Pioneers Head to Duquesne this Saturday
Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-5, 0-4 Northeast Conference) vs. Duquesne Dukes (3-3, 1-2 Northeast Conference)
Game #7 - Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 12:00 pm - Pittsburgh, Pa. - Arthur J. Rooney Field (2,200)
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart travels out to Pittsburgh this Saturday to take on the Duquesne Dukes in Northeast Conference action. The Pioneers are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and looking to break into the NEC win column at 0-4. SHU saw a 24-7 fourth quarter lead slip away at Bryant last Saturday, falling to the Bulldogs, 25-24. Four of the Pioneer's five losses this season have come by 10 or fewer points. Duquesne has lost two-straight and is coming off a 31-29 loss at Central Connecticut State last week. The Dukes scored two touchdowns in the final 2:07 but saw a game-tying two-point conversion disallowed by a penalty in falling to CCSU.
The Sacred Heart - Duquesne Series... Duquesne leads the all-time series, 3-2. The Dukes took the lead in the series thanks to a 45-42 win in Fairfield last fall. The Pioneers took the first-ever meeting, a 31-15 win at Duquesne in the 2001 ECAC Bowl, capping a perfect season (11-0). The win clinched the first perfect season in school history and secured the Pioneers the final #1 ranking in both the Sports Network and Don Hansen Gazette I-AA Mid-Major polls. It took five seasons for the two teams to meet again as the Dukes posted a 24-21 win at home in 2006. The Dukes made their first trip to Fairfield in 2007 and came away with a 30-23 overtime win. SHU's other win in the series came in 2008 at Duquesne, 29-17.
SHU in the NEC... The Pioneers are in their 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference this fall. SHU holds a 37-52 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 returns to Campus Field next Saturday, October 23rd when the Pioneers play host to the Georgetown Hoyas on Sacred Heart Family Weekend. This will be the first ever match-up between the Pioneers and Hoyas on the gridiron.
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 26-43 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. Duquesne head coach Jerry Schmitt (Westminster '83) is in his sixth season at the head of the Dukes program and owns a 29-28 record at the school. Prior to becoming the Dukes head coach, Schmitt spent five season as the head coach at his alma mater Westminster, where he compiled a 42-27 (.609) record. After his playing days ended, Schmitt coached in the high school ranks before taking an assistant coaching position with Duquesne on two separate stints, from 1985-87 and 1992-99.
Last Meeting with Duquesne... Sacred Heart senior Steve Tedesco hauled in 12 catches for 144 yards and a school record four touchdowns but a 31-yard field goal from Duquesne's Charlie Leventry as time expired lifted the Dukes to a 45-42 win over the Pioneers in the 2009 season finale. Tedesco also set the school's career scoring record (37) and tied his own mark for catches in a game (12) in his final game in a Pioneer uniform. The Pioneers trailing 21-7 at the half put together a big second half to tie the game at 42-42 with 1:10 left looking for overtime. Duquesne quarterback Kevin Rombach had other ideas and drove his team 53-yards in the final minute to set up the game winner by Leventry. Rombach and SHU quarterback Dale Fink were nearly perfect throwing the football on a rain soaked afternoon. Rombach completed 26-of-30 passes for 252 yards while Fink went 22-of-28 for 245 yards and set a new school record with six touchdown throws. Neither quarterback was intercepted on the day. Duquesne rookie running back Larry McCoy had an impressive afternoon rushing for 121 yards on 20 carries and five scores, three coming in the fourth quarter to lead the Dukes to the win. Duquesne's three first half touchdowns were all set up by Pioneers miscues. Duquesne opened their final drive at their own 33-yard line with a pair of timeouts to work with. Rombach made the play of the drive finding Dixon over the middle at the Pioneer 49-yard line and the junior wide out scamper out of bounds at the SHU 14-yard line with two seconds to spare to set-up the game-winning attempt. Leventry promptly took the field and buried it from 31-yards out as time expired to clinch a wild win. The Pioneers had 400 yards of total offense and 26 first downs in the loss. SHU only faced six third down attempts in the game, converting twice, and no drives of more the eight plays. The Dukes in turn controlled time of possession, holding the ball for 38 minutes while amassing 450 yards of offense and 25 first downs.
