SETTING THE SCENE
The Pioneers take to the road for the first time in 2011 as they head north to clash with Northeast Conference rival Central Connecticut State Saturday afternoon. Sacred Heart will look to keep its momentum rolling after knocking off Dartmouth of the Ivy League, 24-21, at Campus Field last time out. Central Connecticut State will attempt to rebound after having the nation's longest home winning streak, 15 games, snapped last weekend in a 24-12 loss to Monmouth. SHU looks to get back to the .500 mark after stumbling in back-to-back losses that opened the season. CCSU will have redemption on their mind after receiving votes in the FCS National Poll before last weekend's loss to the Hawks.
THE SACRED HEART vs. CENTRAL CT STATE SERIES
The Blue Devils have won seven straight over the Pioneers and lead the all-time series, 9-4. CCSU spoiled Sacred Heart's homecoming last year with a 24-14 victory. The Pioneers won four straight meetings with Central Connecticut State from 2000-2003, last defeating their intrastate rival, 27-24, in New Britain, CT. During the Blue Devils seven game winning streak they have outscored SHU, 239-110.
Freshman Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) made a huge impact in the Pioneers 24-21 homecoming weekend victory over Dartmouth. The power running back racked up 129 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first collegiate start. Spence's performance earned him Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week honors as well as an Enterprise Rent-A-Car/Sacred Heart Student-Athlete of the Week nod. Spence scored on a 29 yard TD rumble to make it 21-14 in the third quarter and dove on a fumble late in the fourth quarter to preserve the Pioneers chance to kick a game winning field goal.
ROSSI PICKS UP NATIONAL HONOR
Senior tight end Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) led the SHU receiving core against Dartmouth and was named the Co-Division-I FCS National Tight End of the Week by College Football Performance Awards. The 6-2 target tallied eight receptions for eighty yards, including a 19 yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. Rossi paces all SHU receivers in 2011 with 61.7 yards per game.
ROGER'S RIGHT FOOT
Red-shirt freshman kicker Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY) has been a rock for the Pioneers early in 2011. He split the uprights with a 22 yard game winning field goal with 1:00 remaining in regulation against the Big Green. Overall, Rogers is 3-for-3 on field goal attempts this season, including a long of 39 yards. He has also calmly buried all four of his PAT attempts, giving him a team leading 13 points on the season.
Tim Little (Egg Harbor Twp., NJ) has made two straight starts at quarterback since splitting time with fellow redshirt-sophomore QB Luke Wischnowski (West Chester, PA) in the Pioneers' opener. For the season Little has completed 49 of 91 passes for 418 yards and threw his first collegiate touchdown pass to Rich Rossi against Dartmouth.
SHU THROWS A "BLOCK" PARTY
The Sacred Heart special teams unit came up with a pair of blocks last weekend against Dartmouth. Matt Linnehan (Worcester, MA) sealed the Pioneer victory as the red-shirt junior got a hand on the Big Green's 53 yard field goal attempt as time expired, which could have sent the game to overtime. Matt Colucci (Hopewell Junction, NY) blocked a punt following Dartmouth's opening drive of the second half. Two plays later SHU would find the end zone to take a 21-14 advantage.
WE'RE COMING HOME
Sacred Heartlumni and fans packed Campus Field last weekend for homecoming as the attendance for SHU's clash with Dartmouth reached 3,101. The fan support put the Pioneers within 233 seats of an official sellout.
A LOOK BACK - THE 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SHU'S NATIONAL TITLE
The 2001 Sacred Heart Football team finished a perfect 11-0 and claimed the NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major National Championship. Every week we will recap the Pioneers historical through the 2001 season, going through the 10 year anniversary game-by-game.
The 2001 Pioneers jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 30-14 victory over St. John's at Campus Field to move to 4-0 on the year. Marvin Royal rushed for 157 yards and three first half touchdowns to propel the SHU offense. On the defensive side of the ball, Sacred Heart surrendered only eight first downs and forced the Red Storm into four turnovers.
PAUL GORHAM COACH'S SHOW
Sacred Heart head football coach Paul Gorham sits down with Randy Brochu of the SHU athletic communications department every Tuesday to talk about the team. Fans can watch the Paul Gorham Coach's show via Pioneer Vision on www.SacredHeartPioneers.com or on YouTube. Here are some excerpts from last week's show (9/27):
On Keshaudas Spence: "Keshaudas showed a lot heart, especially in the last drive. We were able to give him the ball seven times and chew up a lot of clock. He is a very physical runner and our offensive line did a good job as well, getting him those little cracks he needs to run through."
On The Defense: "We stayed very aggressive with what we did all day. On third and fourth down we stayed with what got us there. The kids are starting to believe in their abilities, if you grind it out and keep at it some good things are going to happen."
The Pioneers stay on the road next weekend to play the final non-conference game of the year at Columbia. The meeting will be the first match-up between the two programs. Sacred Heart's victory over Dartmouth last weekend marked the first time the SHU football team defeated an Ivy League opponent.