Peters’s Preseason Takes: Thoughts and Reflections from NEC 🏀 Social Media Day

NEC Media Day at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019.

Eight years. I’ve been coming to this event at the Barclay’s Center for eight years. A lot in the NEC has happened since then with 19 different head coaches passing through representing 13 teams. There have been six programs that were NEC regular season champions with four of those programs going on to represent the league in the NCAA tournament over that time span.

NEC Social Media Day at the Barclay’s has gone on so long that the first event in 2012 took place before the Brooklyn Nets ever played a regular season game in Brooklyn!

I had a whirlwind of a day last week interviewing 10 coaches and trying to gather up as much content as I could before the regular season tips off on November 5th. Allow me to organize my thoughts and reflections in one of my favorite posts: a recap of the NEC Social Media Day!

 

A Pioneer Push Up the Polls

Preseason polls mean absolutely zilch in the grand scheme of things. They merely serve as fodder for the fans and, for the bottom feeding teams, potential bulletin board material. These prognostications obviously have no bearing on the real standings, nor do they provide a program any type of advantage once the first jump ball goes up in November. That is all obvious.

The poll, however, does serve as a good measuring stick in determining how a program has progressed or declined over the past several years. We also can gain insight into which teams the coaches highly respect.

For Anthony Latina, it’s been a wild ride of peaks and valleys in his attempt to reboot Sacred Heart into an annual contender. Under Latina, the Pioneers have never been selected better than fifth in the NEC Coach’s Preaseason Poll and were the only program in that time frame failing to register a single first place vote prior to this preseason. Over the past six seasons, Sacred Heart has the worst average poll position with an average of 7.8.

 

Team AVG Poll Position Total 1st Place Votes
Wagner 3.8 11
Robert Morris 4.2 5
LIU 4.8 2
Mount 5.2 6
Bryant 5.2 1
Saint Francis U 5.3 18
FDU 5.5 8
SFBK 6.2 6
CCSU 7.0 3
SHU 7.8 0

That poll trend reversed mightily on Wednesday with the Pioneers getting selected as the second best team. They even got 3 first place votes for the first time in more than a decade!

 

 

For Latina, it’s been a complex route in getting Sacred Heart firmly onto the championship path. They seemed destined to compete annually, but then some high level contributors up-transferred, immediately halting the program’s progress. Now, after many long recruiting trips and sleepless nights, Latina finds his Pioneers in a position they quite frankly aren’t used to.

SHU’s Anthony Latina & EJ Anosike at NEC Media Day.

“It’s definitely a source of pride that we took some steps back and lost some guys prematurely and that we were able to recover.” Latina answered when asked if he’s prideful about Sacred Heart’s #2 poll position. “Without question, I take great pride in our program, but I take great pride not for me, but our players and for our school.”

The coach acknowledged the preseason polls are meaningless and that the hard work has yet to come. But he also fully understands his team is built to win-now even after graduating NEC all-conference first teamer Sean Hoehn. “We will be in a position to do something that no Sacred Heart team has ever done and if that’s not motivating, nothing will be,” he said.

Time will tell if the Pioneers put themselves in a position to win their first NEC tournament game since 2009 and make their first NEC tournament final since 2008.

 

A New Point Guard in Loretto

Recently, 6-8 forward Tyler Stewart was declared immediately eligible by the NCAA after playing just five games with Binghamton last season. His insertion into an already crowded frontcourt – Myles Thompson, Mark Flagg, Deivydas Kuzavas – may not seem like a big deal, but for Rob Krimmel Stewart’s ability to stretch the floor and provide versatility at three positions is a real positive for his 2019-20 roster.

“(He) gives us some more depth, and some length and experience too,” Krimmel answered when asked about Stewart’s insertion into the rotation. “It was a good jolt in the arm because it gives us another piece to the puzzle that we haven’t had. He’s a legit 6’8”; he can step out and shoot it, he can handle it…”

Krimmel confirmed Stewart’s presence firmly entrenches Keith Braxton as Saint Francis’ starting point guard moving forward. The days of featuring Braxton at the four in “small-ball” lineups are numbered. Instead, the Red Flash now can role out lineups out consisting of:

  • Braxton, Isaiah Blackmon, Randall Gaskins, Thompson, Flagg

Scott Meredith, an off-the-ball guard/sharpshooter, and Stewart would be the next logical pieces off the bench with Ramir Dixon-Conover spelling Braxton at times to provide selflessness and defensive tenacity at the one. It’s a different look compared to the days of alpha male and shot creation extraordinaire Jamaal King running the point.

