Saturday, September 23, 2017

Statesmen Fly Past Gulls, 34-17

The Hobart College Statesmen got off to a good start, forcing two interceptions and taking a 10-0 lead, but needed a second half surge to put away the Endicott College Gulls. The Statesmen offense struggled at times, but SR QB Shane Sweeney caught his stride, passing for 321 yards and four TDs. He broke the all-time completions mark with his 456th in the first half. His final TD of the game tied him with Shawn Mizro '06 for the all-time passing TD mark.

SR WR Brandon Shed only caught two passes on the day, but both went for TDs. SO WR Ray Conley added two receiving scores as well. FY OL Corey Simmons did well in his first career start at LT, subbing in for JR OL John Deveney, but made a couple of rookie of mistakes, which is to be expected.

Hobart got off to a first start, taking their opening drive 59 yards and an early 7-0 lead. FY PK Kyle Hackett converted his first of two FGs, a 27 yarder, to extend the Statesmen's lead to 10-0 with 12:25 to go in the second quarter. Hobart's next two possessions would sputter out, and the Gulls made a short FG just before halftime to give the Statesmen a 10-3 edge.

The Hobart offense scored ten unanswered points to open the third quarter, including Shed's first TD and a 40 yard FG by Hackett, the longest since Sean Kirshe '17 hit a 42 yarder in the 2014 NCAA playoffs.

The Statesmen defense did well for most of the game, but a long Endicott drive narrowed the Hobart lead to 20-10 just after the start of the fourth quarter. Shed would push the Statesmen's lead back to two scores with his second TD, but a breakdown in coverage kept the Gulls hanging around.

A final Conley score would be good for the 34-17 win. Hobart out-gained Endicott 412 to 324 yards. The Statesmen defense forced two Gulls INTs and held Endicott to 4-13 on third downs. Once again SO LB Jedh Downey led all Statesmen tacklers with a game-high 12 stops.

The win improves Hobart to 3-1 overall and they'll face Ithaca (1-2, 1-0) in their LL opener next Saturday at Butterfield Stadium, where the Statesmen have never won.

I'll have more on this one, and on the upcoming game, soon.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Week 4 - Endicott Game Preview

The Hobart College Statesmen will end their four game home stand when they host Coach Kevin DeWall '00 and the Endicott College Gulls. The Gulls (1-2) and Statesmen (2-1) have played each other every season dating back to 2014.

Hobart is 3-0 in the all-time series, and will look to extend that this Saturday. Last season, the Statesmen needed three long TD passes to finally pull away late and beat the Gulls, 42-20. SO WR Isaiah Hill got things going with a 59 yard TD catch and run to give the Statesmen a 21-12 lead with 51 seconds left in the third quarter. TDs by SR WR Brandon Shed and Sean Cunningham '17 helped take the sting off an 80-yard pick six by Endicott.


Scouting the Gulls:

Endicott is still a young program and they've been a little inconsistent in their first three games. Their defense allowed 502 yards to Framingham State (3-0) in a 41-10 Week 1 loss. They came back with two Sports Center quality catches to go 92 yards in the final 1:51 to knock off defending MASCAC Champions, Bridgewater State (0-3), 29-28. They outgained MIT (2-1) 446 yards to 422, and even held a nearly 40 to 20 minute advantage in TOP, but the Engineers (who are coached by former Hobart QB Chad Martinovich '94) capitalized on four long TD plays of 77, 65, 71 and 58 yards to win, 31-26.

The Gulls are led by SO QB Joe Kalosky, who has passed for 695 yards with five TDs compared to two INTs. SR RB Lavonte Wiggins is Endicott's leading rusher with 213 yards and two scores.

The Statesmen secondary will be tested by a young, but talented group of receivers in FY TE Riley Shanley (14 catches for 178 yards and two TDs), SO WR Zach DeNike (11 catches for 66 yards and one TD), SO WR Brendan Johnson (nine catches for 137 yards) and FY WR Sheilan Velazquez (six catches for 90 yards and two TDs).

