Football To Begin 2016 Campaign Against Western New England on Sept. 2

Football To Begin 2016 Campaign Against Western New England on Sept. 2

Springfield, Mass. – September 1, 2016 – The Springfield College football team will open up the 2016 season against Western New England University on Friday, September 2nd at 7:00 p.m under the lights at Stagg Field. Despite being located just three miles apart, this marks just the fourth-ever meeting between these two squads.

A Season Ago…
After starting the season with a 4-2 record, including wins over Liberty League foes Union and Hobart, the Springfield College football team concluded the 2015 season with a 5-6 record, including a 2-5 mark in league play. Last year, the Pride ranked seventh in average rushing yards per game (301.5) and ranked the top 30 nationally in total defense (289.8 yards).

New Chapter to the Rivalry...
The WNE-Springfield football showdown is named the "Pynchon SAW Game" and is derived from city founder William Pynchon, who established Springfield in 1636 along with a company of six men from Roxbury for the purpose of establishing a strategic trading and fur-collecting post. In 1641, the town of Springfield, named in honor of Pynchon's English birthplace, was incorporated. Springfield officially became a city in May of 1852. "SAW" is an acronym for the first initial of both schools, Springfield And Western New England.

First Three Showdowns...
In 2013, the teams ushered in the first installment of the rivalry, and it didn't disappoint.  Played in front of nearly 3,500 fans at Golden Bear Stadium, there was no shortage of offense, as the teams combined for 1,015 yards as the Pride rallied for a 49-40 victory.

In 2014, Springfield put together a furious second-half comeback before letting an 11-point fourth-quarter lead slip away as Western New England rallied for a 38-34 victory in the Pynchon SAW Game in front of 4,067 at Stagg Field.

In 2015, the host Golden Bears scored 24 unanswered points over a 30-plus minute span en route to besting Springfield by a 34-14 margin. 

Leading the Attack…
The offense will be led by junior quarterback Jake Eglintine, a year removed from him breakout sophomore campaign in which he led the Liberty League in rushing.  The Applied Exercise Science major ran for 1,089 yards, averaging 121 yards per game, and scored 12 touchdowns on the ground.  He also threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns.

On the Defensive...
Springfield's defense will have plenty of familiar faces, as six returners are back from last season. Headlining the group will be the duo of Christian Zotti and Nick Welsh, both of whom are captains this season.  Zotti made 60 tackles in his sophomore season and will headline a strong linebacking corps, while Welsh will anchor the secondary after posting 21 tackles and four pass breakups last year.  

At the Helm…
Head Coach Mike Cerasuolo is entering his first season at the helm for Springfield. After 15 seasons as the offensive coordinator, the former two-time Division II All-New England offensive lineman standout at Springfield became the 14th football coach in the history of the program that dates back to 1890, and is just the fifth coach the program has had in the past 70 years.

About the Golden Bears…
Coming off an undefeated 2015 regular season that saw the program earn its second New England Football Conference (NEFC) title, Western New England University returns eight All-NEFC performers from last season's NCAA Tournament squad, including the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in senior cornerback Obi Etuka. Senior running back Nick Connell, who was selected as Western New England's team captain heading into the 2016 campaign, will lead the Golden Bear offense this fall as he rushed for 1089 yards and 11 touchdowns last season on his way to All-NEFC first team honors.  Now in his 12th season at the helm of the Western New England football team, head coach Keith Emery owns a 67-45 for a .598 winning percentage