Week six features some important games as the second half of the season commences. Boston College, New Hampshire and Holy Cross are on byes but the other programs in the area have games, big games in fact.
Here is our preview to kick off the college football weekend in New England.
#9 Delaware Blue Hens (3-1) at #18 Rhode Island Rams (4-0): The Rams have been impressive thus far this season but today they will finally see just how good they are when Delaware visits Kingston.
The ninth ranked Blue Hens are 3-1 with their only loss, a blow out loss to Rutgers. They win the old fashion way. By running the football and leaning on their defense.
The Rams on the other hand want to force the pace and score fast. Quarterback Kasim Hill leads one of the most explosive offenses in the CAA and one that can make big plays on the ground or through the air.
It is imperative for the Rams to get off to a good start and play with the lead. Make the Blue Hens have to throw to win. Delaware’s defense is opportunistic so taking care of the ball will be key for the Rams. They cannot turn it over and give their offense extra possessions.
I think this will be a back and forth game. If Rhode Island can keep it close, they can pull away in the second half.
Colgate Raiders (2-3) at Brown Bears (0-3): After starting 0-3, Colgate has back to back wins over Lehigh and Georgetown. They will present problems for the Bears defense which has struggled mightily this season.
Brown needs to score first and establish the pace. It has been a struggle for them thus far because they are playing from behind a lot. If the offense can somehow give them the lead in this one, that should take the pressure off the defense.
The Raiders are starting to play good football. What was once a winnable game for Brown will now be challenging.
Columbia Lions (2-1) at Central Connecticut State (1-3): The Blue Devils return off their bye week and face another stiff challenge in Columbia.
CCSU got blown out by Miami two weeks ago so the bye came at the right time. The defense was the focal point during the bye and the focus will be in them once again as they face a Columbia team that averages 37.0 points per game.
If the Blue Devils are going to pull off the upset, they are going to have to turn this into a shootout. Quarterback Romelo Williams is going to have to make plays and take care of the football.
Yale Bulldogs (2-1) at Dartmouth Green Wave (3-0): Big early season Ivy League game for both teams. Yale has bounced back from an opening week loss to Holy Cross to win two in a row. The Bulldogs have been relying on their running game and defense to win games thus far.
As for the Green Wave, it is all about quarterback Derek Kyler and the Big Green’s passing game, Kyler and the receivers have complemented running back Nick Howard and the running game well. That balance makes the Green Wave tough to defend and balanced.
This game will come down to Yale’s defense and whether or not they can slow down an efficient Dartmouth offense that finishes drives. If they can get some stops early, they have a shot at getting a big win on the road but it won’t be easy.
Elon Phoenix (2-3) at Maine Black Bears (1-3): The Black Bears had a bye last week so they have had two weeks to prepare for the Phoenix.
It is all about the defense for Maine. If the Black Bears can make some early stops and give Joe Fagnano and the offense extra possessions, they can win this game.
Elon averages doesn’t run the ball particularly well but that could change today. The Bears give up 161.5 per game on the ground. That is a lot so look forward Elon to be patient and try to ball control Maine early.
The Black Bears need a signature win. They only have one and that was against Merrimack. If they can find a way to win today, that would go a long way in giving them confidence for the rest of the season.
Bryant Bulldogs (3-2) at Duquesne Dukes (3-1): The Bulldogs are in the thick of the NEC race so today’s game in Pittsburgh is a big one.
Quarterback Zevi Eckhaus has transformed the Bulldogs offense from a running offense to an offense that is balanced and can throw the ball.
That will be key today against a Duquesne defense that gave a potent Merrimack offense some problems last week. If Bryant can find a way to run the ball and hit some big plays down the field in play action, they can win this game.
Defensively, the Bulldogs must find a way to stop a Duquesne running game that averages 144.3 per game on the ground.
Merrimack Warriors (3-2) at Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-3): Both teams are coming off losses and in many ways, this is must win mid season game.
Merrimack lost a tough one to Duquesne last week while Sacred Heart lost to Howard.
For Merrimack, it is all about getting Westin Elliott and their high flying offense back on track. Sacred Heart will run the football and try to play keep away so it is imperative that the Warriors maximize their touches offensively.
Merrimack will want to make this a track meet while Sacred Heart will want to slow it down and grind it out. It will be a contrast in styles and whichever team can establish their style of play early, will win the game.