CCSU vs. UMASS wrap

Wow, was I wrong. I went up to UMass because I actually thought CCSU was going to have another good game against a big-name opponent. The Blue Devils are getting healthy and coming off a solid effort against Michigan State and a near upset of Northwestern.
Then came tonight. An uninspired, flat, ugly beating that was more troubling because of the acceptance of that beating in the second half.
The Blue Devils cut into the UMass lead a number of times early, and were a couple of very long jumpers by the Minutemen froml being in the game at halftime.
Then the second half happened. Terrible.
So let's go man-to-man, something the Blue Devils didn't do well.

Joe Efese: Much like this team, he's maddening because he can be so good and then disappear.

Ken Horton: 16 and 12 vs. an A-10 team. He's legit. The problem is, because he missed the La Salle game, he will need two really big games next week to break the record at home.

Kyle Vinales: Couldn't shoot tonight but had two steals to just one turnover. I was surprised, this was his pace.

Malcolm McMillan: Freshmen go back and forth. No need to panic about him. That said, this was not a good night.

Robby Ptacek: Tom O'Brien gave me this great stat that is in my other bag, but it boils down to this: When Robby Ptacek shoots well and takes some pressure off of Horton, CCSU usually wins. When he doesn't, they don't. Tonight was the exception to the rule, but it was still nice to see Ptacek have a big night.

Adonis Burbage: He kept CCSU's 3-pointer streak, which dates back to 1996, alive.

Shelton Mickell: Some solid numbers that perhaps he can build off of as he works on getting back in the groove. The fact that he nicked his shoulder again is a concern, however.

Mark LaPorte: Didn't get a shot up. That could be the upset of the night.

David Simmons: I didn't make a big deal out of it in my story because it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but someone should be in a lot of trouble for Simmons dunking the ball and picking up a technical. for dunking in pregame warmups. Either he didn't know the rule and should have been coached that at some point in the last four-plus years, or he knew the rule and ignored it, or he knew and forgot.
Regardless of how it happened, there's no way CCSU, or any other team in America, should be down 1-0 before the game starts. That's embarrassing.
By the way, I know I come from a family of refs, but I knew that rule. I didn't see the offending dunk, but I knew something was up when I saw the refs conferring, then chatting with the coaches.

Side note: Big thanks to referee Jeff Anderson for coming over at my request and explaining the situation to me. If you look him up online you'll find a story from Rochester about him giving back to kids. Really nice guy.

Terrell Allen: Hardly got in, which I found surprising.


David Simmons dunked during pregame warmups. That's a 2-shot technical. UMass will start the game by picking who shoots the 2 T's. No time comes off, and it is not a personal foul.
Game starts as normal with jump ball after that.
Not as weird as the UConn start the other night, but pretty darn crazy.


Hope everyone had a great holiday.
I'm courtside tonight at UMass, so I'll have a more detailed breakdown after the game.
Some news while the players come out to warm up.
Shelton Mickell is expected to play, as is this kid named Ken Horton.
Still no De'Angelo Speech.

CCSU Men vs. La Salle Wrap up

Well, that went poorly.
There are better players in the country than Ken Horton, but tonight we learned that there are few who are more valuable.
Before we go any further, Howie Dickenman said he'd be shocked if Horton missed the UMass game. So don't fret CCSU fans.

Still, even without Horton, tonight's game was putrid in the first half. Yes, Central came out with new vigor and showed pride in the second half, but if it had done that early, this might have been a game, even without Horton.
La Salle is very good, but Central looked, as I said in my story, lost. I think it was in part because of how close to the game the Horton injury became official. Still, defense was non-existent, rebounding was lax and the offense seemed disheveled.
Let's break it down by playing man-to-man, then move on to a happy holiday season.

Adonis Burbage: Other than a couple of turnovers, there wasn't much to dislike about his night, especially since he found out he was starting 40 minutes before the game. He's never going to be flashy, but I like the kid for some reason.

Joe Efese: He tried, but was just outsized inside. Still, if he can get 8 rebounds a night, all will be right with the world for Central.

Kyle Vinales: The defense was a little tighter on him without Horton around. Central will have to surround him with offense in the future to ensure he has the space to fire off those jumpers. I do like that he relies more and more on that little teardrop in the lane. Just showing he can drive will free up some outside shots for him because defenders will have to respect it.

Malcolm McMillan: For the second time this season, he showed toughness coming back in the game after taking a shot. Dickenman encouraged him to shoot more tonight, and he did. He didn't make them, but again, showing the willingness to forces the defense to play up a bit.

Robby Ptacek: I think Howie Dickenman was right, Ptacek was trying too hard. That said, there will be times this year where, especially as a senior, he is asked to take over. He didn't do it tonight.

David Simmons: His field goal percentage is skyrocketing. If he can figure out how to combine that with the games where he has big rebounding nights, suddenly he'd become a force. He's like a pitcher who has one pitch going on a given night.

Terrell Allen: Nothing wrong with his effort, just didn't do a ton.

Mark LaPorte: Missed an open jumper that would have given the fans something to cheer about on the way home.

CCSU's men's basketball at Northwestern recap

Finally have a cpu and a few minutes to write.
If moral victories exist, this was one for the Blue Devils on Saturday. Central played at a Big Ten team, played two halves, and was one stop from a chance to win it.
Most importantly, the Blue Devils are healthy again, which bodes well as January and the "real" season approaches.
The one thing I'd say is CCSU has to close halves better. That's twice where a Big Ten team got momentum with a big play at the end of the half. But all in all, Central should feel good about itself after this one.
Let's see who is feeling the best by playing man-to-man.

Joe Efese: Very strong on the glass, but couldn't finish his shots. It was a theme for the day.

Ken Horton: 3-of-5 from 3-point range, 3-for-9 from two. He said it after the game, the Blue Devils left points on the table. That said, everything else was spectacular. 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals against the Big Ten's leading scorer. Active and aggressive, this is exactly how he needs to play if CCSU is around in March. Heck, even before that. If he even goes 6-for-9 from two we're talking about a 21, 11, 5 and 5 night.

Kyle Vinales: Yes he shoots a lot, but he doesn't take many bad shots at all, and he makes a high percentage of them. And he's going to get better. Horton, assuming continued good health, is going to break the scoring record next month, but you almost wonder if he'll have it four years from now.

Malcolm McMillan: I'm fine with a point guard who doesn't score, but he has to do other things if he doesn't. McMillan has done those things this year, but didn't Saturday.

Robby Ptacek: Couldn't get much going offensively. Stayed out there for 38 minutes, showed toughness, but couldn't get much on the board.

Adonis Burbage: It's funny, as soon as CCSU gets healthy, the Blue Devils shorten the bench. Hard to make an impact in three minutes, so we'll give him a pass.

De'Angelo Speech: The important thing is he's on two feet and getting closer to making a big impact again. CCSU could use the defensive help and the athleticism.

David Simmons: Came in, committed a foul, sat down, watched Efese play. A different game than the last time he played a Big Ten team.

Terrell Allen: Two blocks and some work on the boards in 13 minutes that likely would have gone to Simmons otherwise.


No, I'm not going to sing. My apologies for my absence, been working on a TON of stuff at work.
But a preview for the Northwestern game is up.
I was thinking of going back and doing a wrap on the Brown game, but it seems silly now. So I'll just say this: I think we can agree that CCSU wins that game with a full team.
Speaking of which, I'm told everyone other than Shelton Mickell is a go for this afternoon. We'll see how much, if at all, De'Angelo Speech can go.


Paul Manwaring is a really nice guy. I truly enjoy chatting with him. 
But there isn't a person associated with CCSU athletics that Blue Devils fans want to see any less than Central's trainer. Unfortunately for those fans, and even more unfortunately for the players he was working on, Manwaring was the star of the game for Central Wednesday night at Michigan State. 
On the surface, it looks like a blowout victory for the Spartans. But Central actually played incredibly well for long stretches, and showed an exceptional amount of guile and toughness. 
Even Tom Izzo said after the game that he was more impressed with CCSU than he was with his own team's play. No one is saying CCSU is better than MSU, but the Blue Devils made their mark on East Lansing. 
The Blue Devils were up big early and managed to hang around when MSU took the lead, avoiding a blowout until the final few minutes. But in the end, the Blue Devils were done in by what is the big difference between a Big 10 school and an NEC school. Depth. 
While Central's injuries mounted and Manwaring made more and more trips onto the floor, Tom Izzo spent the night rotating one impressive athlete for another. The Spartans literally caused injuries with their picks (which were clean by the way), reached over CCSU players to get tip ins like the Blue Devils weren't even there, and used speed and athleticism that Central could only match before getting fatigued. 
5 on 5, Central could have run with the Spartans all night. But the Spartans seemed to have waves of players, and the Blue Devils found themselves in physical and foul trouble. 
Give Central a healthy Joe Efese, Shelton Mickell and David Simmons for 40 minutes, and this one might have been interesting. But staying healthy against a team that big and strong is a task in and of itself. 

Let's break down a gutty effort for Central that fell short when the Blue Devils ran out of steam by doing something CCSU didn't do as much of as normal, playing man to man. 

David Simmons: With Joe Efese out with a concussion, Simmons had to handle the vast majority of the interior work. And until he cramped up, he was doing a splendid job of it. He had nine rebounds in the first half, and when he came back in in the second half, he kept trying to draw charges. Tough effort. He has definitely earned more minutes. 

Ken Horton: We said this after the Niagara game. Ken Horton can't get in foul trouble. He just can't. He's in the top 20 in the country in scoring and is one of his team's best rebounders. He can't be on the bench. 
That said, the rest of his night was a mixed bag. When he was hot early, CCSU took off. When he struggled, MSU went on its first run. He had a couple of nice drives and a couple dunks, but also rushed a couple of quick threes. Where he did stand out was on defense, getting in lanes and grabbing 5 steals. A good game, Central just could have used about 5 more minutes out of him. The good news is that his ankle appeared ok after he left with an injury early. 

Kyle Vinales: Speaking of needing to stay out of foul trouble. He was probably too hyped up playing close to home and against a big name opponent. But he didn't commit a single turnover. That's a great sign of his growth. 

