NE10 Week Two Thoughts

September 12th, 2022 3:00am

NE10 Week Two Thoughts

First Victory

Congratulations to Bentley‘s Alvin Reynolds as he grabbed his first victory as a head coach in the Falcons’ 41-20 win over Pace last Saturday.  He was close last week but this past weekend was a victory with an exclamation point.

His defense was very good in the game.  The front four of their defensive line were in the face of Pace quarterback Carlton Aiken all afternoon long.  Quinn Nilan, Herve Tshibamba, Zachary Goodwin, Joe Rivers, Micye Duntin, and Cedie Dashiell II provided consistent pressure the entire game and dominated the line of scrimmage.

After the defense hit the sideline to rest, Bentley quarterback Mark Waid did the rest.  He scrambled for 137 yards on the ground.  He threw for 120 yards and two scores and just looked like a quarterback that was in total control.  Nate Larkins found the end zone three times and the Bentley offense was clicking on all cylinders.   

There were some questions coming into the season about the Bentley offense, but they seemed to answer a lot of them this past weekend.  They have a bunch of players capable of making big plays and they have a graduate quarterback who has a strong arm and solid acumen.  He quickly put the struggles of Week One in the rearview mirror.

Bentley will close out their non-conference schedule when they host Post this Friday night.

Making it Look Easy

If you thought that Saint Anselm looked good in Week One, they topped those expectations last weekend.  They scored with ease in easily defeating American International 56-7.

Once again, Drew Willoughby had himself a game.  He threw six touchdown passes while tossing for 246 yards.  The key to the Hawk offense right now is the fact that 10 different players caught a pass in the victory, so it is tough to defend all of the weapons that they are able to put on the field.

But it was the special teams and defense that made the offense look so good.  They blocked the first two punt attempts and gave short fields for the offense to put points on the scoreboard.  And then the defense picks off a pass and causes a fumble, once again setting up short fields and easy scoring opportunities.  In a blink of an eye, Saint Anselm is up 28-0 and never looked back.

The Hawks have played well at home over the last couple of seasons.  They have won four straight at home after losing to nationally ranked Bentley last October.  They have become a force to be reckoned with at Grappone Stadium and tough for teams to handle on their home turf.

Saint Anselm hits the road this weekend when they make the short trip across the state to face Franklin Pierce under the lights.

Battle of New Haven

The Elm City Trophy was not up for grabs, but it didn’t mean that the game meant anything less for the cross-town rivals.  It was New Haven that made one more play and escaped with a 31-26 victory over Southern Connecticut.

The Chargers fell behind 13-3 in the opening quarter after Joe DiGello tipped a Connor Degenhardt pass and took it back 50 yards to the house.  The Owls came out of the gates ready to play but were not able to get up that momentum for 60 minutes.

New Haven scored twice before the half ended to regain a lead that they would not surrender for the rest of the game.  But as the Chargers scored, the Owls would answer and never let New Haven feel comfortable in the game.

It wasn’t until the Chargers covered an onsides kick that they were able to let out a sigh of relief and grab their 13th straight victory over Southern Connecticut.

The Owls deserved a better outcome after rebounding from a one-sided loss to then number six Shepherd in the opening week.  The offense and defense played well enough to win but it is tough to win those rivalry games when you make a couple of mistakes.  They will have some time to rewatch the tape and have a second shot against New Haven during the final weekend of the regular season.

New Haven will host American International this weekend while Southern Connecticut will welcome Pace under the lights on Friday night.

Non-Conference Struggles

The two other games of the weekend saw NE10 teams fall on the road to non-conference opponents.  They are now 3-7 in games outside of the league as the other three games of the weekend were considered non-conference games.

Assumption fell to former NE10 member Merrimack 45-17.  The Greyhounds fell behind early in the game and were never able to recover.  The offense seemed to find some spark in the fourth quarter as they moved the ball and scored their first touchdowns of the season.

The defense gave up some points, but the final stats show some good things.  Merrimack scored points but they didn’t rack up long drives against a Division II school.

Franklin Pierce made the long trip to Tennessee and fell to Carson-Newman 27-6.  The Ravens didn’t win the game but were competitive once again.  They played in a tough environment with tough weather and continued to battle for 60 minutes.  That has been the hallmark of a Russell Gaskamp team and they are on the verge of winning that elusive first win over a Division II team.

Assumption has a bye week and will return to action on September 24th at Pace.  Franklin Pierce looks to win the battle of the Granite State when they host Saint Anselm under the lights Saturday night.