Pioneers Ready For First Ivy League Match-Up on Saturday

Pioneers Ready For First Ivy League Match-Up on Saturday

Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-2, 0-2 Northeast Conference)  vs. Dartmouth Big Green (1-0, 0-0 Ivy League)

Game #4 - Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 - 1:30 pm - Hanover, N.H., Memorial Field (13,000)

SHU vs. Dartmouth Game Notes

Setting the Scene...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers head to Hanover, N.H. to take on the first Ivy League opponent in program history when they face the Dartmouth Big Green on Saturday afternoon.  The Pioneers are looking erase the memories of last week's 41-0 defeat at the hands of Saint Francis (PA) as they take one week hiatus from Northeast Conference action against the Big Green.  SHU turned it over seven times in the loss, all on interceptions, in falling to 0-2 in the NEC.  Dartmouth opened their season with a 43-20 win at Bucknell last weekend.  Junior running back Nick Schwieger won his second career Golden Helmet Award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston after rushing for 216 yards and two scores on 25 carries and catching five passes for 57 yards in the season opening win.

The Sacred Heart - Dartmouth Series...  This is the first meeting between the Sacred Heart Pioneers and Dartmouth Big Green on the gridiron.

Sacred Heart vs. the Ivy League...  This afternoon's game marks the first time in Sacred Heart Football history a Pioneer team will face a school from the Ivy League.  The Pioneers and Big Green are scheduled to meet in 2011 as well on Campus field in Fairfield.

SHU in the NEC...  The Pioneers begin their 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference this fall.  SHU holds a 37-50 record in NEC competition since joining the league in 1998.  The Pioneers won their only league championship during the 2001 campaign, finishing a perfect 8-0.  SHU finished second to Robert Morris in 2000, going 7-1 in the league.  The Pioneers are coming off a seventh place finish in 2009 with a 2-6 conference mark.

Up Next... Sacred Heart returns to Campus Field for Homecoming Weekend next Saturday, October 2nd.  The Pioneers will play host to the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils on Campus Field at 1:00 pm.  The defending Northeast Conference Champion CCSU Blue Devils hold an 8-4 advantage in the all-time series and come in riding a six-game winning streak.

The Head Coaches...  Sacred Heart head coach Paul Gorham (New Hampshire '84) is in his seventh season on the Pioneer sideline.  Gorham was named the school's seventh head coach in June of 2004 and owns a 26-40 record in his seven year career.  Prior to becoming the Pioneer's head coach, Gorham had stops at UMass, Brown, New Haven and his alma mater New Hampshire.  Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens (Dartmouth '79) is in his second stint as the Robert L. Blackman Head Coach at his alma mater.  Teevens led the Big Green to the 1978 Ivy League title as a player and back to back titles as the head coach in 1990 and 1991.  Teevens is the 21st coach in program history and holds a 36-63-2 mark at the school.  He has also held head coaching jobs at Maine, Tulane and Stanford.

Last Time Out...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers turned the ball over seven times, all on interceptions, on their way to suffering a 41-0 loss at the hands of Saint Francis (PA) last Saturday in Northeast Conference action.  The Pioneers were shutout for the first time since a 24-0 loss to Monmouth on October 7, 2006.  SHU finished with 268 yards of total offense, 149 on the ground, but seven picks proved costly as the Pioneers fall to 0-2 in the NEC.  The Red Flash got three touchdowns passing and another on the ground from r-sophomore quarterback John Kelly in their first win of 2010.  SHU quarterback Dale Fink completed just 13-of-32 passes for 72 yards and a career-high four interceptions.  Quarterback Ray Sheehan threw three interceptions in relief of Fink, one going for the final score of the game.  Sacred Heart finished just three of 17 on third down and punted seven times in the loss.  The 41-point loss is the largest margin of defeat for a Pioneer team since a 49-8 loss at home to Monmouth on October 6, 2007.  SHU's Marcel Archer rushed for 80 yards on 17 carries while Gregory Ibe totaled 79 yards on 11 touches.  Punter Rob Shepard punted six times for an average of 40.7 yards per kick.  The Pioneers struggled offensively throughout the entire first half, punting four times, turning it over on downs and throwing a pair of interceptions on their way to a 14-0 deficit at the break.  SHU put together an eight-play drive to open the third quarter and were on the move into Red Flash territory when the turnover bug struck again.  Fink was picked off for the third time to end the threat.  The Red Flash used a 47-yard punt return from Dave Domonkos to set up their third score and the fourth quarter opened with running back Kyle Harbridge putting the game out of reach with his second score for a 28-0 lead.  Fink's fourth pick led to a Kelly to Daniel Conley six-yard pitch and catch for six while Sheehan's second pass of the afternoon was picked off by linebacker Matthew Parker and returned 75-yards to produce the final 41-0 score.

Fink closing in on NEC Mark...  R-Senior quarterback Dale Fink is closing in on the Northeast Conference's all-time record for touchdown passes.  The senior's 68 scoring strikes rank him second behind former Robert Morris great Tim Levcik's 76 TD tosses.  Saint Francis (PA)'s Anthony Doria ranks third with 61.  Fink's 6,521 career passing yards ranks him 5th on the NEC career list.  He is chasing Doria who threw for 8,544 career yards for the Red Flash. 

Too Many Turnovers...  The Pioneers turned it over seven times in their 41-0 loss at Saint Francis (PA) last weekend, a mark that has dropped them to the bottom of the NEC rankings in turnover margin.  SHU's Dale Fink threw a career-high four interceptions in the loss with back-up Ray Sheehan tossing three picks.  The Pioneers as a team are -6 in turnover margin, averaging 2.0 turnovers per game.

On the Run...  Senior running back Marcel Archer is off to a strong start to his senior season with 223 yards on 53 carries and a pair of scores over the first three games.  Archer is averaging 4.2 yards per carry.  Complimenting the north-south runner is r-freshman Greg Ibe who's slashing style has led to a 6.2 yards per carry average in 2010.  Ibe has 175 yards on 28 carries with a pair of scores.