Malcolm McMillan: Nothing exciting, but a solid performance on offense. Couldn't do as much defensively has he has done in earlier games, however. By the way, I wanted to mention to the commenter from yesterday that when I compared his ability to avoid turnovers to Tim Tebow, it was intended as a compliment. Tebow is very good at taking contact without fumbling. That's what I was saying about McMillan. 

Robby Ptacek: I can't complain about too many of his shots. He rushed a couple, but had a bunch where he dribbled his way to a closer, more open, shot. He just couldn't make any. Great at the line at least. 

Adonis Burbage: Got some shots up without fear, tipped some balls, generally active. But if he's going to take extra shots, he has to make some. 

Shelton Mickell: He was starting to play well before he was introduced to Draymond Green's upper body. We'll have to see how bad his shoulder injury is. And before I even check my inbox, let me clear this up now. MSU plays very physically, but in a very clean way. Green's pick was totally legal, as were many of the hits the Spartans delivered. Sacred Heart took a lot more in the way of liberties. 

Terrell Allen: He has a knack for offensive rebounding. A strong showing, though he must, must, must be better at the foul line. 


It's up, but if you can, check out the print version. Brad did a fantastic job laying it out. It looks really good and I'd like to think there's some good info in there.

CCSU vs. Sacred Heart wrapup

Well it wasn't UNC-Kentucky, but it was pretty darn good. As entertaining a game as you will see at this level was full of debatable decisions, big runs, clutch shots and physical, emotional play. One of my favorite games to watch in person in a while. Some days I really love my job. Good rivalry game. Both teams showed some toughness and skill. Can't wait for the rematch.
So let's take a look at who played well in leading Central to one of the wildest victories it has had in some time.
Time to go man-to-man

Joe Efese: One of his best games as a Blue Devil. He's really been on an upswing of late, ever since that benching. He seems to have taken it to heart. He was making shots in the lane, grabbed some boards, played good defense and stayed out of foul trouble.

Ken Horton: Remember how I've been asking for the dominant Horton and not just the really good Horton? Well the best player in the league showed up Saturday afternoon. He became more than just a jump shooter again, even driving to the basket a few times. He was an aggressive rebounder. Probably a little too excited at times, leading to some turnovers, but an involved, aggressive effort. If he can have this kind of versatility on offense all year, he will be really tough to stop. Outside shots are nice, but a little bit of everything is even better.

Kyle Vinales: Couldn't make shots like he usually does, but served as a spark plug. My favorite part about his game is that, unlike shooters in the past for Central, Vinales finds ways to help when he can't find the basket. He got some boards, a few assists, and was a pest on defense. I'd like to see a few less shots when he's struggling, but it wasn't overkill by any means.

Malcolm McMillan: Not spectacular like Thursday, but solid. He managed five rebounds and played his usual fine defense. He, like Tim Tebow, is always useful because at the very least he avoids turnovers.

Robby Ptacek: Coach Howie Dickenman called him motivated after the Bryant game, and he showed it again Saturday. He seems intent on making the most of his senior season. Some unforced turnovers, including a travel, but for the most part there's nothing to complain about about his day. Huge shot at the end and an even better pass to help seal it. And when he's at the line, especially late, I usually just write down two free throws in my notes before he even finishes taking them.

Adonis Burbage: I really like this kid. His stats are never impressive, but good things just seem to happen when he's out there. He played really well late with McMillan out. Six boards and a steal in 19 minutes works every time.

Shelton Mickell: I just feel like he needs a breakout game to get his confidence up. He doesn't appear confident, which is a problem. But as soon as good things start happening, he'll get some confidence. He just needs to avoid stressing.

David Simmons: Five rebounds and he made his only shot. Will never be a scorer, but gave CCSU some toughness, which was needed in the kind of battle CCSU had last night.

CCSU men's basketball vs. Bryant wrap

Usually I spend the first half looking for trends and strategy points to keep an eye on late. I'll write down a few plays, maybe a couple of good stats or a big run.
Tonight, I started writing my actual story with 15:57 left. In the first half.
There are times when a team gets out to an early lead and you know it just got hot, and that the game was far from over. And then there are times when a team gets out to an early lead because it is simply dominant compared to its opponent.
There was no way, at least on this night, that CCSU was losing that game. It was over four minutes in and really over when Central answered Bryant's first response with a big run of its own to break it open again. By the 5-minute mark, there was no hope for the Bulldogs.

And so, in a game that was over quickly, here's a quick version of man-to-man

Joe Efese: One half of the tag team that is the CCSU big man. He was energetic, tipping balls and being active on both ends. His stats didn't indicate it because he got a couple of quick hooks and a couple of fouls, but he was back to looking like he is capable of.

Ken Horton: I lose my right to whine that he takes too many outside shots when he goes 21 for 28 in two games. That's right, he is shooting 75 percent in the last five days. Scary stuff. Nine boards and three steals helped too.

Malcolm McMillan: 13 assists. The most by a Blue Devil since 2002. And he's a freshman. He is a non-factor in terms of scoring, but he can get everyone else involved.

Robby Ptacek: 20 points, 7-for-13 and 4-of-7 from three. Sometimes I don't need to say anything other than the stat line.

Kyle Vinales: Didn't make a lot of shots, but made big shots as CCSU was pulling away. Also has greatly cut down on the turnovers. I'm not ready to call him the next Tristan Blackwood yet, but he gets more impressive by the day.

David Simmons: Efese's tag team partner had nine points and nine boards, two steals and three fouls in 19 minutes. He certainly made the most of his time on the floor. Another energetic effort, something that can't be overstated on the road.

Adonis Burbage: Seems to be hitting his first bump in the road. He didn't do anything with the time he got, meaning he didn't get any more time.

Mark LaPorte: He got his shot up. Nice to see a kid who works hard earn a couple of minutes.

Terrell Allen: Somebody had to make free throws. I'd like to see him get to the line more. It's going to be interesting to see how the bigs have the minutes divided.

Shelton Mickell: Don't give up on this kid. He has talent. It will show. All he has to do is have the strength to wait it out.


Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. Getting ready to go to the women's game tonight. It's pack the house night as the Blue Devils try and break their attendance record as part of an NCAA promotion to raise attendance for women's basketball.
Also will have a men's preview in the paper in the morning, then plenty of stuff after the game.
I can't believe it's conference season already. Next thing you know it will be January.


Wow. On offense, CCSU had a 10-0 run, another 10-0 run, and a 17-0 run. All before halftime.
Amazing stuff. Robby Ptacek continues to be confident, looking like a much more aggressive player who suddenly can't miss.
Ken Horton has settled into his 20 and 9 type nights. Consistent and very good, but I haven't seen him take over much. The end of the UMBC game he did, but not often. Though you could easily argue he hasn't had to.
Also, I wouldn't get too worked up over this one if I'm a Blue Devils' fan. Central played very well, but Hartford is one of the poorer teams in the country, at least right now. The Hawks are young, but they have a long way to go.
Central has work left to do as well, but let's look at the work they did today by going man-to-man.

Ken Horton: You know, now that I look at his stat line again, I have to retract some of my earlier statement. While he's yet to really dominate, he was 8-of-9 today, stopped taking as many threes, had three steals and two blocks in one of his best defensive games, and didn't commit a turnover. I'm not sure what exactly it is I want him to do.

Terrell Allen: Started in place of Joe Efese and did ok. Two steals and a block, but only one board and three fouls. Not his best night by any stretch.

Kyle Vinales: He gets marked off a little for doing almost all of his damage after the game was well out of hand, but his shooting display in the second half was impressive. His four-point play came on a three that reminded me of Larry Bird in New Orleans against the Hawks when I was a kid. When he gets hot, he's unstoppable. By the way, four assists to only three TOs. Huge improvement. And I'll give him those points back for playing with emotion and being just as happy when someone else scores as when he does.

Malcolm McMillan: Six assists, five boards and better defense. Good to see him back on track. And after that shot he took Tuesday, good to see him up and about at all.

Adonis Burbage: Added a bit of scoring to his usual versatility. Turns out he can score. Who knew? Seriously, if he can make a few shots and take some heat off, he really becomes a good energy guy. He's flirting with a spot in the starting lineup according to coach Howie Dickenman, but I kind of like him in his current role. Still, CCSU NEEDS a fourth scorer eventually.

Shelton Mickell: A second straight game where he made a helpful contribution off the bench.

David Simmons: His numbers always seem to be lower than what he brings. Perhaps the energy he provides makes him seem more productive, but he just always seems to be doing something out there so far this year.

Joe Efese: Didn't have a good start to the day (see previous post) and didn't make matters any better by turning the ball over and committing two fouls in his two minutes.

Mark LaPorte: Always nice to see him get in the box. He got everyone fired up by drilling a 3-pointer in the final seconds.


Full recap going to be up later tonight, as my home cpu works!
For now wanted to pass along the answer to a question I know is coming: Joe Efese played two minutes in part because he missed a video session this morning.


The good news is I think I have an answer to what's killing my home computer. The bad news is it might be a few days before I get it fixed. 
So in the meantime, I'll be blogging from work when my schedule allows. I'm hoping to do the UHart game from CCSU after the game so that we can get this up as quick as possible. 
So for now, let's talk UMBC, an ugly win that goes in the books as a win, which is what matters. 
Central has three kids who can score in bunches. But the other players are going to have to learn to get some of their own if the Blue Devils are going to have a big year. Three kids are better than one, but you don't like seeing the same kids have to be the answer night after night. Eventually defense will catch on. 
The assist totals were way down, but the turnovers were as well, a great sign. Central didn't rebound well, but got big ones when it mattered mot. That's the kind of game this was, you had to sift through the bad stuff to find the good. 
Let me do that for you as we go man-to-man. 

Joe Efese: Not the dominant effort of last week, but three blocks are nothing to sneeze at. Still, if he doesn't rebound better he will lose playing time quickly. Way too many fouls, too. 

Ken Horton: I'm starting to think he's going to average exactly 21 and 9. Far from his best effort, but he was huge down the stretch when it mattered most. 

Kyle Vinales: He shoots a lot, but not too much, if that makes sense. He's a volume shooter without being a ball hog. The key here is how much he cut his turnovers down. 

