Discipline key for CCSU football in home game against Bryant

Published on Friday, 5 November 2021 22:48
Written by TYLER HETU


Central Connecticut State football is aiming for two in a row again Saturday afternoon, this time hosting Bryant University with kickoff coming at noon.

The Blue Devils are coming off a win against Merrimack where they put up their best running performance of the season. A 49-21 win saw CCSU haul off for 365 yards of total offense, with 232 coming from the rushing attack.

Blue Devils head coach Ryan McCarthy has emphasized the need to establish a quality rushing attack all season, and finally the team put it all together. On top of that, the Blue Devils also capitalized off turnovers, another aspect of the game they’ve struggled to do at times this season

"I think all together, as a whole team, that was the first game of the year where we absolutely in total control of the game," said McCarthy. "... We did something we haven't really done all year and that was take advantage of other people's mistakes. ... We capitalized on a turnover or a botched snap and then you look up and it's 42-0. The biggest thing that allowed us to get ahead in that game was that we played really well on level one, on both sides of the ball. Controlled the line of scrimmage, up front that hasn't happened much at all. ... We forced them them to be one-dimensional in not good weather conditions. I think the kids have to be confident."

Now the Blue Devils take on another challenge, this time in a well-rounded Bryant club that has won four of its last five games, with its one loss coming by only five points.

The team is led offensively by Zevi Eckhaus, a true freshman quarterback who has proved to be a quality two-way signal caller in the Northeast Conference. Eckhaus has passed for 1,605 yards with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions this season while also rushing for 159 yards.

Prep this week started with Eckhaus, who McCarthy gave credit to as being a quality player.

"The quarterback, it starts with him. He's young, a good player, is very composed and accurate and does a good job and is able to extend plays with his feet if he has to,” said McCarthy. “He's a very mature player and does a good job with his play action fakes and (run-pass options). They're really going to test our defense's eyes, that's what it comes down to."

Elsewhere on offense the Bulldogs have two running backs that can batter defenses. Fabrice Mukendi, another freshman, has rushed for 517 yards with an average of 5.8 yards per attempt. Along with him is Daniel Adeboboye, who has totaled 301 yards with 3.7 yards per attempt.

With a shifty offense, it starts with the eyes and being able to follow the ball. McCarthy said the Bulldogs will take full advantage of any mistakes made by opponents, meaning his team will need to show strong discipline to not give away yardage.

"Adeboboye and Mukendi, they're very good,” said McCarthy. “... I think they're improved up front from what I can recall, not just from 2019 but from the spring of this year. They distribute the ball. ... They're going to prey on the undisciplined player and they're good enough to do it. Our kids on defense know we're going to have to play with strong eye discipline to complete the task."

Defensively the Blue Devils will have Kelvin Apari this week again, adding another run-stopper to the defensive line. Aaron Dawson and Jhalil Brown both played last week against Merrimack and have returned to regular duties with the team. Dexter Lawson will not return to the lineup this week.

With playmakers now back and three weeks left in the season, McCarthy and company are looking to put a better brand of football out on the field than they have displayed the last few weeks, the exception to last week.

McCarthy hopes the team is trending in the direction they envision, but right now it’s about Bryant and making sure they stay clean and tight on both sides on the ball.

“If we mind our P’s and Q’s and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll give them everything they can handle,” said McCarthy.

Kick from Arute Field will come at noon, with the game televised on ESPN3.

Posted in The Bristol Press, CCSU on Friday, 5 November 2021 22:48. Updated: Friday, 5 November 2021 22:51.