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|Week 10 Preview
The Game: The 2010 football season comes to a close this afternoon as Stonehill College visits rival Bentley University for a Northeast-10 Conference clash at Bentley University Football Stadium. The Skyhawks are winners of two straight and three of their last four following last Saturday's 18-0 victory over Assumption College in its final home game of the year. The Falcons have won their last three, but have played just one game over the last 28 days - a 35-21 win at Assumption two weeks ago.
Media Info: Live video of today's game is available on a pay-per-view basis ($7.00) via www.bentleyfalcons.com with links also available at www.stonehillskyhawks.com. Steve Zerdelian and Jacob VanRyn have the call of the action via B2Network.
The Series: This afternoon marks the 25th meeting all-time between these long time rivals that dates back before the first varsity meeting between the two in 1988 when the two teams were club rivals. Bentley holds an 18-5-1 advantage in the all-time series, but Stonehill has won each of the last two meetings, including a 23-21 victory in the regular season finale last season. The Falcons are 8-2 all-time against the Skyhawks at home, having won the last six games here in Waltham, including a 17-14 decision here in 2008. Head Coach Robert Talley is 2-2 in his career against Bentley.
Go For the Win: Stonehill seeks its first winning season since posting an 8-2 clip under former coach Connie Driscoll in 1996 with a win today. The Skyhawks have posted a winning mark seven times in program history, four of which were under Driscoll's direction. Stonehill has had just one losing season under fourth-year head coach Robert Talley (4-6 in 2008). Bentley has prevented the Skyhawks from having a winning season once in the program's series, posting a 19-0 win in the regular season finale in 1990 when Stonehill finished 3-4-1.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Stonehill freshman placekicker Michael Kielbasa (Ludlow, Mass.) was named the Northeast-10 Conference's Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday. Kielbasa, in his first career start, converted his first career field goal with a 27-yard attempt with 3:20 left in regulation to seal Saturday's 18-0 win over Assumption. He converted 1-of-2 extra point attempts (lone miss was a block) and also averaged 56.2 yards on four kickoffs for the day, giving the Greyhounds an average starting field position of their own 24 yard line on his four kicks. Kielbasa was forced into action due to injury the week before in Stonehill's 41-27 win at Saint Anselm and has converted 4-of-6 extra points (both misses are blocks) and is averaging 55.8 yards on kickoffs through two games, after joining the team as a walk on after conclusion of training camp. It marks the third-straight week a Stonehill player has been named the NE-10's Special Teams Player of the Week after junior return specialist Stephan Neville (Foxborough, Mass.) collected the honors two-straight weeks.
He's Honored: Senior defensive lineman Clark Leger (Waltham, Mass.) was named to the Northeast-10's weekly honor roll on Monday. He led a Skyhawks defense to its second shutout of the season in Saturday's 18-0 win over Assumption as he posted nine tackles (four solo), including 2.0 for a loss of nine yards, with a sack for a loss of seven, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries as Stonehill held the Greyhounds nearly 170 yards below their season average for total offense and blanking a team that was averaging nearly 29 points per game. Leger forced a fumble on Assumption's first drive of the game deep in Stonehill territory. His sack forced the Greyhounds to turn the ball over on downs inside Skyhawks territory in the second quarter.
Stonehill/Bentley Going National: A sports radio station in Panama City, Fla., has chosen the Stonehill/Bentley rivalry as one of the ten games (seven Division I and three Division II/III) being picked on the "Rocky and Randall Road Show" on WBPC-FM 95.1. Fans can listen online at www.beach951.com and are encouraged to call into the show to voice their support of the Skyhawks by calling 850-235-2951 between 8:15 and 10:30 a.m., Eastern time.
Record Breaking Eddie: Senior captain Eddie Vachon (Newton, Mass.) brings to a close a recordbreaking career at Stonehill this afternoon. He became the program's all-time rushing leader two weeks ago at Saint Anselm and enters his final collegiate game with 2,908 career yards after becoming just the third player in program history to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season last weekend, bringing his 1,006 rushing yards into today's game. Vachon, who also holds school records for career all-purpose yards (4,572), career rushing attempts (624), career rushing touchdowns (26) and total touchdowns scored (33), enters today's game tied for the program's single season record of 13 touchdowns set by Mike Plichta in 2005.
