Football Travels to Merrimack for Saturday 6 PM Contest

punt block formation

WORCESTER, Mass. – Assumption looks to rebound from a tough opening-week loss to Kutztown when the Hounds travel to Merrimack to face the Warriors on Saturday at 6 pm.

Last Time Out:
Assumption comes into the weekend at 0-1 after falling 32-28 to Kutztown on Saturday. The Hounds trailed 12-0 after the first quarter and fell behind 26-0 with just two minutes left in the half. However, a 22-yard touchdown reception by Tyis Boykin with 41 seconds left made it 26-7 at the half. Assumption added a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to trim the deficit to just 26-21. With 3:38 left, Cody Williams scored on a 52-yard rushing touchdown for a 28-26 lead. However, Kutztown answered by scoring with 1:55 left for a 32-28 lead and the Hounds couldn't score on their final two drives as the Golden Bears came away with the win. Assumption finished with 372 yards of total offense while Kutztown had 456.

Scouting the Offense:
Assumption started slow on Saturday, accumulating just 33 yards of offense on 26 plays through the first 28 minutes of the game. However, over the final 32 minutes, the Hounds put up 339 yards of offense on 51 plays, averaging 6.7 yards per play. The team finished with 372 total yards, with 220 through the air and 152 on the ground.  The team earned 22 first downs and was 6 of 16 on third down in the contest.

A Tale of Two Halves on Defense:
The Hound defense struggled early, giving up 324 yards of offense in the first half on 35 plays, however, they locked down in the second half, giving up one play over 14 yards and allowing 132 yards of offense on 30 plays. Kutztown finished with 456 yards, with 298 through the air and 158 on the ground.

Rushing Defense:
Assumption allowed 158 rushing yards on 35 attempts for a 4.5 average, including Craig Reynolds' 77-yard scamper in the first half. Aside from the Reynolds touchdown, the Hounds allowed just 81 yards on Kutztown's other 34 attempts, which comes out to just 2.4 yards per rush.

Passing Defense:
The Hounds were burned through the air in the first half, allowing 206 passing yards and one touchdown. It was a different story in the second half as Kutztown managed just 92 passing yards with one interception.

Dual Threat
Cody Williams put on a performance in his first career start for Assumption, throwing for 214 yards on 23-for-35 passing and rushing for another 73 yards on 17 attempts. He also added one passing touchdown and a pair of rushing scores. In 13 games for the Hounds over the past two year, he has now completed 43 of 60 passes for a 71.7 completion percentage with five touchdowns and one INT.

Tying it All Together
Senior Tyis Boykin had a day for the Hounds, setting career-highs in both receptions (9) and yards (90) while scoring his second career touchdown. Four of his catches went for first downs on the day, while a fifth was a 22-yard grab in the corner of the endzone.

Harris Getting Started
All-American Deonte Harris' first touch of the 2018 came on a punt return in the second quarter when he took back a punt 24 yards. He finished the game with five catches for 43 yards and 21 punt return yards. His 64 all-purpose yards give him 4,973 for his career, just 27 from being the first player in program history to eclipse 5,000 all-purpose yards. Harris also has 190 receptions, ten away from becoming the third Hound with 200 career receptions.

Return Specialist
Harris has rewritten the record books over his time as Assumption, owning numerous NCAA and NE10 Records. Last year he set NCAA Division II records for single-season punt return touchdowns (5) and combined return touchdowns (8). Harris also owns the DII record for career combined return scores with 12. One more would tie the All-Division record of 13 set by Larry Beavers of DIII Wesley from 2005-08.

Anchoring the Defense
Joe Bruno was dominant on the defensive line for Assumption in its loss to Kutztown, tying his career high with ten tackles, to go along with 3.0 tackles for a loss and 2.0 sacks. Over his last six games dating back to 2017, Bruno has 47 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks, with at least 1.5 TFL in each of those six contests.

Looking up at .500
Saturday's loss marked the first season-opening loss for Assumption since the Hounds dropped the first two games of the 2014, losing 27-25 to AIC and then 44-14 at Sacred Heart. That season Assumption rebounded to win five of its next six and finish the year with a 7-4 overall record. 

Recent History
Assumption is 6-4 against Merrimack in its last ten meeting but has won each of the past four contests. Over that span, the Hounds have outscored the Warriors 188-72. Assumption has scored at least 36 points in all four matchups, winning three of the four by at least 28 points. Last year the Hounds jumped on Merrimack with 21 points in the first quarter and then 28 more in the second for a 49-7 lead at the half. They added one touchdown in the fourth for a 56-7 win. Assumption totaled 495 yards of offense as Marc Monks threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Conversely CJ Scarpa threw for 273 yards but was intercepted four times.