The Central Connecticut football team dropped to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in Northeast Conference play with a 34-21 loss on the road at Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon. Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick SanGiacomo threw for a career-high 107 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Central has a bye next week, and returns to action at home on Oct. 13 at Arute Field vs. Duquesne for Homecoming.
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Sacred Heart took the early lead on its first drive, using nine plays to move 46 yards and take a 7-0 lead. Greg Moore rushed from one yard out for the game's first score with 10:18 on the clock. The lead reached 14-0 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Luke Wischnowski to Rock Tate to begin the second quarter. The SHU drive was five plays and went 67 yards.
The Blue Devils got on the board with 9:16 left in the second quarter. Captain Juan Duque's 27-yard field goal cut the lead to 14-3. A 68-yard kickoff return from freshman Aaron Berardino started the drive and gave the Blue Devils great field position. The scoring drive was six plays and went for 15 yards.
The lead reached 21-3 for Sacred Heart on a 34-yard touchdown run from Keshaudas Spence with 4:44 on the clock in the second quarter. The drive went eight plays and covered 73 yards. A late field goal before the half made it 24-3 in favor of the Pioneers. Chris Rogers' 17-yard kick capped the first half scoring.
The Blue Devils struggled offensively in their first two drives of the second half, and following a short punt the Pioneers took advantage with a scoring drive to push the lead to 27-3. Rogers kicked his second field goal, this time from 20 yards, with just over eight minutes to play in the third quarter.
Central responded with their first touchdown drive of the game, cutting the lead to 27-9 with 21 seconds left in the third quarter. SanGiacomo hit senior Deven Baker from 15-yards out for the score. It was the first career scoring strike for SanGiacomo and the first touchdown of the season for Baker. The drive started on a botched snap by the Pioneers which was recovered by the Blue Devils.
SanGiacomo and Baker hooked up for their second scoring pass of the game, this time from 24-yards out, and the lead was cut to 27-15 with 6:53 to play in the game. The two-point conversion was no good and the Sacred Heart lead was 12.
The Pioneers put the game away with a 34-yard intercption return for a touchdown by J.D. Rousell which made it 34-15 with under four minutes to play in the game.
SanGiacomo hit Thomas Tarantino for his third scoring pass of the game with 52 seconds left. The scoring catch was the first in the career for Tarantino, and cut the lead to 34-21. The two point conversion was again no good.
SanGiamcomo threw for three touchdowns in the game, and was also intercepted three times. It marked the first time since Oct. 22, 2011 that a Blue Devil quarterback passed for three touchdowns in a single game. He finished the game 11-of-24 for 107 yards and the three scores. Baker had four catches for 54 yards and his two touchdowns.
The Blue Devils have a bye week on Oct. 6 and will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 13 on Homecoming hosting Duquesne beginning at 12 p.m.