For the more audio-friendly version, check out Sam Dostaler and myself on the podcast for this week.
Last season, Springfield College football had a chance at an ECAC Bowl headed into the final week of the season, but that came up just short when the Pride dropped a 44-36 shootout at Union. Not even a school-record 299 rushing yards from Josh Carter were enough to get the Pride the win.
Well Carter is gone and he took his playmaking ability with him, but the Pride have found some new playmakers in 2012. Joel Altavesta and Mike Davis have each earned league recognition for their performances this season, while defensive end Max Nacewicz earned national recognition after 4.5 sacks last week.
The Dutchmen have struggled so far this year, managing a 1-3 record through four games but came up with their first win last weekend with a 31-20 victory over St. Lawrence. Last season’s Pride-killer was Drew Connolly (352 yards, 3 TD) but, like Carter, has departed for post-graduate pastures.
In his stead is Connor Eck who has been solid thus far but will need to be outstanding to give this Union team a chance against this Springfield squad. Eck has thrown six touchdowns against just one interception this season as the driver of the Dutchmen’s shotgun-spread offense.
“I’m excited about facing a first-year quarterback,” said Nacewicz. “It’s easy to get into a young player’s head and rattle him a little bit.”
Eck will need to get the ball out fast to avoid that rush and his favorite target has been Kyle Reynolds. Reynolds and Eck combined for three touchdowns last week, bringing their total to four on the season.
Also on Eck’s weapon list is running back T.J. Franzese, who is off to a strong start after having a major impact last season. Franzese ran for 149 yards and two scores in last season’s contest with Springfield.
“We didn’t play well last year,” said coach Mike DeLong. “So I think the guys are going to want to go out and play well. That game really hurt us in terms of our finish last year. Union is a strong team, they have a very long tradition of being very good. It’s a game you want to get up for, you want to be ready for.”
Leading the Pride this week will be freshman Jonathan Marrero. With injuries to Austin Bateman and Rob Merckling coming early in the season, Marrero stepped in last week and helped close the door on Springfield’s 44-14 win over Rochester.
The play of Marrero will be key to the Pride’s play on Saturday and if he can stay composed, this could be a very successful trip to Schenectady for Springfield.
Tale of the Tape
- Records: Springfield 3-1 (1-0) | Union 1-3 (1-0)
- Offense: 36.5 points, 434.5 yards | 21.5 points, 340.5 yards
- Defense: 19.8 points, 352.2 yards | 27.2 points, 331.8 yards
- Turnover ratio: +10 | 0
- Key Player: Jonathan Marrero | Connor Eck
- Prediction: Springfield 45, Union 10