SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University football team wraps up its season on Saturday, Nov. 19 when it travels to Fairfield, Conn., to face Northeast Conference rival Sacred Heart. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:04 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.com as part of the league's "#NECFB on ESPN3" television package.
Opponent: Sacred Heart (website)
Kickoff: 12:04 p.m.
Watch Live: ESPN3.com
Listen Live: WOON 1240 or onworldwide.com
Live Stats: Sacred Heart Pioneers
Bryant and Sacred Heart will be meeting for the ninth time in program history on Saturday. The Pioneers (6-4, 1-4 NEC) have won each of the last three meetings and hold a 5-3 lead over the Bulldogs (4-6, 3-2) in the all-time series. Bryant and SHU have met with NEC Championship implications in each of the last two years. In 2014, the Bulldogs and Pioneers played a de facto title game in the second-to-last game of the year, a 14-7 victory for the Pios. In 2015, Bryant had its sights set on an NEC title again but Sacred Heart dealt the Black and Gold a 28-19 loss on Senior Day in Smithfield. Bryant's last win in the series came in 2012, 34-14, when Jordan Harris caught TD passes of 74 and 52 yards.
Notes and Notables for Week 12
Bryant will wrap up its season on the road and will try to win away from Smithfield for the first time this year (0-5). The Bulldogs have never gone winless on the road in program history but have not won a road game since Nov. 7 of last year at Wagner.
The Bulldogs have had their struggles in the second half this season, getting outscored 178-115. On the other hand, Bryant has outscored its opponents 159-98 in the first half. The Black and Gold have allowed just three touchdowns in the first quarter all year.
Senior QB Dalton Easton (Miami, Fla.) enters the final game of his collegiate career ranked in the top 10 in NEC history in both passing yards (7,072) and passing touchdowns (66).
Easton has struggled, however, in two starts against the Pioneers. He is 36-of-73 for 448 yards, one touchdown and six interceptions over the last two years.
Bryant's group of wide receivers enters the final game of the 2016 season as the most accomplished group in Division I program history. The Bulldogs' wideouts have recorded 141 catches for 2,006 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Seniors Taylor Barthelette (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and Keenan Thompson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), and junior Matt Sewall (Portsmouth, R.I.) have led the way for the Black and Gold. Barthelette leads all receivers with 45 catches for 728 yards and seven touchdowns, while Thompson has had a career-year with 23 catches for 356 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns. Sewall is second on the team with 31 catches for 386 yards and five scores. All three have posted 3+ touchdowns in a single game this season. The feat had been accomplished just twice in the previous 17 years of Bryant football.
Senior DB Charles Wingate (Englewood, N.J.) will wrap up one of the best careers for a defensive back on Saturday afternoon as well. Wingate has made 160 career tackles, the most by a defensive back in Bryant's DI history. He also ranks third in DI history in interceptions (8) and is third all-time in pass breakups (25).
A bit about the Pioneers
Sacred Heart, which won back-to-back NEC titles in 2013 and 2014, was picked to finish second in the preseason coaches poll and looked like it was ready to live up to the prognostication with a 6-1 start to the year. The Pioneers, however, have lost three-straight league games and are now 1-4 in NEC play. SHU leads the NEC with 208 rushing yards per game and feature one of the best QBs in league history, RJ Noel. A four-year starter, Noel is 3-0 in his career against the Bulldogs and has thrown for 8,962 yards in his career, the second-most in NEC history.