Football Dominates LIU, 34-10, in NEC Opener

Football Dominates LIU, 34-10, in NEC Opener

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – After trailing 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, the Sacred Heart football team ripped off 21 unanswered points that powered the way to a 34-10 road win over LIU from Bethpage Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The victory in the NEC opener ups the Pioneers' (3-1, 1-0 NEC) win streak to three while the Sharks fall to 0-2 (0-1 NEC) on the season.

Reigning FCS National Performer of the Week QB Logan Marchi was incredible once again, finishing 25-for-33 for 375 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT. He torched the Sharks throughout the first half, throwing all three touchdowns and accumulating 253 yards in the opening 30 minutes. This gives Marchi 300+ yards in three straight games, marking the first time in program history a SHU QB has accomplished the feat. During the three-game win streak, Marchi has gone 68-for-103 (66 percent) for 1,098 yards (366 per game) with 12 TD and 1 INT.

RB Julius Chestnut had a big day, registering career-highs in carries (28) and total yards from scrimmage (196) as he went for 161 yards on the ground while adding three catches for 45 yards. Chestnut broke free for a 44-yard score that iced the game away in the fourth quarter.

The two-time NEC Rookie of the Week WR Tyrese Chambers was the go-to guy for Marchi through the air as the first-year tallied eight catches for 144 yards (18.0 yards per reception) and 2 TD. Chambers broke his own SHU rookie record for receiving yards in a game while his 60-yard catch-and-run on a slant in the second quarter established a new career-long reception. For the season, Chambers currently leads all FCS first-years in catches (21), receiving yards (371) and TD catches (five).

A balanced SHU receiving core saw six different Pioneers snag at least three catches on the day. WR Troy Holland grabbed three catches for 94 yards, including a 62-yard bomb that went for the longest play of the game. WR Yasir Berry tallied four catches for 50 yards while TE Del Driscoll caught three balls for 37 yards and his first career touchdown.

On the defensive side of the ball, SHU limited LIU to just 10 points, matching a season-best for fewest points allowed in a game. LB Chris Outterbridge led the way with eight tackles while SS Noah Provenzano added seven. CB Shamere Collins came up with his first career interception while RJ Trimble-Edwards, a converted WR, picked up his second career sack.

First Quarter (7-6 LIU)

  • After a SHU three-and-out to start, LIU grabbed momentum with a 10-play drive that went 52 yards before stalling in SHU territory
  • LIU's 43-yard FG attempt from Briant DeFelice was blocked by Omar Fraser, recovered by Kevin Sears and returned 15 yards to give the Pioneers excellent field position at their own 43-yard-line
  • The blocked FG ignited the SHU offense as 11 plays later, the Pioneers punched in a touchdown from two yards out as RB Eli Terry scored for the second time this season
  • LIU continued to pound the ball on the ground, netting 25 yards in two plays before LIU QB Clay Beathard scrambled in from 20 yards out to give the Sharks a 7-6 lead

Second Quarter (27-7 SHU)

  • On a third-and-three play, Marchi found Chestnut open in the flat who snagged a one-handed catch and carried upfield for a 28-yard gain
  • Marchi's next play saw him connect with Holland for another 31 yards and take the ball to the LIU 22-yard-line
  • In the red zone on a third-and-eight, Marchi came up with a clutch find to Chambers in the back of the end zone as the two linked up for a SHU TD that made it 13-7 Pioneers
  • Perhaps the play of the game came on the ensuing LIU possession as the Sharks drove 61 yards and had it first-and-goal at the SHU 3-yard-line
  • Beathard carried off-tackle and had the ball punched out by DE Kevin Peprah, later recovered by DT Christian LoDolce, as the Pioneers kept their lead and snuffed out all momentum for the home side
  • Taking full advantage of the swing in momentum, Marchi took the top off the LIU defense with a completion to a wide-open Holland in the middle of the field for a 62-yard gain, putting the Pioneers inside the red zone
  • Just two plays later, Marchi faked a handoff to Chestnut and found Driscoll open up the seam who caught the 10-yard score that made it 20-7 SHU
  • The SHU defense forced a three-and-out from the LIU offense and just five plays into the ensuing drive, Marchi found Chambers wide open in the middle of the field with a third-and-seven slant route that the first-year took all the way to the house to extend SHU's lead to 27-7 and an unanswered scoring streak to 21-0
  • LIU had a chance at some point, retaking possession at their own 48-yard-line with 1:05 remaining in the half, but a Trimble-Edwards sack put an end to any hope for points at the end of the quarter for the Sharks

