by Cassidy Riendeau
This year, Bryant University Football started out with a strong win against Merrimack College on September 3rd, at Bulldog Stadium, pulling away with a score of 41-20, proving their promising intentions for the upcoming year. Coming out of the gate showing off a strong and unified team, both on an offense and defense, proved to put smiles on the faces of the Bryant community. The team hoped to build off the strong start and compete for the NEC championship.
The next two games the team endured were more challenging games to watch. The Bulldogs narrowly lost at Montana State on September 10th with a final score of 27-24. Although the game ended in a loss, the team proved itself as a competitor, even with larger colleges within the D1 bracket. Within this game starting running back, Brenden Femiano, took an illegal hit to the leg and broke his Fibula. Losing such a vital player may have led to the team’s unfortunate loss. “Although we succeed in relating to each other as a team, we have to work on our communication as one unit,” reports Femiano
Another disappointment that the team faced was against rival Brown University on September 17th, losing 35-27 after a promising first half. According to sophomore linebacker Josh Jefferson, the team needs to learn to, “stay together and believe we can win the game if we band together as a team, when a game gets tough.” This understanding could certainly be the difference as losses to schools such as Brown University and Montana State have hardened the team’s resolve to win close games in the future.
When asked about what the team does to prepare for an upcoming game, Jefferson explained that they, “watch film together, practice to the best of their ability, and watch the opposing team’s players and plays in order to have the best game they can.” He states that, “we all get along really well, which is a big part of the sport.”
This chemistry recently was on display as the team brought home a win September 24th against Central Connecticut. With an ending score 45-25 for Bryant, the team looked to have turned the corner. However, a tough loss to Maine 35-31 on October 1st, challenged the team’s resolve. Despite the three narrow losses, the Bulldogs remain a confident bunch.
Looking into Bryant’s future for the rest of the season, running back Femiano states that, “We can absolutely pull off a championship because in my opinion, we have yet to play a team that is better than us to a point where we couldn’t compete. Every game we’ve lost we made errors we can control and fix.” Along the same lines, linebacker Jefferson declares, “We can absolutely pull away with a championship title because this is the best team that Bryant has ever had.”
Bryant looks to begin a second half surge returning to action against conference foe St. Francis (PA) on October 15th.