Sept. 8, 2007
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 8, 2007) - Sacred Heart redshirt-freshman Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) threw for three touchdowns and junior Evin Jones (Pennsauken, NJ) ran for two more as the Pioneers posted 47 first half points en route to a runaway 54-14 win over visiting La Salle University Saturday afternoon on Campus Field. The Pioneers are off to their first 2-0 start since the 2003 season with the lopsided win, reaching the 50-point mark for the first time since a 53-45 win over Saint Francis (PA) in 2005.
After a nine-yard punt by La Salle's Anthony Perlozzo on the Explorers (0-2) first possession, Fink and the SHU offense took over on their own 40 and wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Five plays was all it took to cover the 60 yards as Jones broke off a run over left tackle for a 12-yard score. Perlozzo rebounded from his nine-yard punt to boom a 58-yarder after La Salle's next possession stalled out, knocking the Pioneers back to their nine yard line.
Senior tailback Jason Payne (Cortlandt Manor, NY) picked-up 15 yards on first down and just four plays later Fink hit a streaking Corey Bundy (Selden, NY) down the right sideline for a 69-yard score bringing the crowd of 2,415 to their feet. An illegal block on the ensuing kick-off left La Salle first and 10 at their 14 yard line and a three and out sent Perlozzo back out for another punt. Sophomore Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) fielded the kick at the Explorer 42 and returned it 27 yards to give the SHU offense stellar field position.
Four plays later Jones plunged in for his second score of the day from two yards out with 1:45 left in the first quarter. The SHU defense posted another three-and-out on La Salle's next possession forcing Perlozzo's fourth punt of the quarter. Tedesco nearly broke it, returning 54-yards to the Explorer six yard line before being stopped by Shane Kendrick who saved a touchdown as the quarter ended. The Pioneers again wasted little time capitalizing, scoring on the first play of the second quarter, a six yard fade to the back corner of the end zone from Fink to senior wide receiver Joey Henley (Kent, WA).
A short kick-off by the Pioneers gave La Salle their best starting field position of the afternoon at their own 49 and the Explorers finally found some success on offense as quarterback Chris Hanson hit Kenrick who got to the SHU eight yard line before being caught. Hansen ran it in two plays later for the score, cutting the Pioneer lead to 26-7. As quickly as they got something positive to build on, the Pioneers answered back as SHU used a nine-play, 51 yard drive on their next possession with Fink and Henley hooking up for the second time on a five yard score on third and goal for a 33-7 lead.
The Explorer's woes continued on the ensuing kickoff as senior Jason Richardson (Maiden, MA) forced a Deric Dudiski fumble that was recovered by the Pioneers on the La Salle 30. Two plays later, Payne burst through the middle and cut back left for a 28-yard score. SHU put the final touches on their first-half barrage on La Salle's next possession as Hanson dropped back to pass and was picked-off by senior safety John Wilson (Bloomfield, CT) who returned it 54 yards for his first career touchdown, giving Sacred Heart a 47-7 lead they carried into the half.
In the second half, junior running backs Ed Gurrieri (Manalapan, NJ) and Shane Robinson (Sayreville, NJ) carried the load offensively for SHU. Gurrieri ran the ball 20 times in the second half, piling up a team-leading 83 yards including a four-yard touchdown, the first of his career, to close out the scoring in the fourth quarter. Robinson ran the ball 16 times for 60 yards in the half.
On the day, Fink finished eight-of-nine for 122 yards, three scores and no interceptions and for the second-straight game did not get sacked. Jones finished with 65 yards on eight carries with the two scores while Payne rang up 60 yards on seven scores and a score. Redshirt-freshman Tony Patterson (Groton, CT) led all receivers with three catches for 46 yards.
The Pioneers as a team ran the ball 61 times for 319 yards. The team finished with 501 yards of total offense in the win, finishing eight-of-12 on third down and scoring on all five of their red zone possessions.
Defensively, SHU turned the Explorers over three times and registered three sacks. Richardson finished the day with three solo tackles including a sack and a forced fumble. Wilson finished with four tackles and his sixth career interception. Picking up the Pioneer's other sacks were sophomore lineman Bill O'Brien (Lafayette, NY) and freshman linebacker Brian Flumere (Milford, MA).
The Pioneers held La Salle to 192 total yards, 59 rushing, on the day. The Explorers converted just two-of-10 third down plays. SHU held a sizable edge as well in time of possession (39:31 - 20:29)
Sacred Heart will get back on the road next weekend as the make the short trip down I-95 to Iona College. The Pioneers and Gaels will kick-off at 1:00 pm on Mazzella Field. Fans can listen to all the action on WICC 600 am or through SacredHeartPioneers.com as Jeff Holtz and Bill Peterson call the action. xxxxxxxxx