Location: Smithfield, RI
Coach: Chris Merritt (0-0), 1st Season at Bryant
Stadium: Bulldog Stadium (Capacity: 5,500)
2018 In a Sentence: Early against Central Connecticut State, the 4-1 Bulldogs were up 14-0 on the Blue Devils, and seemed to be on their way towards a NEC championship. Then CCSU scored 48 straight points in a 34 point loss, and the Bulldogs never seemed to fully recover, dropping three of their last five games and squeaking by both Fordham (42-41) and Howard (56-55) by a single point each. At the end of the season, head coach James Perry was hired away by his alma mater, Brown.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: A huge reason for Bryant’s struggles was that QB Price Wilson struggled through injury during his redshirt senior year. When he played full games for Bryant in 2018, the Bulldogs went 6-2, throwing for over 2,000 yards and registering 20 TDs. Bryant struggled to replace him last season, and they’ll have a big task filling his shoes this year.
Key Players: DL Tomas Wright rightfully has plenty of interest as a possible defensive end at the next level, thanks to his monster junior season. He set a single-season record for the Bulldog program with 12 1/2 sacks to go with 45 tackles, 17 1/2 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles. It will be interesting to see how the 6’2 217 lb end does his senior year.
Fearless Prediction: Intriguing storylines abound with Bulldog Nation this year – an in-state matchup pitting new head coach Chris Merritt against his former boss Perry at Brown, two tough games against CAA teams Stony Brook and Albany, and a late November matchup against Duquesne. But they’ll have to do it while breaking in a bunch of new names on offense and defense.
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
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