Football Opens 2013 Against Sacred Heart
Sept. 3, 2013
| Lafayette vs. Sacred Heart
|Date||Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at 6 p.m.|
|Location||Easton, Pa. | Fisher Stadium|
|Tickets||Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office|
LSN | RCN-4 & 1004 HD, RCN-8 & 608 HD, WBPH-60
|Social Media||Twitter & Facebook|
|More Coverage||Lafayette Newstand | Behind the Roar Blog|
THE OPENING KICK-OFF
MATCH-UP: Lafayette opens the 2013 football season on Saturday, hosting Sacred Heart in a 6 p.m. kick off at Fisher Stadium.
The Leopards are coming off a 5-6 mark in 2012, while finishing in third place in the Patriot League standings. Sacred Heart posted a 2-9 record in head coach Mark Nofri's first season. The Pioneers have one game under their collective belts, topping Marist 37-21 on the road in week one of the season.
OPEN UP: Lafayette opens its 132nd season against an unfamiliar foe. The Leopards have played Sacred Heart just once, beating the Pioneers 25-14 on Sept. 2, 2006, also a season-opening game.
All-time, the Leopards are 85-43-3 in openers. Lafayette initiated the 2012 season with a 17-14 win at William & Mary.
HOME OPENERS: Lafayette is 87-40-3 all-time in home openers. The Leopards have won seven of their last 11 home openers, beating Penn 28-21 on Sept.15, 2012 after picking off the Quakers seven times.
COIN TOSS: The 1988 Lafayette football team is being honored for its title season of 8-2-1 and 5-0 record in the Colonial League, the precursor to the Patriot League. Tom Costello '91 and Andy Nygren '89 are participating in Saturday's coin toss. They will be joined by current student leaders as part of Student Appreciation Night.
FAMILIAR FIVE: Offensive line coach Stan Clayton has to feel fairly confident about his front five entering the 2013 season. For the first time in his tenure, Clayton welcomes back all five starters. The group is led by the left side of the line which features junior tackle Luke Chiarolanzio and senior guard Brad Bormann, both of whom enter their third seasons as starters. Bormann, a tri-captain, lines up next to senior Pat Crosby at center who begins his second season as a starter.
On the right side of the line junior Maxim Ngolla, who started six games at guard in 2012, and Zach Mazur, who started all 11 at tackle return. Junior Skyler Lash, a starter in five games at guard and classmate Ben Jeannot are ready to step in.
RUN THE BALL: With the return of the entire starting line, head coach Frank Tavani and offensive coordinator Mickey Fein expect to be able to run the ball. Junior Ross Scheuerman, a two-time All-Patriot League selection, is going to handle the bulk of the carries. Scheuerman, who is coming off a 700-yard season in 2012, has added 10 pounds of muscle, and his running in training camp has earned praise from the coaching staff and teammates.
Seniors Marcellus Irving and Greg Kessel, a fullback convert who has battled a recent shoulder injury, sit behind Scheuerman.
A LONG TIME: Lafayette has not had a 1000-yard rusher since Jonathan Hurt '07 in 2006 when he churned out 1165 yards. Hurt opened that season with 141 yards and two touchdowns against Sacred Heart.
AT IT A WHILE: Since fielding its first college football team in the fall of 1882 (the same year that coward Robert Ford shot Jesse James in the back and that Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture debuted), Lafayette has had a proud, colorful gridiron tradition on the way to a total of 659 victories (659-565-39). Lafayette ranks 38th among all college football teams in all-time wins entering the 2013 season, posting its first win in 1883 (25-0 vs. Rutgers). Lafayette accumulated 100 victories by 1900, 200 by 1915 and 300 by 1934.
ROSS AMONG BEST AT LAFAYETTE: Senior wide receiver Mark Ross is set to begin his final season, looking to continue his ascent up Lafayette's career receiving charts. He already ranks first in career receiving touchdowns (19), seventh in career receiving yards (1,733) and ninth in career receptions (124).
Ross needs 39 grabs and 674 yards to surpass John Weyrauch '04 (162 catches for 2,406 yards) atop both lists.
ABOUT SACRED HEART:
Sacred Heart enters week two coming off a 37-21 season-opening win at Marist. The game was not as close as the score may have indicated as the Pioneers led 37-7 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Fifteen starters, seven on offense and eight on defense, return for Sacred Heart which was 2-9 in 2012 and finished ninth in the Northeast Conference with a 1-7 record. The Pioneers counted wins over Central Connecticut State and Dartmouth and lost four of their games by an average of less than five points.
Sacred Heart used just one quarterback, sophomore R.J. Noel, in the season opener with great success. Noel was 21-of-34 for 201 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also carried the ball 17 times for 103 yards and another score.
Junior running back Keshaudas Spence racked up 816 yards in 2012 and opened the 2013 campaign with 83 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Junior safety Gordon Hill is one of the team's top returning tacklers. Hill made a team-high seven stops against Marist along with seven solo tackles by junior cornerback Stephan Thomas. The Pioneers were particularly effective on third down against Marist, stopping them 11-of-13 times.
A long time Sacred Heart assistant coach, Mark Nofri (Keene State '93) is in his second season as head coach after serving as a the interim coach in 2012. He is the longest tenured coach at Sacred Heart, in the midst of his 20th season.