NE10 Second Round Playoff Preview

November 24th, 2021 2:00pm

NE10 Second Round Playoff Preview

For the first time since 2018 and the fifth time in the past seven years, an NE10 team is having Thanksgiving dinner on campus because they are in the second round of the playoffs.  16 teams remain and you need to win this week to play next. 

# 4 New Haven (10-1, 8-0 NE10) @ # 1 Kutztown (10-1, 7-0 PSAC East)

When: November 27th, 12:05 PM

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


Kutztown Playoff History

5th playoff appearance

2-4 overall record

New Haven Playoff History

8th playoff appearance

10-7 overall record

My Thoughts:  Two well-rounded teams.

New Haven Scouting Report

New Haven dominated Bentley for the second time in three weeks and is back in the second round of the playoffs.    They were in the same spot in 2018 but were not able to overcome a talented Slippery Rock team.  This team is experienced and will not be intimidated on the road.

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.


Kutztown Scouting Report

Kutztown was the best team in the PSAC in 2021.  They dominated the PSAC East and won the PSAC title with a victory over Slippery Rock.  The Golden Bears have had a week to rest and prepare for this game.

The offense is led by dual-threat quarterback Eric Nickel.  He had been the catalyst of a well-balanced offense as they are capable of running the ball and stretching the field at the same time.  Jeremiah Nelson had a break-out performance in the PSAC Championship game and is part of a deep backfield with three running backs over 500 yards this year.  Jerome Kapp is the go-to receiver and is capable of big plays each time he touches the ball.  The offensive line is big and features several all-conference players that will move the offense.

The defense is anchored by linebacker Amani Justice.  The senior was the leading tackler and just seemed to be a ball hawk all season long.  Togba-Jallah-Porte II will get after the quarterback and apply pressure all afternoon long.  Tyler Whary will also spend a lot of time in the backfield.  Antaun Lloyd will be the key cog in the secondary along with Justin Harris. 

For Kutztown to win the game, they will need to use the same game plan that they have had for the past 11 games.  They need to move the ball on the ground and score in the red zone.  The defense will need to stop New Haven on third down and not allow them to control the clock.


New Haven Keys to Victory:

  1. Move the chains on third down
  2. Make some big plays on defense
  3. Don’t play from behind

Kutztown Keys to Victory:

  1. Grind out yards on the ground
  2. Start fast off a bye week
  3. Force Degenhardt into bad decisions


This game features two teams that have faced all challenges and passed them with flying colors.  They have faced adversity and overcome it each time.  They are experienced teams that are capable of making deep runs in the playoffs.  This game is very even in trenches as both teams have talent on both sides of the ball.  It will be a close game in the fourth quarter before a big play will make the difference for the road team to escape with an upset.

Prediction:  New Haven 31 Kutztown 27