Trinity And Middlebury Play Biggest Game In Rivalry's History Saturday In Hartford

Trinity And Middlebury Play Biggest Game In Rivalry's History Saturday In Hartford

Hartford, Conn., Oct. 23, 2012 –The Trinity College football team, which won, 27-10, at Bowdoin last weekend to remain unbeaten at 5-0, will host the Middlebury College Panthers on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 12:30 p.m. in a battle of the last two undefeated teams in the both the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and in New England Division III football.  Head Coach Jeff Devanney (7th season, 46-7) and the Bantams are looking to extend their nation-best 45-game regular-season winning streak at home against a Panther squad that has not lost since a 42-7 setback to Trinity last fall in Vermont. Trinity leads the all-time series against Middlebury, 26-9, and has won the last two meetings.  Saturday's game will be the first time Trinity and Middlebury face off when both teams have 5-0 records. Trinity won last year's game to improve to 6-0, and Trinity blanked Middlebury, 43-0, in 1992 to drop the Panthers to 5-1 the last time the Panthers entered this game undefeated.  Trinity is currently ranked No. 1 in the New England Division III Poll and No. 7 in the ECAC Lambert Meadowlands Poll, and the Bantams received seven votes in the latest National Poll and two votes in the latest American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Poll. 

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Trinity took advantage of five Bowdoin turnovers and scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns on Saturday. Senior QB Ryan Burgess Dracut, Mass.) threw for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns while junior RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) rushed for 136 yards and scores of one and seven yards. Burgess found senior WR Drew Grombala (Cincinnati, Ohio) on a 15-yard scoring strike and connected with junior WR A.J. Jones (Freetown, Sierra Leone from 68 yards away. Grombala finished as Trinity's leading receiver with four catches for 70 yards, while senior S Julian Brown (Philadelphia, Pa.) had seven tackles, including two for a loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Trinity leads the NESCAC in rushing offense (294.2 ypg, 8th in nation) and pass efficiency (158.9 eff.), and tops the league in pass defense (119.2 ypg, 6th in nation), pass efficiency defense (73.4 eff., 2nd in nation), and total defense (229.2 ypg, 5th in nation). Bunker is the conference's top rusher with 780 yards (156.0 ypg, 4th in nation) and also leads in all-purpose yards with 887 (177.4 ypg, 10th in nation) to go with six touchdowns, while junior RB Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.) ranks fourth on the rushing list with 357 yards on the ground and seventh in all-purpose yards with 570. Burgess leads the NESCAC signal callers with a 168.6 efficiency rating (12th in nation), having completed 55 of 94 attempts for 847 yards with 11 touchdowns and just two picks. Grombala leads the Trinity pass catchers with 14 receptions for 190 yards, while Jones ranks eighth in the conference with 247 receiving yards on eight grabs (30.9 per catch).

Sophomore LB Tom Szymanski (Dracut, Mass.) has a team-high 28 tackles with four tackles for loss, while Brown has 26 tackles, four tackles for loss, and two interceptions, senior tri-captain S Rae Haynes (Hartford, Conn.) has 25 hits, two pass breakups, and two interceptions, and senior CB Nick Campbell (New Albany, Ohio) adds a team-high five pass breakups, a fumble recovery, an interception, and a blocked kick.  First-year Kyle Pulek (Cheshire, Conn.) is the second-leading punter in the league with an average of 36.9 per boot.

The Middlebury football squad, under the direction of Head Coach Bob Ritter (12th season), is 5-0 after a 38-23 win against Bates on Saturday. Averaging 35.2 ppg this fall, the high-powered Panther offense starts with junior QB MacCallum Foote who is averaging 383 yards per game passing with 21 touchdown tosses.  Senior WR Zach Driscoll and senior TE Bill Chapman have 95 receptions between them, including 11 touchdown catches by Driscoll, and senior Remi Ashkar adds a team-high 311 rushing yards. Freshman LB Tim Patricia leads Middlebury in tackles with 56, including 2.5 for loss, while senior LB John Wiet adds 48 tackles and three sacks, and senior DB Daniel Kenerson has 27 tackles, three interceptions, and three pass breakups.  Foote missed last autumn's meeting between the teams with an injury.

Hartford Courant preview

New England Division III Poll

ECAC Lambert Meadowlands Poll Poll

AFCA National Poll