SETTING THE SCENE
The Sacred Heart football team stays on the road for a second straight week to round out the non-conference portion of the 2011 schedule with a Saturday afternoon showdown at Columbia. The Pioneers will look to keep its momentum rolling and earn a three game winning streak following victories over Dartmouth and Central Connecticut State. Both sides of the ball posted a solid performance against CCSU as the offense scored a season high 37 points while the defense forced five Blue Devil turnovers. Columbia enters the match-up still looking for its first "W" of the year. The Lions are coming off of a 24-21 setback at the hands of Princeton. Columbia hosted Northeast Conference member Albany two weeks ago as the Great Danes cruised to a 44-21 triumph. The Pioneers are looking to win three straight for the first time since 2008, when they started the season a perfect 6-0.
THE SACRED HEART vs. COLUMBIA SERIES
Saturday's clash will be the first-ever meeting between the Pioneers and Lions. Dartmouth is the only other Ivy League opponent SHU has ever faced. The Pioneers leveled that all-time series at 1-1 two weeks ago with a 24-21 victory. Columbia owns a 0-2 mark all-time versus the Northeast Conference.
WE WANT SOME "MOORE"
Sophomore Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) exploded for 100 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns last weekend against Central Connecticut State. Moore, an extremely versatile player, racked up 53 yards on the ground as well as 47 receiving yards, crossing the goal line twice in the first half. He scored his first career touchdown early in the second quarter, finishing off a 16 yard scoring reception with a clever piece of open field running. Moore's second TD came just 49 seconds before halftime on a nine yard run to send SHU into the intermission with momentum on its side.
MANDAS CONTINUES SOLID SEASON
Senior Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) registered a season high 12 tackles and forced a fumble against CCSU en route to being named the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Week. The preseason All-NEC selection leads the Pioneers and ranks third on the circuit with 8.8 tackles per game. Mandas forced fumble came early in the fourth quarter with SHU on top, 28-24. The senior linebacker's huge hit jarred the ball loose and stopped a Blue Devil drive that had reached Pioneer territory.
DIM'S FIRST TD
Red-shirt freshman Robert Dim (Sicklerville, NJ) made just one reception against CCSU, but it was a game changer. Dim caught a pass over the middle and it appeared he would have to settle for a 15 yard gain. But Dim withstood two hits from the Blue Devil secondary and sprinted into the end zone for a fifty yard score, tallying his first collegiate touchdown and giving Sacred Heart its first lead of the game, 28-24.
PAUL GORHAM COACH'S SHOW
Sacred Heart head football coach Paul Gorham sits down with Randy Brochu of the SHU athletic communications department every Tuesday to talk about the team. Fans can watch the Paul Gorham Coach's show via Pioneer Vision on www.SacredHeartPioneers.com or on YouTube. Here are some excerpts from last week's show (10/4):
On Defeating Central CT State: "It was great for the kids to have an opportunity to compete with a team like that on the road. We played with a lot of emotion and did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball"
On Chris Mandas: "Chris has been a great leader for us, he was named captain before the season started. He played great and was inspirational both in the locker room and with his play."
On Greg Moore: "Greg was outstanding and gave us a great spark. He's not big but he's very dynamic and whenever he does something the whole team responds to it."
LITTLE GETS THE BIG CALL
Tim Little (Egg Harbor Twp., NJ) made his third collegiate start versus Central Connecticut State and posted his best game to date. The red-shirt sophomore completed 16 of his 28 passes and tossed three touchdowns without being picked off. Through his first four games Little has amassed 600+ yards passing along with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Pioneers specialty players continued their steady play last weekend against the Blue Devils. Red-shirt freshman place kicker Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY) buried a 34 yard field goal to improve to a perfect 4-for-4 for his young career. Punter Robert Shepherd (Groton, CT) pinned CCSU inside the five yard line twice and ranks third in the league in 2011 netting 38 yards per punt.
"GET ME THE BALL"
The Sacred Heart defense put constant pressure on the Blue Devils last week, forcing five CCSU turnovers on three fumbles and two interceptions. SHU created four of those turnovers in the second half as the Pioneers finished the game with 16 unanswered points. It was the first time Sacred Heart had forced five turnovers since September 6, 2008 against Bentley.
A LOOK BACK - THE 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SHU'S NATIONAL TITLE
The 2001 Sacred Heart Football team finished a perfect 11-0 and claimed the NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major National Championship. Every week we will recap the Pioneers historical through the 2001 season, going through the 10 year anniversary game-by-game.
The 2001 Pioneers scored the first 21 points of the second half to break open what had been a seven point game en route to a 42-24 victory over Stony Brook. Stony Brook committed 11 penalties, costing the Seawolves 155 yards. Jayson Jarrett capped the Pioneers third quarter surge with a 55 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. The victory moved the Pioneers to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Northeast Conference.
The Pioneers will return home next weekend to resume the Northeast Conference slate in a clash with Saint Francis (PA). Kick-off is set for 12:00 pm as SHU looks to avenge last season's loss to the Red Flash.