Frosh doing big things for UMD

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DeVon Fuller was part of a huge freshman class that could lift Mass-Dartmouth.
Mass-Dartmouth athletics photo 

There were some staggering numbers this week on the Northeast landscape. Trinity won its 50th consecutive home game, UMass-Dartmouth freshman DeVon Fuller intercepted a school-record four passes in one game and Colby's CT Harris had four sacks in a win over Hamilton.

"That 50 wins at home in a row is just unbelievable," Wesleyan coach Mike Whalen said of the Bantams' streak.

But here's a number that should really grab you. UMass-Dartmouth coach Mark Robichaud brought in 66 freshmen this year.

Robichaud, you see, was making up for lost time. He is in his seventh year as the Corsairs' head coach, but only became full time a year ago. When he could have been recruiting the past six years, he was down the road teaching at a middle school.

And the young kids are growing up. The 3-3 Corsairs have won three of the last four.

It was Charles Ruffin, one of the freshmen, who went into the end zone from four yards with less than a minute to play in this week's 34-33 victory over Worcester State. And Fuller, another freshman, came up with those incredible four picks in one game.

UMD has five interceptions this season and Fuller, a corner, has them all.

"I don't know if teams are going to challenge him much more," Robichaud said.

They might find him unimposing. He's just 5-9, 150 pounds. But after last week he will be big in opponent's game planning.

His four interception returns totaled 106 yards and he took one back for a touchdown.

Then, there's linebacker Derek Tarpey. A graybeard as a sophomore. He had 15 tackles and forced a fumble against Worcester State and has a team-leading 68 tackles this season. The signal for greatness was sent out last year when he made 22 tackles as a freshman against Western New England.

"He is just an outstanding football player," Robichaud said. "He is a very quiet and unassuming kid. He doesn't show a lot of emotion. He just loves to play football. You can't block the kid. He is in on almost every play. The kid can just do everything.

"He does not say much, but when he does you can hear a pin drop. The kids have so much respect for him

"He is only going to get better. We can't wait to see what he can do."

Things are going well for Mark Robichaud. He is finally a full-time football coach. And having some more years of a tackling machine like Tarpey and a ball-hawking corner like Fuller isn't bad, either.

That 50th consecutive home win by Trinity came in a 40-21 victory over Bowdoin. The Bantams are 52-0 on turf and will have to withstand the prolific passing of McCallum Foote this week on the turf of Middlebury's Youngman Field this week to extend that streak. The Bantams last loss in Hartford was way back in 2001 against Williams.

Against Bowdoin, Evan Bunker rushed for 159 yards.

Keeping pace with Trinity in the NESCAC was Wesleyan. The Cardinals went to 5-0 for their best start in 20 years by beating previously unbeaten Amherst 20-14. Keying the effort was Justin Sanchez who seven tackles to go with two interceptions.

"The thing we added with this freshman class is speed," Whalen said. "We have two fast freshman safeties."

Wesleyan has also improved its depth since Whalen arrived at his alma mater after coaching at Williams. That is why they were able to withstand the injuries to blue chip running backs LaDarius Drew and Kyle Gibson against Amherst. Whalen said that "Drew was about 75 percent and Gibson 50 percent."

But recruiting to bolster the depth means four quality tailbacks instead of the two.

"The younger kids at running back and safety have really stepped up," Whalen said.

And speaking of numbers, Middlebury has Bates' number. The Panthers defeated Bates for the 25th straight time as Foote threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Tim Patricia had 17 tackles for Middlebury, 12 of them solo stops.

Also in the NESCAC, Luke Duncklee had a Colby record 12 receptions as the White Mules defeated Hamilton 37-18.

CG's George a 49er

Bill George became the all-time leader in coaching victories at Coast Guard. The Bears' 40-0 pasting of Maine Maritime was his 49th.

Freshman quarterback Derek Victory continued his impressive play by completing 21 of 23 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Henning nailed field goals of 44 and 28 yards. Victor Rizzzardi had 12 tackles for the Bears with a sack and forced fumble.

Nutmeg mania

There's plenty of buzz in Connecticut with the noise being made by Wesleyan and Trinity, both unbeaten, as well as Western Connecticut and Coast Guard.

"All I can gauge it by is the coverage we get in the Hartford Courant and they seem pretty excited there about it," Wesleyan coach Mike Whalen said.

"When I came here my goals were to have a winning program and things like that, but my long term goal was to make the Little Three the Little Three again instead of the Little Two (Williams-Amherst-Wesleyan) and to get the rivalry back with Trinity."

That's a long way from his mind right now. The Cardinals must go to Maine this week to play Bowdoin.

"That's always been a tough trip for us," Whalen said.

