FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart University football team is set to kick off the 2018 season this Saturday night, Sept. 1 against Lafayette at Campus Field. The game is set for 6 p.m. The game will serve as the Pioneers' annual Heroes' Day, honoring first responders.
• SHU is 11-9 in season openers in the Division I era (since 1998) and is 13-7 in home openers over the same timespan.
• This will be the second meeting between SHU and Lafayette in a season-opener, with the Leopards prevailing 25-14 in the only other opening day clash on Sept. 2, 2006 at Campus Field.
• Sacred Heart has won five consecutive season openers by an average of 20.6 points. SHU is 5-1 under Mark Nofri in season openers.
• SHU has won six consecutive home openers, all by an average of 27.7 points. Two of those games have been against Division II opponents.
• Sacred Heart is coming off a 4-7 campaign in 2017, while the Leopards finished 3-8.
• Sacred Heart will have five captains for the 2018 season: #3 Shawn Ramcheran (Jr./DB), #5 Andrew O'Neill (5th/WR), #10 Kevin Duke (Grad./QB), #21 Kevin Sears (Sr./OLB), #68 Christian LoDolce (Sr./DL). This is the second consecutive year that O'Neill and Duke will serve as captains.
• The Pioneers will be looking to fill the void left after losing their top four leading tacklers and six of their top seven overall, including CJ Parvelus (97), Kevin Barry (90), Khaamal Whitaker (61), Max Trudeau (40), Delvon Artis (39), and Tim Johnson (35).
• SHU ranked second in the NEC in both passing offense (236.0 yds./gm.) and third in rushing offense (177.8 yds./gm.).
• The Pioneers had over 450 yards of total offense six times last season.
• Graduate quarterback Kevin Duke was second in the NEC in both passing offense (236.0 yards/game) and total offense (269.5 yards/game) in 2017. He was 17th in FCS in total offense and 25th in passing yards.
• Fifth-year wide receiver Andrew O'Neill finished fourth in receptions (5.4/game) and fifth (67.2) in receiving yards in the NEC in 2017.
• Running back Jordan Meachum returns for his senior season in 2018. rushed for a season-high and game-high 98 yards and two touchdowns in last season's matchup against Lafayette, coming one yard shy of his career high of 99 yards (Valparaiso-2016).
AL-TIME VS. LAFAYETTE
Sacred Heart holds a 3-1 edge in the all-time series against Lafayette. The Pioneers have won three matchups in a row, dating back to 2013. The teams are each 1-1 when playing at Campus Field.
MOST RECENT MATCHUP
• On September 9, 2017, Sacred Heart improved to 2-0 after edging out the Leopards by a final score of 38-24.
• The 24 points scored by Lafayette was their second-highest point total of the season.
• Sacred Heart quarterback Kevin Duke tallied 219 yards of total offense on the day, including 73 yards on the ground.
• Jordan Meachum rushed for a season-high and game-high 98 yards on 14 carries.
• After both sides each tallied 10 points in the first half, the SHU gained momentum, covering 48 yards in nine plays on the first drive of the half which resulted in an eight-yard touchdown run by Ose Imeokparia to give the Pioneers a 17-10 lead.
• Sacred Heart controlled the remainder of the third quarter as a nine-play, 69-yard drive ended in a one-yard touchdown run by Jordan Meachum to increase the Pioneer lead to 24-10.
• Imeokparia and Meachum both added one more touchdown apiece in the fourth quarter to help SHU put the game away.
• Lafayette freshman quarterback Sean O'Malley 25 of his 44 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. The performance earned him Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors.