Sunday, December 14, 2014

Statesmen Rack Up Awards

The Hobart College Statesmen’s 2014 campaign may be over, but there is still plenty of news to report, especially as the post season awards keep coming in for several Statesmen players.

SR DE Tyre Coleman headlined the D3football.com All East Region team as Defensive Player of the Year. He was joined on the All-East first teams by his classmates SR OL DeAndre Smith and SR OL Ali Marpet. Earning second team recognition was SR DB Fajri Jackson. JR LBs Marcus Jemison and Jacob Stanley earned third team nods. While I am a little surprised that players like JR LB Trayvon Toney, JR DT Tucker Gumkowski and SR DT Troy Johnson were left off the list, that’s postseason award politicking for you.

A link to the list / awards can be found here.

On the All-America front, SR OL Ali Marpet was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as a first team selection. Marpet is garnering a lot of interest from the professional level and recently accepted an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL which is scheduled to be played on January 24 and will be televised on the NFL Network. He is also playing in the East West Shrine All Star Game in St. Petersburg, FL on January 17th.

A link with more information on Marpet and the bowl games he plans to attend can be found here.

Coleman, Smith and SR FB Dominique Ellis are also planning on attending Bowls in TX and VA. Funds to assist Coleman and others interested in attending these player showcases can be found on the site GoFundMe.com.

Will check back next week as D3football.com will release their All-American teams just prior to the Stagg Bowl National Championship game on December 19th. I expect Coleman, Marpet and one or two other Statesmen to be listed as part of those.

Thanks for reading and go ‘Bart!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hobart Turnovers and Injuries Take Toll in 41-13 Elite 8 Loss

The 7th/9th ranked Hobart College Statesmen traveled to Dover, DE to face off against top seeded and 4th/5th ranked Wesley College in the third round of the NCAA play-offs.

The Wolverine's high powered offense struggled early on in the steady rain and against a stalwart Statesmen defense. Wesley's initial offensive possession would stall at the Hobart 15 yard line. Eric Speidel's 32 yard FG attempt was good and the Wolverines took an early 3-0 lead with 10:33 to go in the first quarter. 

The Wesley and Hobart defensive units would continue to control the game, with each side intercepting the opposing quarterback on successive possessions. The Statesmen had a good opportunity after All American and LL DPOTY SR DE Tyre Coleman sacked Wesley SR QB and Gagliardi trophy semi finalist Joe Callahan for a 10 yard loss to the Wolverine 30 yard line. A short punt then gave Hobart the ball at their 40. Unfortunately on the second play of the drive, Wesley's Andre Connally forced a fumble and Sean Hopkins took it to the house for a TD. The Speidel point after gave the Wolverines momentum and, more importantly, a 10-0 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Hobart's offense would pick itself up and take their next drive all the way to the Wesley five yard line. On 3rd and goal, FY TE Chris Cyr was wide open for a TD. The SO PK Sean Kirshe point after failed and the Statesmen trailed 10-6 with 8:55 to go in the first half.

The Wolverines would find the end zone once more before halftime after a questionable pass interference penalty gave Wesley a first and goal at the Hobart three yard line. SO RB Jamar Baynard would score on the next play and after the Speidel kick was good, extending the Wolverines lead to 17-6 with 1:37 remaining in the first half.

Hobart would go three and out on the ensuing drive and Wesley took a knee and a 17-6 halftime lead.

The Statesmen defense forced a three and out of their own to open the second half but another critical mistake hurt Hobart on a punt snap that wasn't able to be fielded by JR QB/P Parker Thelander. The Statesmen defense stood tall however; and Wesley had to settle for another Speidel FG, which was good from 24 yards out, to push the Wolverines lead to 20-6 with 10:26 to go in the third quarter.

