FAIRFIELD, CT (October 12, 2013) - Sacred Heart junior running back Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) piled up a career-high 211 yards with two scores as the Pioneers ran away with a 59-36 Northeast Conference win over Central Connecticut Saturday afternoon on Campus Field. The Pioneers forced four turnovers and blocked a punt, all leading to touchdowns in the win and improved to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in the NEC.
Spence carried the ball 23 times and scored on touchdown runs of 29 yards and 27 yards to lead a Pioneer ground attack that finished with 225 yards. R-Sophomore RJ Noel (Lowell, MA) threw for 297 yards and four touchdowns, both career-best marks. Junior Tyler Dube (Southington, CT) caught seven passes for a career-high 191 yards and a pair of scores.
A fast-paced Pioneer offense had eight scoring drives on Saturday afternoon, none of which were over four minutes in duration. The Pioneers took the opening kick-off and used nine plays to opening the scoring with Noel finding sophomore Moses Webb (Manassas, VA) from 16 yards out.
The Blue Devils (2-5, 1-1 NEC) followed with a Nick SanGiacomo to Rob Hollomon touchdown pass from two yards out to cap a six-play drive. After a missed extra point, the Pioneers exploded for three-straight scores, one coming on defense and another set-up by a big special teams play.
A Noel to Dube 57-yard hook-up help set up a one-yard scoring run by the quarterback to close out the first quarter with SHU up 14-6. Facing a third and nine on their next possesion, CCSU's SanGiacomo was picked off by junior safety Gordon Hill (Sicklerville, NJ) who returned it 36 yards to the house for a 21-6 lead with 14:19 on the clock. It was Hill's second pick-six this season (45yd return vs. Chowan).
The Pioneer defense forced a three-and-out on the next CCSU drive and then came up with some speical teams magic. Junior Sam McCain (Jamison, PA) came up with a blocked punt and recovered it at the Blue Devil 25-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Noel hit senior Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) for a 28-6 lead with 12:49 left in the half.
Central Connecticut refused to go quietly and tacked on 14-straight points thanks to a pair of Hollomon touchdown runs, seven and four yards. Leading 28-19, Noel led the Pioneers longest drive of the afternoon at 10 plays that was capped by a 27-yard Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY) field goal with 1:15 left before the break.
A Hollomon fumble killed an eight play drive to start the third quarter for CCSU and the Pioneers made them pay as Noel hooked-up with Dube on a 72-yard pass and catch for six, marking the longest scoring play of the season. The Blue Devils would twice cut the SHU lead to 12 points but could get no closer as the Pioneers had an answer each time.
Spence, who had 164 yards in the second half, kept Central at bay with a 29-yard touchdown run to make it 45-26, and a 27-yard scoring run to make it 52-33 with 13:43 left in the fourth quarter. After Central's fourth turnover of the game midway through the fourth quarter, Noel closed out the SHU scoring with a six-yard strike to Dube for his fourth TD of the afternoon and a 59-33 lead.
Central outgained the Pioneers offensively, 583 to 522, and held the ball for 36:17 but were done in by four turnovers and a blocked punt.
The Pioneers were led defensively by senior linebacker Matt Colucci (Hopewell Junction, NY) who finished with 10 tackles, fumble recovery and an interception. Hill had eight tackles to go with his pick while senior J.D. Roussel (Pawtucket, RI) also had an interception in the win.
Sacred Heart is on the road next Saturday when they travel to Smithfield, RI to face the Bryant Bulldogs in NEC action. Kick-off is a 1:00 pm.