Stetson Hatters (0-0) vs. Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 2 - 6 PM (Campus Field)
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart Football team opens its 2017 season Saturday night at Campus Field, hosting the Stetson Hatters for Heroes Day.
As part of the celebration, SHU invites all active and retired military and first responders to attend the game as guests of the University. Those in uniform, or with valid ID, will be admitted free as a thank you and small token of appreciation. In addition, family members of those military and first responders that attend the game will receive discounted tickets. For more information, email or call the SHU Ticket Office at 203-396-TIXX.
The first 500 adult fans will receive SHU t-shirts with a US Flag theme. In addition, the first 500 children under 12 will receive a US flag.
The Pioneers return 16 starters from last season's 6-5 team, including nine on offense. All five starting offensive linemen – Sean Peters, Sean Merrill, Brad Tiernan, Knikeem Lewis, and Andrew Starr – are back for the Pioneers in 2017. Last season, the group allowed an NEC-low 13 sacks and were integral in SHU's NEC-leading rushing attack that averaged 207 yards per game.
Seven starters return on defense, including 2016 Second Team All-NEC linebacker CJ Parvelus and Preseason All-NEC selections Dylan Ackerson and Kevin Barry. Parvelus led SHU with 100 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss last season. Barry, a two-time All-NEC selection, had 62 tackles and led SHU in sacks.
Saturday will be the second meeting between the Pioneers and the Hatters. SHU won the inaugural meeting last season at Stetson 18-14 on Sept. 3, 2016. Trailing 14-6 at halftime, SHU got a 17-yard touchdown pass from RJ Noel to Andrew O'Neill late in the third quarter to get within two, 14-12. Early in the fourth, Ose Imeokparia put SHU in the lead 18-14 with an 80-yard touchdown run. The Pioneers' defense held Stetson to 35 yards of total offense in the second half. Barry had a career-high 13 tackles, including three TFLs and a forced fumble.
Stetson is coming off a 4-7 season in 2016, its fourth since bringing back the program. The Hatters went 2-6 in the Pioneer Football League, earning wins over Davidson and Campbell with three losses by 11 points or less. Linebacker Jeb Boudreaux was named to the preseason All-PFL team this summer after leading the league with 116 tackles in 2016. Stetson was picked to repeat its ninth-place finish in the 2017 PFL Coaches' Poll.