Hobart would start their next offensive possession at their own 36 yard line. Although they appeared to stall, Coach Cragg called for the fake on a fourth and 8 and Thelander took off on a 41 yard run to the Wesley 21. A personal foul on the Wolverines helped the Statesmen to the seven yard line and on third and goal, SR QB Patrick Conlan found SR TE Mike Berkowitz (who gritted out a bad ankle sprain in heroic fashion) for a TD. The Kirshe point after was good and Hobart was back in the game down 20-13 with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter. 

Although Coleman would sack Callahan again, earning him second and third all time on Division 3 career sack and tackles for loss list, he had to leave the game with an injury. On the ensuing Wesley possession, Hobart's FY CB Tommy D'Antonio slipped in tight coverage and All American SR WR Steve Koudossou made an incredible 60 yard catch and run. The long pass play and Speidel extra point would put Wesley up 27-13 with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.

In spite of a two score lead and an ineffective Hobart offense, Wolverine HC Mike Drass kept his foot on the gas in the fourth quarter, padding the Wolverine stats by adding two TDs, including a final 19 yard passing score with 3:01 remaining, to win 41-13.

Leading the Wolverines was Callahan with 315 passing yards, two TDs and one INT. Koudossou was his favorite target and the SR WR made five catches for 125 yards and a score. Baynard had two rushing TDs and a game high 78 rush yards on 21 carries (3.7 AVG).

Hobart was led by Conlan who struggled (but tougher it out playing with a bad shoulder / injury) passing for only 74 yards, two TDs and three INTs. The Statesmen defense was led by JR LB Jacob Stanley, who missed the entire second half due to injury, but still made a team high nine tackles. Coleman also had nine stops and set a Hobart single game record with six TFL to go along with two sacks. Coleman's absence was noticeable given about half of Callahan's passing yards and a TD came AFTER Coleman left the game. It truly was an all time great performance by arguably the greatest player in Hobart College Football's 121 year history.

Wesley's defense was led by All-American SR LB Sosthene Kapepula with a game high 13 stops. The Wolverine defense held Hobart to 163 total yards and most importantly, only three of 17 third down conversions. 

The loss ends the Statesmen's 2014 campaign at 12-1, tying the 2012 team's record for most wins in a season. The win improves Wesley to 12-1 overall and the Wolverines will return to Alliance, OH for a rematch with the 13-0 Mount Union Purple Raiders for a berth into the Stagg Bowl National Championship game

Join us tonight on InTheHuddLLe.com for our season finale at 7:30 PM. We'll interview the voice of the Statesmen, Ted Baker, along with Mount Union's Lenny Reich.

Thanks for reading this season and go Bart!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NCAA ELITE 8 / WESLEY PLAYOFF GAME PREVIEW

The 7/9th ranked Hobart College Statesmen (12-0) will travel to Dover, DE to take on the 4/5th ranked Wesley College Wolverines in the Elite 8 of the NCAA D3 playoffs. Wesley (11-1) has steamrolled their competition and is undefeated (7-0) in D3 play this season. They lost a hard fought 38-33 contest to second year FCS UNC-Charlotte (a team with 85 scholarship players) back on November 15. Even in the loss the Wolverines piled up 530 yards of offense, including 356 passing yards.

In the NCAA playoffs Wesley has dominated their opponents, winning by a combined 111-7 while averaging close to 550 yards of offense per game. The Wolverines have averaged 51.9 PPG on the season while their ball hawk defense has only allowed 9.9 PPG. A good reason for the defense’s success has come from turnovers. Wesley has collected 26 interceptions (INT), 21 forced fumbles, four blocked kicks, 119 tackles for loss (TFL) for -535 yards and 37 sacks for -276 yards.

The last time Hobart faced Wesley was back in the first round of the NCAA playoffs in 2011 when the Class of 2015 were FY. That season backup QB Kelly Olney ‘13 led the Statesmen in a valiant effort fighting back from 14 point deficits four times during the game to pull within 35-28 at the end of the third quarter before falling to Wesley by the same score. 

