WALTHAM, Mass. – Mired in a two-game slide in which they've allowed a total of 73 points, the Bentley University Falcons will look to close out the first half of the season on a positive note when they pay a visit to the University of New Haven's Blue Turf on Saturday. Kickoff for the New Haven Homecoming Game is set for 1 pm.
It won't be an easy task for coach Bill Kavanaugh's squad as New Haven has averaged 39 points while winning its first three Northeast-10 games. The Chargers opening with a 41-31 loss to Bryant but have since disposed of Pace, Southern Connecticut and Merrimack by an average of 23.7 points.
Bentley, 1-3 overall and 1-2 NE10, is coming off a 38-3 road loss to undefeated LIU Post. The Falcons scored on the game's opening possession, settling for a short field goal, but were kept out of the end zone for the second time in four games.
Interceptions have been a forte for the Falcons during the first four games with the team's five picks the second highest total in the conference. Junior Derek Perkins (Milton/Milton HS) had his second of the year at LIU Post while freshman Emmanuele Resto (Avenel, N.J./St. Joseph HS) and juniors Pete Thorbahn (Norwell/Xaverian Bros. HS) and Quintin-John McDermott (Franklin/Milton Academy) have one apiece this season.
Senior linebacker Andrew Carmichael (Wayland/Wayland HS) leads Bentley in tackles with 31 and Athy follows with 27 from his strong safety position.
Sophomore QB Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS), who has been without his expected top two weapons (Austin Ryan, Drew Mahoney) for virtually the entire season, had his most accurate passing performance of the year Saturday. He completed 16 of 25 for 165 yards, raising his season accuracy mark to .558.
Sophomore running back Andrew Brazicki (Franklin Park, N.J./Bishop Ahr HS) has been a workhorse for the Falcons, touching the ball nearly 20 times a game while amassing a team-high 359 all-purpose yards.
Junior kicker Grant Buchanan (Holliston/Holliston HS) has been responsible for a third of Bentley's scoring to date with five field goals in as many tries and a half-dozen extra points. He owns 19 career field goals, which has elevated him to third on the program's all-time list.
Quarterback Ajee Patterson is off to an impressive start for New Haven, averaging 284.5 passing yards a game with a .661 completion percentage and 12 touchdown passes. Half of those have been pulled in by Ju'An Williams, the latest NE10 Offensive Player of the Week. Against Merrimack Saturday night, he caught nine for 175 yards and three scores.
For the season, Williams is averaging 144 receiving yards with 32 receptions in four games.
Linebacker Jordan Francklin has been a force with 37 tackles, 4.5 TFL and a pair of takeaways, including an interception he returned 43 yards.
In last year's meeting, Buchanan booted a 39-yard field goal, then a career-long, to give Bentley a 27-24 overall win over the Chargers in a game that saw Sturm and Patterson combine to complete 53 of 70 passes for 589 yards.
Following the trip to Connecticut, Bentley will have two weeks to prepare to take on Pace University on Oct. 13.
FALCON FACTS: Senior right tackle Jack Hansbury (Tyngsboro/Chelmsford HS) was named a semifinalist for the Campbell Award, which is presented by the National Football Foundation. He was the only NE10 player to be honored … Bentley remains in the top ten in Division II in both fewest penalties per game (4.0) and fewest penalty yards per game (33.5).