Malcolm McMillan: Played poorly, but showed some toughness by getting up after taking a shot to the head. 

Robby Ptacek: Another hot and cold kind of night, but another clutch effort when CCSU needed him. Eight of nine at the line is another big number. 

Adonis Burbage: Made a three, giving CCSU another shooting threat. Didn't have a lot of numbers, but continues to fill minutes. 

Shelton Mickell: Didn't hurt the Blue Devils with turnovers. Had a steal. Not a big night, but a steady effort. The fewer mistakes the freshmen make, the more Central can win. 

David Simmons: The player who stands to gain the most if Efese's minutes were to go down. Three rebounds in five minutes is a nice ratio. 

Terrell Allen: Three huge rebounds late, two offensive rebounds off missed free throws. Those are the little things that win games. 


De'Angelo Speech will either miss tonight's game with that shin problem we spoke about or he plans on playing in a sweatshirt and jeans.


So my home computer wouldn't let me do this last night, so I had to wait until I was done with work tonight to get to this, since it takes me a little longer to do these than quick posts.
So we'll do this tonight and do football final thoughts on Monday.
The offense looks good, and for the first time so did the defense. There's still too much fouling going on, but there were enough positives to make me forgive that for a day. Love the way the ball is getting moved and the personality of this team not caring about who scores the points. Wrote a little about that tonight.
Have a few things to mention about specifics, but I'll do that in the individuals.
So without further adieu, let's go man-to-man.

Joe Efese: Got "mean" as coach Howie Dickenman put it, and became the beast inside we've known he can be for a while. 2 things: 1) Can he ever do it consistently? 2) Can he ever start making the little jump hook he has with any regularity? If yes on both, he's a 10 and 10 guy.

Ken Horton: Has yet to be the leading scorer, is still getting 20 a game. I love that he is so unselfish, but I don't want to see him become strictly a jump shooter, either. Mix in some other offense and he goes back to being the unstoppable Ken Horton. But I'm nitpicking about a kid averaging 10 a night. He didn't rebound as well Saturday, likely because Efese was doing so well at it.

Kyle Vinales: Two things come to mind immediately, one easy to spot and one you might have missed that I caught because it happeend right in front of me.
First, is that Vinales found a way to contribute when other guys were shooting well. We learned that not only can he be a distributor, but he doesn't mind doing so. That's big. He didn't sulk about only taking six shots. He had seven assists (though the TOs remain high). As for that subtle thing? He threw a pass to Robby Ptacek who made a jumper right in front of me. Vinales then pumped his fist and celebrated as though he had hit the shot. And this is a compliment. He was just as excited that Ptacek had made a big shot as he would have been had he hit it. Great to see.

Malcolm McMillan: Only took three shots, but picked his spots well and hit two. He had seven assists to one turnover. And he had five steals. A really strong performance, and more than enough numbers to make up for not scoring much.

Robby Ptacek: Remember when I complained he was being too quiet? 31 points shut me up for a day. I still wish he was a little less streaky, but he added five boards to his day and played well on defense. He couldn't have been much better.

Adonis Burbage: Didn't play a big role on this day, but I still like him. He's going to be a good utility guy at the very least.

Shelton Mickell: We haven't seen too much of him yet. He hasn't shown what I'm told he's capable of, but he's three games into his CCSU career. No reason to panic.

David Simmons: Efese took a lot of his minutes, but he gives CCSU the depth it very much needs up front.

Terrell Allen: The other player who took minutes from Simmons. Two blocks and a steal to go with five boards. He was a presence inside and an energetic one at that.

De'Angelo Speech: Shin splints kept him out of this one. Don't think it's a long term thing, but not sure he'll play Tuesday or Saturday. Better to rest him now than have it become a longer-term thing.


Robby Ptacek might have gotten sick of being left out of the stories of late. He's up to 6-for-9 from the field.
Ken Horton is 5 of 7, including 3-for-5 from 3.
Kyle Vinales today has all of his usual turnovers (5) and none of the points (ok 3 points).
I'm not knocking him, he's been great, but turnovers without pointswill find him sitting next to the coaching staff soon.


Sitting courtside at the men's game, will post some halftime thoughts. So later tonight we'll go man-to-man here and then do some football breakdown as well.


Hope you'll pick it up. Big thanks as always to my boss, editor and friend Brad Carroll for his work making it look good.


I just got done with many hours of writing. Brad Carroll is going to do his magic and make it look good. Hopefully you'll enjoy my picks and breakdowns. I'll let you know when it's coming out.


Well, the water was really pretty.
The freshmen learned about Niagra Falls and what it's like to play on the road.
Some of what we've seen from the frosh has been spectacular. Some of it was frustrating. Such is life for a team that wheels young players in an out of the game so often.
You'd like to see the older kids step up, and one did, but you also have to let the freshmen learn. This team is going to be much better in March than it is right now. But the trip there will be wild.
In bursts, Central was amazing Monday night. For other bursts, the Blue Devils were maddening. It's hard to even point to the 19-point lead because of how early it was and how quickly it was gone, but those are hard to come by and should be treated with better care.
Again, a brilliant and maddening effort all in 3 hours.

Let's see who was what when by going man-to-man.

Joe Efese: Seven boards and five fouls shows he was throwing himself around. The offense might be starting to come back a bit as well.

Ken Horton: Another 20 and 9 night. He also demonstrated he can take a backseat when another player is on fire, as Kyle Vinales was tonight. Few stars are willing to turn into Robin when someone else is wearing Batman's cape. Horton should be commended for that. However, with Vinales having fouled out and Central in a dogfight, Horton can't foul out with a minute left. I don't want to hear good call or bad call there. He has to be there when his team needs him. Everything else about his night, however, you'll take.

Kyle Vinales: His 39 were a freshman record at CCSU, the fourth-highest point total ever, and the most since Tristan Blackwood scored 40 on RMU in 2007. Vinales was 11-for-16 for 29 points.
At halftime.
At one point, if my notes here are correct, he led Niagra 23-16.
The kid makes free throws, and obviously is oblivious to the pressure of DI basketball.
The turnovers might cost coach Howie Dickenman his hair this year, and I've only seen a player commit three fouls in four minutes unintentionally maybe two other times in my life. But if he's going to keep scoring like this, you just hope the bad goes away with experience. I won't be as hard on him about the fouls because he's so young, but he should want to stay on the floor while he's shooting like that. Dickenman went back to him earlier than I thought he would with four fouls as well.

Malcolm Mcmillian: Played most of De'Angelo Speech's minutes, and with six boards, five assists and two steals, you'd think he might again Saturday. But 4 points and 5 turnovers make me doubt it. But again, good signs.

Robby Ptacek: The only starter not to foul out, I was expecting him to go off in overtime. But it wasn't to be. Still, 16 points and 7 boards and much more involved in the game tonight. Much better.

Adonis Burbage: Not many numbers to show for his 20 minutes (save for four fouls). But he does some good things out there. Perhaps he becomes an energy/glue guy type in the future.

Shelton Mickell: There's the freshman I heard so much about. It was only one spurt, but you started to see some of the promise from him tonight.

De'Angelo Speech: Got quite a wakeup call tonight. Defense can only earn you so many minutes. Ask Devan Bailey.

Mark LaPorte: Good to see him in the box. He works hard and deserves mention on occasion.

David Simmons: He wasn't bad, but if Efese is going to be tough and grab rebounds to go with some points, it will become harder for him to see the floor. At the very least I like him as a backup.

Terrell Allen: In the same boat as Simmons, though I wouldn't read too much into any one night's minutes. If you haven't noticed, they tend to change.


I'll have a full recap tonight. Preview is up, game underway. If Kyle Vinales can avoid turnovers..... watch out.


Ok folks, loyal followers should remember how this works. Some quick thoughts, then my favorite feature of the entire blog.

The first thing to keep in mind when looking at the first game of the year, especially with a young team, is that you can't read too much into it. The Blue Devils will be a much better team in March than they were Friday night, and Friday night's team wasn't bad. The trapping defense was excellent for the most part and the Blue Devils did well on the glass against a significantly bigger team. Some of the freshmen showed great promise, and David Simmons looked to be a much improved player.

There were also some bad things. The offense was stagnant at times, and the shot selection was surprisingly poor at others. I know Howie Dickenman says this is a good 3-point shooting team, but taking good ones is the key to making that shoot-at-will approach work. 3-for-14 from three doesn't cut it.

Also, during the key stretch of the game, Yale's 20-5 run early in the second half, Central missed some easy shots. Robby Ptacek's 10-footer  and a hook in the lane by Joe Efese come to mind. I'm not blaming those two players for the loss, but using those shots as examples.

With that said, let's go man-to-man.

Joe Efese: Five boards in 20 minutes. It was a tougher performance, but he must get better offensively. He's not a young guy anymore, it's time to put it together.

Ken Horton: Dickenman said that anytime Horton fails to shoot when open from three, Horton is hurting the team. Tonight, he couldn't help from long range, going 1-for-8 from three. I'm not a jump shooter, but his form appeared off tonght. It wasn't the usual smooth motion, it looked like his timing was off. Perhaps that's why his shots were short. I'd still like to see him get some more mid-range jumpers as well, maybe one or two steps in from that open three for an open 17-footer.
But, here's how good Ken Horton is: His bad game was 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks.

Kyle Vinales: The main reason I began my post by talking about keeping an even keel. Vinales is going to do some amazing things this year, But he's also going to do some incredibly frustrating things. Vinales showed the explosiveness to be able to turn the corner in the weave, made some outside shots, and showed the type of moxie one has to have to be a floor general. And he makes free throws.
He was also a defensive standout, flying all over the place for five steals. Loved the energy he provided.
The seven turnovers, however, are a problem. Those will come down, especially since a couple were on dropped passes and the like.
My main point here is don't expect this every night. He's going to have bad games as well.

De'Angelo Speech: I love his defense and his energy, but he remains a man without a true position. I still see him as more of a spark plug than a point guard. But since I just told you not to overreact to one game, I can't.

Robby Ptacek: Just didn't quite seem into the game. Didn't do much else besides shoot, and didn't take very many shots. Also, only 1-for-2 at the line.