FY (now SR) WR Steve Koudossou gashed the Hobart secondary for 72 and 66 yard TD catches. QB Shane McSweeny had a big day going 18 for 27 for 336 passing yards and five TDs compared to only one INT. What kept Hobart in the game was three fumbles forced by the Statesmen defense plus a punt block that was returned for a TD by Devin Worthington ’14. The Statesmen had a limited kicking game that season and opted to go for it three times on fourth and goal – two of which came in the fourth quarter - but came up short on the tries which ended up being the key difference in the game.

Scouting the Wolverines: 

#14 SR QB Joe Callahan – a Gagliardi trophy semi-finalist, Callahan is easily the best QB Hobart will have faced this and several prior seasons. He has thrown for 3,435 yards and 43 TDs compared to only five INTs. He’s very accurate, going 238 for 355 (67%) and will likely get an invite to Salem as a Gagliardi finalist as one of the four best college FB players in D3.

#88 SR WR Steve Koudossou – Although not large in stature (~5’9” 170 lbs), Koudossou is probably the best WR in D3. He has 58 receptions for 1,170 yards and 15 TDs this season. In his excellent career, Koudossou is best in the playoffs and his stats - 12 games with 59 catches for 1227 yards and 19 TDs – back that up.

#8 SO RB Jamar Baynard – leads the Wesley rushing attack with 762 yards on 176 carries (4.3 AVG) and nine TDs. Given the Wolverines are really a passing team, Baynard is also a receiving threat catching 35 passes for 568 yards and four TDs.

#85 SO WR Bryce Shade – a return specialist, Shade has returned 20 kickoffs for 482 yards (24.1 AVG) and one TD. He’s second on the team with 38 receptions which have gone for 369 yards and five scores.

#1 SR LB Sosthene Kapepula - leads the Wesley defense with 76 total tackles. Kapepula has also tallied 9.5 TFL, two sacks, three INTs and two forced fumbles.

#9 SR DE Aamir Petrose – A real pass rush threat, Petrose leads the Wolverines defense with nine sacks and 22 TFL.

#4 SR CB Leon Jones – leads the Wesley ball hawking secondary with five INT.

Keys to the Game: 

1. Protect the Football – The Statesmen will need to channel their 4+ turnover margin performance of 2011 to have a good shot at an upset Saturday. Wesley has made a good living capitalizing and scoring points off of opponent’s mistakes. Their quick strike offense can pile up the points so it’s imperative for Hobart to take care of the football on offense and control the TOP as much as they can. Saturday's forecast has an 80% chance for rain meaning the ball will be slick and fumbles could follow. While the rain may help Hobart in slowing down Wesley's passing game, it could spell trouble if the Statesmen struggle with possession.

2. Collapse The Pocket On Callahan & Cut Up Koudossou – The Statesmen DL and LBs will need to create pressure on the Wesley passing attack while taking the pressure off their injury depleted and inexperienced secondary. To the latter’s credit, they did step up against Hopkins last week but SR WR Quinn Donaldson did burn them a couple of times. Koudossou is about 10x better than Donaldson, so Hobart will need to avoid many 1:1 situations and “bring the lumber” when they wrap up this outstanding receiver.

3. Run Like Hell - while I'm dating myself with the Pink Floyd reference, UNC-Charlotte's key to success vs. Wesley was the fact they scored three rushing TDs against the Wolverines. Easier said than done given no D3 opponents save for Rowan were able to run in a TD on the Wolverines D (which otherwise only allows only two YPC on the season).

4. Never Surrender – not many road teams win at this stage in the playoffs and it’s been well chronicled what the Statesmen’s playoff road record looks like. The Statesmen need to stay loose and enjoy the opportunity to lock horns with an elite football program. In 2012 Hobart struggled with turnovers and fell behind early on their way to a lopsided 47-7 Elite 8 loss to eventual Stagg Bowl runner up St. Thomas. Compared to UST, Wesley is a much smaller school (enrollment figures range from 1339 to 1600+ given a few graduate programs), but there’s nothing D3 about their football program (the 11% four year graduation rate reported by US News & World Report and the fact Wesley's Head Coach also happens to be the "Executive Director Intercollegiate Sports" and is a direct report to the College President and a peer to the head of Admissions kind of speaks for itself).

