CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University football team brings a three-game winning streak to Bangor, Maine, for its Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) contest against Husson University Saturday, Oct. 14, starting at 1 p.m. at the Winkin Sports Complex.
The winner will take over sole possession of first place in the ECFC, as each team enters the game with a 2-0 league record. The Spartans, 3-2 overall, are coming off a 35-31 victory over Mount Ida, while Husson defeated SUNY Maritime at home last Saturday, 35-17, to improve its overall record to 4-1.
Two Castleton players received weekly honors from the ECFC this past Monday. Quarterback Mitchell Caron was named ECFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 12-of-16 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, plus he also ran for a touchdown. Freshman Mike Morgan received ECFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after averaging a season-high 40.3 yards per punt, including a season-long effort of 44 yards that pinned Mount Ida deep in its own territory and eventually led to Castleton's first touchdown of the day.
For the season, Castleton is averaging 21.4 points, 131.6 rushing yards, and 139.2 passing yards per game. The Spartans have held the ball an average of 30:38 per game and have been penalized only 22 times so far this season, currently 20th in the country in fewest penalties per game (4.40).
The top two running backs in the ECFC will be facing each other on Saturday, with Castleton's Moe Harris currently second in the league and 25th in the country in rushing yards per game (125.0) as well as second in the conference and 24th in Division III with eight rushing touchdowns. In the Spartans' three victories, Harris is averaging 161.3 rushing yards per game as well as scored seven touchdowns.
The Castleton defense will need to at least slow down Husson running back John Smith, who is third in the country with 191.8 rushing yards per game and just 41 yards away from already reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He scored four touchdowns at Dean Sept. 9, ran for 301 yards at Endicott Sept. 30, and is coming off a 227-yard performance against SUNY Maritime last weekend.
As a team, Husson is averaging 28.2 points, 233.2 rushing yards, and 152.8 passing yards per game. Quarterback Cory Brandon has completed 54.7 percent of his attempts (64-of-117) for 752 yards and seven touchdowns with just two interceptions. Kyree Calli leads the Eagle receiving corps with 16 receptions for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Luke Washburn leads the Eagles with 7.4 tackles per game, including five tackles for a total loss of 28 yards. The Husson offense will need to keep an eye on Castleton senior linebacker Jakob Trautwein, who is third in the country with 14.2 tackles per game and is coming off a 16-tackle performance against Mount Ida that included 10 solo tackles.
Husson leads the all-time series over Castleton, 5-3, including four straight victories for the Eagles over the Spartans. Last season at Spartan Stadium, both teams entered with a 2-0 ECFC mark, similar to this year, and Husson left with the conference lead after a 43-21 victory. Smith started the scoring just 1:20 into the game with a 47-yard touchdown run, but Harris answered right away with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that tied the game.
After a one-yard touchdown run by Robenson Saintard midway through the first quarter put Husson back on top, Caron found Soren Pelz-Walsh for a 14-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to tie the game. That tie would not last long, as Deon Wiggins returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown that put Husson ahead for good. The Eagles would eventually score 22 unanswered points, pulling away in the second half.
Smith led Husson with 198 rushing yards on 31 attempts, while Cory Brandon completed 11-of-20 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. The Spartans were held to six first downs and 88 yards of total offense as the Eagles held the ball for 42:28 of the game.
After Saturday's game, Castleton returns to Spartan Stadium for its third and final night game of the season, hosting Dean College Saturday, Oct. 21, for a 6 p.m. kickoff.