Adonis Burbage: 4 points and 4 boards in 10 minutes. I really believe you'll see more and more of this kid as the year goes. I like his presence. Good things just seem to happen when he's out there.

Shelton Mickell: He was active, putting a few numbers in every column of the stat sheet. Didn't quite seem comfortable. Not saying he was nervous or scared, but he didn't seem comfortable. That will come. His skill is obviously there.

Malcolm McMillan: This year's innings eater. If he can make some shots, he can be more than that.

David Simmons: Welcome back Mr. Simmons. Some rebounds, a new jump shot we haven't seen out of him much, and a block. Also, he made two fantastic long passes, including one from his stomach that traveled some 30-40 feet and hit Vinales in the hands for what turned into a big 3-point play. I'll be interested to see if he gets more minutes as the year goes.

My proposed starting lineup for the Niagra game: Vinales, Ptacek, Speech, Horton, Simmons.


Monmouth wins the Pks 4-2, ending Central's best season since 2007. More on this and a busy weekend throughout.
I'll have a full breakdown of the men's hoops game later tonight.


Now time for the most unfair, even if most exciting, tiebreaker in all of sports.


Heading to double overtime in Fairfield. 1-1.


By the way, the game is on CPTV Sports, which used to be CSTV All three games will be shown live and again tommorow on tape. (And knowing this channel, on a loop for the rest of time).
But it's on live now, so if you're home you can watch Hartford vs. SHU, which, b the way, has fancy new unis.


The Blue Devils just tied the game in the second half. It's 1-1.
Sacred Heart lost the first semi to FDU.
About 15 minutes left in regulation for CCSU.


I have a bunch of questions regarding all the conference shifting that I'll get to soon, but for now let's get a couple timely ones out of the way.

1) Dave Simmons is a Blue Devil. Chris Baskerville is not.
2) CCSU will not be playing FBS football. I can all but guarantee it.


First off, here's the link to the men's soccer team in the NEC semis. They're down 1-0 nearing the half. You can watch the game for free here.

Second, basketball season is finally upon us. Accuscore thinks CCSU has an 87 pct. chance of winning tonight at Mohegan, but remember that is based mostly off last year. CCSU has the best player on the floor, which makes them the favorite, but I don't think it's nearly that big.

As for the women, I think you have to give it time. They won't be at full strength tonight, and even if they were, you have to let such an inexperienced team gel a bit.

Turning the page to hoops.

I'm going to have a game preview in some form or another, but we're going to hold off on the basketball preview section until the home opener. The storm changing the high school tourneys has made a mess of a lot of things.

For now, some random thoughts, and if you'd like hit my email at and I'll do a mailbag. Already have some in there to take care of from football season.

I'm going to pick CCSU in the top 3 in the preview section (where? You'll have to read!)
Ken Horton looks phenomenal, but will have the defenses going after him like never before. Several coaches at the CT 6 breakfast the other morning lauded about Horton, which means the defenses will be all over him.

There are two big keys to the season as I see it. One is getting the freshmen to gain their footing. Howie Dickenman plans on playing a few of them, and birdies keep telling me Shelton Mickell is the real deal. Dickenman is trying to rein him in a little, but he gives CCSU some explosiveness, particularly useful if he can be a driving option in the weave. The other two freshmen will compete for time at the point. It sounds more and more like De'Angelo Speech is going to be the PG, so we'll see how that goes. Love it on defense, need to see it work on offense.

The freshman I really like is Adonis Burbage. He's big enough for the wing and while he doesn't do one thing incredibly well, he does a lot of things well. Someone I trust compared him to Javier Mojica. That is obviously WAY, WAY premature, but in a body/game comparison I can see it.

The other key to the season: Robby Ptacek's feet. If his lower body allows him to have a big year, The Blue Devils can be very good offensively. If not, a somewhat deep team gets not so deep.

Overall I think you're going to see substitutions in waves, especially early in the year. The freshmen will be in and out and the bigs  I'm guessing will be used interchangeably in the post.

So in short, here it is: If CCSU finds a point guard, gets one freshman to contribute and 2 more to chip in, and makes its outside shots, this is going to be a big year.

Central wants to run and pressure, so expect high-scoring games this year.


A much-needed win by the Blue Devils Saturday, who got big performances from the older guys when they were needed most.
The concern it leaves me is this: Other than kind of changing the mentality of the younger guys heading into the offseason, which I think is a big deal, the fact that much of the talent we saw have big games Saturday will be gone next year is scary.
Chris Tolbert will have a new line in front of him, but he has shown flashes of being the next big time CCSU running back. But a rebuilt line and a still unnamed quarterback
Coach Jeff McInerney has admitted he doesn't have an answer for next year behind center. But as scary as the future might be, it was nice to honor this year's seniors at Central with a big win.


CCSU wins for the first time since Sept. 17, 31-24. More later.


CCSU recovers the onside kick with 2:06 left.


The RMU backup goes 67 yards on three passes, the last a 27-yard strike to TE Paul Evans cuts it to 31-24 with 2:07 left. the drive took 33 seconds.


Juan Duque's 31-yard FG with 2:46 left has CCSU up 31-14.
But RMU just hit two quick passes vs. the prevent defense.


Bristol's Eastern's Tyrell Holmes just picked off Layman in the end zone, returning the favor from the first half when the Colonials did it to CCSU, Central has it back and is in very good shape, up 28-17 with the clock now heading for 8 minutes.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Central breaks it open

A 14-yard score by Brian Fowler has Central up 28-17 just 36 seconds into the fourth quarter.


CCSU has the lead adn is at the RMU 25 as the third quarter ends. The Blue Devils are threatening to end the streak.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: battle for position

A great punt knocks CCSU back to its own 25, but the Blue Devils have the ball and the lead.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Blue Devils driving

A Chris Tolbert 16-yard rush, then a 22-yard catch by Deven Baker sets up Raul DeBenendittis from 5 yards out to give CCSU a 21-17 lead with 3:47 left in the third.


CCSU avoids a huge momentum swing, holding the Colonials to a 3-and-out.
6 minutes on the button left in the third. 17-14 RMU


Gunnar Jespersen was just picked off in the end zone by RMU's Antwan Smith with just under eight minutes left in the third. RMU ball at its own 20, still 17-14 RMU

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Rmu's drive stalls

The Colonials don't get anything from their first drive. CCSU takes over and is already at midfield.


RMU QB Jeff Sinclair done for the day (knee). Of course, Matt Layman looked amazing at backup.


He just made a huge defensive play, crushing a CCSU receiver on the last play of the half.
17-14 RMU at the break.
Gunnar Jespersen is 9-of-13 for 112 and a score in the first half. Chris Tolbert has 55 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Deontae Howard is 10-for-67 for RMU. Matt Layman had that great drive for the Colonials, who lead 17-14 at the break.


RMU backup Matt Layman looks like he should be a starter. He's 2-for-2 for 42 yards on RMU's return drive. RMu is to the CCSU..... well they're in now. Jamie Cobb makes another circus catch for a 14-yard TD catch with 39 ticks left in the half. Layman was 4-for-4 for 61 yards on the drive.
17-14 RMU


Dave Sabilia, an OL and TE makes a 5-yard TD catch to put CCSU up 14-10. It's his first catch of the year.


RMU hits a 33-yard FG (Gary Langer) to make it 10-7 with 4:47 left in the half, but the bigger news is that RMU QB Jeff Sinclair left the game with an injury on the previous play. Looked like his ribs or chest from up here. We'll see if he comes back.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: RMU threatening again

Central missed a couple of deep shots, and now the Colonials have it back and are driving thanks to a 19-yard run by Howard that has them set up. Sinclair jut picked up about 25 more (yes, the QB ran for 25 up the middle) as RMU pulls it to the CCSU 16 or so. 5 minutes and change left in the half.


RMU goes 80 yards on 8 plays with Jamie Cobb making a pair of nice catches for a total of 35 yards after Howard's run. QB Jeff Sinclair scores from 7 yards out to make it 7-7 with 10:51 left in the half.


CCSU punts early in the 2nd. Still 7-0. As I was writing, Deontae Howard just ruan it 23 yards, RMU 1st down at its own 43 early 2nd.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Do or do not there is no try

RMU doesn't make a 4th down in CCSU territory. CCSU ball at its own 31.


If my quick research is correct, Central's last lead was the first quarter of the UMass game on Oct. 8.


One play later, Brian Fowler scores from 9 yards out. CCSU leads 7-0 with 8:41 left in the first


RMU goes 3 and out..... then fumbles the punt! CCSU ball as I was writing this!
It was a bad snap on the ground that the punter couldn't handle. CCSU ball at the 9

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Bad finish to the good start

CCSU doesn't make a 4th and 6 from about the 25 and RMU takes over.


The Blue Devils have already hit a 26-yard pass and converted a 4th and 5 on the opening drive. They have it at the RMU 28 just over 3 minutes in.


Touching moment to start senior day as the Blue Devils honored Rich Royster.
Now the rest of the seniors are being introduced. It's likely that the kick is a few minutes late.It's a TV game and this is going on for a while.


we'll have it up and running during the game Saturday. Then I'll try and sit down Sunday if I get some time on my off day to catch up on a bunch of notes and thoughts.


Just wrapping up the call, and the thing that jumps out at me is that coach Howie Dickenman is raving about his freshman class.

Usually I would say "what is [coach X] going to say," but with Howie, you get the truth as he sees it. If he wasn't happy with the freshmen, you'd know it.

Want proof? He's very unhappy with his big men, saying they were weak compared to the perimeter players (meaning in production I assume, not in actual strength). He implored Joe Efese to step up. We'll see.

More to say in a bit.


I'm on the conference call now, will have a story later, but here's the top 4 in the NEC coaches preseason poll:


Preseason ALL NEC

Julian Boyd LIU F
Kenny Horton CCSU F
James Johnson Quinnipiac G
Wagner G Tyler Murray
Jamal Olaseweer LIU

No surprises so far. 

Snow 2, Matt 0

Yes, it ran up the score on me. I will update this as possible, but I had to help the paper through a really bad weekend. If you can buy Monday's paper, just because we worked our butts off to get it out.

