GAME #3 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Host Nichols in Final Non-Conference Game

Ryan Robertson
Ryan Robertson

NICHOLS (2-0) AT COAST GUARD (1-1)
SEPT. 16TH -- 1:30 -- NEW LONDON, CONN.

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 www.cgasports.com on the football schedule page.

THE SERIES: Coast Guard leads 3-1.

LAST YEAR: Freshman quarterback Chris Mullins threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another in the first ten minutes of the game as Nichols jumped out to a 21-0 and the Bison held on for a 24-14 win over Coast Guard in a New England Football Conference (NEFC) game.

Mullins was 22 of 49 for 238 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions in the win, a game which featured ten turnovers. The Bison turned the ball over six times in the win.

Nichols had 450 yards of total offense, 238 passing and 212 rushing while Coast Guard finished with 356 total yards, 329 passing and 27 rushing.

LAST WEEK: Junior quarterback Nick Cascione threw for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns while running for another and senior Connor Kinzelmann ran for 136 yards leading Union to a 28-13 non-conference over Coast Guard in the first meeting between the two teams since 2005.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS VS. UNION -- CLICK HERE

Cascione was 18 of 25 for 166 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while rushing for 22 yards and a score as the Dutchmen evened their record at 1-1 on the season.

Union finished with 356 yards (189 rushing) while the Bears (1-1) had 328 total yards. Coast Guard was held to negative four yards rushing on 18 carries as Goldcamp was sacked four times.

Junior quarterback Ethan Goldcamp was 32 of 57 for 332 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Freshman Justin Moffatt led Coast Guard with career-highs of nine receptions and 91 yards  while junior Chip Crowley had five receptions for 83 yards and senior Cody Bain had five catches for 63 yards for the Bears.

Sophomore Tony Martignolia scored three touchdowns to lift Nichols to a 28-21 win at Anna Maria on Friday. Martignoli rushed for a pair of scores (2,1) and also completed 35-of-42 pass attempts for 263 yards and one score. He hooked up with freshman Jean Saint-Vil for a five-yard touchdown to open the scoring as the Bison moved to 2-0 for the first time since the 2000 season.

NEWMAC FOOTBALL BEGINS THIS YEAR: The New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) will begin sponsoring the sport of football starting this season. Conference members, the United States Coast Guard Academy, MIT, Springfield College and WPI will be joined by Maine Maritime Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and Norwich University, who enter the NEWMAC as associate members in 2017. Football becomes the 20th conference championship and the league's ninth men's offering.

Springfield, WPI, and Merchant Marine have been participating in the Liberty League, while MIT, Coast Guard, and Maine Maritime were members of the New England Football Conference, and Norwich was a part of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference. 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.

NEWMAC play begins on the weekend of Sept. 23rd. Coast Guard's NEWMAC opener will be at Norwich as the team's meet for the first time since 2005. These team's play for The Mug in football. Coast Guard holds The Mug from its 30-12 win in 2005.

COACH GEORGE IS BEARS WINS LEADER: Coast Guard head coach Bill George, in his 19th season, has a record 61 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.

ESPN IS COMING TO NEW LONDON: Coast Guard will host Merchant Marine in the final game of the season this year as the team's battle for the Secetaries' Cup and the game will be carried live by the ESPN family of networks on Veterans Day, Nov. 11th at time to be announced.

Here is what the 2017 Coast Guard football captains have to say about the opportunity to play on ESPN

CODY BAIN
"We are ecstatic about opportunity ESPN has given us; we look forward to representing our nations' finest service academy in a classic rivalry against Merchant Marine. If you're watching Coast Guard football you aren't going to find any flashing lights or glamour. It's never been that way.  It never will.  What you will find is selflessness and college football in its purest form. There are no aspirations of playing at a higher level, only aspirations to one day be worthy of a commission as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, in the service of our country and humanity. In today's society, we are especially conscious of the sacrifices veterans and their families make. We are honored to be part of this nationwide celebration of America's heroes."

