Football Travels To Montclair State
Springfield College Pride (1-0)
at Montclair State University Red Hawks (0-0)
Sat., Sept. 13, 2003 • 1 p.m. • Sprague Field • Montclair, N.J.
SC leads, 1-0.
The Last Meeting:
The Pride defeated the Red Hawks, 31-29, on Nov. 18, 2000 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament in Springfield.
Last Time Out:
SC beat Salve Regina, 38-7, on Sept. 6 in Newport, R.I.; Saturday's game is the season-opener for Montclair State. The Red Hawks finished 5-5 in 2002.
About the Pride:
SC plays its fourth road game in its last five outings dating back to last season. The Pride is 3-1 in those games. SC plays six of its 10 games away from Benedum Field in '03 ... the first and only meeting between the teams in 2000 ranks among the biggest wins in SC history. The game was not decided until SC's Rich Moran sacked MSU QB Ed Collins on a two-point conversion attempt with :37 left and the Pride clinging to a 31-29 lead. SC rallied from a 10-point deficit in that game to advance to the East Region semifinal ... SC, which is 20-2 in games when it rushes for more than 300 yards over the past four seasons, ran for 380 yards in last Saturday's victory at Salve Regina ... the last three times the Pride started 2-0, it won the FFC championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. This is the first time, however, that SC has opened the season with two non-league games since joining the FFC in '95... this is SC's first trip to the Garden State since the '95 campaign, when SC defeated William Paterson, 42-14 ... SC's efficiency in the red-zone was a major reason why it averaged 36.5 points in '02. The Pride scored 24 of 28 times in the red zone (85.7%) last season. In the '03 opener against Salve Regina, the Pride was 4-for-4 in the red zone.
Junior QB Ryan Sylvia was selected the Freedom Football Conference (FFC) and the ECAC Division III Northeast Offensive Player of the Week ... this is the third time Sylvia has been honored by the FFC. He was the conference’s rookie of the week twice in the 2001 season ... despite sharing the quarterback duties with classmate Michael Judge, he rushed for 135 yards and scored four touchdowns in the 38-7 win over Salve Regina (Sept. 6). Sylvia became the first player to score four touchdowns since Kevin Cahill scored five in a 48-28 win on Oct. 28, 2000.
One For The Thumb?:
SC is favored to win its fifth Freedom Football Conference Championship in the preseason coaches poll. The Pride received six of seven first-place votes... in 2002, the Pride posted a 6-0 record in the FFC for the third time in five seasons ... SC captured the conference title and the NCAA Tournament berth in 1998 and 2000. The Pride also shared the FFC crown with Coast Guard in 1996, but did not compete in the post-season.
The Pride led Division III in rushing (356.7) for the third time in four seasons in '02, and was the FFC's top rushing team for the eighth consecutive season. The top seven ground-gainers from the '02 team are back. Junior FB Tim Lutgens led SC with 661 rushing yards to go along with an average of 7.0 yards-per-carry and six TDs. QBs Michael Judge (625 yards, 8 TDs, 5.4 ypc) and Ryan Sylvia (600 yards, 8 TDs, 6.8 ypc) ranked second and third, respectively. Junior all-FFC HB Kevin Domurat (565 yards, 6 TDs, 9.0 ypc), junior HB Will Davis (467 yards, 4 TDs, 5.0), sophomore FB Mike Fiscella (169 yards, 9.4 ypc in 4 games) and senior HB Dustin Grosso (132 yards, 9.4 ypc in 3 games) round out the top seven ... all seven backs ripped off a run of at least 40 yards, and Judge's 97-yard scoring jaunt at Kings Point (Sept. 21) is the second-longest rush in school history ... Domurat's 9.0 average was the second-highest at SC, just behind Bob Sedlor, who averaged 9.1 yards-per-carry in 2000.
Two Headed QB:
Juniors Michael Judge and Ryan Sylvia continued to share the quarterback duties in the '03 opener at Salve Regina (Sept. 6). The duo rotated every three series at quarterback for the entire '02 season. Both ranked among the FFC’s leaders in rushing, total offense, scoring and pass efficiency ... their numbers were nearly identical. Judge rushed for 625 yards and eight touchdowns, and Sylvia had 600 yards rushing and eight scores. Judge threw for six touchdowns and was picked off just once, and Sylvia had five touchdowns passes and threw only one interception.
When junior QB Ryan Sylvia rushed for 135 yards in last Saturday's win over Salve Regina (Sept. 6), it marked the fourth time he eclipsed the 100-yard mark in his career ... in '02, five SC backs reached the 100-yard mark: junior HB Will Davis (145 yards vs. Salve Regina), junior HB Kevin Domurat (three times), junior QB Michael Judge (twice), junior HB Tim Lutgens (three times) and Sylvia (156 yards vs. Union).
Although the Pride is known for its running game, it also used the pass effectively in '02. SC completed 23 passes for an average of 24.0 yards-per-catch and 11 touchdowns ... all four of senior SE Farrand Violette receptions went for touchdowns. He has caught two 57-yard TD passes ... at Salve Regina (Sept. 6), junior QB Michael Judge hooked up with junior HB Kevin Domurat for a 45-yard score.
Seven starters return from a relentless defense that ranked at the top of the FFC in scoring defense (17.5 ppg) and rushing defense (117.9 ypg) in '02... in the season-opener at Salve Regina (Sept. 6), the Pride allowed the Seahawks just three first downs and 58 yards in the first half ... last season, coordinator Jack Holik’s 3-4 defense recorded five turnover returns of at least 30 yards, and scored three touchdowns. The Pride, which recorded two shutouts for the first time in 35 seasons, ranked 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense (86.3) and 22nd in total defense (253.5 yards-per-game) ... three of SC captains are defensive stalwarts: senior LB Jesse Baker, senior DE Jason MacDonald and senior SS Ryan Santo.
It came as no surprise that senior PK Greg Switaj was selected to the D3Football.com and Don Hansen's Football Gazette Pre-season All-American teams. A first-team D3Football.com All-America in '02, Switaj was one of the nation's most efficient place-kickers, drilling 9-of-10 attempts and converting 40-of-44 point-after attempts. He led all conference kickers in scoring (6.7 points-per-game, 26th nationally) and field goal percentage on the way to winning FFC Special Teams Player-of-the-Year honors ... Switaj converted 4-of-4 PATs and kicked a 23-yard field goal at Salve Regina (Sept. 6).
In The Classroom:
SC led the FFC with 19 academic all-conference selections last season. To be named to the team, a student athlete must have a 3.0 grade-point average and play a significant role ... included on the academic all-conference team were junior HB Kevin Domurat, junior LB Justin Fletcher, junior FS Jeremiah Goodnow and senior PK Greg Switaj, who were also all-FFC choices in '02. Other notables include junior QB Michael Judge.
SC Football Joins Empire 8:
On Oct. 11, 2001, Springfield College announced that it accepted an invitation to join the Empire 8 Athletic Conference as an affiliate member in the sport of football. SC, along with Norwich, will play in the Empire 8 beginning in the 2004 season ... in football, the Empire 8 is comprised of five small, private New York-based institutions: Alfred University, Hartwick College, Ithaca College, St. John Fisher College and Utica College. The conference sponsors 15 other sports but SC will only compete in football.