FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart University football team will hit the road for the first time this season on Saturday, Sept. 8 to take on Bucknell at 3 p.m. SHU is coming off a dominating 35-6 win in its season-opener last week versus Lafayette, while Bucknell put up a strong defensive performance of its own in a 14-7 setback at home against William & Mary.
The matchup marks the second straight season the Pioneers and Bison will be meeting in Lewisburg. Bucknell took last year's game by a 34-31 final on a field goal as time expired.
The game will be televised nationally on Stadium's over-the-air channels (view full channel listings here). The game can also be streamed live for free at WatchStadium.com, on Twitter at @WatchStadium and on Facebook.
• SHU has won their first road game of the season for five straight years, including a 10-7 win at No. 24 Delaware in 2014.
• SHU has not lost its first road game of the season since 2012 at Morgan State (30-27 OT).
• The Pioneers turned out a 3-3 record on the road last season.
• SHU will be looking to start 2-0 for the sixth straight season. SHU has started at least 3-0 three times in the last five seasons.
• Sacred Heart ranks No. 1 in the nation in fourth down conversion percentage (minimum four attempts), after going 4-for-4 last week.
• Sacred Heart is 11th in the nation in net punting yards/game (44.0).
• SHU is sixth in the nation and No. 1 in the NEC in scoring defense (6.0 ppg), the only team in the NEC who surrendered less than 21 points last weekend.
• The Pioneer offense ranks 19th in FCS in time of possession, holding the ball for 33:49 last week vs. Lafayette.
• The Pioneers' 261 rushing yards in week one ranks 14th in the FCS.
• First-year punter Noah Gettman ranks 16th in the nation in average yards per punt (44.0). He totaled four punts against Lafayette with a long of 53 yards and one punt down inside the 20.
COLLECTING THE HARDWARE:
• First-year tailback Julius Chestnut was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week after rushing for 57 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. It was the first NEC weekly award for the Pios, who had seven last season.
• Seniors Andrew O'Neill and Jordan Meachum were recognized as NEC Prime Performers for their efforts in last Saturday's win over Lafayette. O'Neill had his fourth-career 100+ yard receiving game with nine receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown. Meachum rushed for a career-best 132 yards on 17 carries, including a 54-yarder that set up a SHU touchdown in the closing seconds of the second quarter.
• Noah Provenzano had a 71-yard interception return for a touchdown against Lafayette on Sept. 1, the longest INT return since Khaamal Whitaker's 82 yard return vs. Lafayette in 2017 (no TD).
• Provenzano's INT return was the longest SHU pick-six since Kevin Barry's 60-yd INT return at Bucknell in 2017.
• The SHU defense held Lafayette to 253 yards of total offense on Sept. 1.
• SHU held Lafayette to just 2-of-10 on third downs and allowed the Leopards into the red zone just twice.
ALL-TIME VS. BUCKNELL
Sacred Heart is 1-2 all-time against Bucknell, including a 1-1 mark on the road. The Bison have won each of the last two meetings, with the most recent coming on September 23, 2017.
MOST RECENT MATCHUP
• Bucknell won last year's matchup 34-31 on September 23, 2017.
• SHU quarterback Kevin Duke threw for a career-high 244 yards, completing 14 of 29 passes with a touchdown and two interceptions.
• Eli Terry led the Pioneers with 67 rushing yards and scored his first career touchdown.
• Defensively, Kevin Sears had a career-high 16 tackles.
• Departed senior CJ Parvelus added 14 tackles and graduated senior Kevin Barry had 10 stops and a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown.
• Trailing 17-0 late in the second quarter, Sacred Heart got on the board with a 34-yard field goal by Josh Freiria to cut the lead to 17-3 with 1:38 to go. On the following possession, Barry intercepted Bucknell (2-2) quarterback John Chiarolanzio and ran it back 60 yards for a touchdown to make the score 17-10 at halftime.
• The Pioneers tied the game on the opening kickoff of the second half, as freshman Ezekiel Ennis ran the kick back 98 yards for his first career touchdown, tying the game 17-17. The Bison took back the lead on a three-yard touchdown run by Joey DeFloria at the 9:18 mark of the third.
• Early in the fourth, the Bison took a 14-point lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Chad Freshnock that made the score 31-17. SHU responded on its next drive, driving 79 yards in six plays with Terry's 11-yard touchdown run making the score 31-24 with 12:13 remaining.
• After tying the game 31-31, SHU got the ball back with 2:31 to play. On third-and-seven at the SHU 43-yard line, Duke connected with Ennis on a six-yard pass, coming up one yard short.
• The Pioneers went for it on fourth down and were stopped, allowing Bucknell to have a chance to win the game. The Bison drove down to the SHU 29-yard line, where Burdick made his game-winning 46-yard field goal as time expired.