Third Quarter (27-10 SHU)

  • Neither side got much going on offense in the quarter, as a DeFelice 33-yard FG was the only scoring play of the frame
  • Marchi threw his first INT of the season midway through the quarter as he was pressured and forced to step into a throw that was picked off by Jahmel Johnson
  • SHU's defense held steady, limiting the Sharks to just 50 total yards in the third quarter alone, while having a Lamar Evans INT called back due to an offsides call

Fourth Quarter (34-10 SHU)

  • Trailing by three scores, LIU needed to make a play but Collins was there for his first career INT on a deep ball to the far side of the field
  • With Chestnut beginning to take his toll on the LIU defense, he rushed for 14 and 11 yards before breaking loss right up the middle for a 44-yard touchdown that put the score at 34-10 SHU
  • For the second time today, LIU was denied points in the red zone as the Sharks had the ball first-and-goal from the SHU 9-yard-line but turned the ball over on-downs

NOTES

  • Marchi led a SHU offense that outgained LIU 537-276 with 375 passing yards, going 25-for-33 with 3 TD (all in the first half) and his first INT as a Pioneer
  • Coming into this season with a collegiate career-high of 356 yards, Marchi has gone over that mark in each of the last two games
  • His 375 yards on the day is the second-most Marchi has thrown for in his career, landing short of his career-high (407) established in last week's road win at Lafayette
  • Marchi continues to improve as his 25-for-33 (75.8 percent) showing marks the third straight game in which his completion percentage has gone up from the previous contest
  • During the Pioneers' three-game win streak, Marchi has thrown for 1,098 yards with 12 TD and 1 INT
  • Marchi's interception finished an incredible streak of 120 straight passes thrown without an INT, a streak that now ranks third all-time at SHU behind Dale Fink (148) in the 2010 season and RJ Noel (126) in 2013
  • Chambers was the go-to receiver on the day, hauling in 8-of-10 targets for 144 yards and 2 TD
  • For Chambers, the first-year is on a torrid pace as he now has 17 catches for 277 yards and 4 TD over the last two games alone
  • Extending his run over the win streak, Chambers has 21 receptions for 371 yards (17.7 yards per catch) and 5 TD in the last three games after playing one series in the season-opening loss at Maine
  • Berry (four catches, 50 yards), Holland (three catches, 94 yards), Chestnut (three catches, 45 yards) and Driscoll (three catches, 37 yards, 1 TD) all had career-highs in the course of today's game
  • Chestnut did a little bit of everything for the Pioneers, carrying the ball a career-high 28 times for 161 yards and 1 TD while adding three catches for 45 yards, giving him 196 total yards from scrimmage (career-high)
  • This marks the second 100+ yard performance for Chestnut this season and his fifth through 15 career games
  • The SHU offensive line – LT J.D. DiRenzo, LG Anthony Della Fave, C Josh Sokol, RG Nick Carnesale, RT Donald Rappoccio – gave up their first sack of the season in today's loss
  • The Pioneers came into today's game as one of just four teams in the nation that hadn't allowed a sack in 2019
  • It took four weeks but Marchi's first INT as a Pioneer is the first and only SHU turnover this season
  • SHU came into the day as one of just two teams in the nation who've played turnover-free ball in 2019
  • The Pioneer defense allowed a season-low 276 yards of total offense for their opposition as the Sharks were held to under five yards per play
  • The pass defense led the way as LIU's QB Clay Beathard was held to 9-for-25 (36 percent) throwing for 135 yards and 1 INT
  • Head coach Mark Nofri moves to 47-37 all-time at SHU, just three wins away from 50 for his career
  • This marks the second straight season in which SHU claimed victory in the NEC opener
  • Under Coach Nofri, the Pioneers are 4-4 in NEC openers

NEXT GAME

The Pioneers head into their lone bye week of the 2019 season as SHU is back in action on Saturday, October 5 at home against CCSU. The 2:00 pm kickoff also serves as the Pioneers' annual Homecoming game and will be streamed live on ESPN3.