Drive For Five: Football Puts Winning Streak on the Line Saturday Versus Monmouth
SETTING THE SCENE
The Sacred Heart football team looks to capture its fifth straight victory this Saturday at Campus Field against Northeast Conference rival Monmouth. The Pioneers four game winning streak is the longest since starting the 2008 season 6-0. SHU is most recently coming off of a 60-45 victory over Saint Francis (PA) that saw the program record book rewritten. The Sacred Heart offense is rolling, averaging 38.8 points per game in its last four contests after being held to single digits in its first two outings of 2011. Monmouth was victorious in its last outing as well, knocking off Bryant 40-35 in another offensive slugfest. The Hawks are undefeated on the road this season, winning all three of its contests away from West Long Branch, NJ. However, they are also winless at home, compiling an 0-3 mark at Kessler Field.
THE SACRED HEART vs. MONMOUTH SERIES
The Pioneers trail the all-time series with Monmouth, 11-5, but snapped a seven game skid against the Hawks last season with a 26-25 victory. SHU has only tallied one win against Monmouth in the friendly confines of Campus Field. In the 15 meetings between the two programs only three games have been decided by a single digit margin.
LITTLE'S BIG NUMBERS
Tim Little (Egg Harbor Twp., NJ) has been a key factor in the offense's success during SHU's four game winning streak, and the stats prove it. The red-shirt sophomore is now tops in the Northeast Conference averaging 215.3 passing yards per game. Little has completed 59% of his passes and thrown eight touchdowns. Heading into Saturday's tilt with Monmouth, Little has passed for 300+ yards in back-to-back games and earned NEC offensive player of the week honors with his performance versus Columbia.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOK
The Pioneers rewrote program history last weekend in a 60-45 shootout victory over Saint Francis (PA). Sacred Heart ripped the Red Flash defense for a new program record 588 yards of total offense. SHU's 60 points also became the highest point total for a Pioneer team since joining Division I. Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) and Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) exploded out of the backfield to become the first tandem in school history to both surpass the 100-yard mark in a single game. The second half of the contest was historic in itself. The two programs combined for 74 points, the most ever in any half of Division I FCS football.
SPENCE'S SECOND WEEKLY AWARD
Freshman Keshaudas Spence rumbled for four touchdowns in SHU's win over Saint Francis (PA) to pick up his second Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week accolade of 2011. The power back's 124 yards and four scores came on 16 touches, good for 7.8 yards per carry and one touchdown per four attempts. Spence ripped off his longest run of the season with a 31 yard TD scamper in the fourth quarter.
WE WANT SOME "MOORE"
Sophomore Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) is now averaging over 100 all-purpose yards per game after his superb day against the Red Flash. Moore tallied 226 all-purpose and a pair of touchdowns last weekend at Campus Field. Moore crossed the goal line twice early in the fourth quarter to give the Pioneers some breathing room late. He registered the longest run of the SHU season with a 45 yard scoring sprint.
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 (10/18):
On Moore and Spence Combination: "He (Moore)gives us a spark and he is so versatile. He catches the ball very well out of the back field, and does a lot of different things for us offensively. Keshaudas is the physical runner, he'll go inside for us and get the tough yards."
On J.D. Roussel's Pick-Six: "We still felt good that we were going to win the game. J.D. putting the icing on the cake was good. But we felt that we were in such control it should have never gotten to that point. But you have to give a lot of credit to Saint Francis."
On SHU's Four Game Winning Streak: "I try to just keep it consistent win, loss. or draw. We should have a level of confidence, we have been doing some decent things and we will have to bring 'A' game this weekend."
The Pioneers wrapped up the Saint Francis (PA) quarterback for seven sacks last weekend. It was the first time a SHU defense recorded more than five sacks since registering six against Bentley on September 6, 2008. Sacred Heart currently leads the Northeast Conference with 15 sacks already this year.
MANDAS IN THE MIDDLE
Sacred Heart middle linebacker Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) is putting together a monster season so far in 2011. He recorded a season high 14 tackles against the Red Flash and now ranks second in the Northeast Conference with 58 on the season.
SHU IN THE NEC
The Pioneers are playing in their 14th season in the Northeast Conference this fall. SHU holds a 40-49 record in NEC competition since joining the league in 1998. The Pioneers won their only league championship during the 2001 campaign, notching a perfect 8-0 record. SHU finished second to Robert Morris in 2000, going 7-1 in the league. The Pioneers are coming off of an eighth place finish in 2009 with a 2-6 conference mark.
SOCIAL MEDIA FRENZY
Make sure you are getting complete coverage of the Sacred Heart Football team through the Pioneers various social media outlets. "Like" Sacred Heart University Pioneers on Facebook, "Follow" @SHUBigRed on Twitter, and "Subscribe" to the SacredHeartAthletics YouTube Channel.
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 moved to 7-0 on the season with a dominant 49-7 rout of Iona that included 42 unanswered points to end the game. The Sacred Heart defense tallied five interceptions included an eighty-yard pick-six from Blake Neri. SHU quarterback J.J. Holtfreter passed for 309 yards and a trio of touchdowns. The Pioneers finished the game with 500 yards of total offense compared to just 239 for the Gaels. Jason Bonadies capped the 49-7 triumph with a 69-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as Sacred Heart continued its march towards a perfect season.
The Pioneers will get on the bus next weekend for the longest road trip of the 2011 season as they head to Robert Morris for a battle with the defending NEC Champions.