Hobart really has nothing to lose from the perspective all the experts will pick the Wolverines to win this going away so it should motivate the Statesmen to prove them wrong or at least acquit themselves as best they can.

Prediction: 

Wesley has made it to the national quarterfinals nine of the last 10 seasons. Hobart has gone two of the last three. This game will be a good measuring stick both on how far the Statesmen have come and to what extent there is still a big divide between the top three or four elite D3 football teams and the rest of the Top 10.

Although the Wolverines look unstoppable, they did lose five D3 games in the past two seasons (to be fair three of the five were one to Mount Union and two to Mary-Hardin Baylor) so if Hobart plays their best, they have a shot.

On Sunday’s ITH I predicted a best case scenario of 34-31 for the Statesmen. My ITH co-host Frank Rossi (who, along with Gordon Mann, will provide a video broadcast of the game) may have been more pragmatic with a 47-24 Wesley pick, but I hope it’s a much more competitive contest.

We’ll find out Saturday.

No matter what happens, Frank and I will recap the game, including highlight clips and more, Sunday at 7:30 PM at www.inthehuddlle.com.

Thanks for reading and go ‘Bart!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Coach Grange Talks Hopkins and Wesley on ITH

We spoke with Hobart DC Nick Grange Sunday night about the thrilling 24-21 win over Johns Hopkins and previewed the upcoming Elite 8 matchup against Wesley.

A link to the podcast can be found here.

I should have my game preview up by tomorrow. Fans traveling to the game should keep an eye out for tailgating information from the Alumni House in the next 24-48 hours.

More to come. Go Bart!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Statesmen Strike Back, Beat Blue Jays 24-21

The Hobart College Statesmen arguably capped the biggest win in school history by defeating sixth ranked Johns Hopkins University today in a back and forth game, 24-21.

The Statesmen (12-0) took a 10 point lead early on thanks to a FY PK Sean Kirshe 42 yard FG - a career beset. This scoring drive was set up after SO DB Todd Collier intercepted Blue Jays SR QB Braden Anderson on the Blue Jays (11-1) first offensive play from scrimmage.

SO RB Brad Burns capped a 10 play, 80 yard drive with a one yard TD run to push Hobart's advantage to 10-0 with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Hopkins offense finally got on track thanks to a SO RB Stuart Walters five yard TD run with 10:23 to go in the second quarter.

JR RB Alex Furtado scored on a four yard run to push Hobart's lead to 16-7 with 2:31 remaining in the first half. The Statesmen special teams unit took a calculated risk in a short, high kickoff that JR WR Cooper Merrill initially recovered but subsequently fumbled and the ball was recovered by JHU.

The Blue Jays drove 11 plays in 2:27, scoring on a three yard SO WR Quinn Donaldson TD catch on the back line of the end zone. While the momentum was starting to sway to the Blue Jays, the Statesmen still held a 16-14 lead at the half.

The third quarter saw both defenses dig in and neither team scored during that period. Hopkins would take their first lead of the game when Donaldson hauled in a 28 yard TD pass from Anderson with 14:33 to go in the game. Given FY PK Jamie Sullivan's PAT was good, the Blue Jays had a 21-16 lead, meaning Hobart needed a TD to win the game.

After trading field position and a few close calls, the Statesmen's SR QB Patrick Conlan drove the team, into the wind and down the field 88 yards until SR WR John Fasano hauled in a HUGE 14 yard TD catch to regain the lead, 22-21 with only 1:26 remaining in the contest.

