Nov. 5, 2005
FAIRFIELD, CT - Running back Jo Jo Freeman scampered 49 yards for a touchdown with 49 seconds remaining in a tie game to life the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils to a 24-17 win over Sacred Heart University in a Northeast Conference game Saturday afternoon. The win assures Central, 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the NEC, of at least a share of the league title with one game left to play.
After a scoreless first quarter, Central Connecticut broke the scoring ice on a three-yard run by Freeman with 9:53 to play in the first half. That run capped a 10-play, 57-yard drive.
SHU, 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the NEC, evened the game at 7-7 just over a minute later on a three-yard run by senior Ed Pricolo. QB Tyler Arciaga had two big pass plays on the 80-yard drive that took just four plays and 1:16. He hit senior Bryan Butterworth for 31 yards to the Central 42, and then sophomore Corey Bundy for 39 yards to the Blue Devil three.
Central took a 14-7 lead into the intermission when freshman quarterback Aubrey Norris hit tailback Marquis Morrison with a 50-yard scoring strike with just 2:04 left in the first half.
The Pioneers held Central on its first possession of the second half and then tied the score when Arciaga hooked up with Bundy again, this time for 47 yards and a TD with 12:24 to play in the third quarter.
The Blue Devils regained a 17-14 edge with 2:41 to go in the third quarter when senior Derek Pearson nailed a 31-yard field goal. The three points were salvaged after a Central drive that had consumer 11 plays, 71 yards and 5:02 on the clock stalled.
Junior kicker Nick Passalacqua converted just his second field goal of the season for Sacred Heart with 9:02 to play in the game. The 39-yarder knotted the score again at 17-17.
The two teams traded punts after the field goal and Central took over at its own 39 with 2:59 to play in the game. Faced with a third-and-one at the Sacred Heart 49 with under a minute to play, Norris handed off to Freeman who was bottled up at the line. He managed to squirt through a hole on the right side after being stopped and outran the Pioneer secondary for the winning score.
The Pioneers had one last gasp after Jason Payne returned the kickoff after the TD to the Pioneer 39. With :35 to play, Arciaga converted consecutive passes to Bundy and tailback Evin Jones to get the ball to the Central 32 with under :20 to play. Linebacker Coree Tucker came up big for the Blue Devils by sacking Arciaga on the next play for a loss of ten yards. The Pioneers took a timeout with :13 left and Arciaga threw his next pass incomplete. With :09 left he again hit Jones who picked up 16 yards but the clock ran out, the officials ruled, before SHU called the timeout to set up one last play.
Arciaga would finish the game with a career-high 319 yards passing for SHU, the second straight game he has eclipsed the 300-yard mark. Bundy had another strong game receiving, catching six balls for 142 yards.