Author Archives: Ralph S. Ventre

CCSU Celebrates Triumph on Special Day at Arute Field

Mike Mushaw’s selfless act saved a baby girl’s life.

Prior to Central Connecticut’s NEC football home game on November 9, Mushaw had the opportunity to meet that child face to face for the first time.

Accompanied by her family, young Eleanor joined Mushaw for the game’s opening coin toss.

A little more than two years ago, Mushaw entered a bone marrow donor registry and submitted a DNA sample through the “Be The Match” program. After discovering he was a perfect match with someone in need, Mushaw donated marrow in July 2018.

More than one year later, the recipient of that donation is doing well and has become a loyal supporter of CCSU football.

With the recipient and her family in attendance at Arute Field, Mushaw, fittingly, tackled SFU quarterback Jason Brown on the last play of overtime for a victory-clinching sack.

Hartford Courant columnist Mike Anthony recently provided an inspiring recount of the entire story that you can read here — Central Connecticut football celebrates life of young girl that junior linebacker Mike Mushaw saved by becoming a donor 📰




#NECWBB: Warriors Prove More Than Ready for Division I Debut

Denia Davis-Stewart


Welcome to NCAA Division I basketball, Denia Davis-Stewart.

In Merrimack’s inaugural Division I game, the senior forward victimized Atlantic 10 member UMass with a triple-double.

Davis-Stewart poured in a game-high 31 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 12 blocks in a 79-64 road win.

The versatile post player, who was dominant on the defensive end, put her long-range shooting ability on display at UMass’ Mullins Center. Davis-Stewart, who went a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe, sank 4 of 6 three-point attempts.

The senior’s performance was only the 14th triple-double ever recorded by a NEC athlete and it marked only the third time that a double-digit blocks total was part of the equation.

Merrimack sophomore Kate Mager also accounted for a memorable season debut. The sophomore guard shot 67 percent from downtown en-route to 22 points (no UMass player scored more than 17).

As a team, Merrimack shot 48.3 percent from the field while limiting the opponent to a measly 33.8 percent success rate.

It was already bound to be an historic night with Merrimack, which competed in the Division II NE-10 Conference last season, tipping off the four-year NCAA Division I reclassification process. Davis-Stewart, Mager and the Warriors simply made it that much more memorable.



Student-Athlete Attendees Announced for 8th Annual #NECINNYC Social Media Day


They will be the featured guests for the eighth annual Northeast Conference Basketball Social Media Day at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, October 23.

They are student-athlete representatives from each of the NEC’s 22 men’s and women’s basketball teams. 

In addition to the traditional on-camera interviews and media greetings, the NEC basketball student-athletes will compete in an #ALLINBALLOUT arcade-style hoops shootout with the semifinals and finals airing on Instagram Live (@NECSports).

Fans will hear from head coaches and players from all 22 teams during the on-air portion of Wednesday’s program, which will be carried live by NEC Front Row and ESPN3 beginning at 11:00 am ET.


#NECWBB Attendees

Bryant: Sydney Holloway

CCSU: Ashley Berube

Fairleigh Dickinson: Lauren Francillon

LIU: Ryan Weise

Merrimack: Denia Davis-Stewart

Mount St. Mary’s: Rebecca Lee

Robert Morris: Nneka Ezeigbo

Sacred Heart: Adrianne Hagood

St. Francis Brooklyn: Jade Johnson

Saint Francis U: Haley Thomas

Wagner: Morgan Lenahan


#NECMBB Attendees

Bryant: Juan Cardenas

CCSU: Jamir Coleman

Fairleigh Dickinson: Kaleb Bishop

LIU: Julian Batts

Merrimack: Juvaris Hayes

Mount St. Mary’s: Vado Morse

Robert Morris: Josh Williams

Sacred Heart: E.J. Anosike

St. Francis Brooklyn: Chauncey Hawkins

Saint Francis U: Keith Braxton

Wagner: Nigel Jackson


Blue Devils Rising; Mack Kicker Snags National Honor

Central Connecticut cracked the STATS FCS Top 25 for the first time since 2006 and the Blue Devils did not falter in their first game since earning the ranking.

CCSU jumped out to a 21-0 lead and rolled to a 52-14 win over NEC rival Bryant while piling up 555 yards in the process. The impressive performance resonated with STATS poll voters, allowing the Blue Devils to move up two spots from their initial No. 25 ranking.

CCSU, which was the top “receiving votes” team last week, also broke into the AFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll this week. Central made its debut at No. 24.

Central Connecticut became the first NEC program to occupy spots in both major polls simultaneously since Duquesne achieved the feat following the conclusion of the 2018 season. The Dukes were ranked No. 21 in the STATS Poll and No. 24 in the AFCA Top 25.

Meanwhile, CCSU quarterback Aaron Winchester picked up the NEC Offensive Player of the Week honor for the third week in a row. He is the first athlete to win three straight NEC OPOTW honors since Albany running back David McCarthy in 2007.

Winchester was also a candidate for the STATS National Offensive Player of the Week Award, proceeding to earn “Honorable Mention” status from the newswire/analytics organization.


When it comes to Merrimack’s Corey Resendes, however, the veteran placekicker (and punter) claimed sole possession of the STATS National Special Teams Player of the Week award.

Resendes scored the last nine points in Merrimack’s 30-21 road win over MEAC member Delaware State – the Warriors’ first win over a DI FCS opponent since kicking off their NCAA reclassification from Division II.

Resendes is the second NEC athlete to win the STATS Special Teams honor this season. CCSU placekicker Francis Cole earned the spotlight for his game-winning field goal in a Week 2 win over Merrimack.






Forks Up! CCSU Blue Devils Earn Top-25 Status


Central Connecticut has cracked the STATS FCS Top 25.

Following their fourth road win over a FCS team, the CCSU Blue Devils popped into the No. 25 slot in the latest edition of the weekly national poll. They are the first NEC team to achieve top-25 status since Duquesne earned the No. 21 ranking on last season’s final list.

Central Connecticut’s lone loss of the season came in the final seconds at FBS member Eastern Michigan. Since the heart-breaking defeat due to a blocked punt, CCSU has gone on to post double-digit wins over Nutmeg State rival Sacred Heart and Ivy League member Columbia.

After opening the season with five of their first six games on the road, the Blue Devils will play back-to-back league games at Arute Field beginning with a visit from Bryant in Week 8.

CCSU, which scores a league-leading 32.5 points per contest, averages 6.96 yards per offensive snap – the eighth-highest mark in the FCS. The Blue Devils’ defense has intercepted 11 passes through six games – tied for second most in the nation.






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