Robert Morris Colonials
2010 Record: 8-3 (7-0), 1st
2010 Postseason: 1st Round, Lost to North Dakota State 43-17
Jeff Sinclair led the Colonials to the playoffs, and even though RM fell flat in that appearance, it was a huge move forward for a program that has known much success in their history. RM is the class of this conference that everyone else aspires to reach, and 2010 was no exception to that rule.
Sinclair was not the best QB you would ever have seen, but he did more than enough to get the Colonials rolling last fall, as he passed for 1920 yards and 22 TDs on the season. He did toss 10 picks, however, and his completion percentage (49.8) was just awful. He comes back as a junior in 2011, and he does have enough to build on to become a stable leader.
Senior Myles Russ was the man for RM, as he led the NEC in rushing with 1363 yards and 10 TDs. Russ averaged 115 yards per game last fall, and carried for an average of 5.4 yards whenever he was handed the rock. Replacements will be hard to come by for lack of experience.
The Colonials had three receivers that grabbed 20 passes or more last fall, led by Shadrae King, who posted 43-531-7 as the starting TE. He departed after the season, so there is yet another major hole. TJ Green had a very nice YPC number (20.5), and posted 25-513-3. Anthony Coleman finished out the group by posting 22-350-5.
Defensively, the Colonials were solid, but were barely so against the pass, as they allowed 198.8 yards passing per game. They were rock solid against the run, only allowing 113.8 yards rushing. Alex DiMichele was the tackles leader with 105 on the season, but he must be replaced, as does Elias Novarro (75 tackles). Navarro tied for the league lead in TFLs, as he collected 13.5 on the season. The NEC was not loaded with sack artists, and Nolan Nearhoof, a sophomore, led the Colonials with only 4.5 on the year.
Michael Landers led the Colonials with 5 picks on the season, which was good for a tie for 1st in the NEC. He was a senior, as was Michael Richards, who finished with 3 picks on the season.
Nick Schirtzinger, yet another senior, led the NEC in punting, with an average of 41 yards per punt. The Colonials could use upgrades in every other area of special teams play.
Central Connecticut State Blue Devils
2010 Record: 8-3 (6-1), 2nd
2010 Postseason: None
The Devils made a major push to win the league, but unfortunately ran into a buzzsaw in a 42-24 loss to eventual champ Robert Morris. CCSU is upgrading their talent in every area, and is trying to establish themselves as a conference power. This is possible in a very winnable league.
Junior QB Gunnar Jesperson had a decent season, but has much room for growth as he returns for his senior season. Jesperson passed for 1918 yards (174.4 per game) but only tossed 11 TD passes with 8 picks. The ratio will have to separate somewhat for CCSU to push to the next level in 2011. He added 378 yards rushing with 6 TDs.
Everette Benjamin was Myles Russ' equal in the backfield in NEC play. Benjamin had a very solid season, rushing for 1277 yards, averaging 116.1 yards per game, while rushing for 10 TDs. He has also departed, like Russ at RM, and there is very little experience returning, placing more pressure on Jesperson to move the offense next fall.
Richie Martin led the team in receiving, posting 31-588-1. Only two other receivers reached 20 receptions or more, and they were Josue Paul (23-426-3) and PJ Borawski (22-293-3). Very little star power here, but they are trying to get better. Here's the issue, this group departed enmasse after the season.
CCSU had a stone wall pass defense, having only allowed 157.6 yards per game passing, but the conference was not loaded with great passers. CCSU stumbled badly against the run, as they allowed 194.3 yards per game rushing. Jeff Marino, another senior, finished with 105 tackles, which was good for 36th in the nation. Lorenzo Baker is the heir apparent at LB, as the sophomore finished with 78 tackles, and is line to step up to be the defensive leader as a junior. Charles Williams was a force up front, as he finished with 12 TFLs in 11 games last fall, and returns in 2011. Williams also led the team with 6 sacks.
The Devils had a trio of pass defender nightmares. Chris Linares led the team with 8 passes defended last fall, good for a tie for 2nd in the NEC. Alondre Rush and Dominique Rose tied for 5th with 7 each on the season. Rush and Rose are both gone, but Linares was just a freshman last fall. The Devils will have to do better in 2010 when it comes to developing turnovers, as Linares led the club with just 2 picks.
Joe Izzo will be very difficult to replace, as he was nearly automatic last fall, hitting 13 of 15 FGs on the season. The entire special teams unit needs a major overhaul for next fall.
2010 Record: 7-4 (4-3), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
The Dukes normally run with RM as the class of the NEC, but took a step back last fall, finishing 3rd in the league, 3 games back of the Colonials.
Sophomore QB Sean Patterson gave Dukes fans a healthy hope for the future, as he passed for 2050 yards (186.4 per game). He passed for 20 TDs and had 10 picks, but he shows a flair for making solid decisions. He does need to improve his completion percentage (54.2%), but other than that, he could be very good for the next two seasons.