I'll be hitting CCSU hoops ASAP as well.


Sorry for my absence the last few days, had some family stuff I had to take care of. Will update after the game tonight.


This week's wrap up is easy.
The offense scored 35 points and had more than 400 yards. Gunnar Jespersen was a beast.

The defense gave up 56 points (I won't count the pick six). Albany punted once in the entire game. The Danes failed to score on three possessions: the punt, an interception, and when they took a knee in the final seconds.

The special teams were fine. Jake White filled in at punter and was ok.

I'm left with two thoughts after this debacle, which is the 2nd worst CCSU football game I've ever covered (the 2007 de facto NEC title game was worse  because of the stakes). The first is in the short term. Coach Jeff McInerney, to his credit, takes blame for every loss before anyone can even ask a question. In some ways he is just trying to protect his kids, but he also doesn't want to appear to be anything but the leader of the ship. He is taking ownership of the situation as opposed to throwing people under the bus, and I commend him for it. But I've seen him walk, and I don' think he can run anymore. He can't go out there and get a stop.

Gunnar Jespersen has talked each week about being a leader, promising to fix the team's attitude early in the year and the offense's execution a couple of weeks later. He has done both, all while fighting through a broken  finger/hand. The once inept offense is no longer the problem. The sense of overconfidence or whatever caused the early-season malaise is long gone, in part because of Jespersen and in part because it's hard to be confident after five straight losses.

But here's the thing: the coach and the leader can only do so much. I've questioned McInerney a few times this year (I still wouldn't have gone for the pooch punt a few weeks back with Gunnar's bad hand), but I think he has done a good job of keeping the team's spirit intact. His senior class has helped with that. But a football team can have all the leadership in the world, it still needs to execute.

The time for talking about making things better is over. It's time to do it. It doesn't matter who's coaching what (McInerney had some comments you'll read about Monday in that regard). It's time for someone to make a play.This team has three games left to start making inroads towards next year. Even if it doesn't do that, the Blue Devils have to play those last three games anyway. 2-6 will be 2-9 if the actual play on the field doesn't change. It's time to show some pride. The offense raised its game. Now the defense has to. Or the special teams. Or the offense just has to make more plays. Somehow, somebody has to get something done to help CCSU win a game.

Leaders are wonderful. Execution is better. No more talking about fixing things. It's time to make a play on the field on a Saturday afternoon. It's clear I overrated this team before the year. I wasn't alone. But I know it's better than what it showed Saturday. This is the same team that played with JMU and UMass.

My other thought is long term: I understand McInerney trying out some different QBs, even if I wouldn't have thrown Andrew Clements into the fire in his first week at the position against the best team in the league. But with the number of people who have taken snaps continuing to climb, the reasoning behind it has become clear. McInerney doesn't know who his QB is next year. That's not a shot at him or any of the kids, one of whom could develop into the next QB. But it has to be a concern going forward. As I said during the live blog, I'm no longer certain the next QB is on this roster, if only because one hasn't been given any kind of consistent chance at the backup spot. Perhaps experimenting during a lost season is good and I'm overreacting. After all, next August is a long way off. But the pecking order doesn't seem settled, and that can't be a good thing.


63-35 is your final. I'll survey the damage tonight.


UA has the most points allowed by Central at home since 1993, when C.W. Post put 72 on the Blue Devils.
Nick Bacarella scored again for Central, and the game is now 63-35
This is the most points CCSU has allowed in NEC play.


CCSU's latest backup QB, Andrew Clements throws a pick and it's 56-21 with 13:20 left in the game.
Perhaps the most important thing Central has to do over the last three games is find next week's quarterback. The question is, is he here?


CCSU goes for it on 4th down near midfield and doesn't make it. Not sure I liked the run up the middle call, but it's academic at this point.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: a little different anyway

Di Lella ran in that one, and UA is now up 49-21. The best the Blue Devils can do now is hope this one doesn't get ugly.


Paul Booker catches a short TD pass two plays later to make it 42-21 with 9:20 left in the half. That's the UA record for Di Lella


UA RB Drew Smith just went 57 yards on a screen pass to the CCSU 12 or so with 9:36 left in the third.


Central punts from near midfield on its first drive of the second half.


Albany QB Dan Di Lella has tied the school records for touchdowns in a game with 4. And it's halftime.
He is 10-for-16 for 185 yards and four scores. He does have a pick.

Gunnar Jespersen is 7-for-10 for 144 yards and 2 scores. And he's down 14 points. Crazy.

CCSU is running the ball well, 85 yards on 28 attempts, but UA has 111 yards on 24 carries.


CCSU just can't get a stop. Di Lella converts a couple of big passes down the middle of the field in the final seconds, and Albany takes a 35-21 lead into halftime. I'll post some stats and an amazing record in a second.


A gorgeous leaping catch just inside the left side of the endzone by Devan Baker from 18 yards out cuts it to 28-21 with 3:28 left in the half. Now if Central can only get a stop..... 15-yard penalty they just picked up won't help that.
UA already to the CCSU 43 with 2:45 left


The Blue Devils did nothing in their next drive, but sophomore Antwione Reese came up with a big pick, and now Central is driving with 6 minutes left in the half.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Midway through 2nd

UA scores again, this time a short shovel pass. The big play came on 3rd and 8 at the CCSU 24, ahwn Albany QB Dan Di Lella pulled it down and scampered into open space up the middle for a 15-yard run to set up 1st and goal.
It's 28-14 with now just over 8 minutes left in the half as CCSU is up to its own 35.


Gunnar Jespersen finishes a 12-play, 71-yard drive with a 1-yard dive to make it 21-14 UA with 12:26 left in the half. Give Central this: The offense keeps responding.


Well it hasn't been boring. A 36-yard pass from Jespersen to Devan Baker puts CCSU at the Albany 4 early in the second.


A 34-yard TD pass to Nick Hutcherson has UA up 21-7 with just under 3 minutes left in the quarter. Dan Di Lella has more than 140 yards passing. In 13 minutes.


CCSU can't convert on a 4th down near midfield. Not sure if Jespersen was going to quick kick or they intended to go for it, but a bad snap made that moot.


Brian Parker, a tight end/right tackle who even the Albany people up here in the booth had to look up, catches his first ball of the year, and it's a long touchdown 2 plays after CCSU's score to make it 14-7 UA.


After a bad snap CCSU faced 3rd and a mile from the Albany 47, and Jespersen hits Nick Bacarella up the right sideline to tie the game at 7 with 9:48 left in the quarter.


Rough start for the Blue Devils, who five up a 41-yard pass as part of a 61-yard, 7-play drive as Albany goes up 7-0 less than 3 minutes in. 
CCSU driving the other way though, and Clements is doing some QB runs as expected. 


Up and running with the live blog today from high above Arute Field. Well, actually not that high, one of the reasons I like this place.
Should see more of Andrew Clements and less of Gunnar Jespersen today, but not that much less.
We'll see what happens today. I don't have a good feeling about this one, but I've been wrong before.
Four minutes to kick, I'll be checking in throughout the day.


It wasn't pretty, but the men got a big win to move into first place for the first time in as long as coach Green and I can remember. I'm going to write something on the team this weekend. Very impressive turnaround, kind of reminds me of 2007 in how they came out of nowhere.

I didn't forget you

As seems to always happen this time of year, I've been tied up with other stuff at work this week and haven't gotten to sit down here. For now, lemme mention that I'm going to hit the men's soccer game Thursday and write some stuff on here ASAP.


Wow, CCSU's year has turned so ugly that it commits turnovers even when it doesn't commit a turnover.
It sounds like Central's last turnover wasn't one, but they add up in the end. The problems trying to punt continue (though it wasn't Gunnar and his cast this time) and Central no longer seems to get that big stop it was getting early in the year.
Fumbles and a lack of clutch plays have killed this team this year. The running game is back on track, but it's too late now.
Now, we'll see if Central can play for pride.
More to come, and remember a big women's soccer game Sunday afternoon, when the Devils will celebrate the seniors.


Since the game's on 1410 you don't need me to give you PBP, so I thought I'd just give some thoughts.

First, obviously, that was a key score at the end of the half there. Great momentum boost and a nice long drive to kind of assert their will a bit by the Blue Devils.

Second, really important for CCSU to get its identity back. Something like 31 rushes for 140 yards in the first half is a great sign. Gunnar Jespersen being 6-for-8 in the half shows how efficient he can be as well as how a strong running game can help free up the passing. I know it's windy which helps make the need to run go up, but I think CCSU got away from what made it so good the last few years.

2a: Really nice to see Brian Fowler back.

3. I don't know how you teach ball security, I'm not a football coach. But this rash of fumbles is shocking. It hasn't hurt CCSU yet today. Yet.
But even if it doesn't, it HAS to stop.


Vacation was much-needed, but it is over. There is MUCH CCSU stuff to talk about, and I'll be doing that throughout the weekend.
There will be a football preview up in the morning, then we'll start cranking stuff out as I can over the next week. As I said, LOTS of stuff to talk about.
I had a great trip, but I'm THRILLED to be home and back working for all of you.


After a long, fascinating conversation with Jeff McInerney, some of which I'll talk about in the next 2 days, I have one injury update for you. Darius Lee hurt his ankle and won't play Saturday.

One more

I've been meaning to plug this forever and haven't yet, so let me right that wrong now.

The 11th annual Brent Rutkowski Memorial Golf Tournament at the Tradition in Wallingford will be Oct. 10. Should be a great day, starting at noon. I never got the chance to work with Brent, but it doesn't take long if you're around CCSU at all to figure out how loved he was.


Bad blogger, I know! 
Doing the best I can while juggling some things around.
A couple of notes.
My weekly CCSU roundup with a preview of some big soccer games this weekend at home is at Please check it out if you can.
Also, a couple of notes from Central. If you're a uni lover like me, you'll be interested in Paul Schlickmann's piece on the process of changing the branding at CCSU, which ran in NACDA Athletics Administration Magazine.

I feel like Buster Olney with all the links today, but wanted to give you guys some info.

Football preview ahead. And next Friday marks the first full practice for basketball, so I'll be doing my usual preview stuff, likely for the weekend or early the following week.