Defensively, Endicott is led by JR LB William Rivera with 33 total tackles. The Gulls defense could be susceptible to the Hobart offense, as they have allowed 458.3 YPG and 33.3 PPG.

Endicott has a solid special teams unit with SO PK John Glaser and SR P Brett Fox. Glaser has tallied 11 points this season, going two-for-three on FGs and five-of-seven on PATs. Fox has a big boot, averaging 40.6 YPP, including a long of 63 yards and five punts dropped inside his opponent's 20 yard line. DeNike and JR RB Dante Correa should be handling the return duties, averaging 24 and 18.2 YPR, respectively.

Keys to the Game:

1. Start Fast - The Statesmen didn't score in the first quarter in their first two games of the season. They didn't get a first quarter score until after falling behind 6-0 to Shenandoah early last Saturday night. When the Statesmen played Endicott last season, they also fell behind 6-0 before getting on the board with 9:08 remaining in the first half.  It would go a long way for Hobart to continue the second half momentum they had in the Homecoming game by getting on the scoreboard quickly and not letting the Gulls hang around as long as they did in 2016. A big catalyst there could be another big game by the Hobart OL, which earned a D3football.com TOTW award. You can read about that honor here.

2. DTR - The Statesmen "Air Show" offense is still potent, averaging 220.3 YPG, but last week we saw a flashback to the Hobart OLs of the 2012-14 era. Endicott's defense allows nearly 220 rushing YPG. Framingham State gained 269 yards rushing against the Gulls in Week 1 and the Statesmen should look to mirror that performance as much as possible. After the big output in the game against the Hornets, Hobart's rush average now sits at an impressive 202.3 YPG. The Endicott secondary's track record is one that shows they can get beat deep, so the Statesmen need to get them to stack the box, then go to play action to find SR WR Brandon Shed and others for longer passes.

3. Finish Strong - The Statesmen have a chance to end the "1st quarter" of their season with a 3-1 record. While I know Hobart would prefer to be undefeated, Brockport (3-0) continuing to win games in impressive fashion makes me feel less badly about that 14-point Week 1 loss. The Statesmen can't afford to look past the Gulls, however, and although it's tempting because the LL conference opener at Ithaca (1-2, 1-0) is a huge game, I expect Coach Cragg and the coaching staff to have the Statesmen locked in and focused on taking care of Endicott first.

Prediction:

I like Hobart to win big, 49-17. Framingham is a very strong program in the MASCAC, and now a very likely NCAA playoff team. The Rams set the bar (even though the laws of syllogism don't often, if ever apply to football) high for me in that respect.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Statesmen Steamroll Shenandoah, 56-30

The Hobart College Statesmen got off to shaky start, but the OL and the Statesmen running attack could heat up, leading Hobart to a convincing 56-30 in front of a large Homecoming crowd last Saturday.

Courtesy of HWSAthletics.com

SR RB Joe Letizia had a career night, rushing for 162 yards and two TDs. FY RB Dakota Harvey continues to impress, adding 131 yards and three TDs. SR QB Shane Sweeney passed for 149 yards and one TD, running in another.

The Statesmen (2-1) defense struggled at times, allowing a 71 yard TD pass to open the game and trail 6-0 less than a minute into the contest. Hobart would rally back, with 21 unanswered points to take a 21-6 lead. The Hornets (2-1) with 17 unanswered of their own, en route to a 23-21 halftime lead.

The second half would be all Hobart however, as the Statesmen OL took over the game and the defense stiffened, allowing only one TD in the 3rd and shutting out Shenandoah in the 4th quarter.

SO LB Jedh Downey led the Statesmen defense with 15 tackles. JR DT Sean Moore made an athletic play in catching a tipped ball for an INT, helping Hobart to a short field and an offensive score not too long after.

