Patriot League: Week 2 Preview

Fordham (0-1, 0-0) at Central Connecticut State (0-1) – Sept. 9th 12 PM Arute Field New Britain, CT

Live Stream:

Fordham will look to get back on track against NEC member Central Connecticut State Saturday afternoon. The Rams head to the Nutmeg State an angry bunch after an embarrassing 58 point loss to Army last Friday night. While giving 64 points is never a good thing, the offense being held to a single Chase Edmond TD should be the main concern for Ram head coach Andrew Breiner. Fordham led the Patriot League in points scored (40 ppg) and figured to be just as strong in 2017. Army was able to control the Ram’s experienced offensive line which grounded Edmonds and Co.  Central Connecticut should provide the Rams an opportunity to get the “O” back on track. At the same time, struggling against the Blue Devils potentially suspect defense (36.6 ppg allowed in last 6 games dating back to last year) should send up huge red flags in the Bronx.

CCSU was picked 4th in the NEC preseason poll after posting a 2-9 season in 2016. They opened their 2017 season with a 50-7 loss to ACC member Syracuse.

The Blue Devils are led by a solid group of skill guys in offense. QB Jacob Dolegala, TE K.J. Smith and West Virginia transfer Cameron Nash at RB will give the Ram D some trouble. One important Blue Devil Fordham won’t have to plan for is senior preseason all-conference selection WR Joey Fields (46 rec 732 yards 6 TDs in ‘16). The issue for CCSU on “O” is a young offensive line (R-Fr, So, Sr, Fr, So).

The oft maligned Ram front 7 will have much more success this week than it did against Army last Friday night. As will the Fordham offense.

Prediction: Fordham 41 Central Connecticut State 17

Holy Cross (0-1, 0-0) at Bucknell (1-0, 0-0) – Sept. 9th 12 PM Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium, Lewisburg, PA

Live Streaming: Patriot League Network

The Bison and Crusaders do battle in a key early season Patriot League contest. Both teams are coming off of strong opening week performances and should feel confident in their chances to start league play 1-0. The Bucknell defense was dominant in their 45-6 win over Marist. The unit will be tested far more this week when QB Peter Pujals and the Crusader offense comes calling. The 5th year senior QB  and his Holy Cross teammates nearly pulled off a program changing win last week against FBS UConn. After leading 20-7 at half, the Crusaders ultimately fell 27-20.  Despite the loss, such a strong showing should still be a confidence builder for Holy Cross.

The key for both teams will be establishing the running game. If the Bucknell offensive line can find some continuity DeFloria and Freshnock could be in a line for a big day against a Holy Cross defensive front that has historically struggled to stop the run. The Bison RB duo (55 combined yards) failed to get gain traction against Marist. Getting it going this week has to be a priority for Coach Susan. Bucknell QB Matt Muh (16-24 205 yards 2 TD 1 INT) played well against Marist but he’s not yet proven the ability to win games with his arm. While Pujals has shown the ability to win a game nearly himself, Holy Cross can’t count on him to be superman for 11 games. The Crusaders offensive line must find room for Guild and Walker to have success on the ground. If Abdullah and the rest of the talented Bucknell front 7 are able to tee off on Pujals it will be a long day for the veteran QB.

Bucknell looked really good against Marist but Holy Cross will be a major step up in competition. This should go down to the wire.

Prediction: Holy Cross 27 Bucknell 24

#19 Lehigh (0-1, 0-0) at Monmouth (0-1) – Sept. 9th 1 PM Kessler Field West Long Branch, NJ

Live Streaming: ESPN3

Lehigh heads to the Jersey Shore looking to exact some revenge on Monmouth after the Hawks went into Goodman Stadium last year and escaped with a surprising 23-21. The key to Monmouth’s win last year was their defense that limited Lehigh’s high flying offense to 239 total yards. It’s hard to imagine Monmouth duplicating that type of performance two years in row. While the Hawks put forth a strong performance in their season opening 31-12 win over Lafayette, Lehigh has established itself as one of the top offenses in FCS since that 23-21 loss to open last season. The Mountain Hawk’s “O” was able to put up 35 points in their hard fought 3 point loss to #9 Villanova last week. Lehigh QB Brad Mayes was named Patriot League Player of the Week for his performance in the defeat.

