September 23, 2010

2010 Middlebury College Football Preview

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Middlebury will hope to maintain its offensive prowess in '10, after leading the league a year ago in total offense (450.5 yards/game) and scoring offense (29.9 points/game). The Panthers got off to a rough start last season, closing the year with four straight victories to finish with a 5-3 mark overall. Ten starters were lost to graduation, including the school's fourth all-time leading tackler Eric Kamback, who led the league a year ago with 103 stops. Other key losses included Erik Rostad (444 yards total offense, 12 touchdowns), three-time All-NESCAC specialist James Millard (3,333 career all-purpose yards), and All-NESCAC offensive lineman Paul Bennett.

      "This is the most competition we have at several positions in a long time," said head coach Bob Ritter, who is now in his 10th season at the helm. "I hope this will continue to raise our level of competition and we can hit the ground running as the season begins."

      NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year Donald McKillop returns for his senior season to lead a passing offense that ranked third in the nation a year ago. McKillop led the league in attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdowns and pass efficiency a year ago. His top two targets were lost to graduation, with tight end David Reed and receiver Matt Rayner leading the returners. Aside from McKillop's yards on the ground, just 78 of the team's 616 rushing yards return from a year ago, with a host of young players vying for carries.

      Defensively, the Panthers boasted the NESCAC's third-best passing defense (208.1 yards/game) in '09. Middlebury was in the middle of the pack in scoring defense and will have some key holes to fill this season.

      "We have a very large and experienced senior class who knows how to win," added Ritter. "I'm looking to build on our solid finish last season and get off to a great start in '10."

      Middlebury opens its eight-game NESCAC schedule on September 25 at home vs. Wesleyan. The Panthers will also host Amherst, Bates and Tufts, while visiting Colby, Williams, Trinity and Hamilton.

Quarterbacks

      McKillop returns as the team's starter for the fourth straight season owning 13 of the school's 14 all-time passing records entering his final year. A year ago, the co-captain went 262-405 (.647) for 2,873 yards with 22 touchdown passes and a league-leading 136.77 efficiency rating. He led the nation with 32.8 completions/game last year, while ranking second with 359 passing yards/game.

      Backing up McKillop will be senior Jack Kramer, who filled in admirably for McKillop in the final two games of the '08 season with a pair of wins.

Running Backs

      Several players will look for carries this season, after Rostad carried the majority of the load a year ago. Junior Phillip Cutler (9 rushes, 37 yards) and sophomore Remi Ashkar (3 rushes, 13 yards) will compete for a starting role. Senior Andrew Plumley (14 rushes, 32 yards), will also challenge for the spot after missing several games a year ago.

Receivers/Tight Ends

      Junior Matt Rayner (35 rec., 331 yards) started at times last season and returns with the most experience in the group. He averaged 9.5 yards/catch last season, scoring five touchdowns. Junior Alex Englert (11 rec., 111 yards, TD) and sophomore Zach Driscoll (8 rec., 78 yards, TD) both saw quality time at wide-out a year ago and will compete for a starting role.

      Senior tight end David Reed (40 rec., 450 yards, TD) returns at tight end after an All-NESCAC season a year ago. He had two 100+ yard games a year ago and returns as the team's leader in receptions.

Offensive Line

      Three members with quality game experience return from a year ago to anchor the line. Seniors John Poulson (6-5, 265) and Sam White (6-3, 280) return as the leaders, with quality support from junior Ken LeStrange (6-4, 270). All three players started at tackle at some point last season and will be expected to be in starting roles in '10.

Defensive Line

      A good group of experienced players return to anchor Middlebury's defensive line. Senior Paul Carroll (26 tackles), junior Chris Dola (21 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks) and sophomore Andrew Ackerman (8 tackles) all return with quality game experience and will compete for time at defensive end.

      Sophomore Keegan Ashley (20 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) and senior Carl Culicchia (26 tackles, 4.5 TFL) put up some big numbers at defensive tackle last season and will return in starting roles. Junior Patrick Downey (four tackles, 2 TFL) is also expected to be in the mix after a solid sophomore season.

Linebackers

      Seniors Andrew Durfee (46 tackles, 3.5 TFL) and Andrew Poulin (57 tackles, 10 TFL, 2 sacks) are back as starting linebackers to lead the group. Poulin is the team's leading returning tackler from '09, while Durfee was fourth on the squad in stops a year ago.

      Juniors Matthew Cawley (3 tackles) and Zach Roeder (11 tackles) both saw action at linebacker last season and are expected to compete for starting jobs.

Secondary

      Senior co-captain Connor Green (48 tackles, 3 INT, 4 PBU's) will lead the corners after a big season a year ago. His three interceptions were second on the team, while he ended the year third in tackles. Seniors Charlie Taft (19 tackles, 2 INT) and Alex Kennedy (16 tackles, 2 INT – '08) both have seen quality time at corner and will battle for a starting job this season.

      Junior Michael Bilodeau (45 tackles, INT) returns as the team's most experienced safety, finishing fifth on the squad a year ago in tackles. Juniors Patrick Pembroke (6 tackles) and Murphy McCurdy are expected to see quality action in '10.

Special Teams

      Senior Anthony Kuchan returns as the team's kicker, after earning All-NESCAC honors a year ago. Kuchan made 30 of 31 extra points last season, connecting on three of five field goal attempts. He is also expected to return as the team's starting punter after averaging 30.2 yards/boot a year ago with 11 boots inside the 20.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
Kean at Christopher Newport
TBA
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
TBA
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
TBA
Marietta at Denison
TBA
McDaniel at Catholic
TBA
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos