Tickets (Available at the field on game day):
Senior Citizens & Students (with ID): $4.00
|Student-Athlete Spotlight: Ryan Handy
|Coach's Corner with Robert Talley
The Game: Stonehill College travels to Springfield to battle American International College, among teams receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, for a rematch of the 2013 Northeast-10 Conference Championship, which was also played here at Ronald J. Abdow Field last November for NE-10 action this afternoon. The Skyhawks look to build off its historic 24-17 triumph at rival Bentley last Friday night, while the Yellow Jackets were topped by NCAA Division I FCS member University at Stony Brook 20-7 on Saturday evening.
Media Info: Live video of this afternoon's game is available on a pay-per-view basis ($6.95) via www.aicyellowjackets.tv. Dan Fernandes (PBP) and Seth Dussault (lead analyst) will be providing the action powered by Pack Network. WSHL 91.3 FM will also be broadcasting the game back to Easton with Matt Grant and Pat Ahern calling the action.
Remembering Coach Mac: The Stonehill football community is saddened by the passing of longtime Stonehill football coach Tom "Coach Mac" MacDonald, '53, at the age of 83 at his home in Nashua, N.H., on Monday morning. The Skyhawks will wear commemorative black "MAC" stickers on their helmet for the remainder of the season in memory of "Coach Mac," a member of the College's second graduating class and a student-athlete for the baseball and boxing teams before serving many years as a member of the coaching staffs of the baseball and football programs, and was widely known as the "Ambassador" for the football program and College as a whole as well. "Coach Mac" was inducted to the Stonehill Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999. The College will also observe a moment of recognition prior to next Saturday's home game against Merrimack.
Against the Yellow Jackets: This afternoon marks the 19th meeting all-time between these two programs. American International has won all 18 of the previous encounters between the two programs, including a pair of victories in 2013. The Yellow Jackets claimed a 31-10 win in Easton during the regular season and then posted a 27-17 triumph in the NE-10 Championship here at Abdow Field in November. AIC is 8-0 all-time against Stonehill here in Springfield. Stonehill head coach Robert Talley is 0-8 against the Yellow Jackets.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Stonehill senior punter Ryan Handy (Howell, N.J.) has been named the Northeast-10 Special Teams Player of the Week by the league office. Handy earns the honors for the first time in his career by averaging 44.8 yards on four punts in Friday night's 24-17 win at Bentley, with a long of 47 yards, placing two kicks inside the Bentley 20 yard line, including one to the Falcons three which would eventually lead to great field position for a field goal that sealed the key win. Handy gave Bentley an average starting field position of its own 15.5 yard line on the four punts.
Hometown Honors: Senior defensive tackle Taylor Russell (Keene, N.H.) has been named the SportsNewHampshire Noyes Volkswagen Athlete of the Week for his efforts in Friday night's 24-17 victory at Bentley. Russell spearheaded a strong effort from the Stonehill defensive line which produced four sacks and eight total tackles for loss as he was seemingly in the backfield all night, finishing with a career-best 11 tackles, including a career-high matching five solo, with 2.0 sacks for a loss of 11 yards. Russell was also named to the Northeast-10's weekly honor roll for his efforts.
They're Honored: Joining senior Taylor Russell (Keene, N.H.) on the Northeast-10 Conference's weekly honor roll on Monday were seniors Brian Harrington (Rockland, Mass.) and Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass.) as well as junior Colin Markus (Monroe, Conn.). Harrington posted a season-high matching 11 tackles (five solo), including 2.0 for a loss, on Friday night, while Robitaille caught six passes for a season-high 98 yards and a touchdown. Markus rushed the ball 24 times for a season-high 120 yards and two touchdowns to pace the offense.
Four Score and Almost 20 Years Ago: Friday night's 24-17 victory at rival Bentley marked Stonehill's first win in Waltham since a 39-36 triumph in 1995, and just the third victory there all-time. The Skyhawks have won back to back meetings with the Falcons for the second time in the varsity series between the two, with the first time coming in back to back games in Easton in 2008 and 2009, and hold a 4-3 edge in the series since 2008.
Preseason Predictions: Stonehill has been picked to finish third in the Northeast-10 Conference football preseason poll, as selected by the league's ten head coaches. Stonehill collected 67 points, including a first place vote, to earn its No. 3 preseason ranking by the league coaches – its highest NE-10 preseason ranking in program history. The Skyhawks received one less point than New Haven (68 points) who is picked second, while defending Conference champions American International picked up 81 points and the remaining nine first place votes. Assumption and Merrimack (47 points each) were both picked fourth, while LIU Post (44 points) is sixth, Southern Connecticut State (37 points) seventh, Bentley (31 points) eighth, Saint Anselm (19 points) ninth and Pace (nine points) rounds out the poll in tenth.
