By Brittany Burke
The Blue Devils football team is entering this Saturday’s road game still in search of their first win of the season.
CCSU (0-4, 0-1 NEC) will travel to Sacred Heart for their second Northeast Conference game after falling to the Wagner Seahawks this past weekend, 31-13 to begin conference play.
“I think we understand that if we want to win this conference we cant lose any games and now we absolutely have to push all of our chips in and be absolutely the best team we can be,” said starting quarterback Andrew Clements. “If we don’t play to the highest level that we can then we’ll lose the conference. I think we all understand that and I think were all ready to work as hard as we possibly can.”
After Saturday night’s loss it was evident that CCSU still needed work on their run defense as well as their ability to convert on third and fourth-down situations. The Blue Devils managed to convert only three of their 11 third down situations compared to Wagner’s 8-for-13.
The home team also allowed for the Seahawks to rush for 271-yards, while the Blue Devils managed to gain only 165-yards on the ground.
“It’s just getting guys to play at a level that’s high and we gotta get out on third downs,” said the team’s head coach, Jeff McInerney. “I’ve got to change up some of the third down defenses. I’ve got to help them and figure out how to get out on third down [because right now] we’re not very good at it.”
According to McInerney some scheme changes will be happening in preparation for the game against Sacred Heart.
The Blue Devils entered the “Light Up the Night” game 0-3 against powerhouse opponents, but the game against Wagner was the first for conference play. CCSU came out onto the field and under stadium lighting for the first night game in over five years.
Both sides of Arute field was filled with parents, alumni and CCSU students sporting glowing Blue Devil horns while chanting the ever so familiar, “C-C-S-UUUU.” The crowd was excited for the game and that seemed to translate into on-field play.
“It makes me happy to be a blue devil just to see the transformation from being a freshman to now. We usually have to go on the road to feel games like this and now we have them at home, it’s just an excellent feeling,” said Clements.
The CCSU offense came out for their opening possession stronger than they have in the past, but the decision for go for a fourth down ended with the Blue Devils having to punt away the ball.
“We’ve always been able to make the short yardage plays and I’ve won games doing that,” said McInerney. “… That’s been our style really if you look at ’09 and ’10 that’s been our style and we go for it. They’re all right there in front of your face usually no one complains because usually we make them. This group is struggling with it.”
The lost drive resulted in the Seahawks answering with seven points of their own, but with 40 seconds left in the first quarter CCSU came back to score with a pass from Clements to Anthony Jubles, who fought to catch the ball in double coverage.
The game could have been tied, but the muffed extra point left the Blue Devils down by one.
Wagner and CCSU remained close entering half time, but an explosive second half for the Seahawks left the Blue Devils struggling to keep up.
Less than four minutes into the second half Wagner’s Otis Wright broke through for another seven points. Wright finished the game with 58-yards rushing, while Dwight Williams was able to gain 122-yards against the CCSU defense.
The Seahawks’ next two possessions also brought them into the end-zone and while CCSU Clements rushed for seven points of his own it wasn’t enough for his team to catch up.
“I like this group, I don’t like being 0-4, I haven’t been 0-4 in a long time, but I do like them and I do think they try,” said McInerney. “… Defensively, the second half was horrible, the first half was doable. Offensively they’re both doable, but you gotta score more than 13 points.”
CCSU has the chance to get their win next week before returning home on Oct. 13 for the 2012 homecoming game against Duquesne at 12 p.m.