If Lehigh wants to end their two game losing streak to Monmouth the Mountain Hawk defense much set the tone. Monmouth RB Peter Guerriero rushed for 139 yards and 2 TDs and was named Big South Freshman of the Week for his performance against Lafayette. Given Lehigh’s well known struggles stopping the run, Guerriero has to be a focal point on defense. QB Kenji Bahar, WR Reggie White and TE Jake Powell are also extremely dangerous in the passing game.

Lehigh has to be chomping at the bit to atone for last week’s loss to Villanova and last year’s setback to Monmouth. Monmouth has the weapons to score on the suspect Lehigh defense but not enough to outpace the Lehigh offense.

Prediction: Lehigh 44 Monmouth 27

Sacred Heart (1-0) at Lafayette (0-1, 0-0) – Sept. 9th 6 PM Fisher Stadium Easton, PA

Live Streaming: Patriot League Network

Lafayette welcomes the Sacred Heart Pioneers to College Hill in John Garrett’s home debut as head coach of the Leopards. Lafayette put forth a strong first half performance last week against Monmouth but a sluggish offense and a tired defense led to their demise during the final 30 minutes. Lafayette must be able to get some semblance of a rushing attack going if they want to notch a few “Ws” this season. Starting RB DeSean Brown managed a meager 22 yards on 13 carries against Monmouth. Sacred Heart has two defensive players, DE Dylan Ackerson and LB Kevin Berry, on the preseason All-NEC team. The work-in-progress Leopard offensive line will need to be aware of those two are at all times.

Sacred Heart (picked 5th in NEC preseason poll) opened their season with a dominating 42-3 win over Stetson last week. Pioneer QB Kevin Duke (13-16 155 yards 1 TD, 81 yards rushing 3 TDs) was named the NEC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Hatters. Lafayette’s talented front 7 will need to be aware of Duke’s ability to run if nothings available downfield. Outside of Duke the Pioneers don’t have any weapons that should seriously scare the talented Lafayette D. If the Leopards can contain the Pioneers rushing attack (301 yards last week), Sacred Heart will have a tough time putting points on the board.

Since wins might be tough to come by for Lafayette this is a crucial game for the Leopards psyche. O’Malley and the talented group of receivers must get some help on offense. The Leopard “D” should be able to contain the Pioneers just enough to scrape out a much needed win.

Prediction: Lafayette 20 Sacred 17

Georgetown (0-0, 0-0) at Campbell (1-0) – Sept. 9th 6 PM Barker-Lane Stadium Buies Creek, NC

Live Streaming: Big South Network

Georgetown heads to North Carolina to open their season against the Campbell Camels from the Pioneer League. With an opening week bye the Hoyas got an extra 7 days to prepare for the game against the Camels. Meanwhile, Campbell started their 2017 campaign with a resounding 70-0 win over outclassed Division 3 Methodist.  Campbell will be joining the full-scholarship Big South next year. The Camels have really ramped up recruiting since announcing they would be awarding free rides. Campbell is coached by former NFL safety Mike Minter. Minter spent his entire 9 year career with the Carolina Panthers.

The Hoyas return a veteran team that has to be itching to get the season started. 5th year Senior QB Tim Barnes leads an offense loaded with experience at every position. If the Hoyas were ever to have a breakout season on offense this could be it. Campbell could have their hands full since they don’t have any game film to go off. Plus, Barnes was hurt for most of last year so the Hoya offense was a shell of itself during the course of the season. If the Hoya RB combo of Alex Valles and Isaac Ellsworth can take some of the pressure off of Barnes the Hoyas will have a great chance to get out of the Tar Heel state with a win.

Campbell will find out quickly the Hoya defense is far more formidable than Methodist’s. While Campbell has scholarship players, Georgetown has a ton of experience and several talented players of their own.

Prediction: Georgetown 31 Campbell 21


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