As a result, I’d expect the Red Flash’s pace to slow down. With good effective height in various positions, the defense can focus more on containment rather than turnover generation. Jamion Christian employed a similar philosophy in his third year at the Mount, as the utilization of Andy Smeathers, Will Miller, Greg Graves, Taylor Danaher and Kristijan Krajina at the wing and frontcourt positions led to the best defensive efficiency in the league. They were able to keep defenders in front and make them take tough shots over their length. Krimmel is hopeful his team will enjoy a similar effect.

 

Merrimack and Their Unique Defense Enters the Fray

Merrimack’s Juvaris Hayes & Joey Gallo at NEC Media Day.

Merrimack head coach Joey Gallo is no stranger to the NEC. The Merrimack alum (2004) served on Andy Toole’s bench as an assistant from 2012-2016, overseeing a program that won a collective 76 games and three postseason games (2 NIT and 1 NCAA tournament) in four seasons.

While Toole’s tutelage was no doubt a positive for Gallo’s growth as a coach, it was the attacking, 2-3 zone employed by Robert Morris during the 2014 and 2015 championship seasons that likely was most beneficial in guiding Gallo’s transition to Merrimack. Back in 2014, the Colonials were down to eight scholarship players and with a lack of depth, Toole and his coaching staff abandoned their relentless man-to-man scheme and went with the unconventional zone.

It worked wonders as the Colonials finished in the top three of the league in defensive efficiency and turnover rate at the conclusion of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In the latter season, the Colonials length and athleticism on the back end of the zone – Lucky Jones, Elijah Minnie and Rodney Pryor in particular – gave NEC opponents fits.

While Toole circled back to his man-to-man roots the following season, Gallo maintained a true appreciation for the zone after leaving for Merrimack. “He really enjoyed it, he liked teaching it and he thought it fit the personnel that they had,” Toole said when asked why he thought Gallo brought the zone defense to Merrimack. “So now he’s taking it on (at Merrimack) and trying to recruit off it and it’s certainly something that’s unique and different.”

In truth, Gallo was looking for a way to distinguish his team in a NE-10 league rife with man-to-man defense and motion offenses. He had just replaced a coach that was at Merrimack for an eternity and he simply was trying to make a mark in a return to his Alma mater. “It started off as we were going to play a little bit of both (man-to-man and zone) and it just kind of evolved from there. We had success with the (zone); it fit in to how this guy plays (looking at Juvaris Hayes), a lot of steals and created turnovers.”

Last season in the NE-10, Merrimack extracted an incredible 17.4 turnovers per game, leading to an average of 19.5 points scored off of those turnovers. It’s anyone’s guess how the zone will perform against Division I competition, but for now Gallo will take a fluid approach on a game to game basis.

“It forms the shape of what we’re playing against,” Gallo said when describing the versatility of his zone. There will be some games where he’ll plan to attack the perimeter and suppress 3-point shooting and others where the opponent’s frontcourt is the point of emphasis, resulting in crowding scorers and trapping the post if needed.

 

Robert Morris Back to Offensive Basketball

The UPMC Events Center will open this November for the first time, and Toole is hopeful the fans in attendance will be treated to something that’s eluded his program over the past few seasons: free-flowing, high-powered offensive basketball.

It’s been a grind of late for the Colonials in terms of scoring. Toole’s squad, decimated by transfers and early departures, found themselves routinely in the bottom quarter of the league in offensive efficiency over the past four seasons. That could change in Toole’s 10th season with the Williams brother and Charles Bain in the Robert Morris system for the past two-plus seasons.

RMU’s Andrew Toole & Josh Williams at NEC Media Day.

Somewhat surprisingly, KenPom projects a step back for the Colonial offense, likely due to the departures of Malik Petteway and Matty McConnell, both of whom were efficient in their own way. What KenPom cannot predict, however, is the impact of incoming junior college transfers D.J. Russell, A.J. Bramah and Jalen Hawkins. The newcomers, according to Toole, should slot in as rotation guys and provide Robert Morris with something the program has sorely lacked of late: 2-point efficiency.

