Setting the Scene… USMMA returns home for a Saturday afternoon match-up with WPI. The Mariners have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in 2012 and will look to bounce back against the Engineers. WPI is coming off of a bye week while Merchant Marine fell to Springfield on the road, 66-13. However, the Engineers have struggled throughout the season and are currently riding a five game losing streak. The Mariners will be playing their last contest of October as they head into a bye week after Saturday's meeting with WPI.
Series History... Merchant Marine leads the all-time series against the Engineers, 14-6. USMMA defeated WPI, 34-27, last season in Worcester, MA. In that game, Alex Coviello (Cape Coral, FL) and John-Leon Gosselin (Nashua, NH) both rushed for over 100 yards. Last year's contest was a wild affair that featured six lead changes, including three in the final two minutes. WPI's last victory in the series came in 2008, a 23-10 decision.
Home Sweet Home… The Mariners have fared much better at home in 2012, posting a 2-1 record at Brooks Stadium. The USMMA offense is averaging 87 more rushing yards per game and four extra first downs per game when playing at home. The defense has also fared better at Tomb Field, surrendering 15 less points per game while on their home turf. A triumph over WPI would secure a winning home record for USMMA in 2012.
Avoid a Streak; Avoid a Loss?… In all four of Merchant Marine's losses this season their opponent has rattled off 20 unanswered points at some point in the game. In the Mariners three victories in 2012 an opponent has scored back-to-back touchdowns on just one occasion.
Scouting the Engineers... WPI is averaging just 12.0 points per game in 2012, which ranks last in the Liberty League. Running back Chris Turner leads the Engineers offense with 303 yards while averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Zach Grasis is the Engineer with the most trips to the end zone with four in 2012. WPI passers have combined for 11 interceptions and only two touchdowns this season. The Engineers boast the top tackler in the Liberty League in Shaine Grogan. Grogan has totaled 61 stops this season, including 42 solo tackles and 5.0 for a loss. Grogan's 10.2 tackles per game currently ranks him in the top-50 in NCAA Division III. The WPI defense ranks sixth in the conference, surrendering an average of 379.7 yards per game.
Around the Liberty League... There were just two games contested among Liberty League opponents last week with Springfield winning at home and RPI notching a road victory. Hobart and Union, both coming off of a bye, are the two remaining unbeaten teams atop the league standings. WPI and St. Lawrence currently occupy the cellar and are still looking to crack the win column in conference play. The conferences' top teams will face stiff tests in week seven as Hobart takes on RPI and Union plays hosts to Rochester (NY). The Statesmen have represented the Liberty League throughout the season in the top-ten in the nation as chosen by the weekly AFCA Division III poll.
Get the Tape Measure… Quarterback Alex Coviello (Cape Coral, FL) completed the longest pass of the 2012 season in the closing moments of the first quarter against Springfield. Westin Haddock (Merritt Island, FL) hauled in the 62 yard touchdown reception after beating the Pride defense down the center of the field. The score was USMMA's first of the game, at the time making it a 14-7 affair.
Success Through The Air… The Mariners faced an early deficit last week against Springfield, forcing USMMA to rely on the passing game more than usual. Coviello and Luke Stidham (Baltimore, MD) combined for 9-of-15 and one touchdown without an interception versus the Pride. The duo's 183 passing yards set a 2012 team high for USMMA.
Washington Stands Tall … Junior Tyler Washington (Chatham, NY) leads the Merchant Marine defense with 56 total tackles in 2012, including 45 solo stops. He also has one interception and 1. 5 tackles for a loss on his season stat line. Washington was the team's leading tackler last week against Springfield, recording ten total stops.
Thriving Under Pressure… USMMA's three victories have all come in one possession games. The Mariners knocked off Coast Guard by six points, Maritime (NY) by five points, and RPI in a three point affair. All three of Merchant Marine's losses in 2012 have been by a double digit margin.
Up Next... The Mariners will get to rest during a bye week after their tilt with the Engineers. In two weeks, USMMA will travel to Schenectady, NY to square-off with Union (NY).