SETTING THE SCENE
The Sacred Heart football team returns home riding a three game winning streak following back-to-back road victories as the Pioneers welcome the Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash to Campus Field. The Pioneers have knocked off a pair of Ivy League teams during its recent run, most recently defeating Columbia, 34-25, last weekend in New York City. The SHU offense has come alive as of late, averaging 31.6 points per game in its last three contests after being held to single digits in its first two outings of 2011. Saint Francis (PA) enters Fairfield, CT trying to break a three game slide, dropping a trio of tilts against Northeast Conference opposition. The Red Flash's lone win of 2011 came in a 50-49 shootout victory over Morehead State. The Pioneers are looking to win four straight for the first time since 2008, when they started the season a perfect 6-0.
The Sacred Heart vs. Saint Francis (PA) Series
The Pioneers own a 9-6 advantage all-time over the Red Flash but Saint Francis (PA) registered a 41-0 rout of SHU last season in Loretto, PA. The two sides have split the last four meetings while Sacred Heart owns a 4-3 all-time record at home against the Red Flash.
LITTLE'S BIG DAY
Tim Little (Egg Harbor Twp., NJ) became the first Pioneer of the season to earn Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Week recognition after a career day at Columbia. Little passed his way to 371 yards, three touchdowns, and a third consecutive victory. He set a career high in passing yardage and accounted for the highest single-game output by a NEC quarterback thus far this season. The 6-foot-4 quarterback turned a 13-6 deficit into a 27-13 lead by accounting for three touchdowns over a 6:24 span. The red-shirt sophomore quarterback also added a rushing touchdown to his stat line with a one yard TD plunge that put Sacred Heart on top, 20-13.
ROSSI ON A ROLL
Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) leads the SHU receiving core in every statistical category in 2011. He has tallied 23 catches for 317 yards and four touchdowns already this season. Rossi snagged a pair of TD receptions in the Pioneers 34-25 victory over Columbia last weekend. The senior tight end accounted for the game tying score 47 seconds before halftime as well as a touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it a two score affair. Rossi has secured a touchdown in every game during the Pioneers current three game winning streak.
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 (10/12):
On Tim Little: "He's getting more comfortable and finding out what he likes to do in game situations. He managed the game (at Columbia) real well for us, in those three drives in six minutes we worked well with the special teams."
On Garry Coles Back Healthy: "We are more dynamic with Garry. He gives us the threat of the big play with his speed. He stretches the field and opens up some of the underneath zones for the other guys."
On Saint Francis (PA): "We will be ready to go. They got us pretty good last year, to the point of embarrassment. There are enough guys around to know they throttled us a year ago. Not that it's payback, but we will be prepared to go."
TURNING AROUND THIRD DOWN
Sacred Heart had its most efficient day of the year on third downs last week against the Lions. SHU was able to move the chains on ten of its 16 opportunities on third down. The Pioneers entered the game struggling on third down and with their performance against Columbia SHU raised its season conversion rate to 34%.
WE WANT SOME "MOORE"
Sophomore Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) has posted back-to-back games with over 100 all-purpose yards. In SHU's triumph over Columbia the sophomore was the game's leading rusher with 98 yards while also chipping in seven receptions for 62 yards. Moore had his break out game against Central Connecticut State, exploding a pair of touchdowns on 53 rushing yards to go along with 47 receiving yards.
MR. ROGER'S UPRIGHTS
Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY) had another superb day en route to earning the nod as the NEC Special Teams of the Week. The red-shirt freshman put his accuracy on display again last week. Rogers hit a pair of three-pointers to remain perfect on field goal attempts (6-for-6) this season and scored a total of 10 points in the win. He opened the game's scoring by booting a 32-yard field goal to cap the Pioneers' first drive of the afternoon. After Columbia had taken a 6-3 advantage, Rogers tied the by converting from 18 yards out on the left hash mark in the second quarter. He rounded out the game a perfect 4-for-4 on PATs.
SHU IN THE NEC
The Pioneers are playing in their 14th season in the Northeast Conference this fall. SHU holds a 39-49 record in NEC competition since joining the league in 1998. The Pioneers won their only league championship during the 2001 campaign, notching a perfect 8-0 record. SHU finished second to Robert Morris in 2000, going 7-1 in the league. The Pioneers are coming off of an eighth place finish in 2009 with a 2-6 conference mark.
SOCIAL MEDIA FRENZY
Make sure you are getting complete coverage of the Sacred Heart Football team through the Pioneers various social media outlets. "Like" Sacred Heart University Pioneers on Facebook, "Follow" @SHUBigRed on Twitter, and "Subscribe" to the SacredHeartAthletics YouTube Channel.
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 endured one of the most statistically even games of the year on the road in a 31-15 victory over Albany. The Great Danes cracked the scoreboard first but SHU rattled off 15 unanswered points, eventually taking a 15-10 advantage into halftime. Brandon Graham and DeVeren Johnson both registered touchdowns down the stretch as the Pioneers overcame Albany's 200 total rushing yards. Johnson finished the day with ten catches for 186 yards and a pair of scores as SHU improved to 6-0 on the year and 5-0 in NEC play.
The Pioneers start what could be the toughest portion of the 2011 schedule next weekend, welcoming Monmouth to Campus Field for a clash during SHU Family Weekend.