By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two local college football squads, Widener and Rowan, have qualified for the Division III NCAA Tournament.
Widener earned the MAC’s automatic berth after running the table in the conference during a 9-0 regular season. They will open things up at home as they host Bridgewater State on Saturday in Chester.
“I think they are a well coached football team,” Pride head coach Isaac Collins tells KYW Newsradio. “Obviously they are 9-1 so they’ve done a great job of beating the teams on their schedule. They’ve got an unbelievable rushing attack. They do a tremendous job. They run the spread. They’ve got talented quarterbacks, it’s a two quarterback system. So you’ve got to prepare for both guys.”
Widener is averaging more than 51 points a game this season, but Collins says they will have to earn everything they get against Bridgewater.
“(Bridgewater’s) Defense is ranked 8th in the nation. So they are very sound, very disciplined, they’ve got some defensive line kids that can get off the football. Their backers fly around and their back-end guys don’t give up big plays.”
Widener is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. They haven’t played a home game in the tournament since 2001.
Rowan earned an at-large bid out of the NJAC after a 7-2 regular season and they will start on the road Saturday at Salisbury State.
Salisbury runs the slot-option made famous by the service academies on offense, and Accorsi says it can be difficult to prepare for, because it is rare.
“You cover it in training camp, the option, and you cover it during the course of the year,” Accorsi tells KYW Newsradio. “Teams use a little bit of some of the versions of, but not the old, true, triple-option, which is what they run. You have to be disciplined. You have to be focused. You have to be more mentally on your game than physically. It’s going to be a great challenge for our defense.”
LISTEN: Matt Leon interviews Jay Accorsi
Rowan is in the tournament for the first time since 2006 and Accorsi says getting this at-large berth is very special for a lot of the kids who were on the team in 2010 when they were overlooked for the tourney despite a 9-1 record.
“Just to see them dancing around and yelling and screaming (when it was announced they were in the tournament) . . to me that’s what college football is all about,” Accorsi says. “It’s the youngness and the newness and the freshness of the experience. And to see young men jumping and dancing around on tables and screaming and yelling, it makes you feel really good and very appreciative for what your doing.”
Both of these games will kick-off at noon on Saturday.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.