Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-6, 0-5 Northeast Conference) vs. Monmouth Hawks (3-4, 3-1 Northeast Conference)
Game #9 - Saturday, October 30, 2010 - 1:00 pm - West Long Branch, NJ - Kessler Field (4,600)
Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart Pioneers make their final road trip of the 2010 season as they head to Monmouth University on Saturday looking to break into the Northeast Conference win column. The Pioneers halted their six-game losing streak last week with a 33-20 win over Georgetown and will now focus on ending a 0-5 start to league play this season. Senior quarterback led the Pioneers with 295 yards passing with a pair of touchdowns while kicker Jesper Fredriksson made four field goals in the win. SHU takes on a Monmouth Hawk team that has won two-straight after a 19-7 win over Saint Francis (PA) last week and are 3-1 in the NEC, alone in third place.
The Sacred Heart - Monmouth Series... The Hawks lead the all-time series, 11-4. Monmouth has won seven-straight meetings after a 42-20 last season in Fairfield. The Hawks are 7-1 against the Pioneers at Campus Field all-time. SHU took the first-ever meeting, 12-0, during the 1993 season on the road. From there, Monmouth won four in a row starting in 1994 and then picking up again in 1997 when the Pioneers entered the NEC. Sacred Heart won the meetings in 2000 (13-7), 2001 (44-14) and 2002 (32-14). Monmouth's most lopsided win came in 1998, a 57-7 win at home and the Hawks have posted two shutouts in the series in 1997 (43-0) and 2006 (24-0). SHU's biggest win came during their 2001 championship season, a 44-14 win at home that clinched the league title.
SHU in the NEC... The Pioneers are in their 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference this fall. SHU holds a 37-53 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... The Pioneers return home for the final two games on the 2010 schedule. SHU plays host to the University at Albany next Saturday, November 6th at 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 27-44 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. Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan (Rochester '77) is in his 18th season at the head of the Hawk football program and owns a 104-76 record at the school and overall. Callahan has led the Hawks to five Northeast Conference titles and the 2004 I-AA Mid-Major National Championship. Prior to taking over at Monmouth, Callahan had stops as an assistant at Colgate, Wagner, Syracuse and Albany.
Last Meeting with the Hawks... Sacred Heart quarterback Dale Fink completed 36-of-54 passes for 373 yards, all new school records, but the Monmouth Hawks had 513 yards of total offense en route to a 42-20 win in Fairfield last October 17th. The Hawks piled up over 500 yards of offense on just 58 total plays, averaging 8.8 yards per play in the win. Monmouth got big offense days from senior running back David Sinisi and sophomore quarterback Kyle Frazier. Sinisi rumbled his way to 135 yards and two scores on 20 carries and added a third touchdown on a 50-yard screen pass from Frazier. The sophomore signal caller threw for 322 yards and four scores while completing 18-of-24 passes. SHU wide receiver Steve Tedesco finished the day with 11 catches for a season high 168 yards. As a team, SHU had a season-high 26 first downs and 454 yards of offense.
Last Time Out... Quarterback Dale Fink threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns and place kicker Jesper Fredriksson tied a school record with four field goals as the Sacred Heart Pioneers ended a six-game losing streak with a 33-20 win over Georgetown last Saturday. With SHU up 23-13 late in the third quarter, the Pioneer special teams came up with a big play as freshman Chris Nahat blocked a Matt MacZura punt, scooped it up and returned it himself for the game-changing touchdown en route to the win. Sacred Heart's Fink completed 22 of 39 passes connecting with junior wide receiver Garry Coles on a pair of scores. Fredriksson finished the day four-of-five on field goal attempts in the win, hitting from 39, 35, 23 and 27 yards to tie the SHU record for a game. The Pioneer defense forced three turnovers as SHU was forced to dig out of an early 10-0 hole. From there, Fink and the Pioneers outscored the Hoyas 33-3 until a late Georgetown touchdown produces the final score. Freshman running back Gregory Ibe ran for a team-high 68 yards on 11 carries, a 6.2 per carry average. Defensively, junior linebacker Michael Zambarano posted nine tackles while senior Bill O'Brien notched a pair of sacks.
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 74 scoring strikes rank him second behind former Robert Morris great Tim Levcik's 76 TD tosses. Fink became the fourth passer in league history to eclipse the 7,000 yard mark and heads into Saturday with 7,774 career yards. Fink ranks third on the NEC career passing yards list, 38 yards out of second (Brian Boland, Monmouth - 7,812). Doria owns the record with 8,544 career yards for the Red Flash.
Fredriksson Ties SHU Kicking Mark... Place kicker Jesper Fredricksson made four-of-five field goals in last week's win over Georgetown, tying the school record for field goals in a game. Fredriksson hit from 39, 35, 23 and 27 yards giving him nine field goals on the season. Fredriksson now shares the mark with former Pioneers Greg Tonzola, who hit four against Siena on Oct. 25, 2003, and Tim Redican who twice accomplished the feat, against Assumption on September 2, 2000 and Robert Morris on October 5, 2002. Fredriksson buried a 46-yarder against Robert Morris earlier in the year, the second longest field goal in school history. His booming kick cleared the cross bar with plenty to spare, falling just a yard short of the school record set by Lou Monaco in 1996 against Stony Brook.
Pioneers Snap Streak... After opening the season with a 28-25 win at Marist, the Pioneers lost six-straight games before a 33-20 win over Georgetown last week. The six-game slide tied the longest losing streak for SHU under head coach Paul Gorham. The Pioneers dropped six-straight during the 2006 season (2-9).
Special Teams Impact... Freshman wide receiver Chris Nahat came up with a blocked punt for a touchdown in last week's win over Georgetown. Facing fourth down on their own 33-yard line late in the third quarter, Nahat broke through untouched, blocking the Georgetown kick, scooping the ball at the three and coasting into the end zone for his first career touchdown and 30-13 lead. Earlier in the quarter, Nahat nearly came up just shy of another blocked punt, breaking through and getting his hands on a MacZura kick resulting in what would be a 13-yard punt. It was the first blocked punt for a score since teammate Mike Mortali blocked at punt for six in a 44-24 win at Iona in 2008.