Crusaders Hit The Road For Contest At Northeastern

Aaron Jones

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams:
#21 Holy Cross (3-0, 1-0 PL) vs. Northeastern (0-4, 0-2 CAA)
Date: October 3, 2009
Time:1:00 p.m.
Place: Parsons Field (7,000), Brookline, Mass.
Television: None
Live Video Streaming:
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Northeastern Radio: WNTN 1550 AM, Newton
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 4-1
Last Meeting: Northeastern 24, Holy Cross 14; September 9, 2006; Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Northeastern
This will be only the sixth meeting between the Crusaders and the Huskies on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 4-1. Northeastern won the last game between the schools 24-14 on Sept. 9, 2006. The Crusaders had previously been victorious in the first four contests in the series, which took place from 1971-1989. All of the first five meetings between Holy Cross and Northeastern were played at Fitton Field.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 4-1
In Brookline: First Meeting
At Parsons Field: First Meeting
Current Win Streak: Northeastern, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Northeastern: 0-1
Rocky Hager vs. Holy Cross: 1-0

Holy Cross Against The CAA
The Crusaders own an all-time record of 63-46-6 against the 12 schools which currently compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. Holy Cross has lost its last six games against CAA teams, since a 17-9 victory over Towson (which was then in the Patriot League) on Sept. 22, 2001. The Crusaders' all-time record against the Colonial Athletic Association includes marks of 2-1 against Delaware, 0-1 vs. Hofstra, 5-0-1 against Maine, 21-22-5 vs. Massachusetts, 6-5 against New Hampshire, 4-1 vs. Northeastern, 9-1 against Rhode Island, 1-0 vs. Richmond, 4-3 against Towson, 9-12 vs. Villanova and 2-0 against William & Mary.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Senior Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) is now in his fourth season as Holy Cross' starting quarterback, and is one of the favorites to win the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in the NCAA football championship subdivision. In three games so far this year, he has completed 81 of 133 attempts for 981 yards and six touchdowns, while ranking second on the team in rushing with 122 yards and three scores on 25 carries. In the victory over Harvard, Randolph hit on 25 of 39 attempts for 293 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 41 yards and a score. Previously against Sacred Heart, he threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 64 yards and two scores. Randolph also played well against Georgetown, connecting on 36 of 56 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, Randolph threw for at least 300 yards in each of his last eight games, including three 400-yard performances. In 11 games played last season, he hit on 340 of 520 passes for 3,838 yards and 34 touchdowns. Randolph set new Holy Cross single-season records for passing yards, total offense (3,917 yards), completions and pass attempts, while tying the mark for touchdown passes in 2008. He now owns the top two spots on the single-season lists for both completions and pass attempts.

Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph has completed 902 of 1,434 passes for 10,660 yards and 89 scores, while amassing 11,087 yards of total offense. During the Georgetown game, he broke the Holy Cross and Patriot League records for career passing yards, while becoming the first player in school or conference history to throw for over 10,000 career yards. Last season, Randolph broke the Holy Cross career records for completions, pass attempts, touchdown passes and yards of total offense. In addition, his career completion percentage of .629 in the best in school history, while his 19 career 300-yard passing games and six 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader. Randolph enters this week's game ranked 15th all-time in NCAA football championship subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history in touchdown passes, 17th in total offense and 18th in passing yards. He also owns the all-time FCS record with his current streak of 32 games in which he has thrown for at least 200 yards.

Bellomo & Houghton Provide Solid Combination At Tailback
Sophomore tailback Matt Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.) and freshman tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) have both played well in the opening three games of the season. Bellomo ranks second on the team with 15 receptions for 127 yards, in addition to rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Last season, Bellomo ran for 150 yards on 39 attempts, while catching four passes for 37 yards. Houghton leads the team with 132 rushing yards and a score on 17 carries this year, and also has two catches for 23 yards. Houghton's 52 rushing yards in the season opener against Georgetown were the most by a Holy Cross player in his collegiate debut since Gideon Akande ran for 87 yards on eight carries against Georgetown in 2002.

