Name: Mike Cerchio Year: Sophomore Sport and Position: Quarterback for the football team. Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 182 Hometown: Red Bank, NJ Summary: Mike Cerchio took over for graduated Jim Lopusznick as quarterback for the Fairfield football team. Cerchio proved he has what it takes run the Stags offense with a record tying performance in a start against Central Connecticut State last season. In that game, Cerchio threw for 232-yards and four touchdowns in a 41-40 Fairfield win. So far this season, the Stags are an underachieving 0-2 and Cerchio has completed 11-of-32 passes for only one touchdown and three interceptions. The sophomore says that he and the rest of the team are primed for their breakthrough performance this Saturday in their home opener against Iona.

MT: We all know you’re the quarterback for the football team, but what about school? What’s your major?

CERCHIO: I’m a business major.

MT: So if the NFL falls through, you want to be a . . . ?

CERCHIO: I’m not really sure. I know I want to travel a lot with business. I want see a lot of sights and different parts of the country, but I’m not really sure exactly what I want to do yet.

MT: Aside from football and school, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

CERCHIO: Playstation is a great thing to have. I like to hang out and watch movies. Go out with my friends. I’m just a normal guy.

MT: You guys are off to an 0-2 start, obviously not where you want to be right now but it’s not something you can’t bounce back from. What does this team need to do to get back on track this year?

CERCHIO: Basically this game (Iona on Saturday) is a big game for us. After this game, when we win, it will be a big step for us.

MT: You showed us what kind of quarterback you can be last year when you started a game in place of an injured Lopusznick. You tied a record for touchdown passes in a game with four, how long before we see that kind of game from you again?

CERCHIO: I hope this Saturday will be the big day. I plan on bringing everything out there and not holding back at all.

MT: You’re replacing one of the best Division I-AA quarterbacks in Lopusznick. You two went to the same high school and when he graduated and came to Fairfield, you took over as quarterback. How does replacing him here on the larger stage differ from the last time?

CERCHIO: The level of competition is much higher now. I’m still competing with Paul [Gorra] and he’s a great quarterback. It was easier in high school to just take over. The level of competition is really just much higher here.

MT: Who’s got it easier, the defense or the offense?

CERCHIO: The defense definitely has it easier. They don’t have to memorize all the plays we have to. The quarterback has to know everything. The offensive line has to know blocking schemes. The backs and receivers have to know all the different routs and patterns. The defense only has to know one play and to go to one spot. Of course, if I said the offense had it easier, I’d probably get beat up.

MT: Name someone on our defense that you wouldn’t want chasing you on a quarterback bootleg?

CERCHIO: I wouldn’t want to meet [senior linebacker] Matt Costanzo head on. He’s just vicious. Matt and John Barone [junior linebacker] are the two hardest hitters in the conference.

MT: This might get you in trouble, but name someone on our defense that you think you could juke and jive away from?

CERCHIO: I’d have to say Joe Roberts.

MT: Why’s that?

CERCHIO: Well, he’s a defensive end and I’m a lot faster than him and more athletic than he is.

MT: So what you’re telling me is he’s a big sissy.

CERCHIO: Yeah, but don’t write that.

MT: If you could play another position aside from QB, what would it be?

CERCHIO: I’d love to play wide receiver That’s a great position to play. Quarterback is great too, but I’ve always had a passion for wide receiver. I have great hands and I’m pretty fast.

MT: Saturday you guys play Iona. Any predictions for us?

CERCHIO: We will win without a doubt. I guarantee that. We’ll win by a reasonable margin too. I think you’ll see an even amount of running and passing plays. Our defense will do what it normally does and step up to the plate and shut them down.

MT: Iona’s nickname is the Gaels. What exactly is a Gael?

CERCHIO: I think it’s some sort of bird. I don’t know. What is it?

MT: I checked out the Iona homepage, and a Gael is pretty much a Leprechaun holding a little football. In your professional opinion, is that a pretty wimpy mascot or what?

CERCHIO: Yeah, that’s pretty lame. I’d rather be a Stag.

MT: So if a Stag and a Gael ever had to throw down, who’d come away with the win?

CERCHIO: The Stag would kick its butt, stick his horns right into him.

MT: OK, here’s the money question. You’re an underclassmen, but you’re also the starting varsity quarterback. Do girls just flock to you or what?

CERCHIO: Oh jeez . . . . actually no. It’s hard to go out and socialize. Football and school take up a lot of my time and effort. I try to get out and socialize and yes I try to go out and meet girls. I’m very single.

MT: So do you want me to run your number at the end here?

CERCHIO: (smiles) Extension 6755.

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