SHU Plays Host to Central Connecticut on Homecoming Weekend
Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-3, 0-2 Northeast Conference) vs. CCSU Blue Devils (2-2, 1-0 Northeast Conference)
Game #5 - Saturday, October 2, 2010 - 1:00 pm - Fairfield, Conn. - Campus Field (4,000)
Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart Pioneers play host to defending Northeast Conference Champion Central Connecticut State on Homecoming Weekend Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers are looking to end a pair of streaks on Saturday as they come in have lost three-straight since their season-opening win as well as dropping their last six-straight to CCSU. SHU saw another victory slip away late last week, missing a 38-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in a 21-19 loss at Dartmouth. The Blue Devils bring the NEC's top-ranked offense to town, averaging 408.0 yards per game. CCSU is coming off a 41-24 win over Bryant in their league opener last Saturday.
The Sacred Heart - CCSU Series... The Central Connecticut State Blue Devils lead the all-time series, 8-4. The Blue Devils are riding a six-game winning streak in the series after a 24-12 win at home last season. Central won the first ever meeting in 1998, 38-31 at home and followed that with a 37-12 win at SHU in 1999. The Pioneers then ripped off four-straight in the series from 2000 to 2003. The current streak has the Blue Devils outscoring the Pioneers, 215-96. The Pioneers are 2-4 at home against CCSU and 2-4 on the road.
SHU in the NEC... The Pioneers are in their 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference this fall. SHU holds a 37-50 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 a seventh place finish in 2009 with a 2-6 conference mark.
Up Next... SHU will be on the road for the next two weeks starting next Saturday at Bryant University. Kick-off is slated for 1:00 pm.
The Head Coaches... Sacred Heart head coach Paul Gorham (New Hampshire '84) is in his seventh season on the Pioneer sideline. Gorham was named the school's seventh head coach in June of 2004 and owns a 26-40 record in his seven year career. Prior to becoming the Pioneer's head coach, Gorham had stops at UMass, Brown, New Haven and his alma mater New Hampshire. Central Connecticut State head coach Jeff McInerney (Slippery Rock '88) became the program's 12th head coach and is in his fourth season at the head of the Blue Devil football program. He owns a 23-13 career record and led CCSU to an 8-3 mark in 2007 and the program's first-ever national ranking in his first season on the sidelines. He has had assistant coaching stops at Rhode Island, Tulsa, UNLV, Oregon State, Georgia Southern and Southern California.
Last Meeting with CCSU... The Central Connecticut Blue Devils scored 24 unanswered points in the second half highlighted by a 100-yard interception return by Marcus Dorsey to beat the Sacred Heart Pioneers 24-12 last October 3rd. The Pioneer defense did a solid job of holding the Blue Devil offensive attack in check in the first half, limiting senior running back James Mallory to just three yards rushing on nine carries. SHU's offense did all of their scoring in the first two quarters as quarterback Dale Fink hit running back Garry Coles on a 26-yard screen pass for six and wide out Steve Tedesco on a 35-yard "Hail Mary" as the first half clock ran out. The second half belonged to the Blue Devils who pounded their way to 180 yards on the ground behind Mallory on their way to 24-straight points. Central Connecticut wasted little time, taking the second half kick-off and putting together a 14-play drive to get on the board. Mallory led the way carried the ball seven times on the drive and finished it off plunging it in from a yard out to trail 12-7. CCSU settled for a field goal on their next drive and after a SHU mishandled snap on a punt attempt gave the Blue Devils first and goal, on the 10-yard line, Mallory need just one play to find the end zone for a 17-12 lead with 6:40 to play. The Pioneer offense finally hit their stride and moved the ball to the Central Connecticut five-yard line looking for the go-ahead score. Facing a third and goal at the five, Fink, under a heated pass rush, tossed the ball toward the right corner of the end zone where Dorsey picked it off three-yards deep and returned it the full 100-yards for six, clinching the win. As a team, SHU was held to nine yards on the ground.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart Pioneers battled back from a 21-12 fourth quarter deficit but came up just short of earning the program's first win against an Ivy League school falling at Dartmouth, 21-19 last Saturday. Pioneer place kicker Jesper Fredriksson lined-up for what would have been a go ahead 38-yard field goal attempt with just 44 seconds left but saw his kick sail wide left to allow the Big Green to escape with the victory. The Pioneers dominated the first half of play, leading 12-7 at the break after piling up 225 yards of offense to Dartmouth's 100. SHU ran 44 plays in the first half, almost double that of the Big Green, but were forced to settle for two early field goals before a late second quarter touchdown gave them a five-point lead at the break. The third quarter was all Dartmouth as the Big Green offense held the ball for 11:50 second and ran 29 plays en route to a pair of touchdowns on the ground. SHU senior quarterback Dale Fink led his team back in the fourth quarter, orchestrating seven play scoring drive to cut the deficit to just two and then marched his team into position for the potential go ahead field goal. The senior signal caller threw for 286 yards, completing 30-of-41 and a score. SHU finished with more net yards in the loss, racking up 397 yards of offense. Penalties hurt the Pioneers all afternoon to the tune of 10 for 107 yards. Fink completed passes to 10 different receivers led by senior Mark Uyeno who hauled in six balls for 68 yards.
Tellefsen Named NEC Rookie of the Week... Sacred Heart picks up its second NEC Rookie of the Week award this season with the honors going to freshman Steve Tellefsen. The rookie corner made quite an impact in his first collegiate start, accounting for a team-leading eight tackles, all solo stops. He added three pass break-ups in a 21-19 road loss to Dartmouth. The last of his three break-ups helped force a three-and-out late in the fourth quarter and gave the Pioneers' offense a chance to post a last-minute win over an Ivy League foe.
Fink closing in on NEC Mark... R-Senior quarterback Dale Fink is closing in on the Northeast Conference's all-time record for touchdown passes. The senior's 69 scoring strikes rank him second behind former Robert Morris great Tim Levcik's 76 TD tosses. Saint Francis (PA)'s Anthony Doria ranks third with 61. Fink's 6,807 career passing yards ranks him 5th on the NEC career list. He 32 yards from the fourth position, occupied by Erik Cwalinski (6,839). Doria owns the record with 8,544 career yards for the Red Flash.