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Preview: Merrimack travels to Bentley Saturday

Michael Mercuri Photo: Merrimack Athletics

The Merrimack College football team will hit the road for the short trip down to Waltham to take on nearby rival Bentley Saturday (Sept. 15), with kickoff set for 2 p.m.

Inside the Series

  • Saturday’s matchup will be the 24th game between Merrimack and Bentley as varsity programs dating back to the Warriors’ first varsity season in 1996.
  • Bentley edged Merrimack by a 17-7 margin last year at Martone-Mejail Field in a game that the Warriors had plenty of opportunities in. Turnovers ultimately prevented the comeback, as Merrimack was intercepted four times in that game.
  • Merrimack enters Saturday 10-13 all-time against the Falcons since 1996. Both sides have competed evenly in recent years, with each team winning three of the last six games in the series. Merrimack holds a slim 6-5 edge against Bentley dating back to 2008.
  • The last Warrior victory was a 41-10 blowout at home in September of 2015.

‘Mack Facts

  • Merrimack enters the weekend in search of its first win after back-to-back losses against two of the top teams in the region in Bloomsburg and Assumption. The recent matchup against the Greyhounds saw the Warriors take an early 7-0 lead and had flashes throughout – including back-to-back scores late in the third quarter, before Assumption ultimately came out on top.
  • Freshman Christian Carter, who was named NE10 Rookie of the Week back in Week 1, has had an impressive start to the 2018 season. The rookie has completed 40 passes on 79 attempts (50.63) and is averaging 225.50 yards per game in the air and has three touchdowns compared to no interceptions.
  • Carter also leads the Warriors thus far in rushing yards per game (44.5), averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Redshirt freshman Jamari Venter has carried the ball 18 times (4.1/carry), while true freshman Matt Brehon also is averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
  • Senior Cody Demers is among the NE10’s top receivers; he ranks second in the league in receiving yards per game (100.5) and his two touchdown catches lead the conference thus far.
  • Redshirt freshman Daekwon Shepherd had a career performance on defense last week, totaling three takeaways (two forced fumbles, one interception). Sophomore Jovan Grant leads the Warriors with 19 total tackles (14 solo) and has an interception and a forced fumble, as well.
  • Last year, Merrimack finished as the NE10’s third-best offense in terms of yards per game, averaging 413.4 per contest while out-gaining its competition in six out of 10 games. The Warriors also surpassed 200 yards rushing on three occasions – including one 300-yard showing.
  • On defense, Merrimack yielded only 124.3 yards per game, the second-fewest in the conference, while the team also excelled at hassling the quarterback, totaling 25 sacks on the year – once again the second-best figure in the league. Overall, Merrimack ranked fourth in total yards allowed per game (348.9).

Scouting Bentley

  • Bentley enters the matchup with Merrimack sporting a 1-1 record after picking up a narrow win against Southern Connecticut State last week (24-22).
  • Reigning NE10 Rookie of the Week, Seamus Leary, led the Falcons to their last win after coming off the bench at halftime. He passed for 117 yards and one touchdown to pace the Falcons to victory. Leary was also the second leading rusher for the Falcons last week, recording 51 yards and one touchdown on the ground in just one half of play.
  • Defensively, Bentley has defended the pass well this season, allowing only 142 yards per game in the air. Opponents are averaging 265.5 rushing yards per game, however.
  • Last time out, Bentley’s defense was led by Nick Athy and Andrew Carmichael, who each recorded nine tackles for the Falcons. Emmanuele Resto and Derek Perkins each tallied an interception for Bentley in that game, as well.

Inside the Matchup:

Merrimack (0-2, 0-1 NE10)CategoryBentley (1-1, 1-0 NE10)
9/8/18 vs. #RV Assumption (L, 19-49)Last Time Out9/7/18 at Southern Conn. (W, 24-22)
112.0Rushing Offense72.0
225.5Passing Offense91.0
337.5Total Offense163.0
466.0Opp. Total Offense407.5
0Interceptions3
4/1Fumbles/Lost3/1
30:18Time of Possession21:27
38.24%3rd-Down Conversions33%
60.0%Opp. 3rd-Down Conversions–%
1-9Sacks/Yards4
5-6 (83.3%)Red-Zone Scores4-5 (80%)
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