The two point play to SR WR Elvin Souffrant was good and Hobart led by a three point margin, 24-21. Although Hopkins would get to the Statesmen eight yard line with only a few seconds remaining, JR LB Jacob Stanley would intercept Anderson and Hobart would hang on to win, 24-21.

Conlan led Hobart with 237 passing yards and one TD. Fasano was his favorite target with six receptions for 79 yards and the game winning score. SR WR Troy Robinson played big as well, catching four passes for 68 yards. Hopkins was led by Anderson with 185 passing yards, two TDs but with two INTs.

Defensively JR LB Trayvon Toney led the Hobart defense with a game high 13 stops. SR DL Michael Rocca led JHU with 12 tackles including one TFL.

In a game of inches, it ended up being the Statesmen's +4 turnover margin (2 FRs - the second fumble coming on what could have been a decisive TD drive for Hopkins, but Hobart recovered at the 12 to start their own game winning drive - to go along with the INTs) that was the difference. Also, although the Hopkins DL/OL took control in the 2nd half, the Hobart OL managed to push through in the 4th quarter in good part thanks to a healthy 36:17 to 23:43 possession advantage.

The Statesmen will travel to Dover, DE to take on top seed Wesley College (11-1*) next Saturday in a rematch of 2011's NCAA 1st RD game that the Wolverines won, 35-28. *Wesley's lone loss this season is to UNC-Charlotte.

Hobart is pretty injury depleted and during today's game players such as SR DB Fajri Jackson and SR TE Mike Berkowitz (ankle) had to leave the field due to injury. SO FS Matt Cragg was also out with an injury as was starting SO RT Patrick O'Connell.

Hobart will have to dig deep in a match up against a FCS-quality Wesley program. More on that game later this week. Tune in to tomorrow's "In The HuddLLe" (www.inthehuddlle.com) at 7:30 PM to hear highlights and interviews from today's big win, plus a preview of the Elite 8 match-ups.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NCAA RD 2 / JOHNS HOPKINS PLAYOFF GAME PREVIEW

The Hobart College Statesmen will host the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays this Saturday at Boswell Field for a chance to advance into the Elite 8 of the 2014 D3FB Championships. The Centennial Conference (CC) Champion Hopkins (11-0) defeated NJAC Champion Rowan (7-4) last Saturday, overcoming some early offensive turnovers (sound familiar?) to win, 24-16. The Blue Jays and Statesmen (11-0) have a lot in common and the similarities of both programs’ recent runs of success is quite remarkable.

Consider this:

  • Both teams are closely grouped together in both national polls 
    • Hobart is ranked 7th and 9th in the AFCA and D3football.com polls
    • Hopkins is rated 6th and 7th, respectively
  • Both SR classes have nearly identical (40-4 & 41-4) career records
  • Both teams have won their respective conference titles the last four seasons
  • Both teams are making their fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs 
  • The Blue Jays had a close game with Wesley in the first round of the playoffs last season, just like Hobart did back in 2011
  • Both teams have been to quarterfinals once before, Hopkins in 2009 and Hobart in 2012
  • Both programs have been on the losing side of games to Saint John Fisher in the playoffs also 
  • Both Head Coaches Mike Cragg and Jim Margraff have led their teams for over 20 seasons
  • Both offenses average over 30 PPG
  • Both defenses allow only about 14 PPG 
  • The JHU OL has only allowed seven QB sacks in 11 games, Hobart has allowed eight
  • The JHU D has sacked opposing QBs 31 times, Hobart has 36 sacks on the season

Both teams have also been criticized for their scheduling (or lack thereof) making this game a sort of “Rodney Dangerfield Bowl” as far as national perceptions and/or respect goes. Hopkins beat Randolph Macon (5-5) 42-3 in Week 1 before going into its nine game conference schedule. D3football.com insinuated both teams have “floated up” the rankings due to playing against weaker competition. The only like opponent the teams have had this season is Dickinson (3-7) which Hobart beat 33-21 in Week 1 and who the Blue Jays beat 42-7 in Week 7. I would not look to that game that much however given the final 14 points the Red Devils had against the Statesmen came with eight minutes remaining and with all the backups in the game. Hopkins defeated one of other playoff participant in Muhlenberg back in Wk 4, 42-26. The Mules (9-2) nearly upset MAC Champion Widener (11-0) until a last second 24 yard FG saved the Pride, 36-35.

