Hartford, Conn., Nov. 10, 2011 – The Trinity College football team, which lost for the first time since the second game of last season, 35-28, at Amherst last weekend to drop to 6-1, will host the Wesleyan University Cardinals for Homecoming Weekend in the 2011 season’s final game on Saturday, November 12 noon. Trinity, coached by Jeff Devanney (6th Season, 40-7), are looking to extend their 42-game winning streak at home, as the Bantams have not lost a game on Jessee/Miller Field since 2001, and are 39-0 since the College replaced its grass field with its current FieldTurf surface.
Trinity holds a 57-52-1 record in the 110-year history between the teams and haS won ITS last 10 meetings against the Cardinals. Last fall in Middletown, current Trinity junior QB Ryan Burgess (Dracut, Mass.) threw three touchdown passes including the game-winner with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter. The Bantams, ranked No. 3 in the New England Division III Football Poll, can earn a share of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship title with a win Saturday and a loss by Amherst at Williams the same day. This week’s New England Division III Poll: 1. Amherst (7-0), 2. WNEC (9-1), 3. Trinity (Conn.) (6-1), 4. Endicott (9-1), 5. Worcester State (8-2), 6. Springfield (6-3), 7. Framingham State (7-3), 8. Bridgewater State (7-2), 9. Salve Regina (7-3), 10. Williams (5-2).
Trinity trailed, 21-0, at halftime and, 35-7, lead late in the third quarter at Amherst, but scored the final 21 points of the game. After a 56-yard touchdown run by Burgess for the first Trinity score, a blocked punt by sophomore LB Steve Goniprow (Barrington, R.I.) led to a one-yard touchdown plunge by classmate Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.). An interception by senior CB Matt Paskalides (Scarsdale, N.Y.) set Bunker up for a six-yard scoring scamper not much later. Paskalides picked off his second pass of the afternoon, and senior TE Allen Even (Wethersfield, Conn.) outmuscled a two-yard pass from an Amherst defender for Trinity’s fourth touchdown of the second half. Senior ILB Mark Snyder (Rockaway, N.J.) gave Trinity one last chance when he blocked an Amherst field goal try with 2:21 on the clock. Trinity drove to near midfield, but an Amherst interception ended the comeback. Burgess was 18-of-34 for 169 yards but was intercepted twice, while Goniprow had a team-high 10 tackles, and Snyder recorded nine hits and 3.5 tackles for loss.
Trinity leads the NESCAC in all defensive ranking: rushing defense (50.0 ypg), pass efficiency defense defense (85.6 opp. eff. rating), scoring defense (9.3 ppg), and total defense (208.1 ypg), as well as rushing offense with 224.7 ypg on the ground. Bunker ranks second in the league with 715 rushing yards, followed by sophomore Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.) in sixth place with 456 yards on the ground. Senior co-captain DE Herman Brito (Wayland, Mass.) is fifth in the conference with 4.5 sacks, while Paskalides is tied with several others for sixth with three interceptions, and sophomore Hedley Jennings (Charlotte, N.C.) ranks second in punting with a 38.4 average. Sophomore A.J. Jones (Freetown, Sierra Leone) has a team-high 16 pass receptions for 342 yards (6th in NESCAC), and Jennings and Burgess have combined for 836 passing yards and nine touchdown tosses. Senior co-captain ILB Walter Fallas (Everett, Mass.) is Trinity’s top tackler with 46 to go with four sacks, while Brito adds 34 hits and 8.5 tackles for loss. Goniprow has 39 tackles, and Paskalides has seven pass breakups.
The Wesleyan University football squad, under the direction of Head Coach Michael Whalen (2nd season), is mired in a three-game losing streak after a 3-1 start. Freshman RB LaDarius Drew has been a highlight with 689 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, while senior QB Matt Coyne has thrown for 1,047 yards and three scores. Jay Fabien leads the Cardinal receiving corps with 23 grabs for 260 yards, and five other receivers have caught 10 passes or more this fall. Brett Bandazian has a team-high 68 tackles, while Jake Bussani boasts four interceptions and five pass breakups. Jesse Warren is the league’s top punter with a 39.0 average per boot.