Hoffman Cup Showdown: USMMA Battles St. Lawrence Tomorrow
Setting the Scene... The Merchant Marine football team will play its final road game of 2013 on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Canton, NY to take on St. Lawrence. The annual battle between the two sides will have the Hoffman Cup on the line. The Mariners will look to bounce back from two straight losses, including a 27-14 setback at the hands of Union last weekend. The Saints are coming off of a 37-7 loss to Hobart in which the Liberty League championship was decided.
Series History... USMMA trails the all-time series against the Saints, 7-6. However, the Mariners won last year's contest 33-12 to take possession of the Hoffman Cup. In that game, Merchant Marine dominated time of possession with 37:46 and gained 430 yards of total offense. St. Lawrence was limited to just 14 yards rushing in the 2012 game and were 0-of-9 on third down.
McDaniels in NCAA Statistics... Sophomore quarterback Matthew McDaniels (Malverne, NY) is having a superb season in his first year under center for Merchant Marine. McDaniels currently ranks sixth in NCAA Division III in rushing yards per game, totaling 947 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first six career games as a quarterback. The sophomore has reached the end zone at least once in every game this season and is a three-time Liberty League Offensive Performer of the Week. Last week McDaniels posted 177 rushing yards and scored twice against Union (NY).
Senior Send Off... Before last week's contest the Mariners recognized the program's 19 graduating seniors before their final home game at Brooks Stadium. Michael Biehn (The Woodlands, TX) stood out in his last afternoon at Kings Point, recording a game high 14 tackles, forcing two fumbles, and tallying four pressures on the quarterback. Classmate Tyler Washington (Chatham, NY) made 13 tackles and forced one fumble while senior receiver Matthew Berglund (North Kingstown, RI) made four receptions for 32 yards.
Home Field Advantage vs. Road Warriors... St. Lawrence currently boasts a perfect 4-0 record at home while the Mariners are 2-1 on the road in 2013. The Saints have won three games at Leckonby Stadium by a single possession. Similarly, the Mariners two road wins have come in single-score contests, including a one-point victory over Maritime (NY).
Scouting The Saints... St. Lawrence has had a bounce back year in 2013, currently sitting at 6-3 after going winless last season. The Saints defense is ranked second in the Liberty League in scoring, surrendering just 18.2 points per game. Mike Lefflbine has completed 58 percent of his passes, throwing for 1062 yards and nine touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions. Mike Tateosian paces the receiving corps with 44 catches for 582 yards and seven touchdowns. Alec Dietsch is the defensive leader of the Saints, posting 76 total tackles, including eight for a loss, as well as three interceptions.
Around The Liberty League... Last week in the Liberty League saw nationally ranked Hobart clinch a third consecutive conference championship. The Statesmen are currently a perfect 8-0 on the year and 6-0 in league action. Springfield, Union, and WPI also earned victories last week against conference opposition. The games on the slate for this week include: USMMA vs. St. Lawrence, RPI vs. Union, WPI vs. Springfield, and Hobart vs. Rochester (NY).