ITHACA, N.Y. – The Sacred Heart football team was handed its first loss of the season on Saturday afternoon in a 43-24 setback at Cornell. The Pioneers, who had only allowed 34 points through their first three games, surrendered 36 points in the opening half before allowing just seven in the second half. SHU had four different players with at least 40 yards receiving, three players with a at least 40 yards rushing, and had three players tallied their first career-touchdowns in the game.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Radic was 2-for-2 for 10 yards passing in relief, and ran for eight yards including his first career touchdown. First-year receiver Lucas Nunez had five catches for 53 yards and his first career-touchdown, and junior Ed Cuddahy tallied two catches for 23 yards and also scored his first-career touchdown. Charles Mack caught two passes for 47 yards and Nathan Balthazard had three receptions for 46 yards.
Senior tailback Jordan Meachum was SHU's leading rusher and receiver on the day with 44 yards rushing on 15 carries, and three receptions for 77 yards. Graduate quarterback Kevin Duke was 19-of-34 passing for 281 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while adding 44 yards on the ground. SHU also got 38 yards on nine carries from first-year Julian Leslie.
Defensively, Darwin Anderson and Aliem Shaw led the way with eight tackles apiece. Four different Pioneers - Salaam Horne, Jayden Jordan, Chris Agyemang and Chirs Outterbridge - all recorded five tackles.
The Pioneers drop to 3-1 overall on the season, while Cornell sits at 1-2.
- Cornell got on the board right away with a career-long 45-yard field goal from Nikolas Null to cap a nine-play drive at the 12:17 mark.
- On its first possession, Sacred Heart faced a 3rd-and-8 from its own 44-yard line, when Duke scrambled out of the pocket and threw a pass down the right sideline. Cornell's David Jones jumped the route and picked it off on the sideline, and returned it untouched 33 yards to paydirt, giving Cornell the early 10-0 advantage just 5:08 into the game.
- After a SHU three-and-out, Cornell went up 16-0 on a seven-yard touchdown run by Dalton Banks on a quarterback keeper. The PAT was no good, leaving the score 16-0 at the 5:13 mark.
- SHU got on the board and its next drive, helped by a big strike of 36 yards to Meachum down the right sideline. Later in the drive after two SHU penalties, Duke hit Meachum while being hit for a 29-yard gain on 3rd-and-26 to set up first and goal at the nine-yard line. The Pioneers would settle for a 28-yard field goal by Josh Freiria to make it 16-3 with 1:20 to play in the quarter.
- Despite being down by 13, SHU outgained Cornell 117-107 with both teams running 17 plays in the opening quarter.
- Cornell used a nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 12-yard touchdown catch by Oscar Boochever, who pulled down a jump ball in the front left corner of the end zone, upping the Cornell lead to 22-3 with 12:01 left. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
- After a SHU punt, Harold Coles took a handoff on the first play from scrimmage and broke through the middle of the line and raced 85 yards to the house to make it 29-3 with 9:49 left until halftime.
- Two drives later, Nunez juked two tacklers on a 27-yard reception to pick up a first down. Two plays later, Duke hit Balthazard for 38 yards to the Cornell seven-yard line. Two plays after that, Duke found Cuddahy for a six-yard touchdown catch to cap a 75-yard drive and cut the deficit to 29-10 at the 7:10 mark.
- Cornell answered with a 12-play drive, going 81 yards that ended with a 12-yard scoring run by Howard with 1:10 remaining to take a 36-10 lead.
- Duke helped SHU get into field goal range in the final minute, thanks in part to a 46-yard pass down the middle to Charles Mack with 13 seconds left. Duke then looked for Brantley down the sideline in the closing seconds, but Jones stepped up and hauled in his second interception of the half at the two yard line, preserving a 36-10 Big Red lead going into the half.
- SHU went three-and-out to open the second half, and Cornell scored on its second play from scrimmage on a 43-yard catch and run from Mike Cantanese to J.D. PicKell to go up 43-10 at 13:17.
- Nunez came away with the game's next score late in the third quarter, cutting it to 43-17. On fourth-and-goal from the six-yard line, Duke threw left for Nunez, who reached for the goal line and just broke the plane by the pylon for his first-career touchdown, capping a 12-play, 91-yard drive with 43 seconds left in the frame.
- Radic scored his first career touchdown on a 12-yard scamper through the left side with 2:58 on the clock, capping a 10-play drive covering 68 yards. The drive included 26 yards rushing from Juljan Leslie and a seven-yard connection from Radic to Martin Gustafsson.
The Pioneers will return home for the first time in over a month next Saturday for their homecoming game against Penn. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Campus Field