CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE (2-4, 1-0) at SACRED HEART (5-1, 1-0)
GAME 07* FAIRFIELD, CT * 1:00 PM* CAMPUS FIELD*
Setting the Scene… The 5-1 Sacred Heart Pioneers welcome their in-state rival, Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils, to Campus Field for a Northeast Conference clash. Last season, Sacred Heart defeated Central Connecticut 34-21 to earn their only Northeast Conference win of the 2012 season. Keshaudas Spence ran for 123 yards in the victory and the SHU defense snagged three interceptions. Sacred Heart is looking for their third straight victory over their in-state rival, while CCSU leads the all-time series 9-6. The Blue Devils and Pioneers first met on October 24, 1998, a 38-31 Central Connecticut victory.
Pioneers in NEC Play... The 2013 season marks the 16th season of play in the Northeast Conference for Sacred Heart University.
- The Pioneers joined the NEC in 1998 for football.
- SHU holds a 42-61 all-time NEC record.
- The Pioneers won the 2001 NEC Championship with a perfect 8-0 record.
- SHU is coming off a 9th place finish in 2012 with a 1-7 mark.
- The Pioneers were picked to finish 7th in the 2013 NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll
Last Time Out… Sacred Heart dropped their first game of the season on Saturday against the defending conference champion, Wagner Seahawks, 23-20 at Campus Field. The game was played before a school record crowd of 4,288 people at Campus Field. The Pioneers came back from 17 points down with 44 seconds left in the third quarter to tie the game at 20 with 2:02 left in the fourth quarter. Wagner kicker Bryan Maley nailed a game-winning 45-yard field goal with four seconds left to hand Sacred Heart their first defeat of the season. In the loss, sophomore linebacker Kellen Sperduto racked up a school record 22 tackles. Sophomore quarterback R.J Noel tossed a couple touchdowns, while junior Keshaudas Spence ran for 90 yards on 15 carries. Junior wide receiver Tyler Dube set a new career high with 125 yards receiving.
The Head Coaches... The Pioneers will be led by second year head coach Mark Nofri in 2013. Beginning his 20th season as a member of the Pioneers coaching staff, Nofri is the longest tenured coach in Sacred Heart program history. The Pioneers were 2-9 last season with Nofri serving as the interim head coach. Nofri is also the long time linebackers coach for the Pioneers, turning out several All-Conference and All-American linebackers including Jayson Jarrett '01, Kayode Mayowa '02, Craig Capurso '02, Jon Corto '06 and Chris Mandas '11. Jeff McInerney is in his 8th season as the head coach of the Blue Devils. McInerney was named NEC Coach of the Year in 2009, after CCSU won the conference title with an NEC record of 7-1 and overall 9-3 record. The nine wins was the most in 36 seasons by the Blue Devils. Coach McInerney holds a 46-37 career record at CCSU.
Scouting the Blue Devils… Central Connecticut comes into this afternoon's game fresh off a 38-27 win over the Red Flash of Saint Francis University to earn their first NEC victory of the season. The reigning NEC Offensive Player of the Week, Tyrell Holmes, snagged five receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown in the win over SFPA. CCSU's only other win this season came on September 21st against the Albany Great Danes by a score of 20-17. Junior running back Rob Holloman ranks second in the Northeast Conference in rushing yards, averaging 110.7 yards on the ground per game this season. Holloman led the Northeast Conference last season in rushing yards per game and has already won NEC Offensive Player of the Week twice this year. The Blue Devils went 2-5 in the NEC last season.
Up Next... Sacred Heart travels to take on the Bryant Bulldogs in Smithfield on Saturday afternoon. Game is set for 1:00 pm.