RYAN ROBERTSON
"I think this game will be a great opportunity for the team as well as for the Academy as a whole. It is a good way to get exposure on a popular network and educate people about the other two service Academies that can sometimes be forgotten.  I admire ESPN's commitment to honoring the members of the Armed Forces and I think the program is blessed to be able to play a long standing rivalry game on Veteran's Day weekend. I am personally excited for one of my last games of football here at the Academy to be as important and beneficial to the football program as this opportunity presents. Nonetheless, it will be a unique experience that I won't forget."

A LOOK BACK AT THE 1997 NCAA PLAYOFF TEAM: It has been 20 years since the 1997 football team made the program's second straight NCAA Playoff appearance. That team coached by Chuck Mills won the Freedom Football Conference (FFC) with a perfect 6-0 record and finished the regular season 9-1, the third best regular season football record recorded at the Academy. The Bears lost to Rowan 43-0 in the NCAA playoffs to finish 9-2. The nine wins is tied with the 1988 team for the most wins in a season.

Each week this season, we will take a look back at how that team did.

The Bears beat Springfield 26-20 in overtime in week three as Jamie Amon rushed for a career-high 109 yards and his five-yard run in OT gave the Bears the win.

Al Thompson had eight receptions for 114 yards and touchdown as the Bears tied the school record wtih 10 consecutive regular season wins.

The Bears led 20-0 at halftime as Dan Warren threw a pair of touchdown passes.

Springfield missed a 34-yard field goal to open the OT before Amon's touchdown won it.

Chris Raia was named the FFC Defense Player of the Week as he collected 10 tackles, recovered a fumble, batted a pass that was intercepted to setup a touchdown, had two pass breakups and registered two sacks.

Ben Fleming was named the FFC Special Teams Player of the Week as he recovered a bad snap of a punt for a touchdown to open the scoring.

BEARS TO HONOR GOLD STAR FAMILIES AT HALFTIME: The Coast Guard Academy will honor several Coast Guard Gold Star Families at halftime of this weekend's game. This is the second straight season the Academy has welcomed Gold Star Families to a football game.

The Coast Guard's Gold Star program is to support the survivors of its service members who have lost their lives while on active duty or reserve.

SCOUTING COAST GUARD: Coast Guard looks to bounce back from last week's loss in the final non-conference game of the season this week.

Junior quarterback Ethan Goldcamp was 32 of 57 for 332 yards in the loss on Saturday. It was his second career game with over 300 yards passing. He is 52 of 89 for 572 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Freshman wide receiver Justin Moffatt leads the team with 11 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns while senior wideout Cody Bain has ten receptions for 88 yards.

Junior Jeff Porter leads the Bears with 72 rushing yards on just 12 carries while senior Cam Cecchini has 18 carries for 66 yards.

Coast Guard is averging 337 yards of total offense per game, 286 in the air and 51 on the ground.

The Bears defense is allowing 281.5 yards per game, 175.5 passing and 106 rushing.

Senior strong safety Ryan Robertson led the way with 19 tackles, eight solo, a forced fumble and fumble recovery while sophomore cornerback Patrick Crowley is second with 13 tackles, nine solo and an interception.

Junior punter Chip Crowley is off to a solid start averaging 37.8 yards per punt this season with four of his eight punts inside the 20.

SCOUTING NICHOLS: The Bison look to remain unbeaten and beat Coast Guard for the second straight season after beating the Bears for the first time in the series last year.

Sophomore quaterback Tony Martignoli is 48 of 79 for 348 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions this season and has a team-high 31 carries for 44 yards and a team best three touchdowns.

Eric Mooney leads all Bison receivers with 15 receptions for 82 yards while Jacob Duffrene has seven receptions for a team-high 85 yards and one touchdown.

Duffrene leads the ground attck with 15 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Nichols is averaging 271.5 yards per game, 174 passing and 97.5 rushing.

Brett McEvoy leads the defense with 26 tackles, 10 solo, two fumble recoveries and a sack. Christopher Lawrence has 16 tackles, three for loss.

The Bison are allowing 258.5 yards per game, 145 rushing and 113.5 passing.

UP NEXT: Coast Guard travels to Norwich as the team's will battle for The Mug. It is the NEWMAC opener and first meeting between the teams since a 30-12 Coast Guard win in 2005.