FAIRFIELD, Conn – Highlighted by nine re-matches from a year ago and a non-conference match-up with Delaware, the Sacred Heart University football team released its 2014 schedule Thursday afternoon. After winning the Northeast Conference Championship with a 10-2 record last season, the Pioneers clinched a berth into the FCS Playoffs for the first time in program history.
"We are playing a very competitive schedule this year, with opponents from the some of the best conferences in the country" commented reigning NEC Coach of the Year Mark Nofri. "As always, the NEC schedule will provide a great challenge and league play is an absolute grind, week-in and week-out. I know that our student-athletes and coaches are ready for the challenges that lay ahead and are looking forward to competing each and every time we take the field."
The Pioneers will open the season with four consecutive home games, beginning with a match-up against the Marist Red Foxes on August 30th. The Pioneers defeated Marist 37-21 on opening night last season, taking a 6-5 lead in the all-time series.
Match-ups with Patriot League members Lafayette and Bucknell will also be in the first four weeks, with both looking for revenge after losses suffered at the hands of the Pioneers last season. Lafayette comes to town on September 6th, while the Bison come east two weeks later.
Sandwiched around Lafayette and Bucknell, the Assumption Grey Hounds will be in town for the first time in six years. SHU is 8-3 all-time against Assumption.
The Pioneers marquee non-conference game will come on October 4th when they travel to take on Colonial Athletic power, Delaware, at Delaware Stadium. Delaware is one of the most storied programs in FCS Football, having won three national championships and 16 conference titles. Delaware Stadium holds over 20,000 people.
Sacred Heart will begin Northeast Conference play on October 11th against Robert Morris. SHU clinched the NEC Championship last season when they defeated RMU 42-25 in Moon Township, evening the series at eight wins each.
Robert Morris will be followed by Duquesne on the road on October 18th and then the Pioneers will close out the month of October against the St. Francis Red Flash on Campus Field. The Red Flash were one of the Pioneers' two regular season losses last season, defeating SHU 24-10 in Loretto, pa.
Sacred Heart will begin November with back-to-back road games, beginning with a trip to Wagner on November 1st and then a short ride to in-state rival CCSU on November 8th. Both Wagner and CCSU lead the all-time series against SHU 9-7.
The Pioneers will cap off their 2014 regular season when the Bryant Bulldogs come to town on November 15th. SHU snapped a three-game losing streak to the Bulldogs last season with a 56-28 win in Smithfield, taking a 4-3 series lead.
Coach Nofri and the Pioneers are just a day away from their Annual Red & White Spring Game to be held Saturday morning at 11:00 am.
Full 2014 Schedule:
August 30th - Marist
September 6th - Lafayette
September 13th – Assumption
September 20th – Bucknell
October 4th - @ Delaware
October 11th – Robert Morris
October 18th - @Duquesne
October 25th – St. Francis
November 1st - @ Wagner
November 8th - @Central Connecticut
November 15th - Bryant