Sept. 26, 2009
ALBANY, N.Y. (September 26, 2009) - The University at Albany used three Sacred Heart first half turnovers and a 105 yard rushing afternoon from senior David McCarty on the way to posting a 22-9 win over the visiting Pioneers Saturday afternoon in the Northeast Conference opener for both teams. The Pioneer offense was held to three sophomore Matt Fisher (Greenlawn, NY) field goals falling to 0-3 to start the year.
Sacred Heart (0-3, 0-1 NEC) turned the ball over three times over the first 30 minutes of action but the Great Danes were only able to turn the SHU miscues into nine points. The Pioneers second drive ended on a Garry Cole (Southington, CT) fumble and their third ended on a quarterback Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) interception, both ending with Herb Glass field goals for a 6-0 early lead.
Fink got the SHU offense on track and guided the team on a 16-play drive that covered 68 yards ending in the first of Fisher's field goals at the 9:00 minute mark of the second quarter. The drive was fueled by a fake punt attempt by the Pioneers to convert a fourth down at midfield.
UAlbany (2-2, 1-0 NEC) got a 50-yard return on the kickoff from Kinsey Emerson to set the offense up at the SHU 47-yard line, their third-straight start in Pioneers territory. The Great Danes capitalized as senior quarterback Vinny Esposito hit running back Justin Gannon for a 24-yard score to make it 13-3 at the 5:23 mark.
The Pioneers suffered another turnover on their next possession as Fink was picked off for the second time, as Rich Duff nabbed the junior's pass at the 48-yard line and returned it 34 yards before being knocked out at the SHU 14-yard line. The Great Dane offense, starting on the SHU side of the 50 for the fourth-straight drive settled for a third Glass field goal, this time from 24-yards out for a 16-3 lead they carried into the break.
SHU head coach Paul Gorham went to r-sophomore quarterback Tyler McKeon (Worcester, MA) at the end of the second quarter and into the second half and helped lead a pair of scoring drives. After an Albany drive stalled with a 36-yard miss by Glass into a stiff wind, McKeon took the Pioneers on a 12-play drive that ended in a 21-yard field goal by Fisher.
After a missed 52-yard attempt by Glass in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, McKeon led SHU on another 12-play scoring drive. The big play came on a second-and-eight from the Albany 28-yard line as McKeon found sophomore Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) over the middle to just inside the one-yard line setting up a first and goal. The Great Dane defense stood tall and forced the Pioneers into a field goal attempt on fourth down. An apparent fake that resulted in a Fink to Brian Friedman (Point Pleasant, NJ) touchdown was negated by an illegal formation call and it looked like SHU would end up with no points after a Fisher 28-yard attempt missed left. A running into the kicker call on the Albany defense gave the sophomore another shot from 23-yards out and he banged it home cutting the lead to 16-9 with 9:00 left.
From there, McCarty and the Great Dane offense took over, pounding out a nine-play drive that covered 57 yards that ended with the senior tailback plunging in from four-yards out for a 22-9 lead. McCarty ran the ball seven times on the drive on his way to a 100-yard afternoon. From there the Great Dane defense forced a punt three and out and let the offense run the clock out.
McKeon finished the day eight-of-16 for 118 yards in the loss. Coles was the Pioneers leading rusher and receiver with 47 yards on nine carries and seven catches for 48 more. Sophomore line backer Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) led all players with 11 tackles.
The Pioneers are back in action in one week when they travel to New Britain, CT to take on the Central Connecticut Blue Devils to close out a three game road swing. The game will be televised live on MSG Plus. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 noon.