From a historical perspective, Hobart and JHU haven’t played a football game against one another in nearly 50 years. The Statesmen went 2-0 against the Blue Jays, beating them 27-14 and 41-6, back in the 1965-66 seasons.

Scouting the Blue Jays: 

#12 SR QB Braden Anderson – Anderson is the engine that drives the Blue Jays offense and is both a strong passer and mobile QB. He has thrown for 2,404 yards and 23 TDs with a very accurate 67.5% completion percentage (193 of 286). He has only been intercepted seven times in 11 games. On the ground Anderson leads Hopkins with nine rushing TDs and has carried 62 times for 405 yards (6.5 YPC average).

#88 SO WR Quinn Donaldson – Donaldson leads a corps of four WRs that spread the field on opposing defenses. He leads the team with eight receiving TDs and 749 receiving yards.

#1 SO WR Bradley Munday - The other top target for Anderson is Munday who leads the team with 74.1 receiving YPG and has a team high 56 receptions. His yardage totals are right behind Donaldson with 741 yards and six TDs.

#3 SO RB Stuart Walters & #20 JR RB Brandon Cherry – nearly identical number of carries for Walters (127 for 671 yards or 67.1 YPG and seven TDs) and Cherry (107 for 513 yards or 51.3 YPG and six TDs) means both are viable options in the run game, especially behind a big OL which includes #73 SR LT Kyle Flynn (6’ 3” 310), #57 JR LG Fernando Concepcion (5’11” 255), #71 SR C Martin Scheuring (6’2” 275), #64 JR RG Colin Egan (6’4” 300) and #75 RT Rowan Cade (6’9” 310). 

#34 JR LB Keith Corliss – leads JHU with 76 total tackles.

#18 JR DB/SS Jack Toner – second on the team with 59 tackles and leads the Blue Jays defense with three interceptions and eight pass break ups. Probably plays like an OLB position similar to Hobart’s JR OLB Marcus Jemison. 

#56 SR DL Michael Rocca – tall and athletic, Rocca is tough to move off the line of scrimmage. He has 42 tackles, including seven TFL and five sacks. His height (6’6”) has enabled Rocca to block four passes and one kick on the season.

#16 SR DL Michael Longo – leads the Blue Jays with 10 sacks and 13.5 TFL to go with 49 total tackles, third best on the team.

#85 FY PK Jamie Sullivan – attended Los Angeles prep powerhouse Oaks Christian (which was across the freeway from my old office) and has hit six of seven FGs, including two vs. Rowan last Saturday. His long is 39 yards, which also occurred in the first round playoff game. Sullivan also handles kickoffs and has averaged 55.9 per KO.

Keys to the Game: 

1. Protect the Football – four turnovers plagued the Statesmen again digging them into a 12-0 halftime deficit, which could have been worse if the defense wasn’t so effective in forcing Ithaca (7-4) to settle for FGs instead of TDs in the red zone. The Statesmen have turned over the ball an incredible 13 times in the last 10 quarters of play. While they’ve made amends for these mistakes with timely plays and gritty comebacks, that only goes so far against Top 10 caliber competition like JHU. Hobart will need to piece together a full 60 minutes to beat a Blue Jays team that is in many ways a mirror image of Hobart both in statistics and overall talent.

2. Keep It Close (Early) and Get Points When You Can – JHU has outscored opponents 164-27 in the first quarter this season. Those big leads ballooned into Hopkins 38.7 PPG and has been protected by a stingy defense that has allowed only 14.5 PPG. Unlike the Statesmen, Hopkins really hasn’t played in a close game since Wk 2 vs. Susquehanna (2-8). Although it was 14-10 against Rowan at the half in Rd 1, JHU scored 10 points in the third quarter to take a 24-10 lead. Rowan’s final score came with under a minute to play, so the game wasn’t really as competitive as it may have appeared. The Blue Jays haven’t allowed more than 17 points in nine of their 11 games, so scoring for Hobart will be at a premium.

3. Pressure Anderson / Protect Conlan – Anderson has only been sacked seven times this season while JHU’s defense has racked up 31 sacks on opposing QBs. Keeping Conlan upright will mean the difference in his being able to make his reads, not telegraph and/or force the ball which is what got the Statesmen in hot water in the first half against Ithaca. Although I’d like to see more running plays (and it merits noting the Rowan's RB had 136 yards rushing against JHU), successfully moving the ball through the air will be important for Hobart. In Hopkins’ last two playoff losses, JHU gave up more passing yards than they completed. In similar fashion, both of Hobart’s two playoff losses since 2012 saw them complete 50% or lower and throw for under 154 yards in those games.

4. Bend Don’t Break – Both teams play similar defensive schemes but I’d give Hobart a slight edge on the DL / LB positions in both closing speed and athleticism. While our secondary is inexperienced and smaller in size, JHU’s WRs are not veterans nor very big / tall either. These WRs can get behind the defense if coverage is soft however (which we saw a few times last Saturday). Both Munday and Donaldson have had 60+ yard receptions and they average 13.2 and 16.6 YPC when open. The Statesmen will need a big play or two on defense or special teams to turn the tide in their favor, especially since the officiating at home doesn’t seem to help them at all. Also either Blue Jay OL/OTs Coleman lines up against will be taller and 50-60 lbs heavier, so blitzing and interior DL play will be crucial. The forecast for this weekend doesn’t look too bad actually (high of 40 and partly cloudy), and it is a good haul for Hopkins to get to Geneva from Baltimore.

Prediction: 

I think a close game is in store with Hobart hanging on (or coming back yet again) to win it 21-17. I initially predicted 27-24 on ITH last Sunday but given both teams are so strong defensively I am backing down a bit, points scored-wise, so to speak.

Ultimately, I think it’ll come down to who controls the line of scrimmage and can take advantage of match ups in the passing game if/when the pass rush doesn’t force Conlan or Anderson into trouble.

While I expect Hobart to be viewed as the underdog, even as the higher seed and host, I’m hopeful they’ll make enough plays to beat the Blue Jays and earn an Elite 8 game with (most likely) top-seed Wesley College (11-0).

Thanks for reading and go ‘Bart!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Statesmen Rack Up LL Awards, Coleman DPOTY, Marpet Co-OPOTY

The Hobart Statesmen earned 20+ All-Conference awards including SR DE Tyre Coleman getting his third straight Defensive Player of the Year recognition from the LL Coaches. In a rare but deserving nod, SR OL Ali Marpet was named Co-Offensive Player of the Year. He will probably the only OL named as a POTY award winner by any conference in D3 (which is a shame because OL deserve these as much as any QB or RB). Marpet shared the POTY award with SR QB Mike Lefflbine of Saint Lawrence (8-2).

Head Coach Mike Cragg and his staff won the Coaching award for their third consecutive undefeated regular season and fourth straight conference title. A link to the All-LL teams can be found here.

Speaking of Marpet, it was announced he accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine All Star Game on twitter today. St Pete isn't far from me so I am going to have to make some plans to drive down I-4 to see Ali in action. The game is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2015.

In the meantime, Hobart's focus remains on #6/7 Johns Hopkins (11-0). I'll post my NCAA Rd 2 Game Preview tomorrow.

Congratulations to these great Statesmen and go 'Bart!