Big Second Half Leads Central Connecticut Past Sacred Heart, 24-12
Oct. 3, 2009
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (October 3, 2009) - The Central Connecticut Blue Devils scored 24 unanswered points in the second half highlighted by a 100-yard interception return by Marcus Dorsey to drop the Sacred Heart Pioneers 24-12 Saturday afternoon in New Britain. The Pioneers fall to 0-4 and 0-2 in the Northeast Conference to start the year.
The Pioneer defense did a solid job of holding the Blue Devil offensive attack in check in the first half, limiting senior running back James Mallory to just three yards rushing on nine carries. SHU's offense did all of their scoring in the first two quarters as r-junior Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) hit sophomore Garry Coles (Southington, CT) on a 26-yard screen pass for six and senior Steve Tedesco on a 35-yard "Hail Mary" as the first half clock ran out.
SHU used their second drive to produce the game's first points as Fink drove the team 85 yards in nine plays. The Pioneers benefited from a pass interference penalty on the drive and were set up first and goal on the CCSU eight yard line. A personal foul and an offside pushed the Pioneers back to their own 26 on second and goal but Fink negated the two penalties finding Coles on a middle screen for six. A missed snap derailed the Pioneers point after attempt.
Fink looked like he had the Pioneers on the move for points just before the half and was set up first and 10 on the CCSU 24-yard line with 12 seconds left. The Blue Devils came up with a big play as Ricardo Gibson dropped Fink for a 10-yard sack back to the 34, setting up for a last second "Hail Mary" attempt. Fink was forced out to his left and let fly for the end zone where the ball was tipped by a CCSU defender into the waiting hands of Tedesco behind the defense. The Pioneers again missed on their point after attempt and went into the locker room leading 12-0.
The second half belonged to the Blue Devils who pounded their way to 180 yards on the ground behind Mallory on their way to 24-straight points. Central Connecticut wasted little time, taking the second half kick-off and putting together a 14-play drive to get on the board. Mallory led the way carried the ball seven times on the drive and finished it off plunging it in from a yard out to trail 12-7.
CCSU settled for a field goal on their next drive and forced the Pioneers into a three-and-out to start the fourth quarter. It looked as if Mallory would make it three-straight scoring drives but the senior tailback coughed up the football on the 10th play of the drive giving the Pioneers the ball back on their three-yard line.
Another SHU drive fizzled out and another special teams miscue cost the Pioneers as punter Brian Friedman (Point Pleasant, NJ) mishandled the snap on fourth down and was dropped for a loss of nine yards, giving the Blue Devils the ball, first and goal, on the 10-yard line. Mallory need just one play, dragging a pair of defenders into the end zone to give his team its first lead, 17-12, with 6:40 to play.
The Pioneer offense finally hit their stride and moved the ball to the Central Connecticut five-yard line looking for the go-ahead score. Fink converted a big third-and-two hitting Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) for a 14 yard gain to the Central 16-yard line. Fink looked to hit Coles on a swing play into the end zone on the next play but corner Ray Saunders broke the play up.
Facing a third and goal at the five, Fink, under a heated pass rush, toss the ball toward the right corner of the end zone where Dorsey picked it off three-yards deep and returned it the full 100-yards for six, clinching the win.
Junior Marcel Archer (Miami, FL) was the Pioneer's leading rusher, picking up 63 yards on 16 carries. As a team, SHU was held to nine yards on the ground. Fink finished 17-of-38 from 259 yards, two scores and a pick and was sacked five times on the afternoon. Sophomore Titus McIntosh (Pompano Beach, FL) led all players with 14 tackles while junior Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) chipped in with 11 stops.
For Central Connecticut State, Mallory finished the game with 80 yards rushing on 21 carries and two scores. As a team, the Blue Devils had 347 yards of total offense in the win.
The Pioneers return home next weekend to play host to Saint Francis (PA). Game time is set for 12:00 noon.