Sacred Heart, Bryant square off in NEC showdown

Smithfield, RI ( - There hasn't been much headway into the Northeast Conference football schedule this season, as Bryant and Duquesne currently stand atop the league standings at 1-0.

Although it's still early in the conference season, Bryant's matchup with Sacred Heart on Saturday is one of the more intriguing games of the NEC season.

Bryant, 3-3 overall but with a win over last year's defending NEC champion Wagner, hosts the Pioneers, who sport a 6-1 overall record and a 1-1 mark in the conference. Sacred Heart's lone loss came two weeks ago to the same Wagner team the Bulldogs tore apart in late September.

The Pioneers are second in the nation in interceptions, having recorded 14 through their seven games. They've also received solid contributions from freshman quarterback R.J. Noel and junior running back Keshaudas Spence.

Bryant has experienced a bit of a slide, having lost its last two games to Stony Brook and Brown. Senior wideout Jordan Harris hasn't put up numbers like his 2012 totals, or his projected 2013 stats. He's caught just one touchdown, but still leads his team with 89.3 receiving yards per game.

The Bulldogs have proven to be a more run-heavy team this season. But against Sacred Heart's eighth-ranked rushing defense in the FCS, quarterback Mike Westerhaus may be forced to air it out more. And Harris versus the Sacred Heart defensive backfield should be an exciting matchup.