Of Russell and Bramah, Toole is excited to incorporate their talents into his rotation. “Both guys are capable of making a play for themselves or a teammate,” he said.

Overall, Toole is really looking forward to see the offense’s potential and hopes it take some of the onus off the other side of the ball. “I think we have some really good offensive pieces. I think there’s a good understanding of what we’re supposed to be doing.”

 

More Options in Year Two for Bryant

With a core four of Ikenna Ndugba, Adam Grant, Bash Townes and Juan Cardenas in place, Grasso is searching for the options behind those players. While it’s possible someone from the freshman trio of Charles Pride, Benson Lin and Michael Green could find the starting lineup, Grasso isn’t tipping his hand. “If you walked in to watch us practice you wouldn’t know they’re freshmen. And a lot of it is their intensity, the time they’re in the gym and how they work at their game, how they work at their craft is not at the level of your average freshman,” he said.

Bryant’s depth moving into Grasso’s second season is much improved, so much so that that Grasso is hopeful his team will push the tempo and play fast, aggressive and loose. It was a philosophy he had to abandon in the middle of last season, after Bryant lost their first nine games when they had 70 or more possessions in the game (they finished 1-13 in those games). With Ndugba back and more talent to choose from in year two, it’s fair to assume Grasso will attempt to push the pace.

 

New Look Sharks Going Small Ball?

It’s not easy being at the top from the start, and if that wasn’t hard enough, now Derek Kellogg must navigate the first half of the 2019-20 season without a key power forward.

It’s an unfortunate injury for Penn, who by all accounts had a great summer and was poised to become one of the best two-way players in the NEC. Now, LIU’s depth constricts some, yet the talent remains to contend with the league’s best.

“I think it puts more onus on the guys that played already – the four stars coming back I don’t think they can take a night off.” Kellogg answered when asked what Penn’s injury does to his rotation. “I believe those guys have to be the cornerstones every time we step on the floor and I’m hopeful the other guys can chip in and do what they do as new guys.”

LIU’s Derek Kellogg & Julian Batts at NEC Media Day.

The core four Kellogg is referring to are preseason first teamer Raiquan Clark, Tyrn Flowers, Jashaun Agosto and Julian Batts. The roles won’t change for the veteran group, although a return to a smaller lineup may benefit Flowers some.

“It slides Ty Flowers to the 4 quite a bit more where I think he’s probably more comfortable and more of a tough match-up, so in some regards we will be fine offensively,” Kellogg said.

The addition of transfer Virshon Cotton also provides Kellogg with an element that he covets. “I love our overall team speed. I love the fact that we have three even four guys on the floor that can handle the basketball at once. I think we come at you in different ways, especially on the offensive side of the floor. Then I also like we can pressure the ball at different positions, not just from the point guard spot.”

The thing to watch in the early going is LIU’s defense, as Penn was LIU’s best rim presence, registering a block rate of 7.4% (80th nationally). Penn’s versatility and athleticism will be missed, yet his absence won’t stop Kellogg to push the pace and score as much as humanly possible. It promises to be a fun brand of basketball at the WRAC.

 

Quick Hits:

