WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University Falcons will look to hand the Stonehill College Skyhawks their first Northeast-10 Conference loss of the season when the two teams meet Saturday afternoon at Stonehill's W.B. Mason Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 1 pm and it can be seen on the NE10 NOW digital network.
With a 31-17 loss to Southern Connecticut State last Saturday, Bentley completed the first half of the schedule at 1-4 overall, including 1-2 NE10. Ironically, the Falcons' only win came against the University of New Haven, which is the only team that has defeated Stonehill so far this season.
Stonehill, after a 52-0 win over Franklin Pierce University last weekend, is 4-1 overall and 3-0 conference. The Skyhawks, 2-8 last year, have won three straight with wins over Saint Anselm College and American International College preceding the FPU game. All four of their wins have been by at least 18 points.
Bentley will make the trip to Stonehill with an offense that ranks seventh in the conference (367.4 yards) and a defense that ranks sixth (391.4). The Falcons came up with nine takeaways in the first three games, but have managed only one in the last two while losing the ball six times, including a red zone fumble against Southern Connecticut.
Junior quarterback Stephen Sturm (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley HS) leads the Northeast-10 in passing yards (1,101) while completing 61 percent of his throws. He has launched six TD passes during the first half of the season and ran for a career-high 60 yards against Southern, the second time in three games that he has gained at least 50. During Saturday's game, Sturm surpassed 4,000 passing yards for his career, becoming the eighth player in program history to hit that mark.
Senior slot receiver Drew Mahoney (West Suffield, Conn./Suffield Academy) ranks number one in the conference in both receptions (45) and receiving yards (481) despite being limited to a season-low five catches last weekend. His 176 career receptions ranks eighth among active Division II players.
The ball also frequently goes to junior Austin Ryan (Foxborough/Foxborough HS), who is fifth in the NE10 in receptions per game. At the midway point of the season, he has 26 catches for 232 yards and one score.
Senior tailback Jordan Artope (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson HS) certainly knows where the end zone is as he's run in seven times for touchdowns, third most in the NE10. That's the most rushing TDs by a Falcon since J.J. Sullivan had nine in 2005.
Junior linebacker Marc Doran (Ramsey, N.J./Saint Joseph Reg. HS) continues to lead the team in tackles with 39, including an average of nine in the three NE10 games. All-Conference defensive back Pete Thorbahn (Norwell/Xaverian Brothers HS) follows with 29, including a team-best 20 unassisted stops.
Stonehill features the conference's second leading rusher and receiver, in Justin Felder and Andrew Jamiel. Felder, one of two NE10 players rushing for at least 100 yards a game, has scored eight TDs and Jamiel, whose 265 career receptions leads all active NCAA football players, has 33 catches for 460 yards and four scores.
Junior Anton Stoneking is the team's first-year quarterback. He's completed 65 percent of his passes and has twice as many TDs (8) as interceptions (4). Against Franklin Pierce last week, he had a career game with 286 yards, three TD and a .686 completion percentage.
Stonehill leads the conference in a number of team categories, including total offense (388.8), total defense (216.2) and third down conversion percentage (32 of 61, 45 percent). The Skyhawks have scored 70 first-quarter points and have outscored their opponents 108-20 before halftime.
Bentley rolled over the Skyhawks last year, 38-10, but is looking for its first win at Stonehill since the 2011 season.
In last year's game, five different Falcons scored touchdowns, Artope rushed for a career-high 100 yards and Sturm threw for 227 yards and two TD. Bentley controlled the ball for 37:40 and converted six of seven fourth downs.
The Stonehill game will be the first of back-to-back road games for the Falcons, who will make the trip to Pace University Oct. 26. That will be the fifth road game for a Bentley team that has only played two home games to date.