Lewisburg, PA – The Sacred Heart Pioneers forced six turnovers and collected seven sacks on their way to a 16-0 victory over the Bucknell Bison Saturday night at Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium in Lewisburg, PA. It is the first Sacred Heart shutout since October 5th, 2002 when they blanked Robert Morris 34-0. The Pioneers improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2008.
Senior defensive back J.D Roussel (Pawtucket, RI) tied a program record in snagging three interceptions in a single game and becomes the first player to do it since 1994. As a whole, the SHU defense forced six turnovers (four interceptions, two fumbles) and racked up seven sacks.
Senior defensive end Ray Hodgson (Coral Springs, FL) racked up 2.5 sacks to give him a Northeast Conference leading 5.5 sacks so far this season. Senior defensive lineman Troy Moore (Worcester, MA) recorded two sacks of his own.
On offense, junior running back Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) churned out 126 rushing yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Sophomore quarterback R.J Noel (Lowell, MA) completed 13 of 30 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown.
After the two teams exchanged three punts each, sophomore Moses Webb (Manassas, VA) created the first spark for Sacred Heart. The speedy wide receiver collecting a Noel slant over the middle and broke it down the sideline 66 yards to the end zone to put SHU up 6-0. The Pioneers would miss the point after attempt.
Rousell's first interception came late in the first half when Bucknell was driving down the field. Following the turnover, SHU drove down to the Bucknell 16 yard line and Chris Rogers nailed a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Sophomore wide receiver Jackson King (Merrimack) had a big 25-yard reception to start the drive.
Sacred Heart's defense controlled most of the second half, forcing turnovers whenever Bucknell seemed to have any momentum. Roussel made his second interception on Bucknell's opening drive in Sacred Heart's end zone.
On Bucknell's second possession of the second half, the Pioneers came up with a huge fourth down stop when the Bison opted to go for it on fourth and two from the Sacred Heart 30-yard line. Connor Candito (Shrewsbury, MA) and Connor Caveney (Fitchburg, MA) were in on the stop for Sacred Heart.
Following a Candito interception, Spence iced the game away with a 25-yard touchdown run with 2:02 left in the game. Roussel made his final interception on Bucknell's final drive of the game, leading to SHU kneeling the game away.
Sacred Heart opens up Northeast Conference play next weekend as they play host to the Wagner Seahawks on Campus field at 1:00 pm.
Notes: Sacred Heart is now 2-0 against the Patriot League this season and 3-4 all-time. The 2008 Pioneer team that started with six straight victories. Freshman punter Alec Finney punted 11 times.