Nichols College has rushed for only 695 yards in nine games this fall.
By contrast, Maine Maritime Academy surpassed that total in a single game Saturday.
Coach Chris McKenney’s Mariners have generated plenty of buzz in New England football circles after a record-setting performance at Coast Guard.
The Mariners of Castine gashed the Cadets for 730 rushing yards, setting an NCAA Division II-III record in a 76-49 New England College Football Conference victory.
“We were pretty amazed at the numbers,” McKenney said McKenney, whose team (7-1) can wrap up a second straight Bogan Division crown and earn an NEFC playoff spot with a victory in Saturday’s season finale at Fitchburg State.
MMA features the nation’s most prolific rushing offense, in all divisions, with 443.6 yards per contest. It continues to overpower opponents with its potent triple option attack.
On Saturday, the Mariners established team and NEFC standards for points scored (76), total offense (746 yards), and rushing yards (730) and tied the league mark with 11 TDs.
MMA had four different players rush for 100 yards or more, including halfback Nick Bourassa of Jay (9 carries, 217 yards, 4 touchdowns), quarterback Tyler Angell of Leeds (20-186-2), fullback Jim Bower of South Paris (14-153-3) and halfback Todd Murphy of Middlesex, Vt., (9-106-0).
“We’ve got some experience,” McKenney said. “Angell’s a senior now and he’s played quite a few games and he reads it (the option) well.”
Seven different MMA backs combined for 63 attempts and averaged 11.6 yards per carry.
To gain an appreciation for the Mariners’ dominance of Coast Guard, consider that Bourassa, a sophomore, raced 80 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Thanks to a turnover and two stops by the defense, MMA scored on its first four possessions of the game and amassed 297 rushing yards on 20 carries — in the first quarter alone.
The Mariners attempted three passes, completing one for a TD, and punted only once.
“I think the whole offense, they’ve been gelling all year and playing together,” McKenney said.
The offensive line has done yeoman work. The group includes tackles Mike Durrell and Travis Berube, guards Andrew McCann and Mike Secord, center Dan Weamer and tight end Travis Shaw.
“All of them are doing their jobs,” McKenney said. “The offensive line’s been doing a great job this year. They’re talented kids who have worked hard on their techniques and they’re executing.”
MMA ranks fourth in division III in total offense at 493 yards per game and is fifth in scoring offense (43.13 ppg).
The Mariners now have scored more than 60 points twice and have eclipsed 40 points on six occasions.
MMA did have its share of struggles trying to contain Coast Guard’s passing attack. The Cadets piled up 482 yards and six touchdowns as Jon Resch completed 34 of 46 passes for 469 yards. He was intercepted once.
Coast Guard had four players eclipse 100 receiving yards as the teams combined for 1,330 yards of total offense.
“During the game, you’re just trying to stay focused,” McKenney said. “I was telling them we need to keep scoring.”