Larry McCoy was a rocket out of the backfield for the Dukes, having rushed for 1291 yards and 6 scores. He finished 3rd in the NEC, and averaged 114.5 yards per game, and averaged 5 yards per carry. He should be the best back in the NEC as a junior in 2011.
Dave Williams led the NEC in receving in 2010, posting 55-788-10, but is now gone after graduating. Connor Dixon was a solid second option in 2010, posting 43-602-5, good for 5th in the NEC. He's gone too. Akeem Moore (22-322-2) is the only other receiver to finish with20 or more receptions, and is now the number one guy, as he returns as a junior next fall.
The Dukes were another example as a team that defended well against the pass, and failed against the run. That was the MO in the NEC last fall. The Dukes gave up 170.5 yards passing, but were pounded aginst the run to a tune of 175.3 yards per game. Nathan Totino, a senior LB, led the team in tackles with 93 on the season. Serge Kona should be the man stepping into that role next fall as a junior LB, but he was not nearly as productive as Totino, finishing with 64 tackles. Kona, however, did lead the team in TFLs with 10.5. The Dukes had absolutely no pass pressure up front.
Senior DB Justin Melhaldo finshed with 5 passes defended to lead the team, but teams didn't need to pass as much against Duquesne, as it was far to easy to run against them. The Dukes didn't register on picks either.
Eric Duale was decent on FGs, hitting 14 of 18 on the season as a sophomore. Ryan Ho, a freshman RB, led the team and the NEC in kick returns, as he averaged 29.43 yards per return.
Albany Great Danes
2010 Record: 6-5 (4-3), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
Albany was let down in 2010 by a sputtering offense that never got started, and was also wrecked at the QB position with injury and below average play.
Buddy Leathley played in 8 games, but only averaged 93.5 yards passing per game. He was limited to 4 TD passes and 5 picks. Dan DiLella played in 6 games, passing for 120 yards per game, and he too was inverted with a 3/4 ratio.
Andrew Smith was the leading rusher, and that was despite missing one game. Smith rushed for 762 yards on the season and 7 TDs. Dillon Romain shared the load with Smith, and rushed for 534 yards, while scoring 6 TDs.
Ryan Kirchner, a sophomore, was then only receiver to break 20 or more receptions, as he posted 50-504-1. No receiver caught more than 1 TD pass all season.
Albany broke the mold when it came to the defensive trends in the NEC, as they faltered against the pass (216.1 yards per game), while remaining decent against the run (134.3 yards per game). Dave Plungas, a sophomore LB, led the team in tackles with 71 on the season. The problem is that he got very little support from his teammates, as there was a huge drop after him. Mike Kelly led the team with 8 TFLs on the season, while the pass rush was an abject failure.
Randall Exantus and Justin Hassan tied for the team lead in passes defended with 5 each, and both return next season. Senior Ross bertrand led the team with only 2 picks on the season.
Herb Glass was a disaster at PK, having hit only 8 of his 19 FG attempts on the season. Paul Layton was a succesful punter as a freshman, averaging 40.08 yards per punt. Kirchner led the NEC in punt returns, with a 10.87 yard average per return, and he scored once. Dillon Romain finshed 2nd in the NEC and 32nd in the nation in kick returns, as he averaged 25.07 yards per return.
Sacred Heart Pioneers
2010 Record: 4-7 (2-5), Tied 5th
2010 Postseason: None
Sacred Heart opened with a win over Marist, and then fell off of the radar as they lost 6 straight games after that. The good note is that they finished the year out strong with 3 wins in the final 4 games. Too little, too late for 2010, but it was something to build on for 2011.
Dale Fink was the passing leader in the NEC in 2010, having passed for 2907 yards and 18 TDs, and he managed to keep himselfdown to 10 picks on the season. Fink averaged 264.3 yards per game last fall, while completing 60.3% of his passes. He is now gone, leaving the Pioneers with a huge hole in their scheme.
Marcel Archer gave decent support in the run game, having rushed for 707 yards with a terrific 11 TDs on the season. The problem is that Archer has now departed as well. Gregory Ibe should step up into that role, as he ran for 453 yards in 2010.
The Pioneers had a very solid corps at the receiver spot. Rich Rossi led the team, posting 51-704-5. He was followed by Tony Patterson (40-491-0), Mark Uyeno (48-437-0), and Garry Coles (30-411-5).
The Pioneers weakness on defense was against the run (allowed 163.7 yards per game). They were decent against the pass, allowing only 182 yards per game. Chris Mandas led the team in tackles as a junior with 88. He was followed by Michael Zambrano, a junior LB, as both finished in the top 10 in the NEC. Zambrano finished with 79 tackles on the season. Junior DE Justin Embler led the team up front with 12 TFLs. Mandas followed him up, and also hit double figures with 10.5. Bill O'Brien led the team with 4 sacks.
Jesper Fredriksson was a senior last season at PK, but he was not in tune, as he only hit 10 of his 17 FG attempts. Special teams will be needing a ton of work next fall.