This week is easy.
Here's CCSU's possession chart from the fourth quarter
14:38: Fumble
11:44: Fumble
6:22: Botched quick kick caused by a bobble/fumble.
4:09: Fumble
1:42 Interception.

Your offensive grade is above. I don't care what it did early, that fourth quarter was an abomination.
The defense? I can't give it enough credit for keeping Central in the game through a slow third quarter and a disasterous fourth. Yes, it gave up 23 points in the fourth and 37 in the last three quarters, but how many second half stands was it supposed to make?

Special teams: Kick coverage was poor as well, giving SHU too many short fields.

This whole game was a test to see how long a defense could hang on, and this time it couldn't.

I hate to say it about a group of nice young kids, but it's hard to look at it any other way: You don't deserve to win when you do stuff like that.

Over and out.

CCSU falls 37-24, more to follow in the days ahead.


Central just fumbled for the fourth straight possession, this time Chris Tolbert can't handle a pitch.
SHU ball at the CCSU 14 with 2:38 left up 31-24.


Another great punt cover by SHU has the Devils starting at their own 5 with 5 minutes left.
HUGE third down catch by Nick Baccarella (who by the way was credited with that first fumble). 1st and 10 at about the 20.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Pooch punt goes poof

Gunnar Jespersen bobbles the snap on what would have been a punt try, but can't get it off and tries to run. SHU takes over on the CCSU 35 with 6:01 left.
SHU hasn't beaten CCSU since 2003, which was the last time Central lost 2 in a row at home.


The Blue Devils hold SHU to a FG, but trail 31-24 with 7:47 left.
They need some late-game magic or you can all but kiss the FCS playoffs goodbye.


Central just fumbled again, Raul Debenedittis fumbles this one, and Sacred Heart is driving again. 
It's now 1st and goal at the 9 with 9:42 left. 28-24 SHU, about to be more. 

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG, early 4th, good news and bad

The bad news: SHU just punted to the CCSU 1. Good news: The Pioneers didn't score.
28-24 SHU, 11:44 left.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Even more trouble early in the 4th

A CCSU fumble by Raul Debenedittis gives SHU the ball at the CCSU 48 with 13:28 left.
Central has won 37 in a row when leading at the half and is 26-0 at home since 2004 when leading after 3. Both streaks in big trouble.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Early 4th and CCSU is in trouble

Robert Dim scored on a 50-yard TD pass from Little on the 2nd play of the fourth to give SHU its first lead, 28-24.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Flag day in final minute of 3rd

Central has a nice TD play wiped out by an illegal shift (the Devils had 3 men in motion it seemed), but Juan Duque hits a 42-yard kick to put CCSU up 24-21 with 1:04 left in the third.


After official confusion I won't bore you with, SHU started at the CCSU 22. One play later, the Pioneers were in the Central end zone after a Rich Rossi catch.
21-21, 6:30 left in the 3rd.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: 3rd quarter underway

Three possessions, three punts in the third. SHU about to take over at the CCSU 33 after a bad punt..


Central gets lucky, going for a bomb on the last play, a Jespersen pick is wiped out by a flag.
21-14 CCSU at the half.


I'm about to do the halftime show on 1410 if you're interested in hearing my thoughts on the half.
I'm sure Bruce or Marc will make fun of me about the Sox, so you might get to hear me cry, too.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Speaking of Marching, SHU does late 2nd

SHU goes 63 yards on 10 plays, scoring on a Greg Moore run that cuts it to 21-14 with 42 seconds left in the half.
Awful job by the defense so far in this quarter, during which SHU got a big play every time it needed one.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: London to the rescue

London Lomax forces and recovers a fumble at the SHU 11, and Darius Lee scores his first career TD on the next play as Central goes up 21-7 with under six minutes left in the half.


Juan Duque misses a 26-yard FG, still 14-7 with 5:50 left in the half.


With Gunnar Jespersen in his usual pooch punt formation, he ended up throwing a 21-yard pass on fourth down to give Central a big first down, and have the Blue Devils regain the momentum.


CCSU's Gunnar Jespersen is picked off, but a roughing the passer call wipes it out and gives CCSU a 1st down at the SHU 35 with just under 9:30 left in the half.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG Early 2nd, SHU on the board

Centtral's inability to get a big stop is costly this time. SHU makes a pair of 4th downs, then Moore hits a long third down catch in which he breaks tackles for 11 yards, then a 16-yard TD catch moments later.
14-7 CCSU, which now has the ball near midfield.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Early 2nd, SHU on the move

The Pioneers just picked up their first first down of the day, and has 2nd and short now near the CCSU 30.
Perhaps I spoke too soon when I just declared this one over.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Stat of the quarter

Last week, Monnouth ran 20 plays in the first quarter for more than 100 yards. This week, SHU ran 10 plays for 8 yards.
14-0 Men in Blue after one.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Final seconds of first quarter

The teams are about to trade punts, but SHU wins the field position battle, and will take over at the CCSU 38 with 10 seconds left in the first. It's the first thing SHU has won today.
Hang on, flag down, it's on SHU, and it will now start at their own 46. Personal Foul.


After holding on D, Central marches down the field again, completing another score, this time a 10-yard strike to Deven Baker, who shucked a tackler and went the way down the right side.
14-0 CCSU, 2:56 left in the first.


Ok, after my usual cpu problems we're up and running.
SHU went 3 and out, then Central went 63 yards on 9 plays, capped by a Chris Tolbert 15-yard run on a pitch right on a fourth-down play. Central is about to get the ball back, up 7-0 with 7:46 left in the quarter.


Just got off the phone with CCSU football coach Jeff McInerney, and have some scoops for you.
First, while Gunnar Jespersen will start at QB, you will see some of freshman Jordan Jones, particularly for formations McInerney said were "sort of like the wildcat."
"If it weren't for his hand, he'd be out there every play," McInerney said of Jespersen.
It won't be a lot of plays, but it's something to watch for Saturday.

Also, expect to see more from the younger running backs and less of the vets as McInerney looks to get something going. More importantly, expect to see more runs, regardless of who they come from. McInerney wants to get the number of passes down from the 30s back to the teens.


I haven't forgotten you my loyal bloggers, just had my meeting with Coach Mac delayed until Friday because of scheduling conflicts.
I'll give you a preview for my prediction though. CCSU is going to be cranky, motivated, and playing an inferior team.


So my plan was to do these Mondays, since Sundays don't seem to work for anyone, but then I remembered that Mondays don't work well for me. So while I work out some kinks in the blog schedule, let's talk for a couple of minutes about the Monmouth game.

First, I liked the anger the kids showed after it was over. It wasn't "we tried hard and on this day the better team won," or some other cliche. The Blue Devils were ticked off, as though they felt they weren't supposed to lose to anyone. And it wasn't a whiny, spoiled, John Lackey style "I deserve better" mentality. It was a "dang it we're good, we should have played better," type of anger. That's the kind that can motivate. We'll see if it inspires CCSU the rest of the year. Gunnar Jespersen's postgame comments weren't exactly Tim Tebow's speech, but he seems like the type that can fire up a team.

The offense was spotty, as it has been all year. When needed, it launched a bit of a comeback, and yes Central would have likely ended up with a chance to tie had Brian Fowler not cramped up (though I'm not as optimistic about their chances as coach Jeff McInerney was after the game). But whether it's spotty O-line play or Jespersen moving around too much, Central always seems one play away from having its quarterback injured, which is a scary way to operate. It would be more forgivable if it were scoring points, but that hasn't come consistently enough, either. You can't ask this offense to come through every week.
I remain pleasantly surprised by the receivers and optimistic that the running game can be sorted out. But if Central doesn't keep Jespersen on his feet, none of that matters.

I'm torn on the defense. I want to rip it for the first half, in which it fell behind 17-0. Monmouth had 20 plays in the first quarter for Pete's sake. But this is the same group that kept the game close after that. BUT it's the same group which couldn't hold the fort long enough when Central was rallying. All in all a mixed bag, though McInerney is right, Central has to get something resembling a pass rush of its own soon.

What did you think?  


Monmouth freshman Patrick Gray picked off Gunnar Jespersen with 1:12 left to seal it. Central falls.
The NEC race is not over, but the Blue Devils now have to win out and have Monmouth fall twice if it wants to go to the FCS playoffs.
That is, barring a 3-team or more tiebreak, which could happen.


After Brian Fowler's possible touchdown run was cut short when he appeared to hurt his leg, Central fumbles a few plays later with 3:24 left.
Central is about to lose at home for the first time since Nov. 17, 2007 against Albany.


Monmouth takes a safety to set up a free kick. CCSU has the ball, 5 minutes left, down 24-12.
Ball at the M 49.


Central's offense stalls again near midfield, but Gunnar Jespersen's quick punt is downed at the one. 7:27 left, time for the defense to make a play.


This might do it. A beautiful misderection run by Monmouth QB Kyle Frazier puts the Hawks up 24-10 with 9:42 left in regulation.


A big penalty that wiped out a long 3rd down completion by Monmouth killed its drive, Central has it deep in its own end as the fourth gets going. The defenses have begun to take control of this one.
CCSU now punting.


The Blue Devils had to punt, but were able to pin the Hawks deep in their own end. The Hawks are trying to move the ball, but the momentum has clearly turned. And just as I said that, Julian Hayes picked up a big first down with 90 seconds left in the third. The Hawks have it near midfield.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Every comeback needs a lucky break

Sterling just dropped a long pass on a 3rd-and-forever, giving Central the ball back. More importantly, it kept the game 17-10 midway through the third.
By the way, on the first play back the other way, Central just missed a bomb of its own to Deven Baker.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Blue Devils on the move

Central has a 13-play, 60-yard drive to start the half, but stalls at the Monmouth 10. Still the Blue Devils get a field goal, and it's 17-10 with 9:37 left in the 3rd.
Monmouth about to get the ball for the first time in the half.


Monmouth starts a drive, then decides to run the clock out.
It's 17-7 after a wild first half.
Monmouth has 241 yards, Central 139.


Brian Fowler's 9-yard score caps a long Central drive. What could have been a 24-0 Monmouth lead is now 17-7 in the final minute of the half. Don't go anywhere yet.


