Football Hosts Bowie State In Season Opener On Thursday At 6:00 PM
Staten Island, NY - The Wagner College football program opens its 88th season of intercollegiate football by hosting the Bowie State University Bulldogs under the lights at Hameline Field on Thursday, August 30 at 6:00 p.m. WAGNER-BOWIE STATE: THE SERIES This is the first-ever meeting between the Seahawks and the the Division II Bulldogs and the first time that Wagner will face a team from the 12-member Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). Bowie State compiled an impressive 9-2 overall mark (6-1 in CIAA play) in 2017, hosted its first-ever Division II playoff game, and ranked No. 23 in the final Division II Top-25 Poll. ABOUT WAGNER The 2018 Seahawks return 17 of 22 overall starters, including 10 of 11 returnees on the defensive side of the ball and seven of 11 on offense. All told, Wagner returns 62 letterwinners from last season's 4-7 team, and welcomes 58 newcomers. At quarterback, preseason camp featured a three-way battle for the starting spot between the incumbent senior Luke Massei (58.4% accuracy, 1,371 yards, 7 touchdowns) as well as a pair of fifth-year graduate students in Graham Lindman, a former walk-on at Ole Miss of the SEC, and T.J. Linta, a starter the last two seasons at Ivy League member Brown University. At the end of preseason competition, it was determined that Massei had won the job and will make his ninth career start vs, Bowie State. The Seahawks return 2017's fourth-leading FCS rusher in senior Ryan Fulse, who rushed for 1,306 yards a year ago. The Fort Meade, FL native has been well-honored in the preseason. The 5-11, 195-pound Fulse has been named the NEC and Phil Steele NEC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. In addition to earning a spot on each of these respective preseason teams, Fulse is also a Second-Team Preseason All-American by Lindy's Magazine and, most recently, was tabbed as the NEC's lone representative on the prestigious 36-member College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) National Performer of the Year Trophy Watch list. Senior left guard Brady Hudik, with 22 consecutive starts under his belt, anchors an offensive line unit that looks to replace Greg Senat, a sixth-round NFL draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens, and Matt Diaz, who signed a free agent contract with the Tennessee Titans in the offense. In the pass game, the Green & White return their leading receiver in senior wideout D'Erren Wilson (33 catches, 392 yards) along with Second-Team All-NEC tight end Chris Woodard (22 catches, 210 yards). Defensively, Wagner is expected to be led by an experienced and talented four-man linebacking crew, headed by senior ILB Quintin Hampton, a two-time All-NEC Second-Team choice. Forming a potent one-two punch at ILB with Hampton is redshirt junior Santoni Graham (134 career tackles. At outside linebacker, Wagner features a pair of potential All-League performers in junior Cam Gill (53 tackles, team-high 11 sacks) and junior Allaah Sessions (51 tackles, four sacks). Senior Charbel Dabire is Wagner's most productive returner on the defensive line (22 tackles, 5 TFLs), while senior Sterling Lowry leads the Seahawk secondary with 63 career stops. SEAHAWKS NAME FIVE CAPTAINS The five Seahawk captains this season will include running back Ryan Fulse, offensive lineman Brady Hudik, defensive lineman Charbel Dabire, linebacker Santoni Graham, and defensive back Sterling Lowry. "These five young men are proven leaders and productive performers, each of whom have earned the respect of their teammates and coaches alike," said Wagner fourth-year head coach Jason Houghtaling. All five captains are members of the senior class, though Graham, who has one season of eligibility remaining following the 2018 season, is listed as a redshirt-junior. For Graham and Lowry, this marks the second straight season that they will serve as team captains. WAGNER HEAD COACH JASON HOUGHTALING Former Wagner associate head coach/offensive coordinator Jason Houghtaling (hO - Tail- Ling), was elevated to head football coach on November 25, 2014 and enters his fourth season at the helm of the Seahawk program in 2018. In his three seasons on Grymes Hill, Houghtaling is 11-23, highlighted by a 6-5 season in 2016, which included a 4-2 mark in the Northeast Conference (NEC). That season, the Seahawks had the distinction of being the only NEC team to defeat eventual NEC Champion Saint Francis U. Under Houghtaling's tutelage, offensive lineman Greg Senat developed into a sixth-round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft when he went in the sixth round to the Baltimore Ravens, becoming just the third Seahawk in program history to be drafted by the NFL. Houghtaling took over for Walt Hameline, who served in the dual role as Seahawk athletic director and head football coach for 34 years, before announcing that he is stepping down from his role as head coach. Hameline remains as Wagner's athletic director. Prior to his appointment as head coach, Houghtaling spent seven seasons on the Wagner sidelines, serving as offensive coordinator during Wagner's 2012 and 2014 Northeast Conference (NEC) title runs, while in-between, spending the 2013 season as offensive coordinator at Cornell. BOWIE STATE HEAD COACH DAMON WILSON Damon Wilson enters his 10th year at the helm of the Bowie State University football program. Wilson, who was an all-conference tight end for the Bulldogs (1998), did his first tour of duty as an assistant coach from 1999-2003. As the Assistant Head Coach (Running Backs and Special Teams Coordinator) during those years, BSU's special teams and running game consistently ranked at the top of the conference. During Wilson's first run at Bowie State, the Bulldogs combined an overall record of 26-24 and they were able to bring home a CIAA Eastern Division Championship in 2002. ABOUT BOWIE STATE UNIVERSITY Bowie State University is a public university with an undergraduate enrollment of 4,711, located on 355½ acres in unincorporated Prince George's County, Maryland, north of the suburban city of Bowie. Founded in 1865, Bowie State, which is part of the University System of Maryland, is Maryland's oldest historically black university and one of the 10 oldest in the nation. The Bulldogs' athletic teams compete in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). ABOUT THE BULLDOGS Bowie State compiled an impressive 9-2 overall mark (6-1 in CIAA play) in 2017 and hosted its first-ever Division II playoff game, where the Bulldogs lost to Delta State by a 45-35 count. Ranked No. 23 in the final Division II Poll. Bowie State return 45 lettermen and 12 starters from a team that statistically: ranked 1st in NCAA Division II in Total Offense (566.3), 1st in NCAA Scoring Offense (54.5), 1st in NCAA Passing Efficiency Defense (87.41), 4th in NCAA Passing Offense (336.8), 4th in NCAA Team Passing Efficiency (173.03), 4th in NCAA Passing Yards Allowed (144.8) and tied for 2nd in NCAA 4th Down Conversion Percentage (0.733). Bowie State led the CIAA in Points (599), Total Yards (6,229), First Downs Per Game (29.6), Pass Defense and Rushing Defense and ranked second in conference Rushing Yards per Game (229.5) and Red Zone Percentage (62-of-67) 93 percent. On an individual basis, quarterback Amir Hall led the NCAA Division II in Points Responsible For (294), ranked 2nd in Total Offense (356.8), 4th in Passing Yards per Game (319.9) and 5th in Passing Yards (3,519). In terms of CIAA statistics, Hall led the league in Passing Yards Per Game (319.9) and Passing TD's (41).