NE10 First Round Playoff Preview

November 18th, 2021 3:00am

NE10 First Round Playoff Preview

It is playoff time.  It is win or go home time right now and we have a couple of teams that are very familiar with each other.    

Bentley (9-1, 7-1 NE10) at #4 New Haven (9-1, 8-0 NE10)

When: November 20th, 12:00 PM

All-Time Series:  New Haven leads the series, 9-3-0

Bentley Playoff History

3rd playoff appearance

0-2 overall record

New Haven Playoff History

8th playoff appearance

9-7 overall record

My Thoughts:  Rematch of Week Ten.


Bentley Scouting Report

Bentley finished in second place in the NE10.  The Falcons had the nation’s longest winning streak before falling to New Haven in Week Ten.  It is the first time in the playoffs for Bentley since 2004.

The offense is led by quarterback Stephen Sturm.  The senior has been solid all season long.  He has a couple of running backs led by Andrew Brazicki that can grind out yards or threats to catch the ball out of the backfield.  The receivers are quick and present a downfield threat.  Austin Ryan and Noah Neville are the main threats, but they have plenty of slot receivers capable of yards after the catch.  The Bentley offensive line is experienced and does a great job blocking.

The defense is anchored by linebacker Cole McCubrey.  The graduate student has made an impact this year and all over the field.  The defensive front has no problem getting to the quarterback and has Cedie Dashiell applying most of the pressure.  Sal Lupoli, Jr has been all over the field and making plays for the secondary. 

For Bentley to win the game, they will need to establish their running game.  That helps Sturm stretch the field and find his receivers.  The defense will also need to make a play or two against an explosive offense.


New Haven Scouting Report

New Haven won the NE10 and was the best team in the league this year.  The Chargers have a ton of experience and are now ready to make a deep run in the playoffs.  They are in the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

The offense is run by quarterback Connor Degenhardt.  The graduate transfer has been solid all season long and has playoff experience at Division 1 FCS level.  He has several running backs that will carry the load.  Zach Mauro has the feature back over the final couple of weeks of the season.  Dev Holmes and Paul Cooper are the receivers that Degenhardt will focus on.  The key to the success of New Haven has been its offensive line.  It features five graduate students, and they can dominate.

The defense can get to the opposing quarterback with the aid of Khalim Cisse.  The leading tackler for the Chargers has been Ryan Hodgins as he has been all over the field week in and week out.  Shawn Tate and Khyon Fitzpatrick are two of the top players of a very talented secondary. 

For New Haven to win the game, they will need to win the game on the defensive side of the ball.  The offense has started slow, but the defense has been there each week to pick them up.  If they can create turnovers, the offense will score the ball.


Bentley Keys to Victory:

1. Allow Sturm to spread the ball around

2. Pressure Degenhardt

3. Have the defense get on the scoreboard


New Haven Keys to Victory:

1. Win the battle in the trenches

2. Score on turnovers

3. Using home field to their advantage


This game was a one-sided affair in Week Ten.  Bentley struggled in all phases of the game and did not play as they did in the previous weeks.  Sturm was bottled up and not able to produce his typical offensive production.

New Haven played a near-perfect game in Week Ten and will look to replicate their performance this week.  They will have to play once again at a high level and dominate in all phases of the game.

I expect a much closer game than November 6th.  Bentley will be able to play better but I feel that New Haven is the better team that will score more points in a high-scoring affair.

Prediction:  New Haven 38 Bentley 30