GAME #6 PREVIEW -- Bears Host MIT on Homecoming Weekend

GAME #6 PREVIEW -- Bears Host MIT on Homecoming Weekend

MIT (1-4, 1-1) AT COAST GUARD (3-2, 2-0)

ON THE AIR: The game will be aired live on WXLM-980 AM. There also both an audio and video stream available and those links can be found at on the football schedule page.

THE SERIES: MIT leads 2-1.

LAST YEAR: The Bears held the Engineers scoreless through the second half but could not complete the comeback as they fell to MIT 24-13 in the final game last season.

The Engineers took the opening kick off and drove to the Coast Guard seven yard line but the defense forced to incomplete passes and held MIT to a field goal by sophomore Tucker Cheyne.

That was all the scoring the first half would see as the Bears punted twice and the Engineers punted once.

Again MIT started he second quarter with the ball and drove into the Coast Guard red zone. Senior quarterback Peter Williams took a snap from the Bears thirteen yard line and found junior wide receiver Nathan Varady for a touchdown. The touchdown concluded a 17-play, 94 yard drive that took 6:46 off the clock.

After another Coast Guard drive stalled MIT again drove down the field for another touchdown pass from Williams to Varady to make the score 17-0.

The Bears started their next drive on the on their own 27. Sophomore Derek Victory completed the first two passes of the drive taking Coast Guard to their 35. However, on his next pass attempt Victory was intercepted by senior Cameron Wagar intercepted his pass and returned it 36 yards for an Engineers touchdown. The first half ended with MIT leading 24-0.

Coast Guard came to life in the second half, with Victory completing 14-of-23 attempts in the third quarter for 129 yards and one score. The Bears' defense also stepped up, holding MIT to just 31 yards in the third.

Midway through the quarter Victory found sophomore Bryan Popp from three yards out to cap a 10-play, 53-yard drive to put the first points of the evening on the board for the Bears.

Victory hit senior Collis Brown on a key 39-yard pass play late in the third that keyed another Coast Guard scoring drive. This one took just 1:25 and nine seconds into the fourth quarter Victory hit senior Gordy Holloway from 12-yards out to make it 24-13.

MIT drove deep into Coast Guard territory midway through the quarter to try and seal the win, but Williams was picked off by junior Mark Behne to stymie the attempt. MIT drove into scoring position again, but this time was thwarted when Cheyne's 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked with four minutes left.

Coast Guard picked up a first down on its own 44 on the ensuing drive, but three plays later sophomore Anthony Emberley intercepted Victory at midfield and the Engineers were able to run out the clock and take home the victory.

Victory completed 21-of-44 for 173 yards and two scores, with Popp grabbing five passes and Brown four more for 66 yards. Senior Jake Wawrzyniak led the Bears rushing attack with 41 yards on 12 attempts.

Wallace finished with 135 yards to lead the MIT ground game, while Williams completed 19-of-35 attempts for 241 yards and the two scores. Esparrago led the receivers with 144 yards on nine catches for MIT, which outgained Coast Guard, by a 451-245 margin.

Senior Victor Rizzardi led all players with 12 tackles for Coast Guard. Behne had the only interception for the Bears which he returned two yards while Junior Kyle Wood had the Bears only sack for a seven yard loss.

Wagar led MIT with eight stops and the interception while breaking up another pass attempt.

LAST WEEK: The entire NEFC had a bye week last week.

Two weeks ago, Senior Mark Behne had two of the Bears three fourth quarter interceptions including the final one in the end zone with 40 seconds left as Coast Guard overcame a 14-0 deficit and held off Maine Maritime 21-14 in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) game.

Senior quarterback Derek Victory's 7-yard touchdown pass to classmate Jordan Groff with 11:55 left broke a 14-14 tie.

Endicott College scored on Ryan Murphy's game-winning touchdown catch with 1:10 remaining to lift the Gulls to a thrilling, 31-27, win over MIT. Freshman Adis Ojeda had his second straight 200-yard rushing game for MIT, gaining 221 yards and scoring three times.

LET THERE BE LIGHT: Coast Guard played the first home night game since 1996 to open the 2015 season beating Anna Maria 34-6. The Bears beat Mass. Maritime in that last home night game 42-21 on Sept. 21st of 1996. This year's season opener was also the first ever Thursday night opener for the Bears.

