FAIRFIELD, CT (October 3, 2011) - Sacred Heart senior linebacker Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) was named the Northeast Conference Football Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after leading the Pioneers to a 37-24 win at preseason favorite Central Connecticut State.
Mandas totaled a game-high 12 tackles and played a strong fourth quarter in Sacred Heart's road upset of the NEC preseason favorite Blue Devils. Helping the Pioneers earn Constitution State bragging rights for the first time since 2003, the senior linebacker held the opposing ball carrier to two or fewer yards on four of his hits. The preseason all-NEC selection delievered his biggest hit of the day early in the fourth quarter with Sacred Heart clinging to a 28-24 lead. On a 1st-and-10 play from Sacred Heart's 49-yard line, CCSU QB Gunnar Jespersen connected with Nick Baccarella on an 11-yard gain and apparent first down, but Mandas' tackle jarred the ball loose and the Pioneers recovered at their own 38-yard line. In addition to the 12 stops and forced fumble, Mandas recorded a fourth-quarter pass break-up.
On the year, Mandas leads all Pioneers with 35 tackles, 20 solo, with a pair of sacks and nine tackles for a loss through four games. He ranks third among the NEC's top defensive players in total tackles and fifth in tackles for a loss.
Mandas and the Pioneers are back on the gridiron this Saturday afternoon as they take on their second Ivy League opponent this year facing the Columbia Lions. This will be the first-ever match-up between the two schools.