SHU Heads to Dartmouth for Final Non-Conference Tilt

SACRED HEART (1-4, 1-2 NEC) VS. DARTMOUTH (3-1, 1-1 IVY)

Game 06 * Hanover, NH * 1:30 pm * Memorial Field

Audio * Live Stats

Game Notes

Setting the Scene...  The Sacred Heart Pioneers head up north to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule at Dartmouth College Saturday afternoon.  The Pioneer offense was held in check in a 12-3 loss to Wagner last week.  On the flip side, the Big Green paid a visit to the Nutmeg State last Saturday and came away with a 34-14 win over the Yale Bulldogs.

Series Notes...  Saturday marks the third-straight season that Sacred Heart and Dartmouth College will meet on the gridiron.  The series is tied at a win apiece, both winning on their home field.

- Both games between the two schools were decided by late field goals.

- In 2010, SHU's Jesper Fredriksson missed a 38-yard field goal that would have put the Pioneers in front with 44 seconds left to play.

- In the 2011 meeting, SHU placekicker Chris Rogers made a 22-yard field goal with 1:00 left to put the Pioneers up 24-21. 

- Dartmouth's Foley Schmidt lined up for a 53 yard attempt to send the game to overtime but SHU senior defensive tackle Matt Linnehan came up with a block as time expired.

- SHU running back Keshaudas Spence ran for the ball 28 times for 129 yards, both career-highs, in last year's win over the Big Green.

Pioneers vs. the Ivy League...  Sacred Heart is 2-1 all-time against the Ivy League.  The Pioneers first faced the league two seasons ago and won both their meetings last season.   

- SHU 24 -- Dartmouth 21 - 9/24/11

- SHU 34 -- Columbia 25, 10/8/11

- Dartmouth 21 -- SHU 19, 9/25/10

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.  Buddy Teevens is in his second stint as the head coach of his alma mater Dartmouth Big Green.  During his first run as head coach from 1987 through 1991, Teevens led his team to a pair of Ivy League titles in 1990 and 1991.  He returned to Hanover in 2005 after head coaching stints at Tulane and Stanford.

Up Next...  SHU will return to NEC play full time next Saturday with a trip out to Pittsburgh, PA to take on the Duquesne Dukes.  Sacred Heart and Duquesne have met seven times with the Dukes holding a 5-2 lead in the series including three-straight wins.  Duquesne won 29-15 in Fairfield last season and the last SHU win in Pittsburgh came in 2008, 29-17.  The Dukes enter their game at CCSU this week winners of four-straight and 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the NEC.

Pioneer Points…

- SHU is coming off a 12-3 loss at home to Wagner last week.

   - The 12 points allowed in the loss were the fewest since falling 9-7 at Robert Morris in 2009

   - The 12 points allowed were the fewest in a loss at home since a 12-7 loss to Monmouth in 2003

- The Pioneers are trying to avoid an 0-3 record against non-conference opponents this season.  SHU lost to Morgan State, 30-27 in four overtimes and at Colgate, 35-14.  Since joining the NEC in 1998, the Pioneers have had just one season where they were winless in non-league play.  In 2009, SHU lost both of their non-conference games, falling to Marist, 31-12, and at Holy Cross, 52-21.

- Sack Masters...  The Pioneers racked up a season-high five sacks against Wagner and now lead the NEC with 14 sacks on the year.

   - R-Junior Chaz Partosan leads the team and is fifth in the nation with 5.5 sacks

   - Partosan also leads the team in tackles for a loss with 8.0, tied for ninth nationally

   - Senior Tyler Foehr is second and ninth in the NCAA at 4.5 sacks

- Foehr was named the NEC Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday.  Foehr blocked an extra point in the loss to Wagner, raising his NEC leading total to four blocked kicks this season.  Foehr blocked field goals against Morgan State and Monmouth and extra points against CCSU and Wagner.

- Junior inside linebacker Justin Sexton leads the NEC and is tied for 11th nationally averaging 11.0 tackles per game.  Sexton has posted double digit tackles in three of the five games.  He has 55 total tackles, 38 have been solo stops.

- Sexton has four of the teams seven takeaways this season.  He has recovered a pair of fumbles and picked off two passes.

- After a slow start to the season, sophomore running back Keshaudas Spence has been rolling the last two weeks.  Spence had just 49 yards rushing through three games but over the last two weeks, he has piled up 195 yards on 22 carries (8.9 ypc).  Spence is averaging 6.4 yards per carry on the season, ranking first among the NEC's top-10 rushers.

   Spence 2012 Game by Game

   vs. Morgan State - 7 att, 23 yds, 0 TD

   vs. Colgate - 6 att, 18 yds, 0 TD

   vs. Monmouth - 3 att, 8 yds, 0 TD

   vs. CCSU - 10 att, 123 yds, 1 TD

   vs. Wagner - 12 att, 72 yds, 0 TD

- Senior running back Kevin Eckel is ranked second in the NEC in kick return average this season.  Eckel has 12 returns for 296 yards, a 24.7 average per return.  His long of 49 yards came vs. CCSU.  He currently ranks 30th among NCAA leaders.

- Rogers Rebounding...  Sophomore place kicker Chris Rogers made all 11 field goals he attempted in 2011.  In 2012, he started the year just two-of-six but has rebounded to make his last three attempts.  Rogers has connected from 17, 20 and 20 yards in the last two games against CCSU and Wagner.

- Offensively, the Pioneers have struggled on third down and in the red zone this season.  SHU ranks seventh in the NEC on third down, converting 31.4% (22-70).  The Pioneers are last in the NEC when they get into the red zone, scoring just 58.8% (10-17) of the time.

Around the NEC…

- The Albany Great Danes continued to roll as they flipped a 14-14 game into a 31-14 win at Bryant last weekend.  The Great Danes have won all five of their games by double digits this season and have now scored 24 or more points in 19 of their last 21 games, owning a 16-5 record during that span.

- Sacred Heart and Monmouth will both face-off with the Ivy League this Saturday.  SHU will head to New Hampshire to take on the Dartmouth Big Green while the Hawks are heading to Western New York to face the Cornell Big Red. 

- The Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash, picked to finish last in the NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll, enter this week at 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the league with wins over Bryant and rival Robert Morris on their ledger.  The Red Flash's 2-1 start in NEC play matches the best-ever in program history. Saint Francis won two of its first three NEC contests in 2005, a season that saw the team post a 3-8 overall record (3-4 NEC).

- The Duquesne Dukes and Central Connecticut Blue Devils come off their bye weeks to face each other this Saturday in New Britain.  The Dukes and Blue Devils have had very different seasons to this point.  Duquesne is looking to keep pace with Albany and stay perfect in NEC action (2-0) while CCSU is looking for their first win and end to a five-game slide.

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