Owls' Football Program Enters 72nd Season in 2019.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – College Football celebrates its 150th anniversary in the 2019 season, as programs at all divisions of the NCAA will commemorate this milestone with game presentations all year long – celebrating their programs' history as well as the existence of the sport at the collegiate level.
The Northeast-10 Conference will celebrate this achievement throughout the season by highlighting its nine current football programs – focusing on one each week – between now and early November. This week's highlighted team is the Southern Connecticut State Owls.
The NE10 has sponsored football since 2001, but has provided football to its student-athletes since 1997 – known back then as the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.
The actual birthday of college football is November 6, 1869, as it was a matchup between Princeton and Rutgers that marked the first collegiate football game. The NE10 enters its 23rd season in 2019 and is proud to display its history as part of the #CFB150 celebration.
Founded as New Haven Teachers College in 1948, Southern Connecticut football celebrated its 70th year in 2017. Entering 2019, Southern has compiled an all-time record of 393-287-9 for a winning percentage of .577. The Owls won Eastern Football Conference Championships in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1970. The Owls joined the Northeast-10 in 2001 and later claimed NE10 Championships in 2006 and 2009. The Owls also made four-straight NCAA Division II tournaments in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
A 2013 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Jess Dow was the founder of the Southern Connecticut athletic program. He established the Owls' football program and served as head coach from 1948-65. He was recognized as one of the nation's outstanding coaches, with 15 winning seasons and a won-lost-tied record of 108- 40-6 (.721). His teams lost only once in a season seven different times and his 1956 squad is still the only unbeaten and untied (9-0-0) team in Owls' history. After retiring as football coach, Dow continued to serve as director of athletics until 1975. A former Little All-America fullback at West Texas State who played with the Philadelphia Eagles for three seasons, Dow also coached Southern teams in track, basketball, baseball and golf.
Dow paved the way for a long line of great Southern Connecticut State University football coaches including Kevin Gilbride (current Head Coach of XFL's New York Franchise, offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, Super Bowl XLII and XLVI Champions, also was head coach of San Diego Chargers and serve as assistant with Buffalo Bills, Steelers, and Oilers); Chris Palmer (Former University of New Haven Athletic Director, former senior Offensive Assistant for the Buffalo Bills; former quarterbacks coach for the New York Giants, Super Bowl XLII Champions; also served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns during a distinguished NFL coaching career); Nick Nicolau (spent 19 seasons as an assistant with the Saints, Broncos, Raiders, Bills, Colts, Jaguars, and Chargers); Tim Holt (assistant offensive line coach with the Oakland Raiders, offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears and offensive assistant with Tampa Bay Buccanears) and active NFL coach Jeff Stoutland (offensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, former head coach at University of Miami in 2010).
Of course Rich Cavanaugh was the Owls' all-time winningest coach with 170 victories in his 29-year career highlighted by four consecutive NCAA Championship appearances from 2005-08. Cavanaugh joined the Owls' staff in 1982, and, after three seasons as an assistant coach, took over as the head coach in 1985. Southern Connecticut claimed its first NCAA playoff victory under Cavanaugh's guidance. The Owls also earned a share of three Northeast-10 Conference Championships (2006, 2009, 2010).Over the course of his career, Cavanaugh coached 148 All-Conference selections, 66 All-New England honorees, 53 All-ECAC performers, 21 All-Americans, 14 All-Northeast Region picks, six Offensive Players of the Year, three Northeast-10 Most Valuable Players, three NE-10 Rookies of the Year, three NE-10 Defensive Players of the Year, two NE-10 Defensive Linemen of the Year, two Division II-III Gold Helmet Award winners and two NE-10 Offensive Linemen of the Year.
TEAM OF DESTINY.....
Southern Connecticut's 1956 team posted a perfect 9-0-0 record and today stands as the only team in program history to post an unbeaten and untied mark. The Owls posted five shutouts that season – including four-straight – on their way to outscoring their opponents, 317-45 for a scoring margin of +30.2 per game.