Record Talley: With Friday night's win over rival Bentley, Stonehill head coach Robert Talley earned his 37th career win to surpass Connie Driscoll atop the program's career wins list. Driscoll posted a 36-24 record in his six seasons from 1993-98. Talley, who was a finalist for the 2013 Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year Award and named the New England Football Writers Division II/III Coach of the Year last fall, is now a program-best 4-5 all-time against Bentley over his eight year career.
Top Target: Senior wide receiver Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass.) enters this afternoon's game on the verge of becoming the program's all-time leader for touchdown receptions, needing one touchdown catch to surpass Dan Cahill, '96. Robitaille collected his program record matching 22nd career touchdown reception midway through the first quarter with a 46 yard scoring grab at Bentley last Friday night. He matched the program record with 13 touchdown receptions in 2013, setting program single-season marks for receiving yards (1,229), receptions (91) and receptions per game (8.27). Robitaille also enters today's game ranked fourth all-time with 1,854 career receiving yards - 588 yards shy of former teammate John Gomes, '13 record total of 2,442. Robitaille ranks third for career receptions with 134 - 39 behind Gomes record of 173.
Nobody Beats the Gryz: Junior kicker Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H.) will set a new program record for career field goals with his next made attempt after matching the program record with his 20th career field goal at Bentley on Friday night. His 26-yard field goal matched the record set by Joe Crowley, '04. Grzywacz's 30 career field goal attempts ranks second all-time behind Crowley's record 39 field goal attempts.
Finding the End Zone: Junior running back Colin Markus (Monroe, Conn.) posted his fifth career 100-yard rushing game with his 24 touches for a game-high 120 yards at Bentley on Friday night. He also posted his second career multi-touchdown game with his two one-yard scoring runs. Markus ranks second among NE-10 leaders with his 179 rushing yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry (2nd), and ranking third with his two TDs this fall.
D-FENCE!: Stonehill leads the Northeast-10 in scoring defense (49th nationally) at 20.5 points per game through the first two weeks, while ranking third for total defense at 299.0 yards per contest (35th).
Handy Ryan: Senior Ryan Handy (Howell, N.J.), a first team All-Northeast-10 selection last season, ranks second among NE-10 leaders and 15th nationally for punting average at 43.1 yards per attempt after the first two weeks. He ranks fourth in the Conference with three punts inside the opponents 20 yard line. His 39.6 career average is on pace to break Joe Crowley's, '04, record of 37.84 from 2000-03 after setting a new single-season program record with his 40.7 average last fall, which he is on pace to surpass again this fall. Stonehill ranks 19th nationally for net punting at 39.25 yards per punt.
Big Protection: Stonehill's offensive line has yielded just one sack and only four tackles for a loss through the first two weeks. The Skyhawks line leads the NE-10 in both categories, while ranking second nationally for fewest tackles for loss allowed and 15th nationally for sacks allowed. The offensive line is anchored by senior captain Lucas Brum (Farmingville, N.Y.) at center, with junior Jake Mikos (North Haven, Conn.) and sophomores Joe MacInnis (Raynham, Mass.), Anthony Siciliano (Monroe, N.Y.) and Christian Dyer (Seabrook, N.H.)
The Hall Calls: Stonehill will induct its Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2014 in a ceremony on Friday, October 24. Among the inductees is Stonehill's career sack leader, Dan Gamache, '95, who got the opposing quarterbacks 34.0 times over his career, including a record 14.0 in his senior year in 1994. Joining Gamache in this year's Hall of Fame class are: Mike Close, '00 (baseball/ice hockey), Mike Barros, '88 (men's basketball), Helen Phillips, '86 (softball/women's basketball), Karen Boen (cross country/track & field head coach) and Brian Murphy, '68 (contributor).
25th Anniversary: Stonehill will host a 25th anniversary reunion for its 1989 New England Football Conference (NEFC) Championship team at its game against the University of New Haven on Saturday, October 4, at 6 p.m. The team posted a 6-3 record overall, capped by a 24-12 victory over Bentley.
Getting Social: Fans and media members of Stonehill athletics now have two social media outlets to get updates on all 20 varsity programs. The department's Facebook page is www.facebook.com/stonehillskyhawks, and you can also follow @SkyhawkTalk on Twitter!
On Deck: Stonehill is back in action next Saturday, September 27, to host Merrimack College on Family Weekend at 6 p.m.