Category Archives: Football

Blue Devils Face Off In ‘Blue Versus White’ Spring Game

By Corey Pollnow

Andrew Clements threw three touchdowns and carried the White Team to a 22-9 victory Friday evening at Arute Field in the annual CCSU inter-squad “Blue vs White” Spring Game.

Clements and the Blue Devils are looking to rebound from 2012, when they had a disappointing 2-8 record and Coach McInerney attributed some of the lack of success the past two seasons to an absence of leadership. Despite back to back losing seasons, McInerney’s brought two NEC championships to Central during his seven year tenure and has an overall record of 44-33. He has the team concentrating on basic fundamentals and tackling in the spring. He’s also made changes such as having his players take snaps on both sides of the ball to determine the best 22 players on the team.

Clements threw his third touchdown to put the game away in the fourth quarter when he connected with Aaron Berardino on a 65 yard pass to put the White Team up 22-9.

The Blue Team’s only touchdown came on a 15 yard yard run by Rob Hollomon.

“As the game went on it seem like [the Blue Team] came together and got things rolling,” said Holloman who scored five touchdowns last season and led the NEC in rushing with 1104 yards.

Mark Robinson earned three sacks for the Blue Team, one of the sacks being a safety late in the third quarter when the White Team was deep in its own territory. The safety finally put the Blue Team on the scoreboard.

Matt Kral’s 27 field goal with 35 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Blue Team a 15-0 cushion going into into halftime.

Clements threw his second touchdown of the evening on a 28 yard pass in the second quarter to Jevon Elmore, who will play as a redshirt freshman this fall.

The White Team was first to score in the inter-squad scrimmage when Clements threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Chris Linares with 7:40 left in the second quarter, giving the White Team a 6-0 lead. The point after attempt was missed.

“Everyone got a sense of real game speed today,” said Clements who threw for 1266 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2012.

Joe Efese, the starting Center for the basketball team has chosen to join the football squad after jokingly saying he could carry his own weight on the football field. According to Efese he hasn’t played since middle school and despite the long lapse since he’s put on pads, he was active on defense for the White Team recording four tackles. What started out as a joke became real when Coach McInerney encouraged Efese to join the team. Efese says, “I started thinking and I talked to my family about it and Coach said if you don’t like it you can quit anytime. But I don’t like quitting, so I said I’m gonna go out there and do it.”

Efese has come to appreciate all the preparation that goes into being a football player and said, “It’s like going to school and it’s a lot of work. They’re studying and taking test and they’re in [football class] It was like Chinese at first. I didn’t know what was going on.”

The quarterback position is in the air according to Clements, who was 9 for 17 and threw for 240 yards. “We go in every practice and there is no set quarterback. That goes for everyone on the team. Nothing is given.”

 

Tailgating Allowed At Kaiser Lot

By Kyle Penn

The confusion over whether or not students of or over the legal age can consume alcohol in the Kaiser parking lot for tailgating purposes is over. According to Chief Administration Officer Richard Bachoo, the permitted use of alcohol in the lot is only allowed on certain days by discretion of Bachoo.

“Kaiser lot is one of areas I permit alcohol use on a specific day for football. I’ve had no problems signing off for tailgating,” Bachoo said. “It’s been going on for years and it’s an acceptable tradition to go on as long as people follow the rules.”

In 2006, Bachoo and University President Jack Miller came up with a set of guidelines and rules that a group must follow if they were to request alcohol at their event. It is Bachoo that holds the power to grant or deny the request, simply with his signature. In regards to tailgating he does not hesitate to allow alcohol use in the lot, as long as the people drinking are of legal age.

Students have been unsure if they were technically allowed to drink in the lot while tailgating for home football games. However, despite the uncertainty students have been attending tailgates and consuming alcohol.

“Tailgating is a football tradition that brings fans together to get pumped up and prepared to support our team on the field and in my opinion alcohol should be involved,” said junior Aaron Taranovich, 21, a frequent tailgater at home football games.

There is a collaboration between multiple departments to ensure that tailgating is done in a safe environment. The athletics department, police department, Student Conduct Office and Bachoo all agree that the tailgating for home football games has been safe and in control. Both the parking lot and inside the stadium are monitored by police officers and an outside security company, Executive Security.

“I haven’t had any reports where any students have violated the code of conduct while at a tailgating party,” said Christopher Dukes, director of the Student Conduct Office. “Crowd safety is important and if something were to go down the police department is equipped, trained and well-prepared to address the situation.”

