Looking to close out the month of October on a high note, the Merrimack College football team heads to Connecticut for a Saturday afternoon Northeast-10 Conference showdown with perennial league power New Haven at DellaCamera Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 | 1 p.m.
Records: Merrimack (3-4, 3-3 NE-10) | New Haven (4-3, 4-2 NE-10)
Location: DellaCamera Stadium | West Haven, Conn.
Last Time Out:
After erasing an early 10-point deficit with two quick scores in the second quarter to take the lead, the Merrimack College football team was outscored by 31 the rest of the way, as visiting Assumption handed the Warriors a 41-13 setback in Northeast-10 Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Martone-Mejail Field.
Assumption built itself an early 3-0 lead with a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter before a 12-yard scamper from De’Ontray Johnson put the visitors by 10. As the game turned to the second frame, Merrimack was quick to respond, as first-year Warrior Adriell Mayes started his big afternoon with a 23-yard scoring run to put the hosts on the board with 10:34 left in the second quarter.
The Warrior defense promptly forced a punt and Merrimack was in the midst of another promising drive before fumbling it away at the Assumption 33.
Still, the defense responded, as the Greyhounds punted it right back put Merrimack in business from its own 19. Freshman quarterback Joe Capobianco orchestrated a five-play, 81-yard drive that culminated with him hooking up with sophomore Justin Mount from 65 yards out to give get the Homecoming Weekend crowd on its feet and push the Navy and Gold ahead by a 13-10 margin at the break.
But that momentum quickly dissipated after Assumption took the opening kickoff of the third quarter 95 yards to the house, forcing the Warriors to quickly play catch-up.
Each side’s ensuing drives resulted in punts, as Merrimack got the ball back with 9:14 to go in the third. After a few big gashes by Mayes put Merrimack near midfield, Capobianco was picked off by Bakari Blunt, who brought it in from 52 yards out to make it a 24-13 Assumption lead.
The Greyhounds tacked on another field goal and made it a three-possession game later in the third after blocking a punt deep in Merrimack territory; on the very next play, Johnson would dash in from 15 yards out to put the visitors up by a 34-13 margin.
Assumption would ice the contest with one last 41-yard touchdown pass-and-catch from Trevor Vasey to Eddy Frazier to account for the final margin of defeat.
Inside The Series
Merrimack and New Haven are meeting only for the fifth time after the Chargers joined the league in 2009. Merrimack won the first meeting that fall (48-20) at home, but has lost the last four and stands at 1-4 all-time against the Chargers. The closest defeat came in 2010 by two points (27-25), while last year the two teams went back and forth in one of the more exciting contests played in the series, but one that ultimately was won by UNH, 48-41. Merrimack has never won at DellaCamera Stadium in two previous tries.
-After starting the season with three straight losses, all by five point or fewer, New Haven has silenced its doubters with four straight victories, including a head-turning, 31-24 road victory against AIC last Saturday in stunning fashion
-The Chargers trailed by seven with two minutes to play before tying it up with 1:54 remaining. The reigning league champion Yellow Jackets promptly fumbled it away and the Chargers capitalized, as Joey Bradley connected with Henry Adegunle from 40 yards out to seal the win
-The Chargers now sit a game back of first place with three games to play
New Haven boasts a potent offense that averages 28.9 PPG (3rd/NE-10) and is lethal in the red zone, scoring on 62% of its trips inside the 20 (3rd/NE-10)
-Bradley’s 11 passing TDs rank fourth in the league, while Ty Headen ranks fourth in the league averaging 86.7 receiving yards/game with five scoring catches
-Defensively, Tyler Condit is a force to be reckoned with averaging 9.9 tackles/game (2nd).
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