BEARS TO COMPETE IN NEWMAC IN FOOTBALL BEGINNING IN 2017: It was announced in April that the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) will begin sponsoring the sport of football starting in the 2017 season. Current conference members, Coast Guard, MIT, Springfield College and WPI will be joined by Maine Maritime Academy, Merchant Marine Academy and Norwich University and Catholic, who enter the NEWMAC as associate members in 2017.

Springfield, WPI, and Merchant Marine have been participating in the Liberty League, while MIT, Coast Guard, and Maine Maritime are members of the New England Football Conference, and Norwich is a part of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference and Catholic is part of the ODAC. In addition to the connection Maine Maritime, Merchant Marine and Norwich have to Coast Guard, MIT, Springfield and WPI in football; they also have long-standing relationships with NEWMAC members in other sports.  

BEARS PICKED SIXTH IN THE NEFC PRESEASON POLL: Defending New England Football Conference Champion MIT was picked by the coaches in the Conference to repeat its NEFC title while Coast Guard has been picked sixth.

2015 POLL
1. MIT 61 (6 first place votes)
2. Western New England 56 (2 first place votes)
3. Salve Regina University 41
Endicott College 41
5. Curry College 30
6. U.S. Coast Guard Academy 25
7. Maine Maritime Academy 23
8. Nichols College 11

*Points are awarded based on position selected in the poll. A first place vote is awarded one point, a second place vote is two points, etc.

DEREK IS THE KEY TO VICTORY: Junior quarterback Derek Victory has been the key to the Bears winning back-to-back close games as he not thrown an interception. In fact, Victory has just two interceptions on the season, both back in week two. He has attempted 121 passes since being intercepted in the fourth quarter at Merchant Marine. Last year, Victory was intercepted 21 times. The Bears are second in the NEFC in turnover margin at at plus six.

VICTORY BREAKS THIRD CAREER PASSING MARK: Junior quarterback Derek Victory, who has started the last 22 games for Coast Guard, set the Bears' career-passing yards record in the win on Saturday. He had 4,686 yards breaking the mark of 4,569 set by Jon Resch (2009-12).

Victory is already the Academy career leader in pass attempts (887) and pass completions (493) marks he set earlier in the season.

HENNING BOOTS HIS WAY INTO THE RECORD BOOK: Senior Tyler Henning broke the career record for extra points in the win on Saturday as he made all three to give him 89 in his career breaking the mark of 87 set by David Lieberman (2004-07). Henning is also just two field goals shy of the school record of 28 held by Jacob Shackleford (2008-2011).

A GOLDEN GAME FOR MARK BEHNE: Coast Guard senior Mark Behne won the prestigious Gold Helmet from the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation which is presented to the Division I (FBS and FCS) and II/III football players who have established himself for outstanding contributions to his team on the given week.

Behne, the New England Football Conference (NEFC) Defensive Player of the Week, received his award at the New England Football Writers luncheons at Harvard and become just the sixth player at the Coast Guard Academy to win the prestigious award.

Current senior Joe Rizzardi was the last Coast Guard player to win the Gold Helmet as he won it during the 2013 season when he returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns in the Bears 37-20 win over Nichols.

Cornerback/kick returner Pat Bennett (2010), quarterback John Resch (2009), quarterback Niles Pierson (2006), and running back Scott Huerter (1988) were the other Bears to win the award.

Behne registered two fourth quarter interceptions the final one in the end zone with 40 seconds left to preserve the Bears 21-14 win at Maine Maritime on Saturday.

He also recorded a career-high 14 tackles from his free safety spot as the Bears improved to 3-2 overall and remained unbeaten at 2-0 in the NEFC as the Bears overcame a 14-0 second quarter deficit.

Behne is third on the team with 40 tackles and leads the team 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and five pass breakups.

BEARS TO HONOR BOB FLYNN IN 2015: The Coast Guard football team will pay tribute to a very special former cadet-athlete and great friend of the academy - Mr. Bob Flynn, CGA Class of 1974.  Bob served as the Chairman of the Board of the Coast Guard Foundation starting in 2008 until his tragic and sudden death in February of this year.  The Bears will wear a special decal on their helmets this season in his memory, featuring Bob's initials and a ribbon depicting his very favorite symbol – the Coast Guard Tartan print.  We will always remember Bob, and honored his service to and relentless advocacy on behalf of the academy at halftime of the home opener against Anna Maria. Members of his family served as honorary captains during the pre-game coin toss.

COACH GEORGE IS BEARS WINS LEADER: Coast Guard head coach Bill George, in his 17th season, has a record 55 career wins as head coach at the Academy as he passed John Merriman for the most in program history in the win over Maine Maritime on Oct. 19th, 2013.

Merriman was the coach from (1930-1945) and the Gymnasium is named is his honor. In 2012, George passed NFL Hall of Famer and former Director of Athletics and head football coach Otto Graham, who had 43 wins in his two stints as head coach (1959-'65 and 1974-'75). Coach George led the Bears to a pair of NEFC Bogan Division championships in 2006 and 2007.

BEARS TO HONOR COAST GUARD'S ANNIVERSARY: The United States Coast Guard celebrates its 225th anniversary and the Coast Guard football team will wear a 225 sticker with the Coast Guard racing stripe on the back of their blue helmet and will wear a larger sticker on the side of their white helmet with the traditional Bear head on the other side. The team will wear these helmet stickers for the rest of the season.

SCOUTING COAST GUARD: The Bears are 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the conference. They are over .500 after five games for the first time since 2007 when the team won the NEFC Bogan Division before falling to Curry 10-7 in the NEFC Championship Game.

Junior quarterback Derek Victory is 91 of 165 for 939 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions on the season. His favorite target has been senior Jordan Groff (27 receptions, 246 yards, 2 TD) while senior Carter Provost has 17 catches for a team-high 256 yards.

Senior Mike Clancy leads the Bears with 48 carries for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

Coast Guard is averaging 253.2 yards of total offense per game, 187.8 passing and 65.4 on the ground.

The Bears defense is allowing just 18.8 points per game, second best in the NEFC along with 421.2 yards per game, 149.4 passing, also second best in the conference and 271.8 on the ground, the most in the NEFC.

Senior strong safety Joe Rizzardi leads the Bears with 45 tackles on the season, 27 solo while senior linebacker Kyle Wood, who had a career-high 18 tackles in the win over Maine Maritime, is second with 44 hits, 25 solo. Senior free safety Mark Behne is third with 40 tackles while leading the team with three interceptions, 3.5 tackles for loss and five pass breakups.

Senior punter Tyler Henning, a first team All-conference and All-ECAC selection last season, leads the New England Football Conference (NEFC) and is 6th nationally with a 43.2 yard average this season and is tied with MIT's Tucker Cheyene with a league-high five field goals.

SCOUTING MIT: The Engineers, the defending NEFC champions and preseason favorites to win the conference again, are 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the league.

MIT, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs last season, has played four of its first five games on the road.

Freshman Adis Ojeda, the two-time reigning NEFC Offensive Rookie of the Week, is second in the NEFC and fourth nationally with 753 yards rushing. He is averaging 150.6 yards per game and has a NEFC best eight rushing touchdowns. He has gone over the 200 yard mark in each of the last two games.

Sophomore quarterback John King will get the start. He is  15 of 24 for 179 yards with three touchdowns and one interception while senior quarterback Danny Callahan is 62 of 136 for 762 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Their favorite targets are senior Karson Ota, who has 18 receptions for 308 yards and four touchdowns while senior Seve Esparrago has a team-high 21 receptions for 232 yards and a pair of scores.

The Engineers have made the most of their red zone opportunites scoring 82.4 percent of the time (14 of 17) times, second best in the conference with nine touchdowns and five field goals.

The MIT offense is averaging 27.8 points per game and 369.8 yards per game, 181.6 on the ground and 188.2 in the air.

Sophomore Mitch Turley leads the defense with 46 tackles, 25 solo to go with two sacks while junior Anthony Emberley had 35 tackles while leading the team with eight tackles for loss and three sacks.

The Engineers are allowing 33.4 points per game and a league-high 459.4 yards per game, 252.2 of those on the ground.

Junior Tucker Cheyne is tied with Tyler Henning with five field goals, most in the NEFC.

UP NEXT: Coast Guard travels to Curry next week with kickoff set for 1 p.m.

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