Story and photo courtesy of Gallaudet Athletics
– Gallaudet University's football coach Chuck Goldstein officially announced the 2012 football schedule on Thursday. The 2012 season will feature five home games at Hotchkiss Field and five road trips. The Bison will play back-to-back home games twice during the season.
Gallaudet is coming off a 5-5 season that included a 4-3 record in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Four of Gallaudet's five losses were decided by a touchdown or less last year.
"We are very excited about the 2012 schedule as we start with some tough non-conference games before jumping into ECFC play," said Goldstein, who will enter his third season as head coach this fall.
The Bison will look to avenge two close non-conference losses in their first two games that are on the road. Gallaudet will travel to Westerville, Ohio, to face Otterbein University on Sept. 1 to kick-off the season at 1 p.m. GU returns to the nation's capital the following week and will make the short trek to Catholic University of America on Sept. 8 for a 7 p.m. night game.
"I think we will know exactly where we stand after our first two road games," said Goldstein. "Otterbein and Catholic are two quality programs and we showed last year that the Bison could hang with those talented teams."
Otterbein handed the Bison a heart breaking 28-27 overtime loss in the season opener last year at home. In week two, Gallaudet couldn't hang on against Catholic and lost another heart breaker 45-41 as the Cardinals scored three touchdowns in the final six minutes of play. Otterbein, who entered the 2011 season ranked No. 40 by D3football.com, struggled after the win over the Bison and finished 3-7. Like the Bison the Cardinals lost five games by a touchdown or less. Catholic finished its season 5-5 as it won three straight to start the season but concluded the year with three straight conference losses.
Following a bye week, the Bison will host Apprentice School for the season's first home game on Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. The Apprentice School finished the 2011 season with a 2-8 record with one of those losses coming at the hands of Gallaudet, the Bison won 14-3 over the Builders.
GU closes out the month of September at home with its first ECFC game as the Bison host Anna Maria College on Sept. 29 at noon. GU escaped Paxton, Mass., last year with a 48-40 triple overtime win over the AMCATS. AMC finished the 2011 season strong with two straight conference wins against Becker College and Husson University and finished 2-8 overall.
"Once we start ECFC play, I think we will compete at a high level because we have a lot of talent and experience coming back this year," said Goldstein.
The meat of the conference schedule begins in October with four games. The Bison travel to Husson on Oct. 6, for a noon game and return home to play the reigning ECFC champions Norwich University on Oct. 13, at noon. Norwich barely slipped by Gallaudet last season, 10-7, as the Cadets went 7-4 overall and were undefeated in conference play (7-0). The Bison will then travel to Leicester, Mass., to play Becker College on Oct. 20, at noon. Becker went 1-9 last season and lost 44-20 to Gallaudet in its homecoming game. Speaking of Homecoming, the Bison will host Castleton State College for the annual Homecoming game on Oct. 27, at 1:30 p.m. Gallaudet will be seeking to win its fourth straight homecoming game. Castleton (4-6) finished fifth in the ECFC last season (3-4), just one spot behind Gallaudet.
The final two games of the season will test Gallaudet as they face-off against the second and third-place teams in the ECFC last season. Gallaudet will host its final home game on Nov. 3 when Mount Ida College comes to D.C. The Mustangs went 6-5 overall and 5-2 in the ECFC last season and finished in third-place in the conference. Mount Ida handed Gallaudet its worst loss of the season last year, 28-12.
To conclude the regular-season, Gallaudet will travel to Throggs Neck, N.Y., to face SUNY Maritime (N.Y.) College on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. Gallaudet lost by a touchdown to the Privateers for a second consecutive season. Maritime was last year's ECFC runner-up with an 8-2 record and 6-1 conference mark.
The winner of the ECFC earns a berth into the NCAA tournament that begins mid-November along with the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III bowls for those teams that don't make the NCAA tournament.