Pioneers Back in Action Saturday at Colgate
SACRED HEART (0-1) AT COLGATE (0-2)
Game 02 * Hamilton, NY * 1:00 pm * Andy Kerr Stadium (10,221)
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart comes off an early season bye week to take on the Colgate Raiders of the Patriot League in game two of three-straight on the road to open 2012. The Pioneers are coming off a four-overtime heartbreaker at Morgan State in week one, falling 30-27 to the Bears in their first-ever meeting with a school from the MEAC. The Raiders return to their Hamilton, NY campus after an 0-2 start to their season on the road. Colgate lost their opener to Northeast Conference defending champion and preseason favorite Albany, 40-23, and fell 31-21 at South Dakota last Saturday.
Series Notes... Saturday marks the first ever meeting between Sacred Heart and Colgate on the gridiron.
- Pioneer offensive coordinator Kevin Bolis, in his sixth year at SHU, is a 2000 graduate of Colgate University. Bolis was also a coach for the Raiders in 2005 and 2006. As a player, Bolis was a four-year starter and helped lead his team to two Patriot League titles and three NCAA Tournament berths
SHU vs. the Patriot League... The Pioneers are 1-3 all-time against teams from the Patriot League.
- The Pioneers beat Georgetown at home during the 2012 season, 33-20
- SHU has twice lost on the road at Holy Cross, 56-21 in 2005, and 52-21 in 2009
- Lafayette beat SHU in the 2006 season opener on Campus Field, 25-14.
The Head Coaches... The Pioneers will be lead by interim head coach Mark Nofri in 2012. Beginning his 19th season as a member of the Pioneers coaching staff, Nofri is the longest tenured coach in Sacred Heart program history. He will lead the team with Head Coach Paul Gorham on medical leave. Nofri is also the long time linebackers coach for the Pioneers, turning out several All-Conference and All-American linebackers including Jayson Jarrett '01, Kayode Mayowa '02, Craig Capurso '02, Jon Corto '06 and Chris Mandas '11. Dick Biddle is in his 17th season as the Fred '50 and Marilyn Dunlap Endowed Coaching Chair for Football. Biddle is the winningest coach in school history with a 123-63 overall mark. He has been named Patriot League Coach of the Year four times while guiding the Raiders to six Patriot League titles and six appearances in the FCS (formally I-AA) playoffs.
Up Next... Sacred Heart will close out the three-game road swing that started their season with the start of Northeast Conference play next Saturday. The Pioneers will head to the Jersey Shore for a match-up with the Monmouth Hawks. SHU's last trip to West Long Branch resulted in a thrilling 26-25 victory. Senior running back Marcel Archer ran for four scores as the Pioneers ended a seven-game Hawk winning streak in the series. Last fall, Monmouth dealt the Pioneers a 31-17 loss on Campus Field.
- The Pioneers have had two weeks off since their season-opening 30-27 four overtime loss at Morgan State. The four overtime marathon marked the longest game in Sacred Heart football history. The Pioneers are now 3-3 all-time in overtime games.
- The game marked the first meeting between the Pioneers and Morgan State or any school from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). The Pioneers also face a new opponent this week in Colgate.
- R-junior quarter back Tim Little completed 24-of-50 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. The 50 pass attempts where a career-high for the second-year signal caller. The 266 yards in the air are the third highest total of his young career.
- 371 vs. Columbia - Sept. 9, 2011
- 314 vs. Saint Francis (PA) - Sept. 15, 2011
- 266 at Morgan State - Sept. 1, 2012
- Little spread the ball to nine difference receivers in game one. Senior Rock Tate led the way, matching his career-high with seven catches for career-best 85 yards.
- R-Sophomore Rickey Moore, Jr. caught a pair of passes including his first career touchdown, a 24-yard strike from Little in the fourth quarter.
- R-Sophomore Robert Dim matched his touchdown total from last season, hauling in the first score of the 2012 season.
- The Pioneers have been last in the NEC in rushing in each of the last three seasons. If game one is any indications, that trend may not continue in 2012. The Pioneers churned out 175 yards on the ground at Morgan State, their first game over 100-yards rushing as a team since game six last season when they posted 274 yards in a win over Saint Francis (PA). The Pioneers averaged just 67.2 yards per game as a team over the last five games of 2011.
- Junior Greg Moore and sophomore Sean Bell led a rushing attack that featured five different backs getting carries. Moore had 68 yards while Bell had 63 and ran for his first career touchdown in the loss.
- Sophomore safety Gordan Hill picked up right where he left off in 2011. Hill, the team's top-returning tackler (68 tkls), posted nine stops, six solo, with a forced fumble in the loss.
- Senior linebacker Niko Sierra matched hill with nine tackles. Sierra matched his career-high of nine tackles, set last season against Monmouth (Oct. 22, 2011).
- Junior linebacker Justin Sexton had six stops and had the Pioneers first two turnovers of 2012. Sexton intercepted a pass in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter and recovered a fumble in overtime. It was Sexton's first career interception.
- Sophomore placekicker Chris Rogers saw his streak of field goal makes end in the loss at Morgan State. Rogers, who was the only kicker in all of Division I FCS to make every field goal he attempted last season (11-11), made his first attempt this season, a 28-yarder to tie the game at 24-24 with 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter. His streak ended at 12-straight with a miss from 45-yards as time expired and he went on to miss from 35-yards and see a 30-yarder blocked in the overtimes.
Around the NEC...
- Preseason NEC favorite Albany is off to a strong start to their season and is the only league team heading into week three unbeaten. The Great Danes opened with an impressive 40-23 win over SHU's opponent this week, Colgate. UAlbany posted a 35-10 win in their NEC opener last week over Robert Morris.
- Albany and Central Connecticut State will face a pair of nationally ranked opponents this Saturday. The Great Danes will travel to #5 ranked Youngstown State while CCSU heads up north to face #18 New Hampshire. The Blue Devils lost to #16 ranked Lehigh at home last week, 35-14.
- The Monmouth Hawks won their second-straight match-up against the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), knocking off Rhode Island 41-6 last week. The Hawks beat Villanova last fall, 20-9.
- So much for preseason predictions. The Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash, picked ninth in the NEC Coaches Poll, took out the Bryan Bulldogs 39-28 last week. The Bulldogs were tabbed third in the preseason rankings.
- Bryant's Jordan Brown was named this week's winner of the Boston Globe Gold Helmet Award. Brown had 125 yards rushing in their loss to SFPA and is just 92 yards away from becoming Bryant's all-time leading rusher.