Shenandoah did have success on the Statesmen secondary, passing for 303 yards and scoring 4 TDs. The rush defense was much better, keeping the Hornets to only 69 total yards on 22 carries.

Up next for Hobart is another familiar Coach and program in Endicott. The Gulls stunned defending MASCAC Champs Bridgewater State (0-3) in Week 2, but fell 31-26 to Coach Chad Martinovich's '94 MIT Engineers (2-1) last Saturday. We'll have more on the Gulls (1-2) later this week.

In the meantime, here's the official recap on the Shenandoah game. Feels good to get a win. Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Week 3 - Shenandoah & Homecoming Game Preview

The Hobart Statesmen will welcome back former Statesmen player and Coach Scott Yoder '01 Saturday night under the lights of Boswell Field for Homecoming.

Coach Yoder took over the Hornets program following the 2012 season and has earned a 20-22 overall record since. Shenandoah (2-0) is off to a fast start this season, but to be fair, neither Gallaudet (0-2) nor NC Wesleyan (0-2) are very good programs. This will be the first time Hobart (1-1) will take on the Hornets and the Statesmen will hit the road to VA as part of this new series in 2018.

Scouting Shenandoah:


The Hornets initial slate of games has enabled their offense to rack up some impressive stats, including averaging over 50 PPG and 555 YPG of total offense. On the flip side, the defense has held their opponents to 14 PPG, and seems to be better against the pass than the run. To be fair, Gallaudet is a triple option offense that rarely passes the ball, which slants the statistics accordingly.

One thing the statistics do tell me is that Coach Yoder likes to throw the ball, as JR QB Hayden Bauserman has already attempted 101 passes in the first two games of the season. Bauserman has completed 59 of those passes for a solid 58.4% pass completion and 144.4 efficiency rating. He has racked up 728 yards, including nine TDs (which is good for fifth in the nation), compared to only two INTs.

Like Hobart, the Hornets use multiple RBs and have a solid one-two punch between SO RB Mario Wisdom and SR RB Cory Bell. They've combined for 310 rushing yards and three TDs, with nearly equal numbers as far as yardage and carries go.

In the receiving game, Shenandoah looks to another dynamic duo in SR WRs Michael Ashwell and Leonard Scott. They have combined for 312 yards and five TDs.

On special teams, JR RB Jalen Hudson leads the team with 99 all-purpose YPG as the Hornets primary KO and PR specialist. SR PK Jacob Newton is nearly perfect, making both short FG attempts and going 11-12 on PATs. SR PK Christian Arias is the punter, averaging 30.7 YPP.

Defensively, Shenandoah is led by JR LB Andy Sartain. He has 13 tackles on the season and is followed by a pair of SO LBs in Tyler Williams and Bernie Hayes III, who've tallied 11 and 10 tackles this season, respectively.

One stat that jumps of the sheet is how effective Coach Yoder's defense has been at creating turnovers. The Hornets have forced six fumbles and have collected three INTs in only two games. SO FS Nate Hill has two of those picks, to go along with one of the FFs, and he has added eight tackles and three pass breakups.

Keys to the Game:

1. Protect the Football - It's always hard to gauge matchups when you have two programs that have never faced off against one another, so it made sense to me to focus on the fundamentals in this one. As stated above, the Hornets will look to force Hobart into turning the ball over on offense, especially being the visitors in front of a big Homecoming crowd, to give themselves momentum and better field position.

2. Take a Shot - The Statesmen offense has the ability to put teams on their heels and it would go a long way if they can take an early lead against Shenandoah. The Hornets defense is really untested in my opinion, as neither GU nor NCW have the kind of athletes Hobart brings to the table. A couple of scores offensively and stops defensively early on, could put Shenandoah's back to the wall. Couple that with about 3,000 people in the Boswell stands and you'd have a lot of momentum in the stadium for Hobart.

3. Button Up - Statesmen fans (including lacrosse ones) know that the refs never give Hobart a true home field advantage. Hobart needs to improve upon the 21 penalties for -184 yards they been flagged for in the past two games at Boswell Field. The Hornets will be looking for any and every advantage they can get in this game, so the Statesmen need to play better fundamentally to avoid this type of laundry.