  • Wagner’s Atiba Taylor was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA recently. The 6’4″ guard, who played sparingly last season at Youngstown State as a freshman, has three years remaining and figures to have an opportunity to make Bashir Mason’s rotation.
  • Mount St. Mary’s has been a little banged up this preseason, as the reigning NEC Rookie of the Year Vado Morse admitted to nursing a knee injury for part of the summer. While he’s currently a full go in practice, red-shirt freshman Matt Becht (eye) and true freshman Ayan Teel (ankle) are out for the foreseeable future. Becht’s shooting and Teel’s floor general attributes were expected to bolster Dan Engelstad’s second unit, but getting healthy during the non-conference portion of the schedule remains the number one priority. Of the entire roster, Engelstad singled out Damian Chong-Qui, Nana Opoku and Collin Nnamene as players who’ve really improved their body and respective skill sets this offseason. (Check out this feature by Ryan Raffensperger on Chong-Qui)
  • Speaking of injuries, St. Francis Brooklyn sophomore guard Steven Krtinic has been banged up and hasn’t practiced with the team of late. It’s highly unlikely he’s ready for the start of the season, however freshman guard Rob Higgins has impressed according to his head coach. “Higgins has been terrific, he was great in our scrimmage the other day,” Glenn Braica said of Higgins, who scored more than 2,200 points for Middletown North in New Jersey. The 6’2″ combo guard was a late recruiting get for the Terriers after a scholarship opened up from Jalen Jordan’s transfer. It’s fair to expect a healthy dose of Chauncey Hawkins, grad transfer Unique Major (2 years of eligibility remaining) and Higgins in Braica’s backcourt.
  • Greg Herenda was noncommittal with which players would fill out his rotation behind the obvious foursome of Jahlil Jenkins, Kaleb Bishop, Elyjah Williams and Xzavier Malone. “I think we’re still in that process,” he admitted. “This year’s team is deeper, faster, more athletic, but it’s younger.” The likeliest candidate to start alongside FDU’s “core four” is sophomore Brandon Powell, who serves as nice complement in that he excels at moving the ball and knocking down open shots. The versatile BJ Saliba and athletic Brandon Rush should also compete for time at the two and three.
  • It’s clearly a rebuilding season in New Britain, yet there’s reason for optimism with the talent Donyell Marshall has recruited in year four. While he continues to evaluate the freshmen – he did note Greg Outlaw as someone who’s played well this preseason and that translated to their recent exhibition – it’s junior college transfer Stephane Ayangma and returning sophomore Karrington Wallace that should anchor the Blue Devils’ better than advertised defense. Of Ayangma, Marshall said: “We thought he was just pretty much going to be a junkyard dog, just a rebounder, physical guy, (but) he’s definitely a lot better offensively than we thought.” Wallace’s maturation has been a pleasant surprise for Marshall as he’s been “blocking shots like crazy” this preseason. The frontcourt pair, along with established perimeter stopper Ian Krishnan and junior college transfer Zach Newkirk, allow Marshall to declare this squad the best defensive team he’s been a part of since his arrival at Central Connecticut. They gave up just 0.80 points per possession versus D3 opponent Coast Guard, which is a nice start.

Overtime! Profile: #NECSAAC Co-Chair Vedika Anand (Wagner)

Vedika Anand

Overtime! Blog reporter Adrienne Terzuoli spent an afternoon with Wagner College women’s tennis player Vedika Anand. An international student-athlete from India, Anand has taken on a leadership role during her time in the United States. Below are Terzuoli’s key takeaways from her interview with the NEC SAAC Co-Chair. 

 

It was gloomy Tuesday at Wagner College, but Vedika Anand’s presence made it noticeably brighter.

I sat down with the Wagner senior tennis player to discuss her many responsibilities as a driving force behind the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).

I was sitting in one of Wagner’s administrative offices, looking over my questions, completely unaware of the time, when Vedika burst through the door with her giant smile. 

Dressed in the new tennis uniform; a black tank top with the Nike and Seahawk logos parallel to each other and a green skirt, she unnecessarily offered her apologies for her tardiness.  She was only two minutes behind schedule!

So, we settled ourselves and began the interview.

I had heard so much about Vedika and the crucial contributions she has made to Wagner SAAC as well as Northeast Conference SAAC. The NEC SAAC co-chair has been serving as one of the 32 conference reps for the national NCAA SAAC. 

Her reputation and resume precedes her, and I was excited to dive in and learn more about her, her student-athlete experience at Wagner, and maybe pick up a tip or two on how she manages to fit it all into her already busy schedule. 

She started by explaining her journey to Wagner as unconventional at best. 

“College athletics is not really a big thing back home [in India]. I had no idea what the recruitment process was like, but my dad was a big help. I reached out to a tennis player at Wagner, who was also from India and asked her some questions.  Fast forward to a few months later- they offered me a good scholarship and my mom and I made the trip to campus for move-in day.  Of course, we went to Target first.”

I immediately admired her for her leap of faith into the unknown, but she assured me that she was not concerned at all.

“My parents are big on travel, so I’ve been lucky to travel around quite a bit.  This wasn’t scary at all.  In fact it felt homey.  I came from a small high school and Wagner is a small college.  It all felt like family, and being part of athletics was a big part of that feeling.  Those are my people.  I wanted to get to know everyone.”

Vedika Anand

So what is SAAC and how did Vedika get involved? 

“At the time, both the president and VP of SAAC were on the tennis team.  There wasn’t an option, we all attended the meeting.   But once I got there and listened to what it was about, it was a no-brainer for me.  They were talking about ways to make Wagner athletics better as a whole, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.  We were able to voice our concerns and suggestions to each other and the e-board would take it all to our AD and other administrators for discussion.”

