Leopards Tackle Pioneers in Fisher Debut

Sept. 5, 2017

 Lafayette vs. Sacred Heart
 Gameday Info  GoLeopards.com Gameday | Promotions
 Date & Time  Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 - 6 p.m.
 Location  Easton, Pa. | Fisher Stadium
 Tickets  Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office
 Game Notes  Lafayette Get Acrobat Reader | Sacred Heart Get Acrobat Reader
 TV  Lafayette Sports Network (RCN 4/8, 1004/608 HD, WBPH-60 HD)
 Play by Play: Gary Laubach
 Analyst: Mike Joseph
 Sideline: John Leone
 Live Streaming  GoLeopards.com
 Live Stats  GameTracker
 Social Media  Twitter & Facebook


The Match-Up:
The Leopards have a rotating schedule in 2017 as every other game is a home game. This week, the Leopards welcome Sacred Heart (1-0) in the home opener on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Home Openers: Lafayette is 88-44-3 all-time in home openers. The last home-opening win was Sept. 13, 2014, a 50-3 victory over Robert Morris.  

Last Time Out: Monmouth used two third-quarter scores on the first two drives of the half to pull away to a 31-12 win over the Leopards in the season opener. Lafayette trailed 7-0 at intermission before the Monmouth offense began to solve the Leopard defense. Offensively, the Leopards were limited to -1 yards rushing.  

The Garrett Era: John Garrett began his first head-coaching assignment on Dec. 21, 2016 when he was introduced at a press conference on the Lafayette College campus. Garrett brings more than 25 years of coaching experience at the NFL, NCAA FBS and NCAA FCS levels. His most recent stints included offensive coordinator gigs at Richmond and Oregon State. In his first season, Garrett is handling the offensive play-calling duties.

Mrazek's Marks: Senior WR Matt Mrazek opened the season with nine catches for 80 yards and a TD. The performance moved him into fifth place for career receptions (150), passing Mark Layton and Shaun Adair, and into the eighth spot for career receiving yards (1691), propelling him past Jamal Jordan, Quincy Miller and Dave Baird. He also ascended to ninth place for career receiving touchdowns (13).
The senior from Illinois holds the record for receiving touchdowns in a game with three twice (CCSU and Holy Cross) in 2016 and ranks seventh for receiving touchdowns in a season (8 in 2016). Mrazek is also tied for third for receptions in a game with 11 and rests fourth in receptions in a season with 71 in 2016.

Freshman QB?: Freshman Sean O'Malley was under center for the Leopards when the season opened. Since the Patriot League began (as the Colonial League in 1986), the Leopards had never started a freshman quarterback in the season opener.
The Beverly Hills, Calif. native finished the afternoon 27-of-42 for 262 yards with two TD's and two INT's. He threw on 70 percent of the Leopards' 67 offensive plays.
O'Malley is looking to replace Drew Reed '17, who led the Leopards to their last Patriot League title in his freshman year of 2013 and left College Hill ranked third in career passing yards (7,007) and completions (968) and second in career completion percentage (65.2) after playing in 36 games over four seasons as the starter.

Fresh Contributions: Two freshmen cracked the starting lineup for the Leopards at Monmouth. Sean O'Malley was under center while Gavin Barclay earned the start at left guard. Five other members of the Class of 2021 are in the two-deep as back ups: QB Cole Northrup, TE Jake Taggart, OL Trey Fallon, OL Taron Hampton and K Jeffrey Kordenbrock.

Pair of Picks: Lafayette's cornerbacks were on their game in the season opener. Senior Phillip Parham and sophomore Eric Mitchell each picked off passes. It was the sixth career pick for Parham and second for Mitchell.

Scoring Drives: Both of the Leopards' scoring drives against Monmouth were lengthy. Lafayette's first touchdown drive covered 73 yards on nine plays over 4:09 and the second score came after an 11-play, 75-yard drive that spanned 2:08.

Nationally-Ranked Opponents: The Leopards have three opponents who are ranked in the top 25. Week three opponent Villanova heads that list, checking in at sixth in the STATS Poll and eighth in the Coaches Poll. Also ranked are Lehigh (19th in both polls) and Colgate (25th in Coaches Poll). Three other opponents, Princeton, Harvard and Fordham, are receiving top-25 votes.

The Opponent: Sacred Heart is coming off a 42-3 home win over Stetson in week one. The Pioneers ran for 300 yards and passed for another 155 in a convincing decision.
Sacred Heart was 6-5 overall and 1-5 in Northeast Conference play last season. The Pioneers return 86 letterwinners and 16 starters (nine on offense, seven on defense).

On offense, three players had 60 or more rushing yards against Stetson led by a 93-yard game from sophomore Imamu Mayfield.

Defensively, senior C.J. Parvelus is a team leader, finishing 2016 with 100 tackles (12.5 TFL). He and linebacker classmate Kevin Barry each made seven stops vs. Stetson.
Mark Nofri (34-25) begins his sixth season as the Pioneers' head coach.