Prediction:

Coach Yoder has done a nice job in getting Shenandoah's football program back on track. He had the Hornets in ODAC / playoff contention last season with a 6-2 record going into Week 10. Although they ultimately dropped close games to Hampden-Sydney and W&L, Coach Yoder has built his team into a competitive one.

That said I'll take Hobart to win this game, 27-14, in what I think may end up being more of a defensive struggle as these two teams feel each other out in the first half.

I hope everyone enjoys the rare treat of a Saturday night game at the Boz for Homecoming Weekend. Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forget

While I've been waxing poetic on the 10th season of In the Huddle, I want to make sure this generation of Statesmen families and fans remember Andy Golkin '93.

He was a Kappa Sigma brother and defensive back on the Hobart Football team. Andy was one of the unfortunate folks who passed in the terrorist attacks on NYC in 2001, as he worked at Cantor Fitzgerald in the Twin Towers.

Please take a moment to think of him and those lost on that fateful day 16 years ago.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Statesmen Clip Cardinals, 31-3

The Hobart College Statesmen came into today's contest against local rival Saint John Fisher College looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since the 1999 season. Hobart (1-1) looked a little shaky at the start as the offense failed to convert two fourth down conversions early in the game. The Statesmen defense, which was shredded last weekend by Brockport, stepped up and successfully kept the Cardinals (0-2) out of the end zone all game.

The Statesmen out-gained Fisher 416-280 yards, intercepting SO QB Joshua Michels once (and almost a couple of other times also, but the Cardinals got lucky breaks on a few pass deflections). SR QB Shane Sweeney was back to form, throwing for 256 yards and three TDs.

SO WR John DelliSanti had a game high 75 yards, including a 60 yard catch and run for a TD to put up Hobart 17-3 early in the third quarter. FY RB Dakota Harvey led the Statesmen ground game with 77 rushing yards and a TD. He played a more significant role once JR RB Tynard Barfield left the game with an apparent ankle injury. Hopefully it's not too serious and Ty will be back soon.

The Statesmen OL played a much better game, helping Hobart grind out 160 rushing yards, and only allowing two sacks. Defensively the Statesmen were improved as well, coming up with key stops with their backs to the wall on several occasions. The Cardinals missed a FG and went 0 for 3 on fourth down conversions, a couple of those in the Hobart red zone. Four Hobart defenders had seven tackles a piece, including SO OLB Jayson Prince who had another very good game after his debut against Brockport in Week 1. Prince added two sacks, two TFLs and a pass break up in today's game.

FY PK Kyle Hackett came thru on a key 29 yard FG late in the first half to help give Hobart a 10-3 halftime lead. He was a perfect 4-4 on PATs to boot (pun intended). The FG was his first one for the Statesmen and his college career.

Former Statesmen DC Scott Yoder '01 will return to Geneva for the first time since 2012 with his Shenandoah Hornets club for a rare Saturday night game headlining HWS' Parents & Homecoming weekend. More on that game after we get through this Hurricane Irma stuff down here in Florida.

Special thanks to WEOS PBP man and friend, Ted Baker, for his kind words during today's broadcast. All remains well here in Orlando. We will see how it goes Sunday night.

More to come. Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Week 2 - Saint John Fisher Game Preview

What was supposed to be a Top 25 battle between two of New York's best DIII teams lost some of its luster as both Hobart and SJFC come into this key Week 2 game with a combined 0-2 record. This is still a huge game, however, as it's basically a potential playoff seeding contest, and neither team wants to open the year 0-2.

The Cardinals saw leads of 14-0 and 27-23 fade away in a Week 1 37-27 loss to the Washington & Jefferson Presidents (1-0). The SJF offense debuted a new QB and did well passing the football, throwing for 354 yards. They were held to only 86 rushing yards however, and the Presidents' defense forced three Cardinals turnovers. The SJF defense allowed 419 yards and collected three turnovers of their own, but eventually gave way to W&J who ground out 160 rushing yards at a 4.4 yards per carry clip.


