Sept. 9, 2006
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY - Marist College junior quarterback Steve McGrath picked the Sacred Heart University defense apart, completing 22 of 32 passes for 303 yards and three scores to lead the Red Foxes to a 28-19 win over the visiting Pioneers in a non-conference football game Saturday night.
Marist, 1-1, opened the scoring with 10:59 left in the half on a two-yard run by junior Obozua Ehikioya. The TD capped a 12-play, 44-yard drive that took 6:27.
The Pioneer offense gained just 58 yards in the first half. The only highlight for SHU in the first two quarters was a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by sophomore Evin Jones (Pennsauken, NJ) that temporarily tied the score at 7-7. The kickoff was the longest in SHU Division I football history.
The Red Foxes took a 14-7 lead with 5:29 left in the second when McGrath hit junior Tim Keegan (Middlebury, CT) with a 16-yard touchdown pass. Marist took a 21-7 lead into the locker room when McGrath threw his second TD pass, this time a nine-yarder to senior Kevin Frederick (Meriden, CT).
McGrath put the Pioneers in a huge hole when he connected with senior Prince Prempeh with a 70-yard strike just 2:30 into the second half to give them a 28-7 lead. QB Tyler Arciaga (Bonita, CA) kept SHU in the game when he hit Corey Bundy with a 35-yard scoring strike with 2:20 to play in the second quarter. Nick Passalacqua's extra point was blocked to keep the score at 28-13.
The Pioneers, 0-2, managed to hold Marist on its next possession and took control of the ball with just over 12 minutes to play in the game. On a first and ten from midfield, Jason Payne ripped off a 35-yard run to the Marist 15, but the play was called back on a hold. After the penalty, SHU was faced with a fourth and nine from the Marist 49. Arciaga was picked off by Marist's Huck Correia at the 17.
On the first play after the penalty, McGrath seemed to take all the wind out of the Pioneer sails when he connected with Prempeh for 43 yards to the SHU 40. However, unable to pick up another first down, the Red Foxes punted and pinned the Pioneers back at their own 20 yard line. Arciaga showed he had some life left as he engineered a drive that ended with the senior QB running in from five yards out for the score. Twice during the drive, Arciaga hit sophomore receiver Kyle Smith (Pawcatuck, CT) for 20 and 35 yards.
Forced to go for two because of the missed kick PAT earlier, Arciaga was sacked on the attempt, keeping Marist on top 28-19. The Pioneers recovered the ensuing onside kick, but were flagged for being offside. On the second attempt, Passalacqua pooched the ball downfield and the Red Foxes took over at their own 40 and ran the clock down to the final minute.
"We had some opportunities early and didn't take advantage of them," said SHU head coach Paul Gorham. "You have to give the Marist quarterback a lot of credit. He took advantage of what we gave him. But the bottom line is that we have to play better. We've still got a lot of work to do." Arciaga finished the game completing, 28 of 41 passes for 283 yards. Smith finished with a career-high four catches for 94 yards.