GAME #4 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Battle Norwich for The Mug in NEWMAC Opener

GAME #4 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Battle Norwich for The Mug in NEWMAC Opener

COAST GUARD (2-1, 0-0 NEWMAC) AT NORWICH (0-3, 0-0)
SEPT. 23RD -- 2:00 -- NORTHFIELD, VT

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 38-32-1. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since Coast Guard beat Norwich 30-12 in 2005.

The last time the Bears played at Norwich in 2004, a freshman by the name of Pierre Garcon, yes the current San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, caught a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns including a 49-yarder with 2:54 left in the fourth quarter to lead Norwich University to a 24-14 come from behind win. Coast Guard led 14-0 entering the fourth quarter.

THE MUG: Coast Guard and Norwich play each time for "The Mug" on the gridiron.

The Mug was first presented in 1931 when Mr. Theodore Bodenwein, publisher of the New London Day, with hope "that this ancient cup, already more than 100 years old, will stand as an emblem of friendly rivalry for many decades to come".

Mr. Bodenwein presented the trophy on the eve 1931 game whcih was played in New London and made the award retroactive to the previous year's game which Norwich had won 6-0 in Northfield, Vt. Norwich's first possession of The Mug was less than 24 hours as Coast Guard won the 1931 game 6-0. Since then, The Mug has been back-and-forth many times with Coast Guard leading the series 38-32-1.

LAST WEEK: The Coast Guard defense held Nichols to just 123 of total offense, just 25 in the second half, as the Bears blanked Nichols 13-0 in a non-conference game to snap the Bison's six-game regular season winning streak dating back to last season.

Nichols was held to minus 18 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter as the Bears defense forced a pair of three-and-outs before the Bison went for it on fourth down with 14 seconds left in the game and did not convert.

The Bears (2-1) registered six sacks in the win with junior Jack Brandt (6 tackles) accounting for two while classmates Titus Creamer and Tommy Jones while seniors Christian Breviario and Vince De Terlizzi each added one.

Sophomore Patrick Crowley had his second interception of the season while sophomore Michael Goldsworthy and freshman Colby Coco each had their first interceptions of the season. Creamer and junior Jake Behne led Coast Guard with seven tackles each.

Norwich dropped to 0-3 with a 28-14 loss to Castleton. Sophomore quarterback Matthew Chaffee hooked up with freshman wide receiver Tristan Weathers for each player's first collegiate touchdown, but it wasn't enough.

NEWMAC FOOTBALL BEGINS THIS WEEK : 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 this weekend.

COACH GEORGE IS BEARS WINS LEADER: Coast Guard head coach Bill George, in his 19th season, has a record 62 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 Norwich 27-10 to win The Mug in the fourth game of the 1997 season as Dan Warren threw three touchdown passes and ran for another in the win. Warren set the career touchdown pass record with his 26th in the win;. It was the Bears 11th straight regular season winning dating back to the 1996 season.

Tom Wallin had a big day leading the Bears with six receptions for 156 yards.

SCOUTING COAST GUARD: Coast Guard is off to a 2-1 start for the first time in ten years as the Bears prepare to open play in the NEWMAC and battle Norwich for The Mug on Saturday.

Junior quarterback Ethan Goldcamp, who leads the NEWMAC with 251 passing yards per game,  is 72 of 126 for 753 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions. He was intercepted four times on Saturday as the Bears turned it over a six times in the win.

Senior wide receiver Cody Bain leads the team with 15 receptions for 152 yards while freshman wide receiver Justin Moffatt had 14 catches for a team-high 182 yards. Both Bain and Moffatt lead the team with two touchdown receptions.

Senior Cam Cecchini leads the Bears with 170 rushing yards after running for a career-high 104 yards in the win on Saturday. Coast Guard ran for a season-high 203 yards on Saturday.

Coast Guard is averging 352.7 yards of total offense per game, 251 in the air and 101.7 on the ground.

The Bears defense, which was outstanding on Saturday holding Nichols to just 123 yards of total offense,
is allowing a league-low 11.7 points per game. Coast Guard is allowing 228.7 yards per game, 147.3 passing and 81.3 rushing.

Senior strong safety Ryan Robertson leads the way with 19 tackles, eight solo, a forced fumble and fumble recovery while sophomore cornerback Patrick Crowley is second with 18 tackles, 11 solo and a team-high two interceptions.

The Coast Guard defense had three interceptions on Saturday and now have five on the year.

Junior punter Chip Crowley is off to a solid start averaging 35.5 yards per punt this season with five of his 11 punts inside the 20.

Junior placekicker Cole Austin has been just as impressive making four-of-five field goal attempts and six -of-seven PAT's this season.

SCOUTING NORWICH: The Cadets look to snap a three-game slide to begin the season.

Norwich is averaging 290.7 yards and 14.87 points per game. They will look to run the football as they are averaging 191.3 rushing yards per game and 99.3 yards passing this season.

Sophomore Connor Bourque leads the team with 198 yards rushing on 33 carries (6.0 avg.) with all three of the team's rushing touchdowns while senior quarterback Phillipe Bazinet has a team-high 39 carries for 196 yards. Bazinet is 13 of 44 for 150 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

A pair of freshmen are the top two receivers for Norwich. Tristan Weathers, who has six receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown and Brandon Mynter (7 receptions, 90 yards) lead the way for the Cadets.

Sophomore linebacker Jonathan Molitmer leads the team with 27 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss while sophomore defensive back Michael Corinna has 21 tackles, a team-high 14 solo as the Cadets are allowing 26.3 points and 352.7 yards per game (211.3 rushing and 141.3 passing).

On special teams, sophomore Owen McKenna is averaging 35.8 yards per punt while freshman Clyde Tamburro has made 3-of-4 field goals and all five extra points this season.

UP NEXT: Coast Guard will host Catholic on Parents' Weekend on Sept. 30th at 1:30.

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