JOE ANDRUZZI (1993-96)
- Andruzzi enjoyed an extremely decorated career during his four years at Southern Connecticut. The anchor of the offensive line, he was named an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association as a junior and senior. Andruzzi was also twice selected to the All-ECAC squad and captured All-New England laurels as a sophomore, junior and senior. He served as team captain as a senior. Following his playing days at SCSU, Andruzzi spent 10 years in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. He won three Super Bowl titles while with the Patriots.
JACQUES CESAIRE (1998-2002)
- Jacques Cesaire was the 2002 Northeast 10 Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year and a AFCA All-America First Team selection as well as a two-time All-Northeast-10 pick. Cesaire finished his career at Southern as the second player in program history to record 20 sacks while his 21 rank third all-time. His 12 sacks in 2001 rank fourth all-time as well. Cesaire enjoyed a nine-year career with the NFL's San Diego Chargers where he started 66 of 109 games with 217 tackles and 12.5 sacks for his career.
RASHAAN DUMAS (1996-99)
- Rashaan Dumas suited up for the Owls for four seasons and finished his career as the program's all-time leading scorer with 432 points on the strength of 72 career touchdowns. He also holds the program record for rushing attempts (977), rushing yards (5,396) and also became the first SCSU player to rack-up 150 points in the season in 1998. That season he also became the first player to score 25 touchdowns and also the first player to rush for 1,500 yards, totaling 1,639. He is the only player in program history to rush for 1,300 yards in three different seasons. Dumas was a three-time All-Northeast-10 selection and the 1998 Co-Most Valuable Player and the 1996 EFC Rookie of the Year. At the time of his graduation, he was one of two players in NE10 history to rush for 1,300 yards in a season twice and the first player to score 25 touchdowns in a season.
MICHAEL MARSHALL (1979-82)
- Michael Marshall was a stalwart for the Southern Connecticut defense throughout his career, one that culminated with a senior campaign in 1982 that saw him collect unanimous All-America, Walter Camp Football Foundation Connecticut Player of the Year, and ECAC Player of the Year laurels. The Owls finished 9-1 during that 1982 season and were ranked No. 9 in the nation. His 14 career interceptions were the second-best total in school history at the conclusion of his career, and he still ranks fourth all-time at SCSU in that category. Marshall was an All-New England selection as both a junior and senior and an All-ECAC pick in both years as well. He served as a team captain in his final year with the Owls.
TRAVIS TUCKER (1982-84)
- Travis Tucker was the second Southern player to be drafted by the NFL's Cleveland Browns. He was drafted as a tight end in the 11th round. He led the Browns' special teams in 1986, with four forced fumbles and was voted Special Teams Player of 1986 by the Cleveland Touchdown Club. In 1987, he was voted Special Teams captain. A knee injury forced his early retirement in 1988. At Southern, he was a starter tight end from 1981 to 1984. He graduated as the all-time leading receiver with 92 receptions, 1,642 yards and 24 touchdown catches. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch and a touchdown every 3.8 receptions. In 1984, he was selected to the NCAA Division II All-New England First Team, All-Divisions Third Team and All-East Coast Conference Team.
UPCOMING FOOTBALL SCHEDULE.....
The 23rd season of NE10 football continues on Friday night, Sept. 20, as Southern Connecticut hosts Assumption (7:00 p.m.). The rest of the Week 3 schedule is below and all games will be available on NE10 NOW:
Friday, Sept. 20
Assumption at Southern Connecticut - 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 21
American International at New Haven - 1 p.m.
Pace at Franklin Pierce - 6 p.m.
Stonehill at Saint Anselm - 6:00 p.m.
ABOUT THE NE10
The NE10 is an association of 14 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete.
Each year, 4,500 student-athletes compete in conference championships, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.