He. Could. Go. All. The. Way!: Junior Stephan Neville (Foxborough, Mass.) has matched a pair of NCAA Division II records after returning his school-record fourth kickoff return for a touchdown to seal Stonehill's win at Saint Anselm two weeks ago. Neville, whose four TD returns have all come in the last six weeks, has matched the NCAA Division II single-season record for kickoffs returned for touchdowns set by Merrimack College's Andrew Jackson in 2005. Neville also matched the NCAA Division II career record of eight kickoffs returned for a score set by Winona State University's Dave Ludy from 1991-94. Neville is two kickoff returns for a score shy of the NCAA All-Divisions record of six set by Bashir Levingston from Eastern Washington University in 1998 and three shy of the NCAA All-Divisions career record of 11 held by Florida A&M's LeRoy Vann from 2006-09. Neville leads the NE-10 (3rd nationally) for the second-straight year by averaging 32.2 yards per return and surpassed the 2,000-yard plateau for return yards at Saint Anselm, entering today's game with 2,076 career yards on 62 returns (33.5/return). He led Division II in 2009 by averaging 36.7 per return - leading a Stonehill return corps which led the country by averaging 26.7 yards per kickoff return.
What a Rush: Senior running back Eddie Vachon (Newton, Mass.) ranks second in the Northeast-10 (ranking 21st nationally in Division II) in rushing with 111.8 yards per game, joining New Haven's Victor Jones as the lone 1,000-yard rushers in the NE-10 this season. One of only three running backs in the NE-10 averaging over 100 yards per game, Vachon has carried the ball 204 times for 1,006 yards (4.9/carry) and 11 touchdowns - just the third 1,000-yard season ever at Stonehill, trailing single-season leader Tyrone Jefferson (1,267 in 2000) by 261 yards. Vachon ranks second in the NE-10 for scoring (8.7 ppg) while also ranking fourth for all-purpose yards (143.4/gm) and is eighth in total offense (115.0).
Sack Leger: Senior defensive end Clark Leger (Waltham, Mass.) shared the Northeast-10 lead with his 6.0 sacks this season (for a loss of 32 yards) after posting a key sack in last weekend's shutout of Assumption. He also posted a season-high three sacks against Southern Connecticut State on October 23. Leger is fourth on the team with 41 tackles this season (18 solo), including 7.5 for a loss (7th NE-10) of 34 yards, a pass break up and seven QB hurries.
No Score for You: With Saturday's 18-0 shutout win over Assumption, Stonehill has posted two shutouts in a season for the first time since since 1992 when it kept three opponents scoreless during a 6-2-1 campaign under coach David Swanton. The Skyhawks first shutout, a 27-0 win at Pace on October 16 was the program's first shutouts since a 35-0 victory over Saint Anselm on November 1, 2008. Stonehill has posted four shutouts under head coach Robert Talley.
Tim Wins: Stonehill is 3-0 this season in games started by junior quarterback Tim Morrison (Billerica, Mass.) against Curry, Pace (Sept. 10) and last week against Assumption. Morrison has completed 44-of-72 passes (61.1-percent) for 528 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions in those games, posting an efficiency rating of 135.49. The Skyhawks are averaging 26 points per game in those three wins. Morrison also led the Skyhawks to their 41-27 win at Saint Anselm, entering the game due to injury with the team trailing 13-0, completing 10-of-19 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Stonehill is 7-3 over the last two seasons with Morrison as its starting signal caller.
Bowl Eligible?: Just a little bit of who beat who fun heading into the season finale: Stonehill defeated Assumption 18-0 last week, who defeated FCS (Division I-AA) member Forhham University (30-24), who beat Rhode Island (27-25), who defeated #8 New Hampshire (28-25), who won at #6 James Madison University (28-14), who knocked off FBS (Division I) member and then No. 13-ranked Virginia Tech (21-16). The Skyhawks will be eagerly awaiting its bowl invitation with a sixth win today.
On Deck: See you next season!