She went on to say that, as a whole, the SAAC is ultimately a voice for student-athletes.

“The NCAA wouldn’t exist without student-athletes.  They are the foundation by which college athletics is built.  The people in SAAC are working to make the college athletic experience better.  They work with you and for you- for all athletes.”

It became clear to me, in just a short time, that Vedika is passionate about the work she does with SAAC.  In fact, she is so passionate that she has moved from being a member of the Wagner SAAC to a co-chair of the Northeast Conference SAAC to a national SAAC rep. She is an active member of two committees at the national level: the Student-Athlete Experience Committee and the Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Committee.

She noted the importance of serving these committees not only because she genuinely enjoys it, but because she hopes to work in college athletics after graduation. 

“Having a voice for the entire student body of athletes, both at the grass roots level and on a national platform is an incredible feeling.  I’m very blessed that I get to represent my school and my conference.” 

It is apparent that Vedika takes great pride in her conference as she praised Commissioner Noreen Morris for the work she has done for the schools, for the athletes and for women.

During her research for a project she is working on, Vedika interviewed Morris and relished in the fact that more women are taking on leadership roles in college athletics. 

“There is a large group of women with diverse backgrounds becoming commissioners.  I don’t know, maybe we have the ability to bring people together.  Women tend to be more empathetic and have a great sense of knowing what ADs and programs need.  Commissioner Morris is definitely someone I look up to.  The NEC may be small, but she is very well respected and people listen when she talks.  That is inspiring, not just for athletes, but for women as a whole.”

Our conversation together strengthened my idea that Vedika Anand may very well be a Conference Commissioner one day. 

On the national level, Anand’s role is much more intense than at the institutional/conference level. 

“I spend most of my time dedicated to my duties with the NCAA.  I have my D1 ticker on my phone at all times so I can always be up to date with what’s going on in our division.  I’m an early bird.  I get up early, do my work and read some articles.  We are going into the legislative cycle soon, so I need to be prepared.”

Conference SAAC reps are involved with the NCAA legislative cycle.  Last year, over 50 proposals were submitted by the national SAAC group.  Anand takes this responsibility seriously and relies on Wagner’s Senior Women’s Administrator (SWA), Tatum Colitz for guidance.  Anand described Colitz as a mentor and a friend who is imperative in helping Vedika decipher some of the rules and verbiage she still may be unfamiliar with. 

“Tatum [Colitz] is my resource.  Whenever I have a question, we pull out the NCAA manual, aka ‘The Bible’ and Tatum knows it all by heart.  Overall, we’re lucky at Wagner and at the NEC to have a close knit relationship with women who we can turn to.”

What was your biggest lesson as a member of SAAC? 

“The most important thing is that we be respectful of everyone’s opinions.  It is important that no one matter what level, we maintain the equality and fairness to all student-athletes.  At the national level, we are 32 people who are so invested in wanting to help each other that we sometimes forget what conference everyone is from.  We know that we all have a voice; even if something doesn’t affect us or our school specifically, we all get the chance to give our opinion.  It’s about the experience of being in different conferences that makes it all so special. At the Wagner level, people here want to help you.  Our administrators here want to make the student-athlete experience the best they can.  Wagner has been a great source of support.  I am blessed to have had this experience.”

Why are you proud to be a student athlete?

“Being a student athlete means you are part of something bigger than you.  Sometimes the NCAA feels so far out of reach.  Being a part of SAAC has allowed me to meet so many people, learn from a diverse group of individuals, and have an incredible student-athlete experience.  College athletics has given me a structure and a discipline that I will take into my work and my life.”

Currently, the NEC SAAC is in the midst of a year-long mental health awareness campaign. Initially started at Sacred Heart University, it has been adopted as a conference-wide initiative spearheaded by SAAC . 

This year, Wagner, which will hold Mental Health awareness week from October 27 through November 2, will be hosting a Dancing with the Stars-like competition that pairs a member of the theater program with an athlete. The College will also host the ‘green games’ as well as wear green ribbons for support.

“We wanted to bridge the divide between performing arts and sports, and this seemed like a fun way to do it. It was important for us to take on this initiative to show that there shouldn’t be a taboo about mental health.  We want to get people talking about it.”

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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