Hampden-Sydney enters 2014 at number 12 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 9-3 (6-1) Old Dominion Athletic Conference
The Tigers lost only three times last season. The first was in week two, at Christopher Newport. Next came homecoming weekend to Shenandoah – a 36-35 heartbreaker that would be their only loss in-conference. After that week eight loss, Hampden-Sydney won their final three regular season games to finish the 8-2, Old Dominion Athletic Conference title and a D3 playoff berth in-hand.
In their first playoff game against Maryville (TN), a back and forth game front-loaded with scoring, the only points scored in the fourth quarter were the result of an 18-yard pass from Nash Nance to Michael Mey to put the Tigers up for good and earn them their first-ever D3 playoff victory. The next week, they travelled to Oregon to face Linfield, champions of the Northwest Conference, and it was there the Tigers’ season came to an end in a 31-21 loss.
The Tigers should feel good about their season since, after all, only thirty-two teams make the D3 playoffs, and thirty-one of those teams end their season in defeat. They made steps in the right direction, but 2013 just wasn’t the year for Hampden-Sydney.
– Joey Partin OL – Second team All-ODAC
– Tyler Ritter OL
– Will Ferrell OL – First team All-ODAC
– CJ Wade OL – Third team All-ODAC
– Tyler Williams OL
– Chris Shembo RB – 97 carries, 478 yards, 3 TDs, 20 catches, 171 yards, 2 TDs
– Tyler Ikwild LB – Lou Wacker Defensive Player of the Year, first team All-ODAC, 101 tackles, 13 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses, 1 FF
– Zach Morgan CB – First team All-ODAC, 35 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 INTs, 19 pass defenses
What to Watch For
Offensive Line – The Tigers will bring back their QB, first team all-conference Nash Nance, nearly their entire WR corps, first team all-conference Holton Walker, and their top running back Brady Macko. Normally, that’s a recipe for guaranteed offensive-success, especially when you’ve already got the 31st most productive offense in D3 (444.7 yards/game). Those skill position players will really have to prove their skill though, since their entire starting offensive line graduated. It will be a very inexperienced group replacing the five seniors, three of whom were all-conference performers.
Other than the entire offensive line, the Tigers lost relatively few starters this offseason. ODAC Coach of the Year Marty Favret has done more with less in his 14 seasons as Hampden-Sydney head coach, and he’ll hope that 2014 will bring his team’s fifth conference title in eight years. Now that they’ve got the playoff-victory-monkey off their collective back, it’ll be interesting to see how far the Tigers can go if and when they make the playoffs again. They’ll get another shot at the team that handed them their first loss of the 2013 season, Christopher Newport, week two – this time at home. A win in that game would go a long way toward setting the tone for the season. The new offensive line is a big concern, but with almost every skill player returning, fans should expect another conference title this season and they have every right to expect better of their team once they reach playoffs.