|Date||Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 // 12 p.m.|
|Matchup||Merrimack (5-5) at LIU (0-9)|
|Venue||Bethpage FCU Stadium // Brookville, N.Y.|
|Multimedia||Live Stats // Watch|
|Social||Twitter // Instagram|
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College football program aims to finish its first season at the NCAA FCS level with a record above .500 when the Warriors visit Long Island University tomorrow afternoon for a 12 p.m. kickoff at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium. Tomorrow marks the first time that Merrimack and LIU will play as Division I foes; the Warriors and Sharks (formerly LIU Post) were rivals in Division II as former members of the Northeast-10 Conference
Inside the Matchup:
|Merrimack (5-5)||Category||LIU (0-9)|
|11/16 vs. FPU (W, 57-0)||Last Time Out||11/15 at #13/16 Villanova (L, 35-7)|
|327.6||Opp. Total Offense||351.8|
|38.51% (57-148)||3rd-Down Conversions||34.65% (44-127)|
|30.22% (42-139)||Opp. 3rd-Down Conversions||50.86% (59-116)|
Dating back to 1998, the Warriors faced off with LIU on 16 occasions when the Sharks’ football program went by LIU Post. The Warriors won three of the final eight games in the series leading into this season; overall, LIU owns a 13-3 all-time record against Merrimack. Merrimack will look for its second event win at LIU on Saturday, aiming to replicate the 2013 season’s 26-21 triumph during head coach Dan Curran‘s first season.
Meet the Sharks:
The Sharks enter the final week of the regular season looking for their first win of 2019 campaign. LIU joined Merrimack in elevating to the FCS level as LIU Post’s Division II Football program immediately joined the NEC and was postseason eligible. LIU merged its Brooklyn campus and Brookville campus into one institution. The Sharks dropped all seven NEC contests that will count towards their league record, and faced nationally ranked programs such as South Dakota State and Villanova as part of a challenging non-conference slate.
Plenty of Awards to Report:
Despite some possibly assuming that it would an awards-light year for the Warriors given their transition to the FCS level, that has been far from the case. Redshirt-senior Marquis Spence and Carter have both won NEC Offensive Player of the Week honors; Spence’s selection came after a career-high 16 catches against Central Connecticut State, which at the time was tied for the nation’s highest single-game catch total in 2019. Carter won his honor most recently after Presbyterian week after his 344 yards of total offense. The signal caller also took home the Gold Helmet Award from the New England Football Writers Association, being named the top D1 Football Player (FBS & FCS) in New England last week.
Two weeks ago, graduate student Corey Resendes was named NEC Special Teams Player of the Week following a 3-for-3 effort as a placekicker including a career-best 39-yard field goal against Delaware State. He also averaged nearly 50 yards-per-punt and placed two of six kicks inside the DSU 20. For his efforts, he was named FCS Stats National Special Teams Player of the Week.
In their five home games this season, the Merrimack College Warriors are averaging 43.8 points a game for a 4-1 record on home soil. Sophomore quarterback Christian Cater is torching teams on defense while on his home turf. Carter has thrown for eight touchdowns and has thrown for 850 yards while at Duane Stadium.
Lock Down Secondary:
Merrimack’s secondary has proven to be one of the best in the NEC: The Warriors rank second in the league in interceptions (15), and three student-athletes among the top 16 in the league in passes defended/game. Darion McKenzie and Caleb Holden lead Merrimack with three interceptions each, which ranks in a tie for second in the NEC. Holden ranks second in the NEC with 11 PBUs while McKenzie is in a tie for third with 10. Maverick Gamble ranks just outside the top 15 with 0.76 break ups per game
The Carter Effect:
Sophomore quarterback Christian Carter has been having the best year of his career statistic-wise. The signal caller is currently ranked fourth in the Northeast Conference (NEC) in passing yards per game with 196.6 and fourth in total offense with 227.1 yards a game. Carter threw for a season-best 287 yards on Saturday against Presbyterian, increasing his season total to a career-high 1,966 yards through 10 games
The Warriors will have a bye week next week before playing their final home game on Saturday, Nov. 16, against Franklin Pierce University. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on campus, and the game will be celebrated as Senior Day.