Setting the Scene… The Mariners play their first home game of 2012 against Maritime (NY) as the two sides meet at Brooks Stadium Saturday afternoon. The two maritime schools are also geographic rivals with each team being able to see its opposition's campus from their own. The similarities continue as each side is coming off of a dramatic victory over an archival. USMMA outlasted Coast Guard on the road, 43-37, to bring the Secretaries' Cup back to Kings Point. On the other hand, the Privateers knocked off Massachusetts Maritime, 20-14, to win the annual Chowder Bowl.
Series History... The Privateers hold a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series as the two sides meet for the third consecutive season. However, both installations of the series have been decided by a single possession. Last year Maritime came away with a 13-7 victory as neither team was able to dent the scoreboard in the second half. In the programs' inaugural meeting in 2010 the Privateers won a 41-34 shootout in Throggs Neck, NY.
View From the"Toop"… Check out the weekly video preview with Merchant Marine Head Coach Mike Toop as he discusses the Mariners' week three match-up:
Mariner Quick Hits
Ground and Pound… The Mariners shredded the Coast Guard defense for 521 yards last week, including 396 yards on the ground. USMMA has averaged 310 rushing yards over the first two games, ranking them 11th in NCAA Division III.
Going, Going, Gosselin… Running back John-Leon Gosselin (Nashua, NH) exploded for 146 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Bears. He tallied the Mariners final two touchdowns as well as picking up the final first down of the game. Gosselin's last carry secured the win by allowing USMMA to kneel out the clock.
Third Down Efficiency… USMMA converted on 11-of-15 (73%) on third down against Coast Guard. In 2012, the Mariners rank second in NCAA Division III with a 67% (20-30) success rate on third downs.
Spreading Around the TD's… Alex Coviello (Cape Coral, FL), Mario Colangelo (Staten Island, NY), and Connor Kennedy (Bellerose, NY) all recorded a rushing touchdown in the Secretaries' Cup. For the season, six different Mariners have combined for the teams nine total trips to the end zone.
Harmon's Defense... Andrew Harmon (Jacksonville, FL) paced the USMMA defense with six tackles against the Bears. In 2012, the sophomore defensive back has totaled a team high 16 tackles, including 14 of the solo variety.
Don't Forget About the Pass… Despite operating in the option offense, Merchant Marine has struck for a big pass play in each of the first two games of the year. Last time out it was Luke Stidham (Baltimore, MD) connecting with Kennedy for a 56-yard completion. In the Mariners season opener, Coviello hit Christopher Cook (Ventura, CA) with a 44-yard touchdown pass.
Scouting the Privateers... Maritime opened its season with a 20-14 victory as quarterback Tyler Trodden found Erik Heedles open for a 19-yard touchdown pass with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Jean Fritz's 91 all-purpose yards, 69 receiving and 22 rushing, lead the Privateers in their first game. Keith Barnes was a huge factor for the Privateers defense last weekend, posting 16 total tackles, including one sack and three tackles for a loss. Maritime was also effective in the red zone against Massachusetts Maritime, scoring three touchdowns in their four trips inside the twenty.
Around the Liberty League... The Liberty League posted a 5-3 week overall with the conference's newest member, Springfield, posting the largest margin of victory in a 36-2 rout of Husson. Defending league champion and preseason favorite Hobart moved to 2-0 on the year after a 28-7 win at home over Geneva. Early this season, there has been no evidence of a home field advantage for Liberty League teams. The conference contingent is 4-5 at home so far in 2012.
Up Next... The Mariners open up their conference slate next weekend on the road against defending Liberty League champion Hobart. USMMA's next home game will be September 29 as Merchant Marine takes on Rensselaer at 2:00 PM in the 2012 Homecoming Game.