“Our primary focus has been on maintaining order and enforcing the laws. I’m not aware of any problems that have come out as a result of people tailgating,” Chief of Police Jason Powell said.

Bachoo, who oversees the police department and athletics department believes that the fans at the tailgate are always well behaved and things are handled well.

Different departments agree that designating alcohol use at Kaiser lot for tailgating purposes helps to create a safe environment for fans to enjoy the game.

“Kaiser lot provides us with a safe environment to drink, have fun and support our schools athletics,” said Taranovich.

“One of the goals in allowing it to happen is to make this more than just a football game,” said Thomas Pincince, assistant A.D. for Communication and Media Services. “A lot of people use the opportunity as long they follow the rules and regulations that are in place to do it safely, and make sure they don’t cause any trouble.”

If a student were to violate the student code of conduct it would be, according to Dukes, handled the same way as any other alcohol violation, whether it is in a residence hall or an off-campus party.

“It is my understanding that if it’s a university function and that’s been a designated spot where can people can consume alcohol, they still must be of age to do so. So there would be no violation or conflict with the student code of conduct,” Dukes said.

There does not seem to be a full understanding of the rules of tailgating by students entering the lot for tailgating reasons.

“I think a lot of students have a sense of the basic guidelines, but not a complete knowledge of the rules,” said Taranovich.

Different departments believe it would be better for fans of all ages, especially students, to know exactly what they can and cannot do within the lot on game-day.

“I think anytime expectations are made clear that helps everyone concerned,” said Powell.

Dukes agreed saying, “I’d rather people ask then come up with their own perceptions and be wrong about what really is going on.”

Students and faculty agree that tailgating for a football game creates a safe and positive environment for fans to come together and support their team.

“Tailgating helps to create that atmosphere that is part of that football game. It’s not just a show-up and go to the game, it becomes an event,” said Pincince.

“Football games are on the weekends and that’s the time where students get to put the stress of work aside and enjoy themselves,” Taranovich said. “What better way to do this than tailgating with your friends and supporting our football team?

Football Suffers Another Loss To Bulldogs

By Matthew Aveni

With the Central Connecticut Blue Devils having a very forgettable season, they suffered another home loss Saturday on Senior Day.  With a closely contested battle Central fell 28-25 to the Bryant Bulldogs.  With the loss, the Blue Devils are (2-7) on the season (2-4 in the NEC).

The Blue Devils were once again led by sophomore runningback Rob Hollomon, who once again rushed for over 100 yards.  Hollomon has been a catalyst for this Blue Devil team all year.  One of the positive aspects of this game was that quarterback Andrew Clements played very consistently from the start to finish.

The Blue Devils gave up a quick score to the Bulldogs with a 34-yard-pass from quarterback Mike Westerhaus to wide receiver Jordan Harris.  The Blue Devils responded quickly by moving the ball down field and scoring on a field goal by Juan Duque.  After a quick three and out by the Bulldogs, Central struck again.  Andrew Clements hit Denzell Jones in stride in the corner of the end zone to give the Blue Devils their first lead of the game.

“We had great offensive flow in the first half,” said senior wide receiver Deven Baker.

Central brought their lead to 10 points when Clements again threw a touchdown pass to Scott Benzing. This was Benzing’s first career touchdown.  Right before the half was over Bryant quarterback Westerhaus hit his tightend for a touchdown to cut the Blue Devil lead down to three at half.

The second half was all Bryant. They quickly scored two straight touchdowns to make the score 28-17 in favor of Bryant.

“We weren’t giving the same amount of energy as we were in the beginning of the game,” said Baker.

The momentum seemed to swing right towards Bryant and the Blue Devils could not put together a scoring drive.

In the fourth quarter the Blue Devil defense had its rhythm back and was stopping the Bryant offense. However, Clements and the offense could not catch their rhythm until the end of the fourth quarter.  Clement hooked up with Devin Baker for a eighty-five yard touchdown.

The touchdown was not enough, with a failed onside kick attempted the Bryant Bulldogs ran the clock out and took the victory.  With the Blue Devils making mistakes on both sides of the ball, Central Head Coach Jeff McInerney placed most of the blame on himself.

“The players did their best to win this game. It was my fault,” said McInerney.

