Life has the way of jumping out in front of you when you least expect it, and so this recap is a bit late. It was a big week in the NEC, with a few statement wins, a few teams clawing for survival, and all the rest of the things you’d expect during a football season.
Someone who just looks quickly at the NEC and follows the records may assume that the league has some solid teams who just keep beating one another. If you take a closer look, however, a discriminating eye will see that it’s a bunch of inconsistent teams who can’t figure out what they are from week to week. Let’s have a look.
Bryant 42, Duquesne 14
No cliffs notes – here’s the full story, but this game was the epitome of the aforementioned inconsistency. Duquesne, who was looking good, was suddenly stymied. Bryant, who was trending down, explodes. Of course, some DU turnovers helped their cause.
SFU 24, SHU 10
Sacred Heart was winning 10 – 3, but the Red Flash scored the next 21 points on the legs of Kyle Harbridge. The exclaimation point was a Harbridge 90 yard touchdown run mid-fourth quarter. The Pioneers fall to 2-2. The loss for SHU meant that had Duquesne won, they’d have been in a great position in the NEC. Now, they’re stuck with the pack of other one-conference-loss teams. Harbridge was a beast even without the big run, going for 190 yards on 25 carries. He made the explosive Keshaudas Spence look pedestrian by comparison even though Spence was 26 for 138.
This is either a big win for SFU or a big loss for SHU, depending on who you talk to. I see it as a little bit of both. The big question for SFU is whether or not they can put together a complete game with regularity. Though leave it to me – I finally admit that the Pioneers may be legit and they drop a game like this. Whoops.
RMU 17, Wagner 13
The Colonials threw a little dirt on the grave of the Wagner preseason first place selection this week. RMU suddenly appeared to be a competent passing team under backup Marcus Prather, who threw for 202 yards and two TDs. They could not, however, run the ball to save their lives. Conversely, Wagner’s Dominique Williams was back to form this week, getting 177 yards on the ground. It makes the Dukes’ ability to stop him much more impressive and the prospect that the Dukes will be able to stop the likes of Spence and Harbridge much more encouraging.
CCSU 47, Salve Regina 13
The NEC isn’t done beating up on lower-tier teams yet. CCSU grounded the Seahawks in a game of no note to anyone outside of CCSU or Salve Regina. In a weekend of big RB performances, Rob Holloman ran for 212 yards on just nine carries. But really. Consider the competition.
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CCSU beats St. Francis then loses to SHU. SHU drops the SFU game and Wagner, beating Bryant. Duquesne beats Wagner but loses to Bryant. Wagner beats SHU and loses to everyone else. I’m not saying this for comparison’s sake, because those comparisons don’t work anyway. I’m just trying to emphasize the complete unpredictability of the league. Inconsistent indeed.
So what’s next? The Dukes play a must-win game against SFU on the evening of November 2nd. Sacred Heart plays an ultimately meaningless game against Monmouth. Bryant and Robert Morris are both in a position where both really need to win and both aren’t necessarily equipped for it. Only one will, though, as they play each other. Finally, CCSU plays Wagner. It’s unclear who is as good or as bad as they look, and that inconsistent play will likely continue for another week.