Perhaps I gave up on this game too soon. The Blue Devils are inside the Hawks' 20 after just making a big 3rd-and inches play, less than 2 minutes left in the half.
IF, and it's still a huge IF, Central rallies, that sack-fumble could be the play of the year.


Big play for the Blue Devils. Lorenzo Baker crushes Kyle Frazier, and the ball pops loose. Freshman Tyrell Holmes recovers with 8:34 left in the half and Central has life. The Hawks were well on their way to scoring again, which might have been the ball game.


Central's first good play in a while is a 49-yard punt after its 3-and-out.
Hmm, maybe that's not a good sign?
Still 17-0, 11:21 left in the half, Hawks' ball on their own 18.


The Hawks continue to march down the field as though Central's defenders are tackling dummies. Julian Hayes scores from 6 yars out after the turnover and a 44-yard drive, it's 17-0 less than three minutes into the second quarter.


Gunnar Jespersen gets hammered and the CCSU QB fumbles, and Monmouth takes over just past midfield with about a minute left in the first. It looks like CCSU might need another huge comeback like it had 2 years ago against Monmouth.
Of more immediate concern, Jespersen came off the field looking like he was struggling to know what was going on.
The first is over, Monmouth ran 20 plays for 133 yards and leads 10-0.


Monmouth goes 13 plays and ends up with a 41-yarder by Eric Spinalle (who then waived to the CCSU fans) to make it 10-0 late in the quarter.


Central's first drive starts well, but a pair of incomplete passes, including a busted screen play that was nearly picked, forces CCSU to punt with 9 minutes left in the quarter.
CCSU looked ok, however, especially on runs, and I think this is going to be a high scoring affair.


Well that start was scary if you're wearing blue. Monmouth goes 69 yards on 6 plays capped by a Neal Sterling's impressive 32-yard TD catch during which he broke one tackle then literally dragged two defenders the final five yards into the end zone for a score and a 7-0 lead less than three minutes in.


We're up and running and on time this week! Should be a good game. Let's get this show on the road. CCSU wins the toss and defers.


Sorry for the delay, I was moving back into my house finally after a month-long battle with the effects of Irene. The football preview is done and will be up soon.
The quick version: Central's defense better be ready, this one is a big step up in class. But Central seems ready to me for some reason. Talking to some people at practice this week, I have a hunch the Blue Devils are about to play their best game of the year so far.
It couldn't come at a better time.


Here's your unit breakdown of the game at Wagner. I gave you my overall thoughts earlier, so let's get right to the breakdown.

The Blue Devils ran the ball a lot more than they passed it, but it felt more balanced. Central doesn't NEED to run the ball this year, which seems to be a very good sign. Quarterback Gunnar Jespersen was solid, but he'll be the first to tell you he can be better. Having Raul Debenendittis becoming a big part of the offense again gives Central yet another threat. Six different players caught the ball, which is a big key to an effective offense.
Brian Fowler was back, getting more than 60 yards on 11 carries, better than 5 yards a carry. I can't decide if it's a good thing or bad that CCSU doesn't seem to have a dominant back yet. We'll see if two good ones are better than one great one.

What can you say about the defense I haven't said for three weeks now? Chris Linares and Tyrell Holmes were great and the secondary had five breakups and a pick. I don't get why the pass rush hasn't been there as I thought it would, but there's time for that develop. The secondary seems more than able to hold the fort when the passes come, so it hasn't hurt yet.

We're coming up on a big stretch of the season, so we'll see if the defense can improve and the offense continues to click. If so, it could be an exciting finish to the year for Blue Devils' fans.


I finally got to the blog at about midnight (long night in the shop) and figured none of you will see this until Tuesday anyway, so football thoughts to come Tuesday. I'm off, so I will definitely have time.
Something to look forward to, right?


Well it wasn't pretty and the stats aren't that impressive, but good teams win ugly games on the road. A gutty win for the Blue Devils, capped by an interception again.
If this keeps up it's going to be a dramatic, heart-stopping year for CCSU's fans, but probably a good one.

We'll have a wrapup later tonight.


Did I not call that a few minutes ago? There's your big pick on defense. New Britain's Chris Linares comes up with the pick to save the day for the Blue Devils. An unsportsmanlike isn't his personality, but that can be addressed later. The important thing is CCSU has the ball with two minutes left.


BIG decision here for Wagner. I'd punt and try and pin them deep.
4th and 8 for Wagner on CCSU's 40 or so, 2:30 left.


Wagner held to a field goal, CCSU up 28-24 with just over eight minutes left. In this half, that's enough time for 3 or 4 scores.
Ever wonder why games turn so quickly? I know there was a long stretch late in the third without any points, but the action seems to be much more intense in this half, like a fight in which they feel each other out for a few rounds, then go hard.


Ok was just working to confirm some info since my game tracker went a little batty there, but the offense answered the call again, with two big plays, the 2nd being a long pass to Denzell Jones to give Central the lead again, 28-21. This isn't as easy as ti should be, but it says a lot that Central never seems to stay down for long. Though you could say the same about Wagner.
Central is answering some questions about its offense, but now needs that clutch defense to be that way for 10 more minutes.
I wouldn't be surprised if we see a CCSU pick here soon.


I don't don't if this is more CCSU can't put this one away or Wagner won't stop coming, but either way it's officially 15-play, 87-yard drive that has the game tied at 21 early in the 4th. We'll see if Central's offense can step up the way the defense did late in the last two weeks.


Wagner's doing it the hard way, going on a long drive of nearly 80 yards on 10 plays to get to 1st and goal at the 10 as the 4th begins, with now CCSU once again clinging to that lead, 21-14


The teams trade much-needed stops, though the field is starting to tip in CCSU's direction again.


Well, that was fast, and this is now officially a Madden game.
Jespersen 73 yards to Deven Baker and Central has the lead back with less than three minutes gone in the third. Wild stuff. It's very early in the year, but that might be a BIG play in this season.


And Central doesn't get the momentum back.
At all.
A long Nick Doscher run (he did this to CCSU last year) leads to a score and a tie game before I finished my lunch and got back here for the third.
Not good at all.


Well the third quarter is going to be big here. CCSU has to get some momentum back here. There's nothing wrong with being up 7 at half, but you can't like the way it ended.

Other than time of possession, which Wagner has gained a bit of a lead in, the stats are remarkably even. The defense could use a break, but is hanging in fine. The passing cooled off a bit as the half went on for Central, but Jespersen is a threat, which takes heat off the backs. Central focused this week on cleaning up the penalties, and two in the half is reasonable.

If Central keeps Williams in check, it should find a way to win this one. Though on the road in the NEC is always a scary place. A nice test here before the meat of the season.


BIG run by Chris Tolbert for a first down, that should guarantee CCSU at least gets to the half in good shape. On the road, not much more you can ask.


It looks like Wagner might even be trying to get the ball back here. They smell a chance here.


And just as I was typing all that, Williams punches it in. 14-7, about a minute left in the half. HUGE momentum swing. Not only does Wagner get some life, they get it heading into the break where it can marinade for a while, and it comes right after CCSU had scored to build a nice lead.
That drive could be a game-changer. We'll have to see. It would be very nice for CCSU if it can get at least 3 back here.


All year we've been talking about CCSU's ability to get stops at huge times. Here's one. A goal line stand here, I think wins it for Central.
1st and Goal at the 2 for Wagner, late in the half.


Just a couple of observations as Wagner crosses midfield.
1) This might be the most balanced CCSU offense I've covered. Not saying best, but least reliant on the run. I know they're running a lot today, but you don't feel like the Blue Devils HAVE to run anymore.

2) Really nice, if you're a CCSU fan, to see Brian Fowler get going.

3) This defense appears to be VERY good.


Gunnar Jespersen just punches one in from about 2 yards, the Devils are about to be up 14-0, and now are, with seven minutes left in the half.


CCSU has looked sharp on offense so far, two good long drives have the Blue Devils in command so far, up 7-0 and threatening for more. So much for being tired!


We've solved our technical difficulties and we have this thing up and running!


The story is up on the website. Long story short, I think Central's defense helps the Devils put this one away.
We will be live blogging during the game, so check it out if you can.


Sorry for the delay here, things are crazy in the office these days.
Let's take a look at the men's schedule.
Central will need to clean up at home early in the year, where they play three straight and four of five if you count Mohegan Sun to start the year. The game against Hartford should be a wild atmosphere in New Britain, and is clearly the one to look forward to early.

The two December NEC games are scarier than they appear on paper: at Bryant, which usually is a tough out at home despite its recent record, and home for a rival Sacred Heart team that is looking to bounce back from last year.

Then comes the trip to Michigan State and Northwestern. They're money games and a chance to prep for the NCAA atmosphere if Central gets there. Central did better than many thought last year against A-10 type teams, but this is a different deal. The scariest game of the trip is actually the middle game at Brown, since it will be easy to overlook that one between the other two.

After LaSalle visits, Central travels to a UMass squad that will be looking for some revenge after the beating CCSU gave it in New Britain last year.

The next six NEC games seem manageable, while the stretch of the NYC trip, followed by the home-and home with Quinnipiac and then the PA trip seems much harder. That could prove to be a pivotal part of the schedule. I said earlier that this season would be decided in February, and it looks harder the more I look at it.

No change to the NECs format this year, which is good. And congrats to the NEC for switching rivalry week around. No offense to Bryant, but CCSU should be playing Quinnipiac that week.

I'll have more to say as we go, but there's your first glance.


It just went up, so I'll be back in a bit to break it down right after I write a story for the paper.

CCSU SPORTS: Checking in

Didn't feel like posting yesterday for obvious reasons. Finally done working on all my high school previews, so we're up and running with the blog again.

New Britain's Chris Linares became the 2nd CCSU defensive back to be honored in as many weeks. For a young group, the secondary is actually looking like a strength right now in some ways. Interesting. I have a hunch the Blue Devils are going to be good now, but we'll see. This week is a big one. No letdown now that conference play is upon us.

