Pioneers Host Albany Looking for Third-Straight Win
Sacred Heart Pioneers (3-6, 1-5 Northeast Conference) vs. Albany Great Danes (3-5, 1-4 Northeast Conference)
Game #10 - Saturday, November 6, 2010 - 1:00 pm - Fairfield, Conn. - Campus Field (4,000)
Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart Pioneers will close out the season with two-straight at home on Campus Field starting Saturday afternoon against the University at Albany Great Danes. After suffering a six-game losing streak the Pioneers have won two-straight and are coming off a 26-25 win at Monmouth last week. SHU ended a seven-game slide against the Hawks as they hope to end another streak against Albany on Saturday, having lost eight-in-a-row against the Great Danes. The four-time Northeast Conference Champion Great Danes come in on a three-game slide and in unfamiliar territory at 1-4 in the league standings.
The Sacred Heart - Albany Series... The University at Albany leads the all-time series, 10-2. The Great Danes have won eight-straight in the series dating back to the 2002 season. UAlbany won the first two-meetings, both shutouts, in 1997 (42-0) and 1999 (41-0). Sacred Heart's two wins came during the 2000 and 2001 season. The Pioneers posted a 34-28 win in overtime at home in 2000 and scored a 32-17 win on the road during their perfect 11-0 2001 season. The Pioneers are 1-4 against the Great Danes at home and 1-6 in Albany.
SHU in the NEC... The Pioneers are in their 13th season of play in the Northeast Conference this fall. SHU holds a 38-53 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 have next week off and will close out the 2010 season at home on November 20th playing host to the Wagner Seahawks.
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 28-44 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. Albany head coach Bob Ford (Springfield '59) is in his 38th season at the head of the Great Dane football program. Ford, who has been UAlbany's only head coach since the program was reinstated after a 46-year absence, was appointed on April 27, 1970. Since then, he has compiled a 36-year varsity record of 235-152 as the Great Dane mentor. His UAlbany teams own a 74-47 mark for a .612 winning percentage as a Division I FCS program.
Last Meeting with the Great Danes... The University at Albany used three first half Sacred Heart turnovers and a 105 yard rushing effort from senior David McCarty on the way to a 22-9 win over the visiting Pioneers last September 26th. The Pioneer offense was held to three Matt Fisher field goals in the loss. Despite three turnovers in the first two quarters, the Pioneer defense was able to hold the Great Danes to just nine points off those miscues. Albany had four-straight possessions in the first half open in Sacred Heart territory and came away with six just once. Fink guided the team on a 16-play drive that covered 68 yards ending in the first of Fisher's field goals but his second pick on SHU's next drive resulted in head coach Paul Gorham turning to backup Tyler McKeon. The r-sophomore quarterback, seeing his first action in nearly two-years, directed a pair of long scoring drives in the second half but each coming up short of punching it in. Down 16-6 in the fourth quarter, the Pioneers were setup first and goal inside the one-yard line but failed to convert having to settle once again for just three. From there, McCarty and the Great Dane offense put the game away with a nine-play drive that covered 57 yards and ended with the senior tailback plunging in from four-yards out for a 22-9 lead. McCarty ran the ball seven times on the drive on his way to a 100-yard afternoon. McKeon finished the day eight-of-16 for 118 yards while Coles was the Pioneers leading rusher and receiver with 47 yards on nine carries and seven catches for 48 more. Sophomore linebacker Chris Mandas led all players with 11 tackles.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart senior Marcel Archer ran for four touchdowns his last coming with 51 seconds left in the game to deliver the Pioneers a 26-25 Northeast Conference win at Monmouth last week. Junior defensive end Justin Embler ended any last second chance of a Hawk comeback sacking MU quarterback Kyle Frazier as the clock expired sealing the upset victory. Sacred Heart ends a seven-game Monmouth winning streak in the all-time series between the two schools with the win. Archer ended the day with 76 yards on 17 carries and his four scores give the senior a team-leading 14 touchdowns on the year. SHU built a 14-3 halftime lead but the third quarter was all Monmouth as the Hawks held the Pioneers to just six yards on six plays while piling up 145 yards and 10 points. The Hawks went to backup quarterback Andrew Mandeville to open the second half and the fifth-year senior provided a spark for the offense. The Hawks led 19-14 before Fink and the offense finally got rolling in the second half taking the lead back on Archer's third touchdown with 11:10 left. Facing a third and four on the ensuing drive, Monmouth's Mandeville hit Nick Romeo