NY Sports Day

FRO Watches Hofstra Continue Long Island Dominance As CAA Rolls In Week 1

The initial week of the 2009 season for the best conference in the Football Championship Subdivision was a successful one. The CAA had a lot to back up after placing a conference record eight teams in the top 24 of the 2009 pre-season FCS coaches’ poll, and the conference answered the bell, and so far, any doubt as to whether the CAA deserved so much national pre-season recognition, by going 8-3 in Week One with three victories against FBS opponents, including two in the road against the ACC.

FRO Sees Hofstra Win Opener…

Football Reporters Online was on-hand on a nice Saturday evening in Hempstead, NY to witness one of those nationally ranked teams, Hofstra, which perhaps received a questionable higher-than-deserved ranking at #24, coming off a 4-8 season last year… Our own Dr. Football, Dr. Bill Chachkes, his wife and talented game photographer Annrose, and yours truly, were in the press box, on the sidelines, and at the post-game press conference as Hofstra squandered several first-half opportunities, in limiting itself to a 10-0 halftime lead when the Pride probably could have been up 23-0 by the half. That allowed Stony Brook to hang around, and cut Hofstra’s lead to 17-10 on touchdown with 3:58 left in the game, but the Pride’s stout defense, which limited a normally effective Stony Brook running attack to just 46 yards on 26 carries on the night, held on for a 17-10 victory in the season opener for both teams, as Hofstra improved to a perfect 13-0 all-time against its Long Island rival, before 7,160 fans, the fifteenth largest home crowd in the history of Hofstra football.

Early on, it looked as though it might be a repeat along the lines of Hofstra’s 43-3 rout at Stony Brook last year. As Hofstra head coach Dave Cohen said, “I thought the team did a phenomenal job of preparing themselves emotionally and mentally. We really came out on fire and I thought we jumped all over them.” That they did, taking the opening drive, looking very crisp, going 72 yards on 10 plays in 4:25, scoring on a wrinkle thrown in by Coach Cohen, that has freshman redshirt quarterback Joe Sidaris take a direct snap in a wildcat type of formation, which one reporter sitting next to me in the press box dubbed “The Wild Lion” in honor of the Hofstra’s Pride nickname. Sidaris surprised the Seawolves and most in the stadium for 2-yard touchdown run and an early 7-0 Hofstra lead. Leading 10-3, the Pride used the same play to score their only other touchdown, to take a commanding 17-3 lead with 12:50 left in the game, when Sidaris ran the same play, only this time he coughed the ball up. However, the ball was recovered in the end zone by left tackle Brian Frederick for the Pride’s second touchdown of the game… Hofstra hits the road for a very tough stretch the next three weeks, traveling to Bryant this coming Saturday, before going to top-ranked and defending FCS national champion Richmond on September 19th, and then to FBS opponent Western Michigan on September 26th. Bill, Annrose, and I will be back at Hofstra to cover all the action for the FRO faithful when the Pride returns to face defending CAA champion James Madison on October 3rd.

A Few Setbacks For The Bottom Of The CAA…

As strong as the CAA is overall, like most conferences, it’s weak at the bottom, at least after the opening week… Towson battled an FBS opponent and got crushed at Northwestern, 47-14… but not as bad as Northeastern’s 54-0 drubbing to intra-state rival Boston College.

Not Bad, But Unimpressive …

Maine won but needed overtime last Thursday night to oust Division II St. Cloud State, 34-27, and New Hampshire struggled with St. Francis (PA) more than it should have in a 24-14 win.

And Finally, Very Impressive for the CAA…

Before we get to the really good stuff for the CAA in the first week, let’s mention some good wins and even one moral victory… Delaware took care of business, crushing undermatched West Chester, 35-0… Rhode Island rolled up 455 yards with nice balance (229 rushing, 226 passing) in a 41-28 win over Fordham… UMass was more than respectable at Big 12 opponent Kansas State in a 21-17 loss, rallying from a 21-3 deficit to make it a competitive game early in the fourth quarter… Okay, now the biggest CAA news of the first week: three wins over FBS teams… last Thursday night, Villanova rallied from a 24-14 fourth-quarter deficit to beat MAC opponent Temple, 27-24, on a field goal as time expired… and finally, there were the two wins over ACC opponents: Richmond won at Duke 24-16 to move into the top spot in this week’s FCS coaches poll, and how about William & Mary? Yes Virginia, you may be that bad, but hey, you’re still supposed to beat an FCS team at home –- but maybe not, when it’s a quality CAA team like the Tribe, took it to the Cavaliers on UVA’s home field in a 26-14 win.

Meanwhile, James Madison, which had last week off, will get its own crack at the ACC, when it travels to Maryland on Saturday… other games of note this Saturday in the CAA: Richmond gets its CAA schedule under way at Delaware and New Hampshire will face a tough test at Ball State.


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