SMITHFIELD, CT (November 3, 2012) – The Sacred Heart football team dropped their third-straight game Saturday afternoon, falling at Bryant University 34-14 in a Northeast Conference match-up. The Pioneers were held to a season-low 22 yards rushing and turned the ball over four times in losing their third-straight to the Bulldogs.
Defensively, the Pioneers (2-7, 1-5 NEC) posted five sacks and held the Bulldogs (3-6, 3-4 NEC) to just four of 16 on third down. The Pioneers held senior running back Jordan Brown to 88 yards on 23 carries but couldn't contain the NEC's leading receiver Jordan Harris who had touchdown catches of 74 and 52 yards in the win.
Harris was all the offense Bryant would need in the first half, catching two passes for 126 yards while finished with 205 yards as a team. The Pioneers dominated the first quarter with the exception of one big play by Harris. Off the opening kick-off, the Pioneers opened on defense with a sack and a tackle for loss on second down to put Bryant in a third and 20 situation. Quarterback Mike Westerhaus went to his go-to guy in Harris and the junior beat the SHU defense to the tune of a 74 yard score for a quick 7-0 lead.
The Pioneer defense locked down and forced a pair of Bryant three and outs but couldn't capitalize on offense. SHU had a pair of drives into the red-zone but came away empty on both trips. Facing a fourth and two on the Bryant 17-yard line, sophomore back Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) picked up the first down but fumbled on the next play to end the drive on the five.
Sacred Heart's defense continued to hold and forced a third-straight Bryant punt. On first down on 48-yard line, quarterback Luke Wischnowski (West Chester, PA) was looking for senior Jo Jo Jamiel (West Yarmouth, MA) on the edge but his pass was a little high. The ball was tipped and picked by corner Charles Wingate who went untouched for 48-yards and a 14-0 Bryant with 9:58 left in first half.
The Bulldogs extended their lead on their next drive when on first down, Westerhaus found Harris again, this time on a 52-yd TD. Bryant would tack on a Dom Kozlowski 21-yard field goal and carried a 24-0 lead into the half. The SHU offense was held to just seven yards on the ground in the first half and 0-2 in the red-zone.
The Pioneers caught a break to open the second half as a Gregory Ibe (Queens, NY) fumble on the opening kick-off was negated by at Bryant penalty. The Pioneers took full advantage of the break when Wischnowski hit tight end Tim Goodwin (Ventor, NJ) up the seam for a 53-yard score to get on the board just under two minutes into the half.
SHU's defense built on the fast start to second half, forcing three-straight Bryant three and outs but the offense failed to capitalize and Wischnowski's second pick of the day sets up Bryant on the Pioneers 28-yard line. Westerhaus converted on third and 18 on the drive with a 30-yard toss to Chad Ward to set up first and goal but penalties bounced the Bulldogs back to the SHU 34 yard line. On second down, SHU's Gordon Hill (Sicklerville, NJ) ended the Bryant scoring drive intercepting Westerhaus in the end zone.
Bryant's Kozlowski extend the lead with 10:00 left in the fourth, hitting from 24-yards out. The Pioneers marched right down the field and cut the lead to 27-14 when Wischnowski found r-freshman Tyler Dube (Southington, CT) for a 12-yard score, his first career-touchdown.
After a hold on defense, SHU took over with 6:04 left down 13. The drive stalled out when Wischnowski's pass for Dube on fourth and two sailed high. On the sixth play of the ensuing drive, Bryant put the game away when Ricardo McCray broke off left tackle and streaked up the sidelines for a 57-yard score to produce the final, 34-14.
Wischnowski completed 27-of-42 passes for a career-high 285 yards and two scores. He was sacked four times and threw three picks in the loss. Senior Sean Kessler (Huntington, NY) caught six passes for 52 yards.
Junior linebacker Justin Sexton (Murrieta, CA) added nine tackles, seven solo, to his team leading totals. He had four stops for a loss. As a team, the Pioneers had a season-high 17 tackles for losses. Freshman Kellen Sperduto (Oldwick, NJ) picked up two of the Pioneers five sacks.
Bryant's Harris became the program's all-time leader in receptions in the win.
The Pioneers will play host to Robert Morris next Saturday, November 10th on "Senior Day".