IN THE THICK OF IT
Winners of two straight games, a suddenly surging Dean College team hits the road for the first of two crucial Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) contests when they travel to Husson University for a Friday night affair under the lights.
The Bulldogs' offense has been clicking most of the season and the last two games are evidence of that. They now have three games this season with 40 points or more and enter their meeting with the Eagles as the league's highest scoring team at 33.4 points per game.
STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
Friday's meeting with the Eagles pits the league's second-best rushing attack in Husson (177.5 ypg) against a Dean squad that is allowing 204.4 yards per game on the ground. Conversely, the Bulldog aerial attack faces the conference team ranked last against the pass (281.5) and has yielded nine touchdown passes.
THE AIR UP THERE
The Bulldogs enter Friday's game allowing a league-low 131.8 passing yards per game despite having four new starters in the secondary. The streak of not having a quarterback throw for more than 200 yards now stands at 15 straight games.
PICK YOUR POISON
For the second straight week, Dean intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Two weeks ago, it was David Marino-Silver (Tampa, Fla.) and this past week it was Gene Baisden (Tampa, Fla.), highlighting the Bulldogs' knack for the turning turnovers into points.
FIVE FOR FIGHTING
Baisden's interception return for a touchdown on Saturday was Dean's fifth non-offensive score this season. Since the start of the 2017 campaign, the Bulldogs have scored nine non-offensive touchdown in 15 games. Interestingly enough, Dean is just 4-4 in the eight games in which a non-offensive touchdown has occurred.
NOBODY HAS MORE
Speaking of interceptions, after their four-interception outing in Saturday's win over Alfred State, Dean now leads the nation in interceptions with 15. Both Shannon Moxey (Marietta, Ga.) and basketball standout-turned star safety Malik Brown (Miami, Fla.) lead the ECFC with three each, while Baisden and London Chambers (New Britain, Conn.) each have two.
The Bulldog offense is guided by freshman quarterback Terrell Watts (New Haven, Conn.), who was named ECFC Player of the Week after throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Pioneers on Saturday. He ranks second in the country in touchdown passes (12) among freshmen and his passer efficiency rating (151.6), yards per attempt (8.4) and yards per completion (15.1) are first in the conference.
Sophomore defensive stalwart Khoury Simmons (Taunton, Mass.) has emerged as one of the league's most dangerous pass rushers. After going sackless in the seven games he appeared in last season and the first game this year, he now leads the ECFC with 6.5 after getting two more on Saturday. As a team, Dean ranks second in the ECFC with nine.
RETURN TO SENDER
The Bulldogs are arguably one of the country's most dangerous teams in the kickoff return game. The lead the ECFC in return average (30.5) and at tied for the most kickoff returns for touchdowns in the country (2) – and they have had two called back because of penalty – an 86-yard return by Nicholas Cade (Carrollton, Ga.) in the season opener and a 98-yarder by Julian Burris (Marietta, Ga.) in the win over Alfred State.
EROLL ON A ROLL
Errol Breaux (Marietta, Ga.) is coming off of his second straight two-touchdown game after hauling in 111 yards on five catches in the win over Alfred State. He enters the matchup with Husson tied for the league lead with six touchdown receptions, has the conference's longest reception this season (86 yards at Becker), leads the league in yards per catch (18.8) and his seven total touchdowns make him the league's leading scorer (42 points).
After a slow start to his season, DeAndre Grange (Teaneck, N.J.) is quickly providing the Bulldogs with an impressive ground game. He has back-to-back 100-yard games and leads the conference with four rushing touchdowns. In his last three games he is averaging nearly five yards per carry and his 372 rushing yards are second-most in the ECFC. He will face his stiffest test on Friday night, however, as the Eagles enter the contest ranked No. 1 in the ECFC in rushing yards allowed per game (59.8) – good for 14th in the country.
THE MONEY DOWN
The Bulldogs lead the conference in third down conversion percentage at 44% (29-for-66). Watts was exceptional on third down in the win over Alfred State, going 6-for-9 for 139 yards and all three of his touchdowns. In fact, seven of his 12 scoring strikes have come on either third or fourth down.