Scouting the Cardinals

SO QB Joshua Michels is the new signal caller for SJF, and he attempted 57 passes in the W&J game, completing 26 of those to score three TDs. SR RB James Chambers led all Cardinal rushers with 41 yards, but was mostly bottled up by the Presidents' defense, carrying the ball 22 times and only averaging 1.9 yards per carry. Chambers had more success as a receiver, catching six passes for 90 yards and a TD. SO WR Dylan Harrington and big JR TE Wyatt Stehle also caught TD passes, combing for 11 catches and 119 yards.

SR WR Mike Collichio led the Cardinals with 7 receptions for 111 yards. Collichio, Chambers and Harrington each made catches over 27 yards.

SJF struggled in the kicking game, missing all three FG attempts. The only positive was JR PK Devin Dzikowicz was perfect (3-3) on his PATs.

SR LB Justin Rivera led the defense with 10 tackles, including a sack and a TFL. SR S Cameron Bellino and JR S Brennan Thompson each tallied eight tackles a piece, the latter added an interception and pass break up as well. JR CB Demarre Nelson also had an INT in addition to two tackles.

Keys to the Game:

1. Get Defensive - The Hobart defense let up (a likely program worst) 603 total yards to Brockport last weekend. If the Statesmen have any hopes of winning the Liberty League and returning to the playoffs this season, the defense will have to get better. The Hobart defense will also need to be prepared to play all four downs as SJF converted four of five 4th down conversion attempts against W&J.

2. Don't Abandon the Run - The Statesmen had to pass more after falling behind 14-0 to the Golden Eagles (1-0). Hobart attempted 21 runs and only gained 79 yards, a significant chunk of that came on a 21 yard gain by JR RB Tynard Barfield, who led the Statesmen with 66 yards on six carries. Fisher's defense eventually wore down in the 4th quarter of their Week 1 game, as W&J mixed short to mid-range passes with runs by SO RB Jordan West who finished with 27 carries for 154 yards and two TDs.

3. Reclaim the Boz - Last weekend was Hobart's first regular season home loss since RPI stopped a two point conversion attempt and hang on for a 21-20 win, back on October 24, 2015. The Statesmen need to reclaim their home field advantage, especially against a SJF program that has had a decent amount of success against Hobart of late. The Cardinals haven't lost to the Statesmen since the lopsided 56-20 game on September 24, 2011. The all-time series has Hobart with an 11-7 lead, but it should be noted that the Statesmen have lost five of the last six contests against SJF, the most recent one being a 27-6 decision to Fisher in the 2013 NCAA playoffs (which also happened to be at Boswell Field).

Prediction:

In 2011 I picked SJF over Hobart and the Statesmen proved me wrong. Big time. In 2013 I picked Hobart over the Cardinals, and the Statesmen came up short.

Given last weekend's defensive struggles it would be hard not to pick against the Statesmen in this match up given the Cardinals present a lot of the same offensive challenges that Brockport did, other than the fact it doesn't appear that Chambers is as good a runner as Justin Morrison. The Empire 8 teams went 3-0 against LL ones last weekend (#21 Alfred edged Ithaca 20-17 and Utica made SLU look pretty poor in a 20-7 win), which doesn't help.

The Cardinals have eight returning starters on offense, but only four defensive starters from 2016's 8-3 team. If Hobart can execute better on offense (e.g., do better than four of 12 on 3rd down conversions), they could best SJF in a shootout.

I'll take the Cardinals again, 35-31, but hope in doing so the Statesmen can channel their 2011 counterparts. I know former Statesmen like Jarrid Blades and Garth Muratori '12 know what beating Fisher can do for your season.

Looking forward to seeing a better performance by Hobart this Saturday.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!