FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart University football team powered past Lafayette for a convincing 35-6 victory in Saturday night's season-opener at Campus Field. Graduate quarterback Kevin Duke was 17-for-22 for 146 yards and two touchdowns and added 24 yards on the ground. Senior running back Jordan Meachum rushed for a career-high 132 yards on 17 carries, and fifth-year senior Andrew O'Neill had nine receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown. First-year running back Julius Chestnut ran for a pair of touchdowns, totaling 57 yards on 12 carries in his collegiate debut. Senior Noah Provenzano notched his first career interception and touchdown, returning a pick 71 yards for a score in the third quarter.
- Sacred Heart finished the game 7-of-16 on third downs and a perfect 4-of-4 on four downs.
- SHU's defense held Lafayette to 2-of-10 on third downs, 253 yards of offense and no touchdowns.
- Junior Chris Agyemang had two sacks for 15 yards.
- Aaron Donaldson had a team-high seven tackles (all solo).
- Sophomore Salaam Horne tallied two tackles for a loss.The Pioneers have now won six consecutive season openers and seven straight home openers.
- After making a defensive stop to start the game, Eli Terry opened the drive for Lehigh with a 27-yard run down the left sideline. O'Neill capped the drive by hauling in a leaping catch for a 10-yard touchdown in the back of the endzone at the 9:02 mark of the first quarter.
- Lafayette answered on its ensuing drive with a 44-yard field goal.
- After both teams traded empty possessions, SHU took over at its own 45 and worked the ball into the red zone after Duke found O'Neill for a 21-yard gain on fourth down-and-two. Sacred Heart later punched it in on fourth and goal from inside the one as Chestnut scored his first collegiate touchdown with 4:36 left until halftime, putting SHU up 14-3.
- SHU got the ball back at its own 11 following a punt with 1:28 to go in the half. Meachum broke off a game-high 54-yard run on the first play, moving the ball down to the Lafayette 35-yard line.
- Four plays later, Duke hit junior Kezio Snelling with a six-yard touchdown pass for his first career score, giving Lehigh a 21-3 lead heading into the locker room.
- Duke was 13-for-16 passing in the opening half.
- After SHU came up empty on its opening possession of the third quarter, Provenzano hauled in his first career interception and returned it 71 yards for his first career touchdown, upping the SHU advantage to 28-3.
- Lafayette responded with an 11-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal to make it 28-6 with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
- Chestnut opened the fourth quarter with a bang, breaking tackles en route to a 31-yard touchdown run on the opening play to make it 35-6. The drive included a four-yard run by Meachum on fourth-and-one at the Lafayette 32-yard line.
- Junior Pat Lukert came away with SHU's second interception of the game just two plays after Chestnut's second touchdown, but Lafayette got the ball back five plays later following a SHU fumble.
Sacred Heart will hit the road for three consecutive games beginning next Saturday, Sept. 8 at Bucknell. The Pioneers next home game will be on Oct. 6 against Penn on Homecoming and Beast Cancer Awareness Day. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.