2010 Record: 5-6 (2-5), Tied 5th
2010 Postseason: none
Nick Doscher was just another of the NEC's young gun QBs in 2010, and the Seahawks almost managed to pull it off, but finshed one game under .500. Doscher passed for 2067 yards, but he barely got over on TD to picks, as he finished with a 16/15 ratio. Doscher added versatility as a runner, as he rushed for 480 yards and a team leading 6 TDs.
Eric Foxworth barely beat out Doscher for the rushing title, but he was hardly impressive, finishing with just 533 yards on the season with 4 TDs. He did miss two games last fall, but he has now departed, leaving Torian Phillips (242 yards) as the likely succesor to the job.
David Crawford was the leading receiver on the season, having posted 35-629-3. He was followed by Tyrone Collins (32-488-4) and Justin Matthews (30-450-5) as the only receivers to have caught at least 20 passes on the season.
Wagner was actually decent on defense, coming in under the mark on both passing yards allowed (178.8) and rushing (142.5). The Seahawks only allowed 30 points or more 3 times all season, which is not terrible for a team finishing with a losing record. Senior LB Keith Davis led the team with 74 tackles, and the Seahwaks had a senior laden leadership group on defense. Not good for 2011. Julian Stanford returns next fall after having led the team with 12.5 TFLs, and will be a senior next season. He is one of our players to watch. Mike Cox added 9, but has departed. Stanford finished with the NEC lead in sacks with 7 on the season.
Greg Francois was tough in the secondary last fall, having led the team with 6 passes defended, but nobody else managed to defend 5. Francois was a senior as well. Stefan gage tied for the NEC lead with 5 picks, but you guessed it, as he too has moved on.
David Lopez was hit and miss as a sophomore PK, having hit on only 11 of his 17 FG attempts. He has some work to do as he comes back in 2011. There was nothing special about these special teams.
2010 Record: 3-8 (2-5), Tied 5th
2010 Postseason: None
Kyle Frazier, another NEC young gun, had a respectable sophomore season for the Hawks. Frazier finished 2nd in passing in the conference, as he passed for 2072 yards. The problem was that he only tossed 9 TDs, but he did manage to only toss 6 picks on the season.
Bobby Giles was basically the only back that produced anything last fall, as he rushed for 647 yards and 1 score, so you know there is a depth issue in the backfield. Frazier added 220 yards and 4 scores on the ground, so there will be some pressure on him to kick it up next fall.
Frazier moved the ball around a good deal, as five receivers caught at least 20 passes, but nobody stepped up to star mode, as not one of them averaged even 50 yards per game. Ryan Folsum was the default leader, posting 34-394-1.
The Hawks were a decent defensive team,, having only allowed 189.3 yards passing, but they were just a shade below average against the run, allowing 151.8 yards rushing. They also gave up 35 TDs as a unit, while the offense only scored 31. Jose Gumbs led the team in tackles from the secondary, as he collected 76 on the season. Joe Valenti and Dave Ogden tied for the TFL lead with 9 each on the season. Ogden led the team with 4.5 sacks.
Gumbs and Kendall Haley had solid seasons, as Gumbs defended 8 passes and Haley knocked away 6 passes. Haley has now departed. Chris Hogan and Haley tied for the team lead in picks with 3 each on the season. Hogan also departs.
Eric Spillane had a decent year at PK, having hit 16 of his 22 field goal attempts as a freshman. Jack Daniels certainly seemed sober, as he nailed his punts for an average of 40.41 yards per punt, good for 2nd in the NEC. Mitch Pollard (22.07) and Michael Avent (21.88) both ranked in the top 100 nationally in kick returns.
St. Francis Red Flash
2010 Record: 1-10 (1-6), 8th
2010 Postseason: None
The Flash was more of a minor sputtering spark last fall, as they lost 10 of 11 games, with their only win coming against Sacred Heart. They gave up 31 or more points 7 times in 11 games, including an embarrassing 52-7 loss to Liberty to open the season. They gave up 48 Tds last fall, and averaged 420.5 allowed per game on defense. In other words, nothing worked, including an offense that only averaged 227.7 yards per game. John Kelly only averaged 114 yards per game at QB, but to his credit, he did manage to keep his ratio right side up at 11/8.
Kyle Harbridge rushed for 556 yards and 3 TDs, but missed 4 games on the season. Jude Yearwood rushed for 383 yards and 4 scores in 10 games. The receivers were highly average at best, and they were led by Omar Winston, who posted 40-431-6.
The defense, or what passed as one, was lucky to have two seniors leading the pack in Scott Lewis (138 tackles, 3rd in the nation) and Matt Parker (123 tackles, 11th nationally). They spent most of their time chasing their tails, but it would have been worse withoout them. Tyler Gillman (78 tackles as a junior) will try to be the man next fall. He has no choice. Lewis tied for the NEC lead with 13.5 TFLs, and Parker matched him at 13.5. Parker led the team with 5.5 sacks. The secondary was a disaster, as nobody had 5 passes defended, and the pick leader had 2 on a unit that allowed 230 yards passing per game.
Dane Domankos ranked 77th in the nation in kick returns with an average of 21.59 yards per return, but the rest of the special teams unit was a train wreck. Just ugly.