First-Ever NEWMAC Football Game set for Saturday

SOURCE: Springfield Athletics News Release

Springfield, Mass. – September 18, 2017 – The Springfield College football team will look to push its record to 4-0 when it plays its first conference game of the 2017 season on Stagg Field on September 23. Kick off is scheduled for 2:30 pm vs. WPI.

Last Week…
Fresh of a week in which he earned awards at the conference, regional, and national levels, Jordan Wilcox (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Pride rushing attack. Sophomore Hunter Belzo (Middletown, Conn.) needed just 10 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns, while senior quarterback Jake Eglintine (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) rushed 12 times for 71 yards and two scores.

Defensively, Joel Sodeinde (Dartmouth, Mass.) led the Pride with seven tackles, including three for loss, while Dominic Traversa (Pittsfield, Mass.) made five stops and had one of Springfield’s three interceptions.

A Week of Awards
Christian Humulock (Narragansett, R.I.) was a perfect nine for nine on extra points, and also converted a 33 yard field goal for the Pride. The Junior kicker was tabbed the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III North Special Teams Performer of the Week.

New Conference, Same Mission
Saturday’s game will mark the first-ever New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest as the inaugural season of NEWMAC Football gets underway. The newly formed football league consists of eight elite institutions that come from six different states and have combined for 17 NCAA championship appearances. The eight founding members are; Catholic University of America, MIT, Maine Maritime Academy, Norwich University, Springfield College, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and WPI.

Fast Start
Springfield is looking to start the year with four wins for the first time since 2006, when the Pride started off the year 7-0. In 2006, the Pride reached the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, advancing to the second round.

About the Matchup…
Last season, the Springfield College football team strung together 28-unanswered points and held on for a thrilling 28-23 win over WPI at Stagg Field.

Chad Shade (Pittsfield, Mass.) came in under center in late in the second quarter and was the spark Springfield’s offense needed as he totaled 164 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while completing two passes for 76 yards and another score. Defensively, Springfield had eight players with at least four tackles, with Kenny Calaj (Everett, Mass.) leading the way with eight stops.

The first half belonged to WPI, as they outgained Springfield, 207-73 and went into halftime with a 17-0 cushion. With the momentum shifted their way, Springfield’s defense made another big play, this time getting an interception from Nick Welsh (Middletown, N.J.) that gave the Pride the ball at the Engineer 25 yard line with the third quarter winding down. On the first play of the fourth, Shade scrambled loose and hit Nick Valles (Danvers, Mass.) for 22-yard touchdown to put Springfield ahead for good.

In a series that dates back to 1902, Springfield has won 29 of the 33 meetings, having tied in both 1904 and 1906. Most recently, the Pride picked up wins in both 2012 and 2013, while the Engineers have won in 2014 and 2015 prior to last year’s comeback win for Springfield.

Back in the Rankings…
After a 3-0 start to the season, Springfield College is the one of only two teams from New England to be receiving votes in the D3football.com National Poll and one of only 43 programs out of the 249 Division III football programs in the country to be mentioned in the poll. Currently with the 30th most votes in the country, this is the highest Springfield has been ranked since Week 4 of the 2007 season when it was also receiving votes.

National Leaders…
The Springfield College football team has the best rushing offense in Division III football, averaging 411.7 yards per game, and in fact, have the second-best rushing offense out of 661 collegiate teams across all divisions, averaging 411.7 yards per game.

The Pride is also eighth in red zone defense (.429), 11th in net punting (40.60), 12th in punt return defense (0.00), and 19th in first-down offense (72). Individually, Jordan Wilcox ranks sixth in the nation in total rushing yards (478) and is seventh in rushing yards per game (159.3), while Jake Eglintine is fifth in rushing touchdowns (6).

About the Engineers…
WPI is 2-1 on the season as it posted a 48-0 win over Anna Maria to start the season before dealing a 27-0 decision to Becker last week. The Engineers are averaging 401 yards of total offense a game, including 203 yards per contest in the air. Defensively, they are surrendering just under 174 yards per game and 12.0 points per outing to their opponents.

SOURCE: Springfield Athletics News Release

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