DiMichele, Johnson & Wright Lead  Crusader Secondary
Junior strong safety Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.), junior free safety Alex Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) and senior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) have all been playing well in the Holy Cross defensive backfield this season. DiMichele leads the team with 28 total tackles on the year, with four pass breakups and one interception. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 100 tackles, 14 pass breakups and three interceptions. Johnson has recorded 14 solo tackles so far in 2009, in addition to posting three pass breakups and a forced fumble. His three-year career totals at Holy Cross now include 64 tackles and nine pass breakups. Wright has recorded 14 total tackles, a team-high six pass breakups and one interception on the season. A second team All-Patriot League selection in 2008, he has now totaled 57 tackles, 19 pass breakups and two interceptions during his collegiate career.

Experienced Wide Receivers Shine In Passing Game
Holy Cross once again has a number of outstanding weapons in the passing game, as five different wide receivers have caught at least seven passes so far this season. Junior wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) leads the way with 18 catches for 228 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) is also off to a strong start, catching 12 passes for 163 yards and two scores. In addition, junior wide out Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has totaled eight receptions for 136 yards, senior wide receiver Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has posted eight catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, and junior wide receiver Rob Koster (Bellerose, N.Y.) has caught seven passes for 84 yards. Overall, the Crusaders have eight wide receivers and 13 total players with at least one reception on the season.

Offense Puts Up Big Numbers
The Holy Cross offense has opened the 2009 season with some impressive performances. The Crusaders have averaged 33.0 points and 455.7 yards of total offense per game on the year. Holy Cross' top game so far this season came against Sacred Heart game, when it scored 52 points (its highest total since scoring 59 points at Lehigh in 2007). In 2008, the Crusaders averaged 34.4 points and 455.4 total yards per game. Holy Cross also totaled 348.9 passing yards per game a year ago, the second-most in school history behind only the 1987 team which averaged 358.4 yards through the air. In addition, Holy Cross hit the 40-point mark three times last year, scoring 44 points at Dartmouth, 42 points against Massachusetts and 41 points against Brown. The Crusaders also had an outstanding year offensively in 2007, averaging 35.9 points and 463.4 yards per game.

Lamkin, Rodriguez Rack Up Tackles
Senior linebacker Sean Lamkin (Jenks, Okla.) and senior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) have been two of the top players on the Holy Cross defense over the last few years, and both were named second team All-Patriot League in 2008. In three games played so far this season, Lamkin has totaled 12 tackles with two tackles for loss and an interception. He recorded seven tackles with his first career interception against Georgetown, then had three tackles in the Sacred Heart game. Over the course of his collegiate career, Lamkin has now totaled 107 tackles with 12 tackles for loss. Rodriguez has posted 17 total tackles and three pass breakups so far in the 2009 campaign. He recorded a team-high eight solo tackles and two pass breakups against Georgetown, then had five tackles against Harvard. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Rodriguez has now totaled 155 total tackles with 10 tackles for loss.

Offensive Line Paves The Way For Success
Holy Cross has a number of experienced players along the offensive line, where it looks to have one of the most dominating units in the Patriot League in 2009. So far this season, the line has paved the way for the Crusaders to average 33.0 points and 455.7 total yards per contest. The starters on the Holy Cross line are senior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) at center, senior Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) and junior Mike Bernazzani (Whitman, Mass.) at guard, and senior Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) and junior Mike McCabe (Watertown, Conn.) at tackle. All told, the offensive linemen on Holy Cross' roster have combined for 104 career starts. A year ago, Jones was named first team All-Patriot League and Poole earned second team All-Patriot League honors. During the 2008 season, the line paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 106.5 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which allowed the Crusaders to throw for 348.9 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross allowed only 16 sacks in 11 games last year, while attempting 523 passes (just one sack for every 33.7 times the team dropped back to pass).

