/seasons/2017/contrib/20170916sd9y1s

2017 Football Season Preview

More news about: Middlebury

With a plethora of starters returning from last year's 6-2 squad, Middlebury has its sights set atop the NESCAC standings this fall.  The Panthers welcome back several players in key positions, but will have some holes to fill on the offensive line.

A year ago, the team paced the league in total offense with 418.9 yards/contest, while its defense was fourth with 304.9 yards allowed/game. The team outscored its opponents 272-182 over its eight-game schedule.

Bob Ritter enters his 17th year at the helm, owning a career mark of 81-47. His teams have won 31 of 40 games over the past five seasons and shows no signs up letting up in 2017.

This year's schedule will feature nine games for the first time since 1915. The NESCAC implemented round-robin scheduling last spring, allowing teams to play a full nine-game schedule in a 10-team league.

The Panthers kickoff their season with they host Wesleyan on September 16 at 1:00 p.m.

Senior Jared Lebowitz returns to lead the NESCAC's top passing offense. A second-team All-NESCAC selection a year ago, he completed 197-351 passes for 2,585 yards with 29 touchdown passes, second-most in a single season at Middlebury. He opened the season with back-to-back five-touchdown performances in wins over Bowdoin and Colby. Lebowitz also rushed the ball 54 times, gaining 249 yards with four touchdowns. Juniors Colin Waters and Jack Meservy will battle for the number-two spot.

The rushing game is intact with the team's top-five ball carriers from a year ago returning to the field. Junior Diego Meritus was a Second-Team All-NESCAC choice as a sophomore, rushing for 56.9 yards/game. He carried the ball 113 times for 455 yards, entering the end zone three times, while also catching 23 passes for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Junior Drew Jacobs is next on the depth chart, gaining 197 yards on 64 attempts in 2016. Senior Matt Cardew also returns and will look for carries.

Junior Conrado Banky earned First-Team All-NESCAC honors a year ago after leading the conference with 115.6 yards receiving/game. He was second in the league with 6.88 receptions/contest, pulling down 55 passes for 925 yards with a dozen touchdowns.

Senior Tanner Contois will look to bounce back after an injury sidelined him for most of 2016. He caught 14 passes for 179 yards with a pair of touchdowns his sophomore year. Junior Jimmy Martinez had a strong sophomore season with 17 catches for 204 yards.

Sophomore Frank Cosolito turned in an impressive rookie season at tight end in 2016, catching 18 passes for 227 yards with three touchdowns.

Juniors Andrew Rogan (6-4, 280) and Connor Roche (6-2, 270) return to anchor the left side of the line. Rogan moved into a starting role at left tackle midway through the year. Roche started all eight games at left guard. On the right side, sophomore Kevin Woodring (6-2, 285) saw time last season and will look to move into a starting role. Seniors Joao Rocha (6-1, 235) and Logan Shrout (6-1, 270) will challenge for time, as will senior Roman Rudisill (6-2, 290) and junior Parker Ferguson (6-2, 265).

Senior Robert Wood finished the year with 28 tackles, including 9.5 for lost yardage, while earning five sacks on the defensive line. Sophomore Martin Williams had a big rookie season for the Panthers, picking up 19 tackles and a pair of sacks. Senior August Peters and Joe Laliberte will also compete for time on the line.

Senior John Jackson paced the team with 61 tackles a year ago, earning First-Team All-NESCAC honors. He earned a league-best 7.5 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles. Three-year starter Wesley Becton also returns to the lineup after finishing third on the squad with 52 stops a year ago, picking off a pair of passes.

Juniors Clay Hunt and Kevin Maxwell split time last season in a starting role. Hunt finished with 44 tackles and two picks, while Maxwell had 26 stops, five for lost yardage. Senior Aaron Slodowitz (34 career tackles) will battle back from injuries.

Senior Kevin Hopsicker returns for his third year as a starting safety. A year ago, he finished the season with 37 tackles to go along with two interceptions and three pass break-ups. Junior Justin Fahey (43 tackles) will be in his second season as a starter at the other safety position. Junior Matthew Daniel was in a starting role a year ago after making 23 stops in 2016. Also vying for a starting spot will be junior Bobby Ritter (2 INT) and senior Alex Kasirye.

Sophomore Carter Massengill handled the kicking duties a year ago and returns after converting 31-32 extra points and going 3-3 in field goal attempts. Sophomore Maxwell Rye (32.7 yard avg.) also looks to return on special team's as the squad's punter.

