Posted: Nov 01, 2019
Today's Game • The Blue Devils are back on the road after playing a pair of home games vs. Bryant and LIU in the last two weeks. CCSU is an impressive 4-1 on the road this season, with the lone loss coming at FBS Eastern Michigan earlier this season. CCSU has won four straight games for the first time since the 2017 season when they won eight straight games on their way to an 8-4 overall record and an NEC title. CCSU returns home next week for two straight home games vs. Saint Francis and Robert Morris, before ending the regular season on the road at Duquense on Nov. 23.
7-1 Start • The 7-1 start by the Blue Devils matches the best start to a season since 2009 (also 7-1). The Blue Devils haven't been 8-1 since 1973 (9-1 finish that season).
Nationally Ranked. Moving Up • For the third straight week the Blue Devils are ranked in the national polls. CCSU comes into this week's game ranked #19 in the STATS FCS top-25 National Poll, up from #23 a week ago. Three weeks ago marked the first time the Blue Devils have been ranked in the poll since Oct. 9, 2006. CCSU ranked as high as #19 in the poll that season, the highest ranking they've ever received. The Blue Devils are also #19 in the FCS Coaches Poll this week.
Seven Wins • Only two teams in the country have more wins this season than the Blue Devils. Both North Dakota State and James Madison enter this week's games with eight wins. CCSU is 7-1 and one of three teams in the country with seven wins.
Four Road Wins • The Blue Devils are 4-1 on the road this season, tied with Villanova and James Madison for the most road wins in the country. The four wins match the four road wins from a season ago and are the most in a single season since 2009 (5).
McCarthy Gets the Call • Two weeks ago, Ryan McCarthy was officially named Head Coach of the CCSU football team. McCarthy served under the interim title for the first six games of the season after replacing former head coach Pete Rossomando last Spring.
Defense, Defense, Defense • The Blue Devils defense pitched its first shutout of the season last week in the 28-0 home win over LIU last week. That defensive unit also ranks highly in several national categories. CCSU's defense is tied for second in defensive touchdowns (4), third in interceptions (12), fourth in rushing defense (75.4 ypg) and second in total defense (270.0 ypg).
First Quarters • Central has jumped out of the gate quickly in the last four games, outgaining their two opponents 639-55 in total yardage in the first quarter of those games. CCSU held Sacred Heart to three yards, Columbia to 30, Bryant to 39 and LIU to -17 in the first quarter.
The Month of October • During the month of October, the Blue Devils held two separate opponents without a touchdown, and allowed only four total touchdowns.
Conference Play • The Blue Devils moved to 3-0 in Northeast Conference play with the big win over LIU last week. CCSU is a league-best 13-2 in the last three seasons in league play, posting a 6-0 mark two years ago and a 4-2 record last season to go along with their 3-0 mark in 2019.
Interceptions • The Blue Devils are tied for third in the nation with 12 interceptions through eight games this season. They have 10 in their last six games.
Defensive Scores • The Blue Devils are tied for second in the nation with four defensive touchdowns this season. CCSU has returned two interceptions for a score, and two fumbles.
Turnover Margin • The Blue Devils have forced 18 turnovers on the season (and committed just eight) and are sixth in the country in turnover margin (+1.25 per game).
3-0 Start • The Blue Devils started a season 3-0 for the first time since the 2006 season and for just the second time since 1973.
Jones Wins Weekly Honor • Junior linebacker Tre Jones was named the NEC's co-Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Jones and the Blue Devils shutout LIU 28-0 last week for the program's first shutout vs. a DI team since 2015. Jones was a driving force behind a defensive effort that limited LIU to 84 total yards, including 0.3 yard per rush. Tying for team-high honors, the linebacker logged seven tackles in the 28-0 shutout victory. He made 2.0 tackles-for-loss highlighted by 1.5 sacks. Jones was also credited with a forced fumble and one pass break-up.
Almost vs. the FBS • The Blue Devils dropped a 34-29 road decision at FBS opponent Eastern Michigan on Sept. 21, narrowly missing the Northeast Conference's first win over an FBS opponent in league history. Down 28-15 in the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils used a pair of touchdowns in the final eight minutes to take a 29-28 lead with 2:05 left in the game. A late blocked punt for a score gave the home team the victory. Central held the Eagles to under 100 yards rushing in the game, and posted a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter that helped give them the late lead.
