SACRED HEART (0-3, 0-1 NEC) VS. CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE (0-4, 0-1 NEC)
Game 04 * Fairfield, CT * 12:00 pm * Campus Field
TV: Fox College Sports, Cox, ESPN3
Setting the Scene... After three-straight games on the road to open 2012, the Sacred Heart Pioneers are finally back at home on Campus Field, highlighting "Homecoming Weekend". The Pioneers will welcome Nutmeg State rival Central Connecticut State University to town for a Northeast Conference battle that is being broadcast live on Fox College Sports. The Pioneers and Blue Devils both come in searching for their first win of 2012. SHU is coming off a 27-14 loss at Monmouth last Saturday, where for the second-straight week they were tied at the half 14-14 only to be shut-out over the final two quarters. The Blue Devils are 0-4 and coming off a 31-13 loss at home to Wagner last Saturday in their NEC opener.
Series Notes... This will be the 15th meeting between CCSU and SHU.
- The Blue Devils hold a 9-5 edge in the series.
- Sacred Heart ended a seven-game CCSU winning streak last season with a 37-24 win in New Britain. SHU forced five turnovers and scored 16 unanswered fourth quarter points in the win. Running back Greg Moore had 100 combined rushing and receiving yards and scored twice in the win.
- SHU is 2-5 at home against the Blue Devils. Their last win over CCSU at home came was 17-3 victory during the 2002 season.
- The Pioneers won four-straight in the series from 2000-2003.
Pioneers in NEC Play... The 2012 season marks the 15th season of play in the Northeast Conference for Sacred Heart University.
- The Pioneers joined the NEC in 1998 for football.
- SHU holds a 41-53 all-time NEC record.
- The Pioneers won the 2001 NEC Championship with a perfect 8-0 record.
- SHU is coming off 6th (t) place finish in 2011 with a 3-5 mark.
- The Pioneers were picked to finish 8th in the 2012 NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll
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. Jeff McInerney is in his seventh season on the CCSU sidelines in 2012. McInerney has led the Blue Devils to a 42-29 mark during his tenure including a pair of Northeast Conference Championships. He was named the 2009 NEC Coach of the Year.
Up Next... Sacred Heart is right back at home next Saturday, October 6th when the Pioneers play host to the Wagner Seahawks to continue a series that has been dominated by the home team. The series is locked at seven wins apiece, and starting in 2002, the two teams have alternated wins each year on their home fields. The Seahawks won 27-21 last season on Staten Island. SHU is 6-1 at home on Campus Field all-time vs. Wagner.
- Sacred Heart is 0-3 to start a season for just the third time since joining the NEC in 1998. The Pioneers opened the 1998 and 2009 seasons at 0-4 before picking up their first wins, in both cases against Saint Francis (PA). SHU started 0-4 during the 1992 season when they went winless at 0-9.
- After three games on the road to start the season, SHU will play their home opener Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers are 9-12 over their history in openers on Campus Field. SHU is 7-7 in home openers since joining the NEC in football in 1998. The Pioneers have lost three-straight home openers.
- Saturday's match-up with Central Connecticut is the marquee event during Sacred Heart's 2012 Homecoming Weekend. The Sacred Heart football team has posted an 9-3 record on homecoming weekend since the 1999 season. The Pioneers ran off six straight homecoming victories between 2000 and 2006 with the 2001 edition of the game was cancelled due to the tragic events of September 11th. SHU has never lost back-to-back homecoming games. SHU is coming off a 24-21 win over Dartmouth last season. This will be the second time in three years SHU has faced CCSU on homecoming weekend.
- Second Half Woes Take Two... For the second-straight week, the Pioneers went into the half tied 14-14 with an opponent only to be shut-out in the second half on the way to a loss. SHU has been outscored 48-17 in the second half of games this season with the third quarter being their worst quarter, falling behind opponents at 38-7 clip.
- SHU was tied with Colgate 14-14 at the half - SHU offense held to 17 yards of total offense and had the ball for just 9:05 in the second half
- SHU was tied at Monmouth 14-14 at the half - SHU offense held to 91 yards of total offense. The Pioneers were held to 42 yards rushing and were 0-11 on third down.
- R-Sophomore wide receiver Robert Dim hauled in six pass for 108 yards, both career-highs, and scored on a 33-yard catch and run at Monmouth. Dim is now fourth in the NEC in receiving yards per game (56.0).
- R-Senior defensive end Tyler Foehr is off to a monster start. The Preseason All-NEC pick has 28 tackles on the season including 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Foehr has also blocked a pair of field goals.
- Junior linebacker Justin Sexton leads the NEC in tackles per game (10.0). Of his 30 tackles, 24 are solo stops. He has 1.5 sacks, an interception and a pair of fumble recoveries.
- R-Freshman wide receiver Tyler Dube scored his first career touchdown in the loss at Monmouth, recovering a fumble in the endzone at the end of the first half.
- Special Teams Standouts... R-Sophomore wide receiver Robert Dim blocked a pair of punts in the loss at Colgate. R-Senior Tyler Foehr has blocked two field goals this season, turning away kicks at Morgan State and Monmouth. And r-senior Kevin Eckel ranks third in the NEC in kick returns, averaging 22.1 yards per return with a long 41 yards.
- QB Tim Little is second in the NEC in passing (203.3 ypg) and has completed passes to 11 different Pioneers this season, six to receivers and five to running backs. A SHU tight end has not caught a pass in 2012. Last season, all-conference tight end Rich Rossi led the team with 47 receptions.
Around the NEC...
- The Albany Great Danes delivered the NEC its second win over the Colonial Athletic Association this season, beating #23 Maine on the road, 30-20 last week. Monmouth beat Rhode Island at home earlier this season, 41-3.
- The Great Danes also delivered the league it's first victory over a nationally ranked opponent in nine tries this season. Albany just missed claiming a huge upset win at #3 Youngstown State a week earlier, falling to the Penguins late, 31-24.
- Monmouth will travel to Albany this weekend for an early season showdown that could go a long way to determining this year's champion. Both come in at 3-1 with impressive non-league wins on their resumes.
- The Duquesne Dukes won their third-straight game with a 35-21 win over Bryant in their 2012 NEC opener. Jordan Brown became Bryant's all-time rushing leader (3,598 yards) in the loss.
- Wagner and Central Connecticut opened the NEC TV package last Saturday on MSG Network. The Seahawks posted a 31-13 win at CCSU. The Blue Devils will be featured this week as well as the head to Sacred Heart in a battle of winless teams. There are four teams searching for their first win in 2012 in the Pioneers (0-3), Blue Devils (0-4), Robert Morris Coloinals (0-3) and Bryant Bulldogs (0-4).