The Hobart College football team completed its first undefeated regular season since 1957, posting a 10-0 overall record and winning the Liberty League Championship and the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Playoffs with a 7-0 record. The Statesmen also broke the school record for wins in a season and touchdowns in a season for the 121-year-old program. They entered the playoffs ranked seventh in the nation in both the America Football Coaches Association poll and the D3football.com Top 25, and 19 Statesmen earned All-Liberty League honors.
In the first round of the playoffs, Hobart defeated Washington & Lee University and its No. 1 rushing offense 38-20.. The Generals averaged 381.3 yards rushing per game during the regular season, but produced a season-low 188 yards against the Statesmen defense. It was Hobart that put a dominant run game on display, gaining 282 yards on the ground.
In the second round, the Statesmen faced their first nationally ranked opponent of the season, Wittenberg University. The Tigers, No. 13 in the AFCA poll and No. 24 in D3football.com’s ranking, brought a contrasting style to the Boz, relying more on their passing game (259.2 yds/g) to move the ball. The combination of Hobart’s relentless pass rush and the arrival of Old Man Winter kept Wittenberg in check. Like the Generals, the Tigers were held to a season-low 135 yards of total offense, while the Statesmen minimized the effect of the wind and snow by keeping the ball on the ground, running for 286 yards and five TDs and dominating time of possession (39:02-20:58). Tailback Steven Webb ’14 ran for 130 yards on the day, making him the first 1,000-yard rusher since All-American Doug Blakowski ’07 in 2006. Tailback Bobby Dougherty ’13 gained 85 yards and scored his 19th rushing touchdown of the year, matching Don Aleksiewicz’s 1971 record.
The Statesmen’s first appearance in the national quarterfinals was at No. 4 University of St. Thomas. Hobart’s dream season came to an end in St. Paul, Minn., suffering a 47-7 loss. Webb produced another highlight reel run, breaking away for a 66-yard, first quarter touchdown on a fourth and inches play. It was Hobart’s 66th TD of the season. Dougherty was limited to just 39 yards rushing, but it put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Webb (1,197) and Dougherty (1,024) are the first Hobart teammates to rush for 1,000 yards in the same season since Ed Cooney ’80 (1,197) and Jack Davis ’78 (1,074) in 1977. On the other side of the ball, linebacker Andrew Klindera ’13 had 12 tackles against the Tommies, raising his season total to 109, fifth on Hobart’s single season list. Defensive end Tyre Coleman ’15 added a sack against UST to finish the year with Statesmen season records in tackles for loss (30.5) and sacks (17.5). Both marks were previously held by Dave Russell ’98.
Hobart Head Coach Mike Cragg and his staff were voted the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year after guiding the Statesmen to their eighth Liberty League Championship and seventh NCAA Playoff appearance. Hobart led the conference in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense, total defense and 14 other statistical categories. Cragg also earned the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year award for the second time in his career.
Coleman was voted the Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous first team all-league pick.
Nine members of the offense earned all-league praise-Dougherty, Webb, wide receiver Junior Woodard ’13, and offensive linemen Art Garvey ’13 and Ali Marpet ’15 were all named to the first team. Quarterback Nick Strang ’13 and offensive lineman Tyler Garvey ’13 earned second team honors, and tight end Brent Matazinsky ’13 and offensive lineman DeAndré Smith ’15 received honorable mention.
Webb led the league in rushing yards and all-purpose yards (1,405) and Dougherty led the league in scoring (9.5 ppg) and ranked second behind Webb in rushing yards. Woodard eclipsed Dan Suozzi’s record for consecutive games with a reception, extending the mark to 33 with four catches for 32 yards at St. Thomas. He finished his career third in receiving yards (1,921), fourth in receptions (136), and ninth in receiving touchdowns (12).
Strang ended his Statesmen career third in passing touchdowns (36), fourth in passing yards (3,914), and fourth in completions (278). He also raised the Hobart career records for pass efficiency rating (143.6) and completion percentage (58.9).
Along with Coleman, defensive tackle Nick Auriemma ’13, outside linebacker Devin Worthington ’14 and free safety Jolyon Davis ’14 were all selected to the first team defense, while Klindera and cornerback Fajri Jackson ’15 were named to the second team, and cornerback Kevin Hearon ’14 and defensive tackle Troy Johnson ’15 both earned honorable mention. Worthington registered 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks.
Punters Josh Neuss ’16 and James Hull ’16 both earned a spot on the All-Liberty League second team. Neuss led the conference in punting, averaging 39.5 yards per boot. Webb also garnered honorable mention as a return specialist.
In the classroom, eight Statesmen earned a spot on the Liberty League All-Academic Team, three more were named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District 3 first team, and center Michael Green ’14 was tabbed a Capital One second team Academic All-American®. Green Is just the seventh Hobart football player to receive Academic All-Amerca® honors.