Fairfield, CT – The SHU football team exploded for the most yards in program history, 588, and posted a Division I school record 60 points Saturday afternoon at Campus Field in a wild win over Saint Francis (PA). Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) and Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) became the first running back tandem in school history to both exceed 100 rushing yards in a game. The Pioneers also tied the all-time record with 28 first downs en route to their fourth consecutive victory.
The two sides combined to break a NCAA FCS record by scoring 74 points in the second half, the largest-ever total in a half.
Sacred Heart (4-2, 2-1 NEC) struck early and often, finding the end zone on all three of its first quarter drives. Spence capped a 12-play, 74-yard drive to opened the game with his first of four touchdown runs. SHU needed just two plays on its next possession to make it 14-0 as Tim Little (Egg Harbor Twp., NJ) found Garry Coles (Southington, CT) for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Coles racked up 113 receiving yards on five catches while Little surpassed 300 yards passing for the second straight game.
The Pioneers next drive spanned just three plays to cover 55 yards and concluded in another Spence surge over the goal line. Sacred Heart made it 24 unanswered points to open the contest as Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY) knocked a 32-yard field goal through the uprights. The SHU defense forced the Red Flash to punt the ball on their first five possessions of the day. Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) recorded 2.5 sacks as the Pioneers brought down the SFU quarterback six times overall.
"Today was just a wonderful day on offense, we clicked on all cylinders," commented Spence after the game. "I want to thank the hogs upfront, the fullbacks. Without them I couldn't have scored four touchdowns. Overall, today was just outstanding."
Saint Francis (PA) (1-6, 0-5 NEC) dented the scoreboard on the final play of the first half, which was extended by a SHU penalty. John Kelly found open room with a bootleg on the left sideline to make it a 24-7 affair at the intermission. The Red Flash trimmed the Pioneer advantage further on the opening play of the second half as Kyle Harbridge sprinted 80 yards from scrimmage. Saint Francis (PA) took advantage of a Pioneer turnover and eventually pushed to within three at 24-21 on a Keion Wade 1-yard TD rush.
Sacred Heart rebounded and orchestrated an eight-play drive that chewed up 85 yards and Spence found his way into the promised land again to make it 31-21. The two sides traded field goals at the end of the third quarter, and SHU held a 34-24 edge heading into the final period.
Moore was the star early in the fourth quarter as he ripped off two 30+ yard touchdown runs to push the Sacred Heart cushion to 47-24. Saint Francis (PA) refused to go quietly, Kelly wrapped up a SFU touchdown drive with his second score of the afternoon. Spence rounded out his scoring on the day with 5:02 remaining, registering a 31-yard touchdown run. However, the Red Flash would march right back down the field to keep the scoreboard changing at 53-38. The visitors would then recover the onside kick.
Any thought of a dramatic comeback was put to rest as the SHU defense tallied its first pick-six of 2011. J.D. Roussel (Pawtucket, RI) stepped in front of a Kelly pass for the interception and rumbled 52 yards to the house, giving the Pioneers a new Division I school record 60 points in a single game. Saint Francis (PA) reached the end zone with 20 seconds remaining but it was too little, too late as the Pioneers claimed the 60-45 triumph.
SHU has eclipsed 30 points in each of the last three games. Moore talked about the roll the Pioneers have been on after the game. "This is the kind of momentum every teams needs, especially in our league."
The Pioneers will look for a fifth straight win as they welcome the Monmouth Hawks to Campus Field next weekend for a 1:00 pm kick-off during SHU family weekend.