Last Time Out... The Bryant University Bulldogs scored 18-unanswered points to erase a Sacred Heart 24-7 fourth quarter lead sending the Pioneers to their fifth-straight loss on Saturday, 25-24. Bryant running back Jordan Brown's 73-yard punt return put the Bulldogs ahead for good en route to the comeback win dropping SHU to 0-4 in the league. Sacred Heart's senior running back Marcel Archer plunged in from a yard out, his second score of the afternoon, to give the Pioneers a 24-7 lead with 12:22 left in the fourth quarter as the Pioneers looked to be in control and headed to their first NEC win on the year. The Bulldogs comeback got underway with a Mike Croce four-yard touchdown throw with 8:50 on the clock and ended with Brown's 73-yard scamper at the 5:06 mark to pull off the remarkable comeback. Pioneer place kicker Jesper Fredriksson missed three field goals on the afternoon, his last coming from 39-yards out with 2:34 left that would have given SHU the lead. Fredriksson did connect from 39 yards out in the second quarter. SHU Quarterback Dale Fink completed 20-of-37 passes for 229 yards and threw a third quarter touchdown to junior Rich Rossi. Archer finished with 73 yards on 19 carries and had a pair of scores. Second half penalties and special team's miscues proved costly for the Pioneers. SHU did not commit a penalty in the first half but were flagged seven times for 72 yards in the second half. Leading 24-7, SHU was flagged for a pair of personal fouls to help extend a Bryant drive that Croce capped by hitting Doug Emerzian on a four-yard score. The Bulldogs elected to kick the ball short on the ensuing kickoff and a miscommunication by the Pioneers allowed Bryant to recover the kick and gain the short field. They took full advantage in just four plays as Brown ran it in from the two. The Bulldogs missed the two-point try leaving SHU up 24-19. Defensively, Bryant came up with a big three and out on the Pioneer's next possession, led by a sack of Fink on second down by Maduka Nwanekezi. Punting from his own 27-yard line, Robert Shephard got the kick underway despite a heavy rush but Brown weaved his way through the coverage and picked up two big blocks along the left sideline en route to the go ahead score. The Pioneers would get great field position but their drive for the go-ahead score would stall out on the Bryant 22-yard line, giving Fredriksson a shot at three points. Having missed already from 50-yards and 39-yards, Fredriksson saw his potential game-winning kick sail wide right and Bryant was able to run
out the clock for the comeback win.
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 71 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 became the fourth passer in league history to eclipse the 7,000 yard mark, eclipsing the mark last week at Bryant and heading into Saturday with 7,221 career yards. Fink ranks him fourth on the NEC career list, 34 yards out of the third spot on the list (Levcik - 7, 255) and 591 yards out of second (Brian Boland, Monmouth - 7,812). Doria owns the record with 8,544 career yards for the Red Flash.
Nose for the Endzone... Senior running back Marcel Archer ranks third in the Northeast Conference in scoring on the year. Archer has nine total touchdowns, six rushing and three receiving. His 54 points is a 9.0 per game average.
Uyeno Tops among NEC Wide Outs... Senior wide receiver Mark Uyeno is first among Northeast Conference wide receivers hauling in 29 catches on the season. Uyeno is averaging 4.83 catches per game. He has 275 receiving yards (9.5 ypc) but has yet to find the endzone this season. Senior Rich Rossi is right on his heels with 28 catches for a team-
leading 344 yards (12.3 ypc).
Patterson Back and Making an Impact... Senior wide receiver Tony Patterson, a three-year returning starter, was forced to miss the first four games with an injury but has made an impact in two games since his return. Patterson has pulled down 12 passes in games against Central Connecticut and Bryant. He is averaging 12.8 yards per catch. In his career, Patterson has 89 catches for 983 yards and three scores.