SMITHFIELD, R.I. – In the first Bryant University football Tuesday Takeaways of the season, Tristan Hobbes, the Voice of the Bulldogs on WOON 1240, looks back at the Bulldogs' big win over Fordham on Homecoming and several trends that have appeared so far this year.
The first takeaway of last weekend has to be the unbelievable turnout of fans and alumni on Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. We announced the attendance at 7,532 but from the top of the Beirne Stadium press box it looked like it could have been over 10,000 in the stands and in the parking lots.
Secondly, it was great to see all of the championship teams from the 2s and 7s back on campus and honored at halftime. It seemed as if the '07 and '12 Bryant men's lacrosse teams had the most coordination in outfits, while it was special to honor the 2007 Northeast-10 Champion Bryant football team.
As far as the game goes, the Bulldog offense continued to put up crooked numbers. Bryant posted a single-game program record 608 yards of total offense and scored 40+ points for the second time in four games. The Black and Gold also ran 90+ plays and recorded 29 first downs for the second-straight week. Bryant had only run 80+ plays or more seven times in the previous 18 seasons and never twice in the same year prior to last weekend. Also, the Bulldogs are currently averaging 498 yards of total offense per game, a number that would completely obliterate the previous single-season record. Bryant ranks ninth nationally after not having ranked inside the top 50 in any of its previous nine seasons at the Division I level.
Someone has to account for all of this offense and redshirt junior quarterback Price Wilson (Marietta, Ga.) is leading the charge. Wilson threw for a program-record 393 yards against Fordham and has now thrown for 300+ yards in three of the four games this season. He became the first QB to post back-to-back 300-yard passing games and has already thrown for 1,419 yards (354.8 avg.) this year. Wilson ranks third in the FCS in passing and fifth in all of Division I. Only UCLA's Josh Rosen (1,763), Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph (1,533), Richmond's Kyle Lauletta (1,670) and Lehigh's Brad Mayes (1,488) have thrown for more. Wilson is on pace to throw for 3,897 yards (I know it's a stretch) which would shatter the Bryant record of 2,855 set last year by Dalton Easton.
Two wide receivers showed off their multiple talents on Saturday as redshirt sophomore Jean Constant (Delray Beach, Fla.) and senior Tom Kennedy (Farmingdale, N.Y.) combined for 339 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns against the Rams. Constant had four catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, one carry for a three-yard score and three returns for 87 yards. Saturday was Constant's first-career 100-yard game, with his 80-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter accounting for a big chunk of it.
Kennedy, on the other hand, continues to show that he's more than just a standout lacrosse player. He recorded his second-straight 100-yard receiving game and also carried the ball twice for 42 yards. The most noticeable thing about Kennedy over his first four games is the explosiveness he has. Kennedy gave us a glimpse with his 57-yard TD catch in the season opener with Merrimack and then streaked past the Fordham defense twice on Saturday. His 37-yard TD run came on a reverse, while his 62-yard score came off a speed sweep. Both times he went untouched to the house. Credit must be given to both sophomore Kyle Mann (Cutler Bay, Fla.) and senior Aaron Aryee (Hartford, Conn.) for great downfield blocks.
Finally, on the offensive side, there was freshman running back Isaac McCray (Middletown, R.I.). He became the first true freshman in DI program history to rush for over 100 yards in a game as he posted 123 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. McCray finished with 175 all-purpose yards in one of the best games by a rookie in school history. The performance against Fordham reminded many of the debut performance that Bryant great Jordan Harris made against the Rams in his debut back in 2010. Harris caught four passes for 98 yards, including an acrobatic 44-yard TD score. He would go on to set the NEC record for receiving yards with 3,735.
The final takeaway this week has to do with junior linebacker Thomas Costigan (Stamford, Conn.). The Nutmeg State native continues to shine for the Bulldogs as he made 10 tackles, intercepted a pass and also picked up a sack against the Rams. Costigan is now tied for third nationally among all Division I players in sacks per game (1.38). Over his last eight games dating back to last season, Costigan has recorded 66 tackles, nine sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and two interceptions.
This week, the Black and Gold will face one of their toughest challenges in DI program history when they head north to Durham, New Hampshire, to face the University of New Hampshire. The Wildcats will be the seventh nationally-ranked team the Bulldogs will play at the Division I level. Bryant is 2-4 in those games, posting wins over Robert Morris (2010) and Maine (2014).