This was after the Blue Devils went for it on fourth down in their redzone when they could have taken the three points with the fieldgoal.  Another play that was called into question was when McInerney called for a trick play and quarterback Nick SanGiacomo was hurt after making the catch.

Even placing the blame solely himself, McInerney described the importance of having a game like this.

“We all learn everyday, I have coached many games in my career and each time I learn something new and so do my players. We can take this loss and learn something from every snap,” said McInerney.

With the loss the Blue Devils fall to 2-7 with a game versus Albany next Saturday.

One thing is for sure, McInerney puts his whole heart into this team and school saying, “I love this team and I love this school, and we will get better.”

Blue Devils Remain Positive

By Tommy Liljedahl

Despite a disappointing 0-5 start, the CCSU football team remains optimistic during a much needed bye week.

“Obviously, this is not the start we wanted,” said Head Coach Jeff Mcinerey. “But we knew this team was going to take some time to take shape, especially with the new quarterbacks.”

Andrew Clements, junior, and Nick Sangiacomo, freshman, have been splitting snaps at QB for the Blue Devils, both experiencing some successes along with failures. While Sangiacomo threw three touchdowns in a 34-21 loss to Sacred Heart last week, he also threw three interceptions, including a late one that was returned for a touchdown, breaking the game wide open. Since a solid performance in the home opener, Clements has experienced struggles of his own, throwing three picks in a 43-10 loss at New Hampshire on Sept 15.

Clements will start in CCSU’s homecoming game versus Duquesne this upcoming Saturday, Oct 13.

“They’re both talented kids, no doubt,” McInerney said. “The ups and downs are to be expected, they just need to keep improving and get hot. There are a lot of other issues we need to work on.”

These issues include giving up big plays, as well as a mediocre third down offense and defense. However, they managed to hold Sacred Heart to 3 of 11 on third down, while converting 9 of 20 on third down. They also held Sacred Heart to only 261 yards on offense. Thwarted by a missed extra point, a blocked punt, and three turnovers, CCSU was left with a lot to build on heading into their bye week.

“This team is getting better and will win games,” McInerney said confidently. “A defeated team doesn’t practice this hard. The bye week has already given us a chance to regroup and improve.”

Lorenzo Baker, senior captain and outside linebacker, echoed the coach’s sentiments.

“Character is what you are, record is what people think you are. We’ve been working as hard as ever, and a few plays could have had our games going either way,” said Baker.

As a senior, Baker hopes to make the most of his final six games here at CCSU, and expects the younger players to follow his lead.

As grim as their record looks, CCSU has faced a brutal schedule which has included Stony Brook, who beat Army; New Hampshire, who holds the longest run in the FCS Top 25 poll; and Lehigh, ranked 11th in the FCS.

The schedule is no excuse, however, according to Coach McInerney.

“It’s on me, the players have practiced and played extremely hard and will continue to compete with integrity. I have to do a better job,” McInerney said.

McInerney expressed gratitude towards the student body and their willingness to come out and support the Blue Devils.

“I really appreciate the crowds and support we’ve been getting, and hope we can provide the fans with our first win in the homecoming game against Duquesne,” said McInerney. “Sometimes you have to fail your way to success.”

Football Loses Fourth Straight

By Brittany Burke

The Blue Devils football team is entering this Saturday’s road game still in search of their first win of the season.

CCSU (0-4, 0-1 NEC) will travel to Sacred Heart for their second Northeast Conference game after falling to the Wagner Seahawks this past weekend, 31-13 to begin conference play.

“I think we understand that if we want to win this conference we cant lose any games and now we absolutely have to push all of our chips in and be absolutely the best team we can be,” said starting quarterback Andrew Clements. “If we don’t play to the highest level that we can then we’ll lose the conference. I think we all understand that and I think were all ready to work as hard as we possibly can.”

After Saturday night’s loss it was evident that CCSU still needed work on their run defense as well as their ability to convert on third and fourth-down situations. The Blue Devils managed to convert only three of their 11 third down situations compared to Wagner’s 8-for-13.

The home team also allowed for the Seahawks to rush for 271-yards, while the Blue Devils managed to gain only 165-yards on the ground.

“It’s just getting guys to play at a level that’s high and we gotta get out on third downs,” said the team’s head coach, Jeff McInerney. “I’ve got to change up some of the third down defenses. I’ve got to help them and figure out how to get out on third down [because right now] we’re not very good at it.”

According to McInerney some scheme changes will be happening in preparation for the game against Sacred Heart.

