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Little coming up huge for Sacred Heart
Thirteen years of football might have prepared Tim Little for this moment, but when No. 16 ran out to the huddle for the first time in a Sacred Heart uniform in the season opener against Marist last month, he had to remind himself of a simple thing.
“It’s just football.”
Little split snaps with fellow red-shirt sophomore Luke Wischnowski that night, and the Pioneers walked off Campus Field 20-7 losers. But lately, the 6-foot-4 gunslinger from New Jersey has flourished alone as the starter for an SHU squad (3-2) that has won three straight going into Saturday’s home Northeast Conference tussle with St. Francis, Pa. Game time is noon at Campus Field.
“Things are going well,” said Little, who was named the NEC Offensive Player
of the Week after throwing for a career-high 371 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-25 road win over Columbia last Saturday.
After allowing Little and Wischnowski to share the job through camp and in the opener, SHU coach Paul Gorham put an end to the QB debate right before hosting Bryant.
“I went with my gut,” said Gorham, who almost regretted the decision after Little threw two picks in the 26-6 Bryant loss. “At the end of the first game, I was never really comfortable with (the two quarterback system).”
A three-game winning streak, which began with a 24-21 win over Dartmouth, helped ease the coach’s mind a bit.
“He’s made some solid decisions for us,” Gorham said.
Including when to get rid of the ball. Through five games, Little has seven touchdowns and has thrown for 978 yards while being intercepted just twice.
Despite being good friends with Wischnowski off the field, Little said the decision to go with just one QB has made a difference.
“I was surprised when he made a decision,” Little said. “But it was a good decision. Regardless of whether it was me or Luke, we needed one voice.
“The whole experience has been nothing but a positive, though.”
Not only has Little settled into his role, but the offense has found its rhythm as well.
“It all starts with the offensive line,” Little said.
The Pioneers have also been the benefactors of an improved running game led by sophomore Greg Moore (36 rushes-195 yards, 1 TD) and freshman Keshaudas Spence (62-185, 3 TDs).
And of course, Little has learned something his predecessor Dale Fink often relied on – getting the ball to tight end Rich Rossi, who has a team-high 23 receptions for 317 yards and four scores, is a good idea.
“Mister Rossi and the receivers have helped me look good,” Little said.
Against rival Central Connecticut, Little did a good job of making himself look good with a 16-for-28 passing day for 189 yards and three touchdowns en route to the Pioneers’ 37-24 upset victory.
“It was almost surreal,” said Little, who helped SHU end a seven-game losing skid to the Blue Devils. “It’s the biggest win we’ve had since I’ve been in the program.”
If Little continues to flourish, the Pioneers hope to add a few more this season.
“He’s managed the game well,” Gorham said.
By William S. Paxton, Stamford Advocate