Sacred Heart quarterback RJ Noel threw a career-high five touchdown passes and Tyler Dube tied the program single-season touchdown reception record as the Pioneers defeated Northeast Conference host Central Connecticut State University, 35-27. The victory improves the Pioneers to 8-2 on the season and 4-1 in NEC play, while the Blue Devils fall to 2-8 overall and 0-5 in conference action.
Noel finished 26-45 passing and his five touchdown passes equaled the second-best single-game performance (Dale Fink, 11/20/10 vs. Wagner). He threw for a career-best 327 yards, the fifth-best effort in a single-game in program history.
Moses Webb and Dube both had career days in the receiving game for Sacred Heart. Webb caught a career-best six passes for a career-high 159 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown pass 1:23 into the fourth quarter to break a 21-21 tie. Webb's receiving total is the eighth-best single-game effort in school history.
Dube tied the single-game reception record with his 12th catch, an 18-yard touchdown reception that tied the single-season record for TD catches at 13. He finished with 111 yards receiving, his third 100-yard game of the 2014 season.
Sacred Heart finished with 466 total yards of offense, while Central posted 317. Sean Bell rushed for a team-high 65 yards, while Noel carried for 44 yards and Keshaudas Spence had 30 yards, before sitting out the second-half.
Gordon Hill led the Pioneer defense with 11 tackles, while Kevin Barry recorded 10, including 1.5 TFL in the contest. James Rentz and Connor Candito both had interceptions, with Candito doing so for the third time in four games.
Keir Minor blocked a Jamie Ross punt with 1:33 to play in the first quarter backwards into the end zone, where Josh Alaeze recovered it for a Blue Devil touchdown. The ensuing PAT from Ed Groth gave Central a 7-0 lead.
Noel found Tim Goodwin from two-yards out with 9:55 to play in the second quarter, tying the game 7-7. The pass capped an eight-play, 40-yard drive that started when Robert Dim recovered a fumbled punt.
On the Blue Devils first play on the next drive Gordon Hill recovered a fumble. Three plays later Jackson King caught a pass from Noel for a 29-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead 72 seconds after the Pioneers first touchdown.
Noel was intercepted on the next Pioneer possession and the Blue Devils captilized. Brenden Lytton took a second down handoff 32 yards for the game-tying touchdown, with 6:04 to play in the first half.
Noel threw his third touchdown of the first-half, hitting Dube from seven yards out with 16 seconds left in the half, to send the Pioneers into halftime leading 21-14. The go-ahed drive was a 10-play 51-yard drive that took 1:57 to complete.
Central evened the game with its first drive of the second-half. After the Pioneers were held to three-and-out to open the half and after a penalty on the punt Central started its drive on its own 48-yard line. On the fifth play of the drive, Nick SanGiacomo threaded a five-yard pass to Tyrell Holmes for a touchdown.
Dennis Regan broke up a potential first down reception at midfield in the opening minute of the final quarter, forcing the Blue Devils to punt. After Noel scampered 10 yards on the first play, he found Moses Webb for a 63-yard touchdown with 13:37 to play.
Central answered 1:13 later as Lytton broke his second big touchdown run of the game, going 54 yards for the score. Ed Groth's PAT was no good and SHU maintained a 28-27 advantage. The 18-yard pass to Dube with 7:47 to play wrapped-up the scoring.
Lytton finished with 193 yards rushing, on 30 carries for the Blue Devils, while catching two passes for 27 yards. SanGiacomo threw for 134 yards on 11-23 passing, with a TD pass to Holmes, one of his six catches.
The Pioneers return to action on Saturday, November 15 when they host Bryant University on Campus Field. The 12:00 pm game, airing on ESPN3 will be preceded by a ceremony honoring the SHU football seniors. It marks the second consecutive season that the Pioneers will enter their final game with a chance at winning the NEC Championship.