Winchester Through Eight Games • Graduate transfer Aaron Winchester took over the quarterback duties as the Blue Devils had a new starter under center for the first time since the 2014 season. Winchester came to CCSU from Georgia State, where he was a captain as a back-up last season. He is now completing 67 percent of his passes on the season, 112-of-168, for 1,705 yards, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He is also the leading rusher on the team with 615 rushing yards on 87 carries, good for 7.1 yards per rush, and four touchdowns.
Rushing the Football/15th in the Country • Central enters today's game 15th in the country in rushing yards per game (222.5 ypg).
A SHUTOUT VS. LIU
The 23rd-ranked Central Connecticut football team posted its first shutout of the season, defeating LIU, 28-0 on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in Northeast Conference play with the victory. Senior quarterback Aaron Winchester threw for a pair of scores and senior Enyce Walker ran for two more. The Blue Devils have allowed 14 or fewer points in a game five times this season. The Central defense held an opponent below 300 total yards for the fourth straight game, surrendering just 84 yards. The Sharks were limited to just nine yards on the ground, the sixth time the Blue Devils have allowed under 100 rushing yards in a game this season.
• Sophomore Dexter Lawson, Jr. picked off an LIU pass on the first play of the second quarter. It was Lawson's third interception of the season and the 12th by the Blue Devils defense.
• Senior Aaron Winchester connected with freshman Kyren Petteway for 32 yards on third down to set up CCSU's opening score. Senior Enyce Walker scored from one-yard out to make it 7-0 midway through the second quarter.
• Central stopped the LIU offense on a 4th-and-one with 6:00 left in the opening half. The Blue Devils would cover 56 yards in 4:18 and go ahead 14-0 after Winchester connected with senior Arthur Gilmore, Jr., for four yards.
• CCSU scored on the opening drive of the second half to go ahead, 21-0. Winchester hit a wide-open sophomore Theo Zidor for 51 yards.
• A 23-yard punt return by sophomore Dexter Lawson into LIU territory was followed by a 31-yard catch by junior Tyshaun James and a one-yard score by Walker.
• The team's were meeting for the first time since 1995 when LIU was playing as C.W. Post.
• The Blue Devils are now 13-2 in their last 15 NEC games.
• It was the first CCSU shutout since a 55-0 win over Lincoln on Sept. 7, 2018. The Blue Devils' last shutout against a Division I opponent was Oct. 31, 2015 (Robert Morris, 34-0).
• Winchester finished the game 13-of-20 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. He added 57 yards on 10 carries.
• Junior Tyshaun James had four catches for 69 yards. Gilmore finished with three catches for 29 yards and a score.
• Junior Tre Jones had seven tackles, along with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He had two tackles for loss.
• CCSU's 84 yards allowed to LIU, was the fewest since limiting Merrimack to 38 yards on Sept. 8, 2007.
Lucas Earns NEFW Gold Helmet • Sophomore running back Keonte Lucas was named the New England Football Writer's Gold Helmet Award winner three weeks ago. Lucas rushed 10 times for 190 yards and two touchdowns in the road win over Valpo. Lucas had scoring runs of 75 and 85 yards in the victory. Lucas rushed for a career-high 190 yards on his 10 carries (19.0 ypc) and scored twice as the Blue Devils moved to 3-0. With a 14-13 lead in the third quarter, Lucas took a handoff up the middle and went 75 yards for a one play scoring drive to push the CCSU lead to 21-13. Later in the third quarter Lucas completed a two-play drive with an 85-yard scoring run to make it 35-13. His 75 yard score was the longest scoring run for CCSU since Drew Jean-Guillaume ran 76-yards for a touchdown vs. Bryant on 10/21/17. His 85-yard TD was the longest run from scrimmage for CCSU since Jean-Guillaume posted an 84-yard rush vs. Bryant last season, and was the longest scoring run for CCSU since Rob Hollomon rushed 94 yards for a touchdown vs. Salve Regina in 2013.
