NCAA Tournament First Round - Wesley v. Framingham State

NCAA Tournament First Round - Wesley v. Framingham State

DOVER, Del. - The Wesley College football team will make its 11th straight NCAA Tournament appearance when they play host to Framingham State University on Saturday, November 21 at 12:00 p.m.

The Wolverines have only collided with the Rams once, in the 1995 season opener. It was Mike Drass' third year as head coach of the Navy and White, and they started the season in a big way, earning a 55-0 victory over the visiting Rams.

This year, Wesley touts one of the nation's best offenses, ranking first in the nation in total offense (603.5 yards per game) and passing offense (393.7 ypg). The team averages 49.0 points per game, good for seventh in the nation. 

Wesley's firepower begins under center with Joe Callahan. The senior leads the nation in nearly every passing category, including yards (3,809), touchdowns (43), and efficiency (196.0). Callahan accounts for nearly 410.6 yards per game in the Wesley offense, which also tops the nation.

On the receiving end of Callahan's tosses are his two most reliable targets, Bryce Shade and James Okike. The pair have combined for more touchdown catches (31) than any other wide receiving tandem in all of NCAA Division III. Alex Kemp and Kyle George have also been solid options for Callahan, catching four and five touchdowns, respectively.

Jamar Baynard has been the Wolverines' workhorse out of the backfield this season. The three-down back has rushed 199 times this season for 1,118 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has also caught 46 passes for 561 yards and a score. His versatility out of the backfield has been a weapon for the Wesley offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Wolverines are led in tackles by middle linebacker Samer Manna. Manna has recorded 98 tackles, including 39 solo, registered six tackles for a loss and forced a fumble and recovered two more. Andre Connally is second on the team in tackles and has snatched a team-best five interceptions. Craig Pettit has logged four picks while Anthony Brinkley has two. Roderick Caine leads the defense with 10 tackles for loss, including five sacks. 

Cappadonna Miller and Marvell Watts are each averaging over 20 yards per kickoff return, and Bryce Shade has been a formidable weapon in the punt return game, averaging 18.4 yards per return. Wesley has yet to break free for a return touchdown on special teams this season.

The Wolverines' opponent on Saturday will be Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular season champions Framingham State. The Rams ran through conference play unbeaten with their only loss coming to SUNYAC Champions and NCAA Tournament qualifiers SUNY Cortland. 

The Rams have a potent offense of their own, averaging 39.5 points per game, good for 29th in the nation. Quarterback Matthew Silva has nearly been on the same torrid pace as Callahan in the scoring department, ranking second in the nation in touchdown passes (39). The signal-caller also ranks third in the nation in points responsible for, averaging 26.2 points per game, just behind Callahan's nation-leading 29.6.

Tevin Jones has been Silva's primary red zone target this season. The 6-1 senior has reeled in 15 touchdown catches and has proven to be the Rams' top scoring threat. Marcus Grant leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, snagging 67 catches for 847 yards on the year. 

The Rams' running game has been led by Jalen Green. The junior has rushed for 721 yards on 140 carries and punched the ball into the end zone four times on the year. Silva also has the capability to run, scoring three times on the season himself.

On defense, defensive lineman Quentin Jones has brought in a whopping 10 sacks on the season and leads the Rams with 15 tackles for loss. The pass rusher has 38 total tackles on the season and has forced one fumble. Linebackers Svenn Jacobson, Stephen Beahn, and Greg Peschel are the top three in tackles on the team, recording 65, 55, and 54 total tackles respectively. In the secondary, the Rams have six different players with two interceptions apiece. 

Wesley and Framingham State are scheduled to kick off the First Round of the NCAA Tournament at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are available and live statistics and video will both be provided through the Wesley Sports Information Department.