FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A heavy dose of running back Malik Grant and a stout defense propelled the Sacred Heart University football team to victory on Saturday.
The Pioneers topped Merrimack College, 20-10, in a Northeastern Conference tilt on homecoming at Campus Field.
Both teams are now 3-3 overall but Merrimack is 0-2 in NEC play.
Grant ran all over the Warriors, pilling up 268 yards on the ground. It’s the highest total of his career, fourth-best in school history and the second-highest single-game effort in the FCS this season.
The other star of the show was the Sacred Heart defense. Merrimack came into the game averaging 38.4 points per game and 318 yards of total offense, but the Pioneers held MC to 10 points and 204 yards of offense.
Sacred Heart wasted no time in getting on the board as it took the opening kickoff and marched 74 yards down the field. The Pioneers took advantage of two Merrimack penalties and Marquez McCray found Kenneth Womack from 13 yards out for an opening score.
For the third time in three home games, Sacred Heart put points on the board before the half. Grant rushed for 55 yards and Sam Renzi knocked home a 23-yard field goal to put the Pioneers ahead, 10-3, at the break.
SHU got all the points it would eventually need on its first drive of the third quarter. Grant flipped the field on the first play with a 41-yard rush then Rob DiNota caught a 23-yard pass. McCray found Naseim Brantley in the endzone for an eight-yard score to give SHU a 17-3 lead.
Merrimack quarterback Westin Elliott was on the run all day as the Pioneers recorded six sacks, including 2.5 by Onarjae Bonhometre. Linebacker Chris Outterbridge had seven tackles, including 4.5 for a loss.