Sep. 5: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Capital at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Randolph-Macon
Live stats
7:00 PM
Buena Vista at Hamline
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
McMurry at Trinity (Texas)
Video
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at Millsaps
8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Wisconsin Lutheran
Video Live stats
Sep. 6: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
7:00 PM
Nichols at Dean
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Stevenson at Curry
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Worcester State at WPI
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Kean
7:00 PM
Alvernia at Gallaudet
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Becker
Live stats
7:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Hope at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio
10:00 PM
Chapman at Pacific
Sep. 7: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
Norwich at Salve Regina
Live stats
12:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Merchant Marine
Live stats
12:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at MIT
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Alfred State at Mass-Dartmouth
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Wesley at Franklin Pierce
Live stats Tickets
12:00 PM
Brockport at Hobart
12:00 PM
TCNJ at Muhlenberg
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Allegheny at RPI
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Morrisville State at Bridgewater State
Live stats
12:00 PM
Bethany at Ursinus
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Cortland
Live stats
12:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
Greensboro at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Western Connecticut at William Paterson
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
1:00 PM
Kenyon at Catholic
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wilkes at Hartwick
1:00 PM
Montclair State at Southern Virginia
Live stats
1:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Oberlin
1:00 PM
Bluffton at Wooster
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Methodist at Shenandoah
Live stats
1:00 PM
Dickinson at Washington and Lee
Video
1:00 PM
Averett at Hampden-Sydney
Live stats
1:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Emory and Henry
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Alma
Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
1:00 PM
Ithaca at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Alfred at Thiel
1:00 PM
Westfield State at Union
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Misericordia at McDaniel
1:00 PM
Coast Guard at University of New England
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Mayville St. at St. Scholastica
1:30 PM
Centre at Hanover
Live stats
1:30 PM
Geneva at Mount St. Joseph
Live stats
1:30 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
Video Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
UW-Stevens Point at John Carroll
2:00 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live stats
2:00 PM
Guilford at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Simpson at Bethel
2:00 PM
Coe at Augustana
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at UW-Platteville
Live stats
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Sewanee
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Greenville
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Finlandia at Concordia (Wis.)
Live stats
2:00 PM
Martin Luther at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Crown at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at UW-La Crosse
2:00 PM
St. John's at UW-Stout
Audio
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Ripon
2:00 PM
Lawrence at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Howard Payne at Austin
Live stats
2:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Monmouth
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Central
2:00 PM
St. Norbert at Aurora
2:00 PM
Carthage at UW-Oshkosh
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Nebraska Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Luther at Whittier
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Whitworth at La Verne
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Lewis-Clark Valley
2:10 PM
Loras at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
Dubuque at UW-Whitewater
3:00 PM
Rockford at MacMurray
Video
3:00 PM
Redlands at George Fox
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Puget Sound
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
North Park at Anderson
Live stats
6:00 PM
Heidelberg at Adrian
Live stats
6:00 PM
Defiance at Albion
Live stats
6:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
6:00 PM
Moravian at King's
6:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
Live stats
6:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Beloit
7:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Utica
7:00 PM
Marietta at Hiram
7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Rochester
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Denison
Video Live stats Live stats
7:00 PM
Mount Union at Rose-Hulman
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Olivet at Wilmington
Live stats
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater
Live stats
7:00 PM
Franklin at Benedictine
Live stats
7:00 PM
Washington U. at Chicago
Video Live stats Audio
7:00 PM
Knox at Eureka
7:00 PM
Lyon at Hendrix
7:00 PM
Louisiana College at Stetson
7:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Minnesota-Morris
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Sul Ross State
Audio
7:00 PM
Rhodes at Illinois College
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell

D3football.com Top 25, preseason

The D3football.com Top 25, entering the 2019 season. This is the 17th season of the D3football.com Top 25.

Rank School (No. 1 votes) W-L Points  

D3football.com will 
rank all 247 teams
in Kickoff 2019!
Subscribe now!

1 Mary Hardin-Baylor (24) 15-0 624
2 Mount Union (1) 14-1 599
3 St. John's 12-1 566
4 UW-Whitewater 12-1 555
5 North Central (Ill.) 10-2 482
6 Johns Hopkins 12-2 457
7 St. Thomas 8-2 414
8 Muhlenberg 11-2 405
9 Hardin-Simmons 9-2 397
10 Bethel 11-2 396  
11 Whitworth 10-1 336  
12 Linfield 7-2 291  
13 Brockport 11-1 230  
14 Delaware Valley 9-2 223  
15 Illinois Wesleyan 8-2 197  
16 Berry 10-2 190  
17 John Carroll 9-2 168  
18 Wittenberg 9-1 162  
19 RPI 10-2 152  
20 Centre 10-2 137  
21 Washington and Jefferson 9-2 132  
22 Wheaton (Ill.) 8-2 109  
23 Wabash 9-1 105  
24 Randolph-Macon 9-3 91  
25 St. Norbert 10-2 83

Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

The D3football.com Top 25 is voted on by a panel of 25 coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members from across the country, and is published weekly. Points are awarded on a 25-24-23-22-etc. basis.