Husson University of Bangor makes its Commonwealth Coast Conference football debut at noon Saturday against Becker College in Leicester, Massachusetts.
The Eagles had competed in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference since 2009 and grew to dominate that league — securing four NCAA Division III tournament appearances in the last five years.
The shift to CCC Football addresses at least three long-term goals for the program — more challenging overall competition, less travel and the opportunity to boost its regional recruiting footprint in the all-New England conference.
Husson’s more immediate concern is to secure its first win of this season after a grueling schedule of three non-conference games against opponents with a combined 10-2 record.
Two of those defeats came against top-five teams in the latest New England Division III coaches poll, a 31-12 Week 2 loss to top-ranked Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a season-opening 48-41 overtime defeat at No. 4 UMass Dartmouth. Both WPI and UMD enter Saturday’s games at 4-0.
Those losses, followed by a 42-15 setback last weekend at 2-2 SUNY Morrisville, have left Nat Clark’s club eager to turn things around as Husson now faces seven straight conference encounters.
The Eagles hope to begin shoring up a defense that has yielded 40.3 points and 482 total yards per game. Husson also struggled to run the football, averaging just 72.0 of its 334.3 offensive yards per game on the ground.
Senior quarterback David Morrison has completed 57.3 percent (63 of 110) of his passes for 787 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception. Junior wideout Tyler Halls is the Eagles’ top receiver with 24 catches for 380 yards and two TDs.
Senior defensive back Zach Connolly has been in on a team-leading 25 tackles, while junior lineman Frank Curran of Portland is next with 21 stops.
Becker, 1-9 last year, is 2-2 this fall (0-1 in CCC play) after a 58-12 conference defeat last week at Endicott, the No. 3 team in the New England poll.
Maine Maritime (0-4) vs. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (4-0), 1 p.m. Saturday, at Worcester, Massachusetts: MMA faces its toughest test of the season against New England’s top-ranked Division III team in undefeated WPI.
The Engineers hold a 4-0 record in the series between the teams and are off to just their second 4-0 start in the last 36 years.
MMA is coming off a 62-13 loss to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in its New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference opener last Saturday.
Saturday’s other Maine Division III games, at 1 p.m.: Williams (2-1) at Colby (0-3); Tufts (1-2) at Bates (0-3); Wesleyan (3-0) at Bowdoin (0-3); U. New England (2-2) at Curry (0-3).