The Last Meeting With Northeastern
Brian McSharry completed 19 of 23 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Northeastern 24-14 at Fitton Field on Sept. 9, 2006. Northeastern opened the scoring at the 12:33 mark of the first quarter on a 36-yard touchdown run by Maurice Murray, after recovering a fumble at the Holy Cross 43-yard line. But the Crusaders came right back to tie the score at 7-7 on a four-yard touchdown pass from McSharry to Terrance Gass. Holy Cross increased its lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Mike Kielt. But the Huskies were able to tie the score at 14-14 before halftime, on a 10-yard scoring run by Murray. Northeastern then opened the second half with a 20-play, 73-yard drive, which culminated with a 20-yard Mat Johnson field goal. The Huskies then put the game away with a 17-play, 85-yard drive in the fourth quarter, with Murray scoring from 18 yards out. The Crusaders had the advantage in time of possession in the first half, holding the ball for 20:33, but Northeastern was able to control the clock in the second half, keeping the ball for 23:55. Kielt finished the game with 69 yards on 14 carries, while Gass added 40 yards on eight carries. Ryan Maher led all Holy Cross receivers with six catches for 42 yards. Murray had a game-high 170 rushing yards on 27 carries to lead the Husky offense. Dan Adams posted a game-high 10 tackles for the Crusader defense, including two tackles for loss. Joe Mele posted six tackles and a sack for Northeastern.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is now in his sixth season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore currently owns an overall record of 33-25, including a 30-17 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. He has led Holy Cross to winning records in four straight seasons, including 7-4 marks in 2006, 2007 and 2008, along with winning streaks of six games (in 2008) and five games (in 2006). Two of Gilmore's players, Dominic Randolph (2007 and 2008) and Steve Silva (2005), have been named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, with Silva also earning first team All-America honors. Gilmore has also led the Crusaders to a pair of victories over ranked opponents - 13-10 over No. 10 Lehigh on Oct. 8, 2005, and 27-20 over No. 25 Harvard on Sept. 19, 2009. Prior to his time at Holy Cross, Gilmore served as an assistant coach at Lehigh (2000-2003), Dartmouth (1992-1999), Pennsylvania (1986, 1990-1991) and Columbia (1987-1989). An Academic All-American at Pennsylvania, Gilmore graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in computer mathematics. He was the Ivy League Player of the Year as a senior and helped lead the Quakers to four consecutive Ivy League titles.

Holy Cross Picked First In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2009 Crusaders were picked to finish in first place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, Holy Cross senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and linebacker Mark Leggiero of Lafayette was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Crusaders Among League Leaders
Several Holy Cross players rank at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, through games of Sept. 26. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (327.0 yards/game) and total offense (367.7 yards/game), while standing third in pass efficiency (134.7 rating) and fourth in scoring (6.0 points/game). Junior kicker Rob Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) stands first in the conference in field goals (1.0 made/game), first in punting (40.8 yards/punt) and third in scoring (7.0 points/game), while junior wide out Luke Chmielinski ranks third in receptions (6.0 catches/game) and fifth in receiving yards (76.0 yards/game). In addition, junior wide out Freddie Santana leads the league in punt returns (9.1 yards/return); junior free safety Alex Johnson stands fifth in kickoff returns (20.5 yards/return); freshman tailback Eddie Houghton is fifth in rushing yards (44.0 yards/game); while junior strong safety Anthony DiMichele, senior linebacker Sean Lamkin and senior cornerback Michael Wright are all tied for fourth in interceptions (0.3 picks/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (33.0 points/game), total offense (455.7 yards/game), rushing defense (85.7 yards/game), passing offense (327.0 yards/game), punt returns (10.9 yards/return) and pass efficiency defense (98.8 rating); while standing second in total defense (285.0 yards/game) and rushing offense (128.7 yards/game); and ranking third in scoring defense (16.0 points/game) and pass efficiency (133.7 rating).

Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years. The Crusaders, who played their first game at Fitton Field in 1903, have posted an all-time home mark of 356-166-27 (.673). Fitton Field is the second-oldest stadium still used for Division I college football, behind only Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania (opened in 1895). Holy Cross' best decade at home occurred from 1980-1989, when the Crusaders recorded a 41-12-1 mark. In the current decade, the Crusaders have posted a record of 28-24 at home, with a 3-0 mark so far in 2009. Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in each of the last three years, going 3-2 in 2006, 4-2 in 2007 and 4-1 in 2008.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2009 campaign marks the 114th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 586-466-54, good for a .554 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2009 season, Holy Cross' 583 all-time victories ranked as the 15th most among all Division I-AA schools. Holy Cross has had 31 first team All-America selections, sent 69 players on to professional football, won five Lambert Cups, claimed five Patriot League championships, and was named the Division I-AA Team of the Year in 1987. The Crusaders also played in the 1946 Orange Bowl, losing to host Miami on the game's final play.

