAGNER (Jason Houghtaling)

4 – CENTRAL CONNECTICUT (Pete Rossomando)

5 – SACRED HEART (Mark Nofri)

6 – BRYANT (James Perry)

7 – ROBERT MORRIS (John Banaszak)



WEEK 1 Schedule

Thursday, Aug. 31

Saint Anselm at WAGNER, 6:00 pm

DUQUESNE at South Dakota State, 7:00 pm*


Friday, Sept. 1

CENTRAL CONNECTICUT at Syracuse, 7:00 pm


Saturday, Sept. 2

Lock Haven at SAINT FRANCIS, 12:00 pm

Dayton at ROBERT MORRIS, 12:00 pm

Merrimack at BRYANT, 3:00 pm

Stetson at SACRED HEART, 6:00 pm



The #NECFB Trophy Ledger

School: Number of Titles (Most recent)



DUQUESNE: 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 (2016)

ROBERT MORRIS: 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 (2010)

SACRED HEART: 🏆 🏆 🏆 (2014)


WAGNER: 🏆 🏆 (2014)




Kamron Lewis (Saint Francis), WR

Associated Press, Second Team (2016); STATS, Third Team (2016)


Ben Huss (Duquesne), OL

STATS, Third Team (2016)


Jevon Elmore (CCSU), CB

STATS, Third Team (2015)



Saint Francis junior Kamron Lewis ended the 2016 regular season as the FCS national leader in receiving yards. With his 129-yard playoff performance against Villanova factored in, Lewis set a NEC single-season record (1,478 yards).

Duquesne sophomore AJ Hines is coming off a rookie campaign that saw him led the NEC in rushing and win the STATS Jerry Rice Award, which goes annually to the top freshman in the FCS.

Bryant senior Matt Sewall ranked third amongst FCS national leaders in kick return average (28.9 ypr) while Wagner senior John Williams was third in yards per reception (21.24 ypr) for the 2016 regular season.




Name (NEC School) – Current NFL Club (Year as a Pro)

Julian Stanford (Wagner) – New York Jets (5th)

Marcelis Branch (Robert Morris) – Atlanta Falcons (R)

Larson Graham (Duquesne) – Atlanta Falcons (R)

Najee Harris (Wagner) – Oakland Raiders (R)

Lorenzo Jerome (Saint Francis) – San Francisco 49ers (R)




Two NEC programs will face teams from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2017.

CENTRAL CONNECTICUT at Syracuse (ACC) – Week 1 (Sept. 1)

WAGNER at Western Michigan (MAC) – Week 4 (Sept. 23)



2017 NEC Football on ESPN3 Schedule

Sept. 9 – Wagner at Saint Francis U – 12 pm

Sept. 30 – CCSU at Sacred Heart – 5 pm

Oct. 14 – Duquesne at Robert Morris – 6 pm

Oct. 21 – Saint Francis U at Duquesne – 12 pm

Oct. 28 – Bryant at Wagner – 12 pm

Nov. 4 – Sacred Heart at Bryant – 12 pm

Nov. 11 – Wildcard – 12 pm

Nov. 18 – Wildcard – 12 pm

Preseason Glance at 2017 #NECFB Race

Chris Villarrial’s Red Flash have earned the program’s highest-ever preseason NEC ranking.

The Northeast Conference football coaches have spoken through their annual poll and three teams received at least one first-place vote.

On paper, the battle for the 2017 #NECFB crown looks as competitive as it has at any other instance during the conference’s 22-year history of football. There’s bound to be a surprise, or two, along the way as well.

Here’s a quick team-by-team primer listed in the order of the preseason coaches’ poll results…

  1. DUQUESNE – Pegged for a first-place finish for the second year in a row, the Dukes return six all-league players from a team that won eight games, including a 5-1 mark against conference foes, in 2016. Although Dillon Buechel, the NEC’s all-time leading passer, has graduated, AJ Hines is back to lead a running game that ranked second in the conference last fall.
  2. SAINT FRANCIS – Fresh off its first-ever NEC crown and subsequent FCS playoff appearance, the Red Flash earned the program’s highest-ever preseason ranking. All-American receiver Kamron Lewis may face his toughest competition in practice when he goes up against a battle-tested secondary that features Malik Duncan, Delondo Boyd and Jalen Wells.
  3. WAGNER – The Seahawks’ stock is on the rise following a strong finish in 2016. Senior quarterback Alex Thomson has a pair of big-play weapons in receiver John Williams (21.1 yards per catch) and running back Denzel Knight (6.5 yards per carry).
  4. CENTRAL CONNECTICUT – Entering his third season as the starter, quarterback Jacob Dolegala led the conference’s top-ranked pass offense last fall. Linebacker Randall Laguerre, the NEC’s leading tackler one year ago, and cornerback Jevon Elmore, a 2015 All-American, give the defense a solid foundation.
  5. SACRED HEART – For the first time since 2012, the Pioneers will have a new starting quarterback as they take aim at a fifth consecutive winning season. Edge rusher Dylan Ackerson and linebacker Kevin Barry anchor a defensive unit that ranked first amongst NEC leaders against the run.
  6. BRYANT – James Perry returns to the Ocean State for his first season as the Bulldogs’ head coach. The former Brown quarterback promises to bring a fast-paced playing style to Smithfield.
  7. ROBERT MORRIS — A coaching staff featuring three NFL alumni will attempt to spark a revolution in Moon Township. Although its offense was decimated by injury last fall, RMU saw flashes of brilliance from its defense with promising young linebacker Gee Stanley tallying 8.5 sacks.

Saint Francis and Duquesne Have FCS Preseason All-America Representation

The NEC’s Keystone State contingent is home to the league’s two STATS FCS Preseason All-Americans.

STATS Inc, a leader in Division I FCS coverage, unveiled its three 2017 Preseason All-America Teams on July 31. Saint Francis’ junior wide receiver Kamron Lewis and Duquesne’s senior offensive guard Ben Huss occupied spots on the Second team Offense.

Both athletes earned All-America Third Team status at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign.

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Twenty-Seven Players Tabbed Preseason All-NEC; Duquesne Pegged as ‘Team to Beat’

The two teams that shared the 2016 Northeast Conference football crown were the top-two vote getters in the league’s preseason predicted order-of-finish.

Duquesne earned the No. 1 Preseason Ranking for the second straight summer, while Saint Francis U, which earned the NEC’s automatic FCS Playoffs bid last fall, was the runner-up in the poll of the conference’s head coaches.

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