Western Connecticut rolled to a 70-14 victory over Fitchburg State with Ocatavius McKoy rushing for 226 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Will Arndt was also a big piece of the offense as he passed for 184 yards and ran for 108. He threw for a score and ran for another.

Surprise, surprise

Gomer Pyle would utter his trademark "Surprise! Surprise!" with the emergence of Husson from doormat to contender in the ECFC this year.

Sure, we all knew the Eagles would come back with Gabby Price taking over for his second stint at the helm of the Bangor school. Price had quickly built Husson into the league's Cadillac his first time around.

But the Eagles fell so fast and so far after his departure, you had to think it would take a little time to retread the program. Who could have expected they would be 3-0 in the league and headed to Washington this week for a conference showdown with Gallaudet?

Husson defeated Becker 19-18 when Joe Seccareccia threw a 28-yard TD pass to Ryan Stroud with 1:09 remaining. Ernest Wiggins had 12 tackles and two sacks for the Eagles.

Gallaudet went to 6-0 with a 38-12 win at Castleton. They did it the Bison way, throwing a grand total of one pass in the game and piling up 480 yards on the ground. BJ Flores was the headliner of the running game with 168 yards on 27 carries.

Excitement is building in D.C, with the Bison off to their best start ever as a varsity program.

"The energy on our campus is always high after a win," defensive end Adham Talaat said as he got ready to make the 10-hour bus ride back home.

That will be more so this week with Husson coming to town for the first-place showdown.

Mount Ida stayed in the ECFC race on the heels of Gallaudet and Husson. The Mustangs went to 2-1 in the league, a 7-6 decision against Gallaudet being the loss. The Mustangs rolled past Anna Maria 56-34 with quarterback Jawad Yatim running for two scores and throwing for two more. Jordan Hyman had eight catches for 154 yards and was at the end of both of Yatim's TD passes. Jovan Wilkins had 10 tackles and an interception for the Mustangs.

Norwich also stayed in the ECFC race, going to 2-1 by whipping SUNY-Maritime 42-21. Maritime is also 2-1. Al Georgio rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns for the Cadets. Dan Jamieson caught two TD passes  and Wesley Medeiros had a career-long 47-yard field goal for Norwich.

Huge day for Bears' McCarthy

Mike McCarthy did about all anyone could do in Bridgewater State's 56-28 victory over Plymouth State, accounting for seven touchdowns. He threw for five of them and ran for two. He had 276 passing yards and picked up 110 on the ground. His hot receiver was Matthew Green who hauled in nine passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns.

MIT amassed a school record 563 yards of total offense in a 48-0 thumping of Nichols. It was the Engineers' second shutout of the season, also a school record. Justin Wallace was a big piece of the offense as he ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns.

Salve Regina was also dominant in a 43-10 win over Curry. The Seahawks are putting together a special season at 5-1. Steven Wilken passed for two scores and ran for another. Richie Edwards had another 100-yard game, rushing for 108.

Another pick for Jackson

Westfield State's Gregg Jackson scored the game-winner on a 20-yard interception return as the Owls beat Mass. Maritime 37-27. It was Jackson's fourth interception of the season. Michael Orellana kicked a school-record 42-yard field goal for the Owls and Kane Terilli caught 134 yards of passes, one for a TD. Westfield stayed in the MASCAC chase with a 3-1 league record.

Western New England stepped outside the league and worked overtime to beat Union, 33-30. The game was tied 20-20 after regulation play. The Golden Bears got overtime touchdowns from Andrew Walz and Kevin Cook. Walz caught a 25-yard pass from John Krafick and Cook ran it in from nine yards out.

The Big Games

Gallaudet coach Chuck Goldstein gathered his team after the win over Castleton and his voice became louder and louder as tried to deliver his message about the opponent about to come to town for Gallaudet's homecoming.

"Husson is for real. They are GOOD," Goldstein shouted. "They have 30 new players and a new head coach."Everything about them from last year you can throw in the trash. This is a new year."

The Bison led Castleton 21-12 at halftime, but put the Spartans away by outscoring them 17-0 in the second half. That pleased Goldstein who saw his team get out to a 27-7 lead the previous week only to see Norwich storm back and have a chance to tie it on the final play.

"That was definitely a point of emphasis during the week; play all four quarters," quarterback Quentin Williams said.

They know that four quarters is what it will take against a Husson team that is also perfect in the league.

The big game in the NESCAC has 5-0 Trinity at 4-1 Middlebury.

An attractive game in the NEFC is the one that has Coast Guard making the trip to Endicott and a marquee game in the MASCAC has Massachusetts Maritime with its prolific offense hosting that young UMass-Dartmouth squad that will be trying to make it four wins in the last five games.

"We didn't know what was going to happen this year with all those freshmen, but they are finding ways to come back and win games," Robichaud said.

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Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter. He has been D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist since 2007.

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