Hartford, Conn., Oct. 26, 2011 –The Trinity College football team, which won, 31-0, against Bowdoin last weekend to remain unbeaten and tied with Amherst for first place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) at 5-0, will visit the Middlebury College Panthers on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. The Bantams, coached by Jeff Devanney (6th Season, 39-6), have an 11-game overall winning streak and are ranked No. 2 in the New England Division III Poll. Trinity has a 25-9 all-time record against the Panthers, including a 25-10 win in Hartford last fall, but suffered a 31-24 loss in its last trip to Vermont the previous autumn. The home team has won this matchup every year since 2006, and Trinity last won at Middlebury, 14-0, in 2005 en route to an undefeated campaign. This week's New England Division III Poll: 1. Endicott (8-0), 2. Trinity (Conn.) (5-0), 3. Amherst (3-0), 4. WNEC (7-1), 5. Framingham State (6-2, 6. Springfield (4-3), 7. Worcester State (6-2), 8. Massachusetts Maritime (5-2), 9. Bridgewater State (5-2), 10. Salve Regina (5-3).
Sophomore RB Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.) rushed for 119 yards on nine carries and scored on touchdown runs of 37 and 53 yards against Bowdoin to give Trinity its 42nd consecutive triumph at home. Trinity never trailed in its third consecutive shutout, scoring on its first drive of the game on a four-yard rush by sophomore RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) and later in the opening stanza on Crick's 37-yard scoring sprint. First-year K Zach Conte (Barrington, R.I.) nailed a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter, and an interception by junior S Rae Haynes (Hartford, Conn.) set up sophomore QB Hedley Jennings (Charlotte, N.C.) for a five-yard touchdown pass to junior WR Drew Grombala (Cincinnati, Ohio). Crick broke free through traffic to score Trinity's final touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The Trinity defense, which had shutout Hamilton, 35-0, and Tufts, 9-0, the two previous weekends, held Bowdoin to 95 yards in total offense (27 rushing) and stopped them on 15 of 19 third-downs. Senior co-captain ILB Walter Fallas (Everett, Mass.) led the way with 10 tackles and a sack, while senior NT Matt Delconte (Berlin, Conn.) added six tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Trinity junior QB Ryan Burgess (Dracut, Mass.) finished 8-for-15 for 98 yards with one interception through the air, and Grombala had five grabs for 52 yards.
Trinity leads the nation in rushing defense (30.8 ypg) and total defense (173.4 ypg), and tops the league running the ball with 218 rushing ypg. Bunker ranks second in the NESCAC with 553 rushing yards, followed by Crick in sixth place with 362 yards on the ground, as both have flourished running behind the Trinity offensive line including juniors Mac McGinty (Cleveland, Ohio) and Tim O'Brien (White Plains, N.Y.) at tackle, juniors Gino Arnold (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Mike Valenti (Bethel, Conn.) at guard, junior center Andrew Weiss (New York, N.Y.), and senior TE Allen Even (Wethersfield, Conn.). The six have helped Bunker and Crick score nine touchdowns and yielded just six sacks. Grombala and sophomore A.J. Jones (Freetown, Sierra Leone) each have nine receptions for a total of 327 yards and four touchdowns, and Burgess and Jennings have combined for 516 passing yards and six touchdown tosses. Fallas is Trinity's top tackler with 38 (20 solo) to go with four sacks, while senior co-captain DE Herman Brito (Wayland, Mass.) adds 25 hits and 7.5 tackles for loss, and senior CB Matt Paskalides (Scarsdale, N.Y.) has six pass breakups. Brito is third in the league with 4.5 sacks, and Jennings ranks third in the league in punting with a 37.4 average
Middlebury, under the direction of Head Coach Bob Ritter (11th season, 48-36), snapped a two-game losing streak with a thrilling 49-43 victory at Bates as sophomore QB McCallum Foote threw for 412 yards and five touchdowns to take NESCAC Offensive Co-Player of the Week and the Boston Globe Gold Helmet Award as the top player in Division II and III last week. The three Panther losses have come against teams with a combined record of 11-4 (Amherst, Wesleyan, Williams). Foote leads the nation in passing yards per game with 368 per game, while the league's top receiving combo of Zach Driscoll and Billy Chapman have combined for 83 catches for 991 yards and eight scores. Remi Askar adds 437 rushing yards but only 3.4 per carry, and Middlebury's defense is the lowest-ranked unit in the conference. Zach Roeder is a bright spot with 45 tackles.