FAIRFIELD, Conn – Sacred Heart quarterback R.J. Noel (Lowell, NJ) and safety Gordon Hill (Sicklerville, NJ) were both honored with Northeast Conference weekly awards this week, following the Pioneers 42-25 win over Robert Morris on Satuday afternoon. Noel hauled in his seventh NEC Rookie of the Week award, while Hill garnered his first Defensive Player of the Week honor. Noel and Hill were both vital pieces in Sacred Heart's wire-to-wire NEC Championship-clinching victory and first-ever berth into the FCS Playoffs.
As he has done all season long for the Pioneers, Hill was tenacious on defense all afternoon long against the Colonials. Hill racked up nine tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and 1.5 tackles for loss. His strip sack of RMU quarterback Paul Jones led to a R.J Noel touchdown pass to Moses Webb (Manassas, VA) to give SHU a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Hill also showed great hands in recovering two Robert Morris onside kick attempts late in the fourth quarter Saturday, returning one 44 yards for a touchdown. Hill's TD return put an exclamation point on a Sacred Heart wire-to-wire victory in Moon Township, Pa.
In winning his seventh Rookie of the Week award, Noel once again did not shy away from the big moment. In his 12th consecutive start of the season, Noel completed 10 of 19 passes with three touchdowns. He also added 74 yards on the ground, including a 35-yard touchdown run to give SHU a 21-3 lead with 6:08 remaining in the third quarter. He tossed two first half touchdowns, a 70-yard strike to Robert Dim (Sicklerville, NJ) in the first quarter and a 19-yarder to Moses Webb (Manassas, VA) in the second. The Jerry Rice Award finalist finished the regular season with 23 touchdown passes and seven rushing scores. The 2013 SHU offense scored 423 points this season which ranks second all-time.
Hill, Noel and the rest of the Pioneers will await their next opponent to be anounced on the FCS Playoffs Selection Show live on ESPNU on Sunday, November 24th at 11:30 am.