The Blue Devils entered the “Light Up the Night” game 0-3 against powerhouse opponents, but the game against Wagner was the first for conference play. CCSU came out onto the field and under stadium lighting for the first night game in over five years.

Both sides of Arute field was filled with parents, alumni and CCSU students sporting glowing Blue Devil horns while chanting the ever so familiar, “C-C-S-UUUU.” The crowd was excited for the game and that seemed to translate into on-field play.

“It makes me happy to be a blue devil just to see the transformation from being a freshman to now. We usually have to go on the road to feel games like this and now we have them at home, it’s just an excellent feeling,” said Clements.

The CCSU offense came out for their opening possession stronger than they have in the past, but the decision for go for a fourth down ended with the Blue Devils having to punt away the ball.

“We’ve always been able to make the short yardage plays and I’ve won games doing that,” said McInerney. “… That’s been our style really if you look at ’09 and ’10 that’s been our style and we go for it. They’re all right there in front of your face usually no one complains because usually we make them. This group is struggling with it.”

The lost drive resulted in the Seahawks answering with seven points of their own, but with 40 seconds left in the first quarter CCSU came back to score with a pass from Clements to Anthony Jubles, who fought to catch the ball in double coverage.

The game could have been tied, but the muffed extra point left the Blue Devils down by one.

Wagner and CCSU remained close entering half time, but an explosive second half for the Seahawks left the Blue Devils struggling to keep up.

Less than four minutes into the second half Wagner’s Otis Wright broke through for another seven points. Wright finished the game with 58-yards rushing, while Dwight Williams was able to gain 122-yards against the CCSU defense.

The Seahawks’ next two possessions also brought them into the end-zone and while CCSU Clements rushed for seven points of his own it wasn’t enough for his team to catch up.

“I like this group, I don’t like being 0-4, I haven’t been 0-4 in a long time, but I do like them and I do think they try,” said McInerney. “… Defensively, the second half was horrible, the first half was doable. Offensively they’re both doable, but you gotta score more than 13 points.”

CCSU has the chance to get their win next week before returning home on Oct. 13 for the 2012 homecoming game against Duquesne at 12 p.m.

CCSU Football Player Arrested

By Justin Muszynski

A CCSU football player was arrested Thursday on three charges including burglary in the first degree.

Jacob Lavender, 20, of Enfield, was allegedly involved in an incident in which he entered a New Britain home unwelcomed and threatened a resident with a closed-bladed folding knife to find out who assaulted him at the residence earlier in the day, according to the arrest warrant.

Lavender was released on a $2,500 bond and has also been charged with criminal mischief and threatening. He has not yet entered a plea.

Police responded to the earlier call in the a.m. hours of May 11 where they encountered Lavender who said his nose was broken but that he did not know who was responsible, the report says. A few hours later, Lavender was with three other males when he approached the door to the home where he was met by a resident who told him he was not to come in. At this point Lavender forced his way into the home and got into a scuffle with one of his friends who was trying to stop him, resulting in his ankle being broken, the warrant says.

Timothy Kean, who was sleeping on the couch inside the home, told police that he woke up to Lavender putting the knife to his stomach and demanded to know who assaulted him at a party earlier. Kean also told police that he saw Lavender walk outside of the home and slash the tires of two cars that belonged to his friends. When the police arrived at the scene they did not come across Lavender.

Lavender told police days later that he did in fact return to the house where he was attending a party earlier to find out who injured him, but that he did not have a blade or slash any tires. He also said that he doesn’t remember much because he thinks he may have endured a concussion from the attack he suffered earlier, the arrest warrant says.

CCSU’s athletics department issued a statement in an email correspondence.

“We are aware of the situation and take it very seriously,” said Tom Pincince, Sports Information Director. “Because it is an ongoing legal matter we have no further comment at this time.”

According to Connecticut’s Judicial Branch website, Lavender is facing separate criminal charges in a different case that has been statutorily sealed from the public in which he is awaiting disposition.

Lavender did not respond to an email or voicemail for comment.

Pincince also says that Lavender, who is a running back for the football team, is suspended indefinitely. He did not participate in the first three games of the season, according to ccsubluedevils.com. The site also says that he played in three games last season as a freshman.

He is scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court Oct 23 for his burglary charge and May 3 of next year in Hartford for his other case.

None of the other individuals who allegedly entered the home with Lavender have been charged in this incident.