HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Central Connecticut State.
[divider]MORE: Compare Any Two FCS Players or Any Two FCS Teams[divider]
FCS TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEW: The countdown
FCS PRESEASON TOP 25: The poll
FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: The teams
Central Connecticut State (8-4 IN 2017)
Northeast Conference (CCSU was 1st in 2017)
COACH: Pete Rossomando – 5th year (17-29)
2017 OFFENSE: 29.3 ppg. (39th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 26.1 ppg. (63rd in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Central Connecticut State has slowly built itself into an NEC contender over the past few years, punctuated by an undefeated conference streak in 2017. This year, with nearly all of the offense coming back from last year's strong unit, CCSU will remain capable of outscoring every other team in the conference. That includes rival Bryant, which should be high among the group of potential NEC usurpers. The Blue Devils lose a lot on defense, but the players they return stand to be central playmakers. Look for CCSU to dial up a strong ball-control offense in 2018, giving it a great chance to capitalize on individual defensive talent and earn back-to-back NEC championships for the first time since 2009-10.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Blue Devils return to the playoffs and win a close game with a favorable matchup. No one is going to confuse the NEC for a premiere conference in FCS football, but Central Connecticut should have enough talent on offense to squeeze out a win in the postseason. They'll need the right draw here, as nearly any playoff-bound Missouri Valley or CAA team could end the Blue Devil's season in a hurry. However, a middle-of-the-pack Big Sky or Southland team could offer CCSU a chance to control time of possession and advance to the Round of 16.
It's worth mentioning here that some perspective is warranted. Even if CCSU does win the NEC and go one-and-done in the playoffs again, a second consecutive playoff berth for a program that had never been in the postseason before 2017 is still a huge accomplishment.
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BEST FCS PLAYER BY NUMBER: We count down, No. 99 through No. 1[divider]
TOP RETURNEE: LB Kenneth Keen (165 tackles over last two seasons).
THE NEXT FIVE: OL Connor Mignone (NEC Rookie of the Year as Offensive Lineman); DB Tajik Bagley (42 tackles, 2 INT); OL J'Von Brown (First-Team All-NEC); DL Chris Tinkham (40 tackles, 5.5 TFL, ); RB Drew Jean-Guillaume (925 AP yards, over 5.5 ypc in 2017).
TOP NEWCOMER: DB Elijah Harrison (Lackawanna JuCo Transfer — fills need in defensive backfield).
DID YOU KNOW?: CCSU has a sneaky impressive base of football alumni, including Steve Addazio, Al Bagnoli, Dave Campo, Mike Sherman and Scott Pioli.
THE QUOTE: "We have some playmakers who can help us maintain the momentum we established last season as we captured the NEC title. Our coaching staff has done a remarkable job of evaluating talent and finding the right fit for our program. We're excited to get this group of student-athletes on campus and working towards the defense of our title." -Head Coach Pete Rossomando, speaking about the February completion of CCSU's newest recruiting class.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #GoBlueDevils
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @CCSUfootball
— TB (@tb4gley) May 7, 2018
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