DetailsFAIRFIELD, Conn. (9/6/14) _ Sacred Heart handed defending Patriot League champion Lafayette a 27-14 loss in the Leopards' season opener.
Lafayette saw its offense struggle for most of the contest, but the defense appeared to have put the Leopards in a position for a final rally in the fourth quarter. Lafayette had the Pioneers 3rd-and-13 at the SHU 42 with 1:50 left in the game, looking to force a punt. Quarterback R.J. Noel uncorked a 57-yard pass to Jackson King. After a Sacred Heart timeout, Noel punched in the game-clinching score from one yard out, finishing with 49 yards on the ground and a pair of rushing scores.
Defensively, the Leopards had 12 tackles for loss by 13 different players and held the Sacred Heart offense to 366 yards. Linebacker Mark Dodd led the team with 11 stops while Chris Brockman added 10. The Leopards_ special teams effort was highlighted by Ross Scheuerman_s 90-yard kick return for a touchdown and score.
In the third quarter, the Leopards had the ball 4th-and-5 at the Sacred Heart 24-yard line. The Leopards went for it. The SHU defense appeared to have Reed contained in the backfield, but he scrambled to elude the pressure and hit TE Brian Keller near the 10-yard line. Justin Adams threw a block to spring him Keller for the rest of the yardage as Lafayette closed the gap to 20-14 with 5:28 in third quarter.
The Lafayette offense couldn't find its rhythm in the fourth quarter as its first four drives accounted for 15 plays and a total of 20 yards. Sacred Heart took over with 3:05 left in the game. On first down, Brockman and Shane Dorner stopped Keshaudas Spence in the backfield for a loss of three. On second down, Noel had a ball dropped by his receiver, setting up the decisive 57-yard Noel strike to King.
Final Score: Sacred Heart 27, Lafayette 14