Turning the page to November with two games to go in the regular season, the Merrimack College football team returns to North Andover to welcome reigning league champion AIC to campus for a Saturday afternoon showdown at Martone-Mejail Field.
Date/Time: Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 | 1 p.m.
Records: Merrimack (3-5, 3-4 NE-10) | AIC (6-2, 6-1 NE-10)
Location: Martone-Mejail Field | North Andover, Mass.
Last Time Out:
After pulling even at 7-7 with a touchdown run late in the opening quarter, the Merrimack College football team surrendered 35 uninterrupted points, as the University of New Haven ran its way to a 42-14 victory against the Warriors on Saturday afternoon at DellaCamera Stadium.
After New Haven took an early 7-0 lead, Merrimack used an 11-play, 87-yard drive that was capped off by first-year junior Adriell Mayes busting into the end zone from two yards out to draw even with 2:46 to play in the opening frame.
But after a big kickoff return from the Chargers, Andre Anderson broke free on the first play from scrimmage, hurdling 88 yards down the left sideline and in to quickly give the leads back to the hosts – one that they would never relinquish.
Merrimack’s offense, meanwhile, was forced to punt on its next two drives, and New Haven capitalized by scoring twice more in the second quarter – once on a Lemar Thomas one-yard rush, the other a 42-yard pass-and-catch from Joey Bradley to Henry Adegunie – to make it a 28-7 advantage for the Chargers by halftime.
After the Warriors punted for the third time in four possessions early in the third quarter, New Haven answered again with a 10-play, 76-yard drive that was capped by a four-yard scoring rush from Trevor Officer, making it 35-7.
Merrimack would get one last touchdown on its penultimate drive of the game, as freshman Joe Capobianco connected with junior Jere Brown from 11 yards out to account for the final margin of defeat.
All-Time vs. AIC:
Merrimack and AIC will face off for the 19th time dating back to 1997, and the Yellow Jackets hold the upper hand by winning 13 of those games. The story of the series, though, has been AIC winning the last eight contests between the two squads. Merrimack hasn’t tasted victory over the Yellow Jacketssince the 2006 campaign, a 37-13 win at home on Oct. 7. Since then, the series hasn’t been close; aside from two four-point losses, Merrimack has by 10 or more points in every game since then. Last year, the Warriors dropped an offensive slugfest on the road, falling 62-50 in Week 2.
The Yellow Jackets:
Reigning league champion AIC heads into Saturday’s meeting fresh off a huge road win at LIU Post (27-24) to remain alone in first place thanks to its 6-1 league record
Aside from a 20-3 setback at Division I Stone Brook, the Yellow Jackets’ lone blemish on their schedule was a 31-24 defeat against New Haven on Oct. 18
The goings haven’t been as easy this year for AIC, as three of its six league wins have been decided by three points or less
The Yellow Jackets have used strong defense (19.0 PPG/2nd NE-10) and a balanced offense that averages 357.9 yards per game to lead the way this season
Senior quarterback Kevin Arduino has battled through injury this season but is still one of the most dynamic players in the conference; he’s tossed for 11 TDs and rushed for six more.
Mike McMahon covers Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report as well as on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN