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Paul Falewicz

Week 10 Thoughts

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Not Living Up to the Hype

It was supposed to be the game of the year in the league but it turned into a typical New Haven rout. The Chargers scored on their first four drives and completely shut down AIC in their 37-6 victory last Saturday.

New Haven finishes the regular season undefeated in the NE-10 at 8-0 and will host the first ever league championship game this weekend. They will face the same AIC team that they just handily defeated, who fell to 7-1 in the league.

Ryan Osiecki directed the New Haven offense perfectly and even used his legs to keep the AIC defense back on their heels. Mike DeCaro scored twice in the victory and the Chargers did everything right in the first half to jump out a commanding lead.

The New Haven defense played another quality game as they pressured the quarterback and allowed just a few big plays in the game, none of which hurt them. The front four continues to be the anchor of the defense and has been solid all season long.

New Haven is clearly the best team in the league and will now play one more game to finish off the second straight undefeated NE-10 campaign. They are in solid position for a home playoff game if they are able to defeat AIC for the second straight week.

Road Warriors

New Haven has dominated the NE-10 for the past couple of seasons by winning 16 straight league games. The previous NE-10 winning streak belonged to former member LIU Post (formerly known as CW Post) when they won 13 straight games from 2002 to 2004.

The current league winning streak is very impressive but they are in the middle of an even more impressive winning streak. They have won 13 straight road games in the league and it shows how good the Chargers have been since they started the football back up four years ago.

The Chargers last fell on the road at Merrimack on October 17, 2009. It was a 28 point loss in their first season back and it is currently the last time that the Chargers lost a league game away from the blue turf.

Here is a look at the 13 game road winning streak:

1. 10/31/09 New Haven 47 @ St. Anselm 43
2. 9/24/10 New Haven 28 @ Bentley 23
3. 10/2/10 New Haven 49 @ Stonehill 28
4. 10/16/10 New Haven 13 @ AIC 0
5. 10/30/10 New Haven 58 @ Pace 19
6. 9/24/11 New Haven 21 @ Assumption 7
7. 10/7/11 New Haven 59 @ Southern Connecticut 38
8. 10/29/11 New Haven 44 @ Merrimack 35
9. 11/12/11 New Haven 59 @ St. Anselm 17
10. 9/15/12 New Haven 44 @ Pace 10
11. 10/13/12 New Haven 17 @ Bentley 13
12. 10/18/12 New Haven 45 @ Stonehill 41
13. 11/3/12 New Haven 37 @ AIC 6

The most impressive part of the streak is that the majority of the games were very one-sided games in favor of the Chargers. Only five of the 13 wins were by 10 points or less and two of those games have come this season.

The two close road victories this year were in the span of five days in October when they knocked off then undefeated Bentley in Waltham and then five days later survived a nationally televised game at Stonehill which they pulled out in the final seconds.

DeCaro said that the team likes to play hard nosed football and just get the job done when they are on the road. Head coach Peter Rossomando said that the team likes playing on the road because there are fewer distractions when they are away from home and they are able to bond on the trip.

New Haven obviously would like to play all of the games at the friendly confines of their blue turf but have played very well in each of the other eight NE-10 stadiums. They are like their home away from home and the record proves it.

Unforeseen Struggles

AIC was undefeated in the NE-10 going into last weekend when they faced New Haven. But they struggled in all facets of the game and fell in their final home game of the season.

The Yellow Jackets were not able to do much right during the game. After a long 51 yard run from Terrell Williams on the second play of the game, it was downhill for AIC. They were forced to burn two timeouts in the first four minutes of the game and seemed confused on which personnel should be on the field and which play to run.

That first drive ended with a blocked field goal and they never seriously threatened to score until the fourth quarter. Many of the drives stalled because of penalties, turnovers or trouble converting on third down. One play summed up their struggles in the loss.

Down 27-0 late in the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets faced a 4th and short on the New Haven 38 yard line. They decided to go for it and ran a perfect play that fooled the Chargers defense. But Kevin Arduino was not able to complete the pass to a wide open receiver behind the defense. It would have given AIC some momentum for the second half if they had converted the fourth down play.

AIC will need to play a much better game this weekend if they are going to beat New Haven on the road for the NE-10 championship. They have the ability to beat any team in this league but will need to more disciplined football if they are going to win their first league title since 2008.

Plenty of Points, Part I

Defenses were not on display in several of the NE-10 games this weekend. The highest scoring game involved teams at the bottom of the NE-10 and WVIAC. St. Anselm and Seton Hill put up a combined 97 points in the Hawks' 52-45 road victory last Saturday.

Both teams racked up 1,415 yards of total offense including 1,204 yards of passing as both quarterbacks put up 138 passing attempts in the game. St. Anselm quarterback Andrew Murphy threw seven touchdowns passes and had 612 yards through the air. His favorite target was Justin Bernard who hauled in 16 passes for 224 yards and three scores.

One of the more amazing facts from the game was that with all of those passes in the air last Saturday, only two of them were intercepted. Both of picks were by Seton Hill in the first quarter in which was the lowest scoring quarter of the game.

Plenty of Points, Part II

The other high scoring game of the weekend saw 83 points put up on the scoreboard. The Merrimack/Assumption shootout featured 1,047 yards of total offense in one team was balanced and the other was less so.

Assumption outgained Merrimack overall in the game by gaining 303 yards on the ground and 240 through the air. Merrimack gained the majority of their yards from the arm of Joe Clancy as been the custom this year. He threw for 415 yards and five scores to extend his solid season. He has thrown for at least 300 yards in eight of his nine games this season.

Both Assumption and Merrimack have been scoring a lot of points recently and it was not a surprise when both of them scored early and often. Plus the stakes were high as the winner of the game was going to be the fifth seed this weekend and host one final home game this year.

Championship Weekend

The inaugural NE-10 championship weekend is finally upon us. Besides the first ever football championship game, the top eight in the league will be in action this weekend to close out the season.

All of the attention will be focused on New Haven for the title game but there will be three other games played. The sixth seed team will play the third seeded team. The seventh seed will play at the fourth seed and the eighth seed will travel to the fifth seed.

The match-ups are complete and here is a look at the games:

2. AIC @ 1. New Haven.
6. Assumption @ 3. Bentley
7. Southern Connecticut @ 4. Stonehill
8. St. Anselm @ 5. Merrimack

The final pieces of the puzzle were solved last weekend when New Haven won to host the right to host the championship game and Merrimack won to secure the fifth seed and final home game for the weekend. Most of the other teams were locked into their seeds and will get one final weekend to strap on their helmets.

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