Great result for women's soccer, which drew Syracuse of the Big East. The Devils are now 1-0-1 against the Big East this year, so the NEC should seem easy, right? I know it never works that way, I'm teasing. Equally strong effort by CCSU golfer Daniel Morgan, which won in three playoff holes this week. I can't even win a playoff on Tiger 11.

Will have some football thoughts tomorrow now that I'm off of the high school preview/schedule typing scene. Talk then.

CCSU FOOTBALL: FIrst thoughts after JMU loss

I'm sure I'll have more to say later, but a couple of things stand out.
One we won't know for a while, but we do know that one of two things is true: Central is either talented enough to play with the big boys this year or JMU is down. We'll have our answer in a couple of weeks.

The offense wasn't spectacular, but the running game appears to have been stronger and the defense answered a lot of questions, continuing what could be becoming a trend and making big plays at key times to keep the Blue Devils in the game. Fantastic effort on that end.

Assuming good health, I think Central can take a lot of confidence out of tonight. Even a down JMU team should  be better than the NEC teams, so CCSU should consider itself even more of a contender to win the league title.

If so, they will get another crack at someone like JMU.

My apologies

That's what I get for going off a straight play-by-play. Central didn't try that fourth and goal, it was a botched kick.


If you're like me and your JMU livestats have been stuck for a while, it's 14-3 JMU with about a minute to go. A fantastic effort by the Blue Devils to hang with a nationally-ranked team.


With a 4th and goal at the seven, Central coach Jeff McInerney chose to gamble down 7-3 and go for the lead. The Blue Devils didn't get in. It wasn't an awful call, but there was enough time left where I might have kicked it and hoped I had a chance to kick for the win later. A FG is much easier to get than a touchdown.


The Blue Devils just kicked a field goal early in the fourth to cut their deficit to 7-3. You'd have loved to have seen them punch it in there if you're rooting for Central, but you also have to be happy JMU hasn't done much, espeically deep in Central's end.


Preview is up, but I don't think the box part is online, so let me break it down for ya here.
The short version of what I wrote is that I think JMU pulls away in the 2nd half, but CCSU puts up a better fight than some might expect.

Again, the big news is that Gunnar Jespersen will play for Central.

I'm in the office tonight so I won't be able to blog every series like when I'm there, but I will be checking in throughout the night.

Enjoy the game.


Quarterback Gunnar Jespersen is back at 100 percent after hurting his left hand last week. He practiced all week and has no restrictions. So that's some good news.
He never wanted to come out of the game last week, but it was done as a precaution.
If you saw the offense in the second half of the Southern game, you'll understand just how important this news is for Central,though I think the o-line had something to do with it as well.


Swamped here with many assignments, but wanted to make sure I mentioned a few things here.

1) Bristol's Tyrell Holmes, who had a big interception Saturday, was the NEC's rookie of the week this week. His pick deep in Central's own end in the third quarter helped Central slow Southern's momentum, at least for a while. As the game turned out, denying the Owls seven potential points might have prevented overtime in the opener.

2) Women's soccer freshman Rosie Maguire of Ireland earned the same honor in her sport,. She had two goals and an assists for Central, which knocked off Providence and lost a close one to Marist this week.

3) Katie Burkhart, probably the greatest pitcher in Arizona State history and a member of its 2008 national championship team, for which she was the NCAA Tournament MVP, is joining CCSU's coaching staff. While she has no collegiate coaching experience, her credentials would appear, on paper at least, to make her a great hire for coach Jeff Franquet.
Some great players don't make great coaches (look up Ted Williams, Magic Johnson and any great hockey player as coaches), but Franquet knows her well and the move seems worth a shot if nothing else.

4) Hoping to have an answer for you on Gunnar Jespersen's status tomorrow.


There are just too many players on a football team to do a man-to-man type thing like I do for basketball, so let's look at the team by units.

First, some overall thoughts: There's no official word, yet, but it doesn't sound from the tone the players were taking that they expect Gunnar Jespersen to play at JMU next week. Obviously it's a week away and anything can happen, and they might have just been upset at the moment, so we'll see, But keep that in mind. I would say he's questionable at best, but again that's just me speculating.

Jake White did a solid job filling in. I think his ability to hit Deven Baker for a TD right away gave him confidence, and more importantly, gave his teammates confidence in him. He admitted to making some bad reads on the interceptions he threw, which is another good sign, taking responsibility.
JMU's new stadium and nationally-ranked team will provide tough be a tough place for White's first start if it comes to that, but he doesn't look like he'll be scared.

Now the rest of the offense: For a half, it was good. Two different QBs led the team to scores and both had time to throw. Coach Jeff McInerney made me eat crow by throwing the ball more than usual (the last time CCSU had more passing yards than rushing yards was last year's opener at UNH), but I think part of that was because CCSU was disappointed in its running game. Chris Tolbert didn't look ready to cede the job to Brian Fowler yet. The loaded offensive line didn't do as good a job as it should have, and Brian Fowler looked rusty.
It's foolish to make sweeping generalizations about how good this team is after Week 1, but that running attack didn't look like many expected it to. The passing game looked ok, but everyone, including the coaches, need to take responsibility for that second half, in which CCSU's only first down came on a SCSU penalty in the final minute. I'm willing to chalk it up to Central taking its foot off the gas with a 28-0 lead, but the Blue Devils better have learned their lesson.You can't just turn the intensity back up, especially after the other team gets momentum.

On defense I thought Central looked ok for the most part. The young secondary showed its youth at times, but the biggest problem the defense had in the second half was being on the field all the time. For me, the biggest key was seeing the team get stops when they ewre needed, including that stop on fourth and goal on the first drive that might have swung the momentum in a big way. If Southern leads that game 7-0, Central might not have gotten off to such a good start itself.
The defense also made some big plays to force turnovers. Gene Johnson's score was huge obviously, and Charlie Williams made a big play to strip the ball. Tyrell Holmes made a really pretty catch on his pick as well.
Overall, the defense did a much better job than the offense, particularly in crunch time. They say the biggest improvements are between Week 1 and Week 2, but the injury to Jespersen and the quality of the opponent next week might hide some of those improvements. I think we'll know more after the trip to Wagner.
But for now, I don't see a ton of reason to panic. There is, however, room for improvement.


Craziness in New Britain: Southern scores with 2:31 left to cut the lead to 28-19. Owls coach Rich Cavanaugh inexplicably goes for two hoping to cut the lead to seven but risking keeping it at nine and ending the game. (You're supposed to go for two at the very last minute, if you don't you risk never getting the chance to tie the game with one.)
They hit, and the game is 28-21. The Owls go for an onside kick, it bounces around, and Bristol's Matt Tyrell catches is and runs it 35 yards for a score to ice the game.
Crazy finish, ad Central is going to win a game in which it didn't gain a first down in the second half.
Time to write, I'll blog again if conditions warrant, but you can put this one in the win column.


Central forces a punt, and can try and eat valuable minutes away, then run out of dodge.


Mustaqiim Plair (spell that five times fast) with a pick, and Southern is in business with just under 7:30 left. The Owls, after a penalty, have it at their own 37, down 28-13.


There's less than nine minutes left, so Central won't have time to blow this game, but the Blue Devils sure seem to be trying. it's 28-13 after Central blocked an extra point.
White is back in at quarterback, who could really use a score to end this thing.


Southern continues to control the half, but can't get anything out of that control. The Owls currently have the ball inside the Central 30 after forcing a punt from deep in Central's end. The Owls were inside the CCSU 10 on their last drive, but Bristol's Tyrell Holmes came up with a huge interception to keep the score 28-7. That sounds like it's not a close game, but it could easily be 28-17 right now and the Owls continue to drive.


Chris Hazelton misses a 39-yard FG and Southern misses a chance to really gain some momentum.
Denzell Jones is in at QB for Central now, midway through the third.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Owls on the board

It's now 28-7 Central early in the third. No time for CCSU to be flat, there's way too much time left.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Southern gets a pick

As we start the third, Jake White is picked off by Mike Escobar deep in CCSU territory, but an excessive celebration call moves the Owls back to about the 45.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Scores and updates

Jake White 31 yards to Bristol's Matt Tyrell, who made a leaping catch, and a pretty one at that. 28-0 CCSU just before the half.

As for Gunnar, official word is it's a finger injury to his left hand, which we already knew. His return is doubtful. (read: totally unnecessary.)

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Gunnar Jespersen looks to be done for the day

I'm speculating, but he is on the sideline with his hand in ice and his helmet missing. By the way it's his LEFT hand, obviously a big difference.
Jake White, meanwhile, is marching Central again, inside the SCSU 40.


As I was hitting send on the last post, Charlie Williams forced a fumble by SCSU QB Kevin Lynch, then Gene Johnson picked it up and ran it 23 yards. CCSU leads 21-0 with about six minutes left in the half.

CCSU FOOTBALL LIVE BLOG: Good news and bad

Central's second TD pass of the game, a nine-yarder to Jake White, gives Central a 14-0 lead with 7:46 left in the half. But the pass came from Jake White after Gunnar Jespersen was injured, apparently on his right hand, on a run out of bounds on a key 3rd down moments earlier.


After Central held Southern, the Blue Devils' first drive of the second quarter got them to the 25 or so of the Owls, they then made a huge 4th and 6 on an option pitch to Tolbert.


A 5-yard score from Gunnar Jespersen to Deven Baker has CCSU up 7-0 with 0:46 left in the first.


And a roaring start at that. Southern drove to the CCSU 1 to start the game, but didn't score on fourth and short when a Kevin Lynch pass was caught past the back of the end zone.
CCSU drove into Southern's end, then punted and forced the Owls back to the 1.
London Lomax picked a pass off at the 18 then ran it to the 1, but a personal foul call on CCSU has the Blue Devils back with the ball at their own 20 with three minutes left in the quarter.
Other than that nothing has happened.


I'm going to try and update the blog throughout the game Saturday. My preview is online now and in the paper.


Getting a victory at Providence is a nice feather in the cap for the women. A good start will help them get some needed confidence heading into conference play. Even better is to get two goals from a pair of freshmen.
Jumping out to a big lead is always key.

The men, meanwhile, just can't get any offense going. I have a feeling it's going to be a long year for them, but there's plenty of time for them to turn it around.

Nice win for volleyball, too.