Sept. 10, 2009
Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-1, 0-0 NEC) vs. #25 Holy Cross Crusaders (1-0, 1-0 Patriot League)
Game #2 - Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 - 1:00 pm - Worcester, Mass. - Fitton Field (23,500)
Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart Pioneers travel to the College of Holy Cross Saturday afternoon for the first of three-straight on the road. For the first-time in program history, the Pioneers will take on a ranked opponent as they match-up with the #25-ranked Crusaders. SHU is looking to rebound from their season-opening 31-12 loss at home to the Marist Red Foxes. Holy Cross stays home for Week 2 after a 20-7 comeback win over Georgetown last week. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named the National Offensive Player of the Week by the Sports Network after throwing for 414 yards and two scores in engineering the win.
The SHU - Holy Cross Series... The Pioneers and Crusaders met for the first time in the 2005 season opener. SHU jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Holy Cross offense took over behind running back Steve Silva's six touchdown effort on the way to a 56-14 win at home. The game marked the first time the Pioneers faced a school from the Patriot League.
Pioneers vs. the Patriot League... Sacred Heart has faced the likes of the Patriot League twice, dropping both decisions. The Pioneers fell at the hands of Holy Cross on the road in 2005 and opened the 2006 season losing to Lafayette, 25-14, at home.
SHU in the NEC... The Pioneers are in their 12th season of competition in the Northeast Conference. SHU holds a 35-41 record in NEC competition since joining the league in 1998. The Pioneers won their only league championship during the 2001 campaign, finishing a perfect 8-0. SHU finished second to Robert Morris in 2000, going 7-1 in the league. The Pioneers are coming off their first winning season in conference action since 2002 after posting a 4-3 mark to finish tied for third.
Up Next... Sacred Heart is off next week and will return to action on Saturday, September 26th when they travel to the University at Albany to take on the defending NEC Champion Great Danes.
The Head Coaches... Sacred Heart head coach Paul Gorham (New Hampshire `84) is in his sixth season on the Pioneer sideline. Gorham was named the school's seventh head coach in June of 2004 and owns a 23-31 record in his six year career. Prior to becoming the Pioneer's head coach, Gorham had stops at UMass, Brown, New Haven and his alma mater New Hampshire. Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore (Pennsylvania `86) is in his sixth season in charge of the Crusader football program. Gilmore owns a 31-25 record at Holy Cross and overall. Over the last three season, Gilmore has guided the Crusaders to a 21-12 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Patriot League. He was named the 2006 Patriot League Coach of the Year. Prior to becoming the head coach at Holy Cross, Gilmore was the defensive coordinator at Lehigh University and also had stints at Dartmouth, Penn and Columbia.
Last Meeting with Holy Cross... Holy Cross running back Steve Silva ran for three touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and threw a pair of scoring passes as the Crusaders opened the 2006 season with a 56-21 win over Sacred Heart on Fitton Field. Both of Silva's touchdown passes were thrown to quarterback John O'Neil, who completed 15 of 21 passes of 215 yards and two scores himself. Sacred Heart jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first 4:35 of the game as senior running back Ed Pricolo plunged in from a yard out and junior quarterback Tyler Arciaga threw a 14-yard scoring strike to junior wideout Joey Henley. The Crusaders answered right back as Silva threw an eight-yard score to O'Neil to start a run of 49 unanswered points on the way to the lopsided win. O'Neil then threw a pair of touchdown passes, of 25 yards to Silva and 77 yards to Sean Gruber, giving the Crusaders a 28-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. Silva threw another touchdown pass to O'Neil, this one going for 16 yards, before rushing for two more touchdowns prior to halftime to put Holy Cross up 49-14. Sacred Heart's Pricolo capped the Pioneer scoring in the third quarter on a two-yard score to finish off a 46-yard, five play drive. Pricolo led Sacred Heart with 91 yards and a pair of scores on 21 carries. Henley finished the day with 10 catches for 125 yards and a score. The Crusaders had 10 different players catch passes in the game, led by Bob Turkovich with four receptions for 42 yards. Silva rushed for 85 yards on 15 carries.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart opened the 2009 season a week ago falling at the hands of the Marist Red Foxes of the Pioneer Football League, 31-12. The Pioneers turned the ball over twice for touchdowns and went just one-of-five on fourth down attempts in the loss. Marist sophomore cornerback Jaquan Bryant picked-off SHU quarterback Dale Fink twice for touchdowns, once to open the scoring and again to finish it as the Pioneers drop their season opener for the first time since 2006. The SHU offense finished with 324 yards of total offense but where held to just 87 yards on the ground, averaging just 3.3 yards per rush. The Pioneers finished one of five on fourth down and came up short on two of four scoring chances in the redone. The Pioneers fell behind 17-6 at the half and continued to struggle offensively to open the third quarter, going three and out on their first possession and turning the ball over on downs on their next three possessions. The Red Foxes took advantage and extended their lead to 24-6 with Bryant putting the game away with his second pick for six late in the fourth quarter. Fink finished the game 30-of-44 for 237 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions while senior Steve Tedesco, who went the entire first half without a catch, finished with six grabs for 79 yards. R-Freshman Jo Jo Jamiel also had six catches for 39 yards. Defensively, sophomore Titus McIntosh had a game-high 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Sophomore defensive end Justin Embler had eight stops and a sack.
Fink Sets Two New School Records... Quarterback Dale Fink added two more school records to his already impressive resume in last week's loss to Marist. Fink finished with a career-high 30 completions (44 attempts) to tie the school record for completions in a game (Tyler Arciaga - 30 vs. Stony Brook 10/21/06). Heading into this season, Fink needed just 18 completions to set the new school career completions mark, a record he now holds at 405 and counting. Fink now holds the school records for career touchdown throws (47). He needs 401 yards passing to become the school's all-time passing yardage leader (4,470-Arciaga `05-'06). He is 85 passing attempts away from eclipsing the career mark in that category as well (689-Arciaga `05-'06). Fink already holds the school marks for career touchdown throws (48), touchdowns in a game (4 - 2x), completions in a season (215 - 2008) and completion percentage in a season (.678 - 2008).
Pioneer Debuts... The Pioneers got strong performances for a trio of players making their debuts in a SHU uniform. R-Freshman wide receiver Jo Jo Jamiel tied for the team lead with six receptions for 39 yards against Marist. Freshman running back Brett Swider stepped in for Coles on kick-off returns and impressed, turning in four returns for 112 yards including a long of 31 yards. Sophomore cornerback Titus McIntosh made a team-high 11 tackles with a pass break up and a forced fumble in his first career-starting assignment.
Tedesco Cracks Another Top 10... Sacred Heart senior receiver Steve Tedesco caught six passes for 79 yards in the season opener against Marist to move onto the Northeast Conference's all-time top-10 receiving yards list. Tedesco who has 2,061 career yards, displaced former Saint Francis (PA) standout Luke Palko, who is now a scout for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, to claim 10th place in NEC annals. A two-time all-NEC first team selection, Tedesco owns SHU records for receptions (168) and receiving touchdowns (26) as well.