FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart football team struggled coming out of the bye week, dropping a 28-3 decision to in-state NEC rival Central Connecticut State on Saturday afternoon from Campus Field on Homecoming weekend. The Blue Devils (4-1, 1-0 NEC) racked up 464 total yards of offense and forced four turnovers while the Pioneers (3-2, 1-1 NEC) managed just 238 total yards. The Pioneers played in front of a record crowd of 5,402, the most in school history for a Homecoming game.
Best fans in the NEC �� pic.twitter.com/uh5EFf5P3Z— SHU Football (@SHU__Football) October 5, 2019
The formidable CCSU defense, which came in having forced 11 turnovers in the first four games of 2019, was at it again on Sunday with four takeaways (two fumbles, two interceptions). SHU came into this game having committed just one turnover on the season. The Pioneers were one of just two teams heading into today that had one turnover and have played at least four games.
Junior FS Jayden Jordan led the effort on the defensive end, finishing with a career-high 11 tackles in the losing effort. Junior LB Chris Outterbridge posted nine tackles while senior CB Shawn Ramcheran added seven in defeat.
Sophmore RB Julius Chestnut continued to pile up the yardage, totaling 111 on the ground on 19 carries (5.8 yards per carry) as he led the SHU offense. This is Chestnut's third 100+ rushing yard performance this season and gives his six 100+ yard efforts for his career.
QB Logan Marchi struggled against the playmaking CCSU defense, finishing the day 10-for-28 throwing for 126 yards with 0 TD and 2 INT. Marchi came into today with a SHU record three straight 300+ passing yard outings as this is his first multi-INT game of his career as a Pioneer.
First Quarter (7-0 CCSU)
- SHU won the toss, deferring to the second half, but CCSU drove 76 yards down the field to the SHU 5-yard-line, setting up a big fourth-and-two play
- Enyce Walker took the handoff and rushed right into Sam Pierce who dragged him down for a gain of only one that handed SHU the ball on offense
- After a SHU three-and-out, CCSU converted this time on offense, driving 54 yard in 10 plays over the course of 5:51 of action to make it 7-0 Blue Devils late in the opening quarter
- CCSU QB Aaron Winchester found Emanuel Scott for 12 yards on a third-and-six conversion to extend the drive which later resulted in a Danley Exhilhomme 5-yard touchdown
DENIED �� SHU ball ▶️▶️▶️ pic.twitter.com/7cxLAyMf9L— SHU Football (@SHU__Football) October 5, 2019
Second Quarter (14-3 CCSU)
- SHU picked up their first first-down of the game late in the first quarter but a muffed snap stalled a progressive Pioneer drive and gave the ball back to CCSU early in the second quarter
- Both offenses stalled early in the quarter, until Chestnut returned a punt 26 yards to the CCSU 25-yard-line with over 10 minutes remaining in the period
- On the very next play however, Chestnut lost the ball after a gain of three yards as CCSU's LB Tre Jones punched the ball out which was later recovered by Michon Hunt as SHU was denied points on great field position
- After CCSU couldn't get anything going on offense, the ensuing punt was booted 51 yards in the air and took a bounce before Chestnut tried to field the ball but it was fumbled and recovered by Kendall Coles inside the red zone for the Blue Devils
- Just two plays later, Tyshaun James punched in a four-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 CCSU more than midway through the quarter
- With CCSU knocking on the door again late in the quarter, a Blue Devils fumble gave SHU the ball back with 59 seconds left
- Marchi drove the Pioneers 56 yards down the field, setting up a Dane Borges 26-yard make to push the score to 14-3 in favor of CCSU at the half
Borges gets us on the board from 26 yards out ... 14-3 CCSU leads at the half pic.twitter.com/amoMfOHMAh— SHU Football (@SHU__Football) October 5, 2019
Third Quarter (28-3 CCSU)
- After deferring to the second half, SHU got the ball first to open the second half but after an eight-yard sack forced the Pioneers back, Marchi was picked off by Coles at the SHU 45-yard-line
- Just five plays later, CCSU scored a crucial touchdown to make it a three-score game at 21-3 just over three minutes into the second half
- The Pioneers stalled on their next two offensive series, setting the stage for a game-clinching 69-yard CCSU scoring drive that made it 28-3 with 2:57 left in the quarter
- Danley Exhilhomme finished off the scoring drive with a 1-yard rushing score, his second TD of the day
Fourth Quarter (28-3 CCSU)
- SHU put together their most-successful drive of the day, going 60 yards over eight plays, but stalled in the red zone was three straight incompletions gave the ball back to CCSU
- The Blue Devils iced the game away with a 5+ minute drive that sealed the victory for the road team
- The SHU offense was held to just 238 yards on offense, this came following three straight games going over 500 yards
- Chestnut struggled with two fumbles but still managed to gain 111 yards on 19 carries, giving him 542 rushing yards on the season
- Three-time NEC Rookie of the Week WR Tyrese Chambers was held to just three catches for 54 yards on the afternoon
- Chambers still has an incredible total of 24 catches for 424 yards (17.7 ypc) with 5 TD over his last four games
- Eight different Pioneers registered at least four tackles on the day, led by Jayden Jordan with his career-best 11 tackles
- The 11 tackles for Jordan is the most by a Pioneer in a game this season
- Outterbridge added a season-high nine tackles to give him 17 total tackles over the last two games
- Sophomore P Noah Gettman booted one of his eight punts on the day a career-long 54 yards
- The announced crowd of 5,402 is the second-highest attendance for a SHU home game in school history, falling just short of the 5,569 the Pioneers drew for Family Weekend in 2017 against Dartmouth
- The Pioneers move to 9-13 all-time against their in-state conference rival and 4-4 against the Blue Devils under head coach Mark Nofri
The Pioneers (3-2, 1-1 NEC) head back on the road for a matchup against Penn on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. This is the final non-conference road game of the season for SHU.