Cole Earns League and National Honor • Senior placekicker Francis Cole earned a pair of Player of the Week honors two weeks ago. Cole was named the Northeast Conference and STATS FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week for his game-winning kick against Merrimack on Sept. 7. Following his game-winning kick at Patriot League member Fordham on August 31, the senior connected on another clutch kick during the Blue Devils' home opener against NEC newcomer Merrimack. The Blue Devils won both games by three points. Two weeks ago, after the visiting Warriors evened the score at 37-37, Cole sent the crowd home happy by nailing the 44-yard attempt, his second game-winner in as many weeks.
TWO FROM 40+ • Cole became the first CCSU kicker to post two, 40+ yard field goals in the same game since Derek Pearson did so on the road at Colgate on Sept. 3, 2005. Pearson kicked four fields in the win over Colgate, including the game-winner from 32-yards out as time expired in a 24-22 win. He also had field goals of 48, 42 and 32.
A QB for 100 • The 108 rushing yards by Winchester against Fordham marked the first 100 yard rushing game for a CCSU quarterback since Andrew Clements in 2012. Clements rushed 15 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns in a loss at Stony Brook to open the 2012 season.
Brown Earns Preseason All-America Honor • Senior offensive lineman J'Von Brown was named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team. Earlier this summer Brown was named to the Athlon FCS Preseason All-America Team. He was also honored with Preseason All-Northeast Conference honors. The senior is one of five lineman in the country to be named to the STATS First Team. He is one of two NEC players on the First Team. Brown was a Second Team STATS FCS All-America selection a season ago as a junior in 2018.
Dolegala and the Bengals • Former Blue Devil Jake Dolegala is now an official member of the Bengals 53-man roster. Dolegala, an undrafted free agent signed by the Bengals following the 2019 Draft, played in the final two preseason games with the Bengals. He was impressive in both. Against the Giants he finished 10-of-12 for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He played every snap of the final preseason game against the Colts, finishing 27-of-41 for 253 yards. For the preseason Dolegala completed 37-of-53 for 347 yards and a pair of scores, without throwing an interception. Dolegala finished a stellar career with the Blue Devils as the school's all-time leader in passing yardage and touchdowns, becoming just the fifth quarterback in league history to throw for over 8,000 yards. He threw for 48 career touchdowns. As a senior he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,221 yards and 16 touchdowns while throwing just six interceptions. Dolegala finished his CCSU career 654-of-1136 for 8,129 yards, 48 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He set the school-record with 2,934 passing yards as a sophomore in 2016, completing 258-of-432 passes while throwing only nine interceptions. He also rushed for 452 yards in his career, including 18 touchdowns. Dolegala becomes the first CCSU player to make an NFL roster since former offensive lineman and arena league standout Rich Ranglin signed with the Chiefs during the 2012 season.
Into the Record Book • Place kicker Francis Cole, a senior this season, kicked his way into the football record book in the road loss at Lafayette last year. Just before halftime Cole kicked a school-record 50-yard field goal to put the Blue Devils up 17-14. It was the first 50+ yard field goal in school history, topping the record of 49 set by Mike O'Sullivan vs. Springfield in 1984.
Mushaw WAS the Match! • For the past five years, the Blue Devil football program has teamed up with the Be The Match Program to add close to 1,000 CCSU students, faculty and staff to the national bone marrow registry. Last year they got word that one of the people they had signed up had been chosen as a match. Linebacker Mike Mushaw was selected as a match, and last summer he donated his marrow to help save the life of someone he has never met. CCSU football has joined the efforts of Villanova football head coach Andy Talley to raise awareness of the need for marrow donors and helping patients receive life-saving transplants. Talley and others have helped recruit thousands of potential donors to the registry by encouraging their football players, other students and their peers on other teams to sign up, along with friends, family and teachers. Last year alone, close to 10,000 people joined the Be The Match Registry through Get in the Game. Save A Life. donor registry drives.
Overtime, Again • The Blue Devils played one of the most memorable games in school history in 2017 topping Wagner 51-45 in 4OT on Staten Island. The game is the longest in school history and the ninth-ever overtime game for CCSU. The Blue Devils are now 6-3 all-time in overtime.
NEC Front Row • Live webcasts of NEC sports will be available free of charge on NECFrontRow.com again this season. The site will carry every CCSU NEC football game this season, excluding those games designated by the NEC to air on ESPN3/ESPN+.