on a quick-hit screen pass and the senior took it from there, sprinting past the SHU defense for a 60-yard touchdown and a 25-20 lead with 9:24 left. Monmouth looked to extend their lead but Eric Spillane saw his 41-yard attempt field goal attempt sail wide left with 3:39 left. Sacred Heart took full advantage of the opportunity as Fink took his team on a nine-play drive that would give the Pioneers the lead back for good. Archer made the comeback complete with his fourth touchdown run of the day with 51 seconds left as the two-point attempt failed and the Pioneers clinging to a 26-25 lead. The Hawks went back to Frazier on their final drive and the quarterback drove his team to the Sacred Heart 37-yard line with 10 seconds left. The Hawks would get no further and failed to get off a potential game-winning field goal as SHU's Embler sealed the win with his sack of Frazier as the clock ran out on Monmouth, delivering the upset win. The Pioneers were outgained on the day by the Hawks, 474 to 313 yards but made the most of their red zone opportunities with four touchdowns in four trips. Fink finished 21-of-38 on the day, throwing for 220 yards. Patterson led all SHU receivers with six catches for 77 yards in the win. Defensively, the Pioneers got 12 tackles from junior linebacker Chris Mandas
Mark Uyeno - ESPN Academic All-District... Senior wide receiver Mark Uyeno was named to the ESPN Academic All-District team announced this week. Uyeno is a business major at Sacred Heart carrying a 3.66 grade point average. Uyeno was named to the District 1 team and will now move on to the national ballot on November 8th for Academic All-American honors. He was one of seven student-athletes from the Northeast Conference to earned Academic All-District honors.
Fink Ready to Set New 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 7,994 career yards. Fink ranks second on the NEC career passing yards list. Anthony Doria of Saint Francis (PA) owns the record with 8,544 career yards for the Red Flash.
Closing in on SHU Records Too... Fink can also add three more Sacred Heart records to his ledger with two games left. Fink has 199 completions this season, 16 away from breaking his own record set in 2008 (215). He is also poised to nab the passing attempts in a season record, held by Tyler Arciaga. Fink has thrown 332 passes this season, closing in on Arciaga's 368 attempts in 2006. Fink can also claim the passing yards in a season record currently held by Justin Holtfreter who threw for 2,589 yards in 2001. Fink has 2,098 yards to his credit this season. The senior signal caller currently holds 11 SHU passing records: career passing yards (7,994), career completions (786), career touchdown passes (74), career passing attempts (1253), career completion percentage (62.7), completions in a season (215 - 2008), completion percentage in a season (67.8 - 2008), passing yards in a game (373 vs. Monmouth 10/17/09), completions in a game (36 vs. Monmouth 10/17/09), passing attempts in a game (54 vs. Monmouth 10/17/09), touchdown passes in a game (6 vs. Duquesne 11/14/09).
Archer in the Red Zone... Senior running back Marcel Archer is tied for the Northeast Conference lead in touchdowns this season with 14 scores. Archer ranks second averaging 9.3 points per game on the year. Archer has 11 rushing touchdowns and three receiving. He had a 34-yard score in the loss at Duquesne, the longest touchdown run this season by a Pioneer and the longest of Archer's career at SHU. Of Archers 11 rushing touchdowns, nine have come from inside the redzone and inside 10-yards.
Senior RB in the Record Books... Marcel Archer's four touchdowns in Sacred Heart's win at Monmouth, tying for the second most in a game in the SHU record book with five other Pioneers. His 14 scores this season is tied for the third highest total for a season in school history. He is one behind Ed Pricolo (15-2004) in second place and four away from the record for a season held by Marvin Royal (18-2001).
Patterson Climbing SHU Receiving Rankings... Senior wide receiver Tony Patterson, a three-year returning starter, was forced to miss the first four games with an injury but hasn't missed a beat since his return. Patterson has caught 27 passes for 320 yards, an average of 11.9 yards per catch. In his career, Patterson has 104 catches for 1,174 yards and three scores, becoming the fourth Pioneer in school history to eclipse 100 catches for a career. The senior wide out is currently fourth all-time for career receptions and eighth in career receiving yards. He needs eight catches to pass Chris Wilkinson (112) for third and 18 catches to pass Corey Bundy (122) for second.
Pioneers Snap Streaks... After opening the season with a 28-25 win at Marist, the Pioneers lost six-straight games before a 33-20 win over Georgetown. 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). SHU ended a seven-game losing streak against Monmouth with a 26-25 win on the road last week. SHU can end another streak this week if they can beat Albany who has bested the Pioneers eight-straight times.