Football Fumbles First Half of Season

The Sacred Heart University (SHU) football team is now five games into their season. A team that was once the kings of the Northeast Conference (NEC), is off to a rocky start to their 2023 campaign.

The team is sitting on a 1-4 record after its family weekend loss to Merrimack this past Saturday.

“I think we’ve been a little inconsistent. There’s been times where we’ve played really well for a quarter or two and then we haven’t played the way we are capable of playing for a few quarters and it has kind of put us in the hole,” said head coach Mark Nofri.

SHU displayed these inconsistencies again on family weekend. They scored off a fumble recovery to take an early 7-0 lead but that was all the scoring they produced. Merrimack went on to win 17-7.

In their losses, offense has been hard to come by. They scored 14 against Lafayette and 10 against Georgetown and Wagner.

The game that provided optimism was their win against Saint Francis University (SFU). SHU defeated SFU 37-34 on a game winning field goal by Sam Renzi.

“We were down 10- 0. We came back to take the lead and it was back and forth all game and we found a way to win at the end, so I think it’s all about the kids and their grit that they showed,” said Nofri.

Running back Malik Grant added 118 rush yards and a touchdown.

“I’d definitely say we played below our standards and below our expectations for the first three games. That game versus Saint Francis is when you saw that we can definitely do a lot of great things throughout the season,” said Grant.

Another key contributor versus SFU was starting quarterback Rob McCoy. He threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 60 yards rushing.

“We stayed together, and we knew that no matter what we had the ability to go make plays and had the opportunity to run and pass and we stuck to that the whole game,” said McCoy.

Both Grant and McCoy look to play pivotal roles in turning this season in the right direction.

“I’d say the way that we maintain that momentum going forward is going into practice each and every day knowing it’s a new day. We’ve got new reps, new plays, whatever it is, whatever it might be, and try and get better each and every rep, and each and every practice,” said Grant.

Sacred Heart is currently sixth in the NEC.

“The key to stringing wins is being able to play like they’re capable of and not taking plays off and not taking quarters off, to play a full 60 minutes with their ability and potential because they are talented when they want to be,” said Nofri.

SHU’s next game is Saturday, Oct. 7 as they take on Long Island University.

Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.

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