Defense Dominates The Opposition
The Holy Cross defense has played extremely well during the first three games of the 2009 season. The Crusaders have allowed their opponents to score just 16.0 points per game, while giving up only 285.0 total yards per contest. Holy Cross' top performance so far came on Sept. 5 in the 20-7 victory over Georgetown. The Crusaders allowed only seven points, seven first downs and 169 total yards on the day. After the Hoyas scored a touchdown on their opening possession, Holy Cross held Georgetown to just 104 total yards and no points over the final 55:50 of play. At one point during the second and third quarters, the Crusaders held the Hoyas without a first down for five straight possessions. The seven points, seven first downs and 169 total yards were all the fewest allowed by the Holy Cross defense since Sept. 22, 2007, when they defeated Georgetown 55-0. 

Crusaders Look To Post Another Winning Season
In 2009, the Crusaders are looking to post a winning record for the fifth straight year. In 2008, Holy Cross finished the season with an overall record of 7-4, marking the third consecutive year in which it has posted seven victories. The Crusaders previously went 7-4 in both 2006 and 2007, and their 21-12 mark over the last three seasons is its best in a three-year span since the 1990, 1991 and 1992 squads went a combined 26-6-1. Holy Cross also posted a winning record in 2005 (6-5), and has an overall mark of 30-17 since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. This marks the first time the Crusaders have posted four straight winning seasons since finishing with a winning mark in seven straight years from 1986-1992.

Randolph Named Team Captain
Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph is serving as Holy Cross' team captain during the 2009 football season, as announced by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. Randolph, who was one of three captains during the 2007 campaign and one of two captains in 2008, becomes the first player in school history to serve as a team captain for three seasons. Only 10 other players in the history of Holy Cross football had previously served as a captain for two years. This will also mark the first time since the 1967 season that the Crusaders will have just one player serving as team captain.

Scouting The Huskies
Northeastern enters this week's game with an overall record of 0-4 on the season, and an 0-2 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Huskies have opened the year with losses to Boston College (54-0), Maine (17-7), Youngstown State (38-21) and Villanova (56-7). Junior tailback John Griffin leads the team in rushing with 197 yards on 57 carries, while freshman wide out Jordan Batts has a team-best 15 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown. Junior Alex Dulski (40 of 75, 357 yards) and redshirt freshman Matt Carroll (20 of 33, 146 yards) have split time at quarterback for the Huskies this season. Junior free safety Darryl Jones leads the Northeastern defense with 35 tackles and two fumble recoveries so far this year. Head coach Rocky Hager is in his sixth season at the helm of the Huskies' program, where he owns a 17-43 record. Hager's career mark stands at 108-68-1, including 10 years at North Dakota State.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2009 will air on The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 40th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 24th year covering the Crusaders on the radio. Former Holy Cross standout Tom Kelleher, who earned first team All-New England honors while leading the undefeated 1987 team in rushing, is in his 10th year as the color commentator. All of the Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet through the Worcester Pike website. In addition, WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station, will carry a number of games this year.

Holy Cross On Television
The Crusaders are scheduled to have four games shown on live television during the 2009 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2009 campaign:

Sept. 19 vs. Harvard: WCTR-TV3
Oct. 24 vs. Colgate: WCTR-TV3
Nov. 7 at Lehigh: Service Electric
Nov. 14 vs. Lafayette: WCTR-TV3 / Lafayette Sports Network

The Holy Cross Football Show
Every Tuesday during the season, head coach Tom Gilmore will be joined by Bob Fouracre for the Holy Cross Football Show. The show airs live from 1:00-1:30 p.m. exclusively on the internet, with archives of all the shows available to those who can not listen in live. The show is carried free of charge through SportsJuice.

Crusader Vision
Live video streaming of all 2009 Holy Cross home football games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision.The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available for $6.95 per game. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.

Quick Hits
Freshman wide receiver Gerald Mistretta (Brooklyn, N.Y.) made his first collegiate reception a memorable one, as it went for a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the victory over Harvard ... Junior kicker Rob Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) leads the team in scoring so far this season with 21 points, making 12 of 13 extra point attempts and three field goals. Dornfried has also averaged 40.8 yards on 13 punts this year ... Senior linebacker Anthony Campbell (New Albany, Ohio) recorded two quarterback sacks among his four total tackles against Georgetown. That marked the second multi-sack game of Campbell's career, after he had previously posted two sacks in the 2008 victory at Lafayette ... The Crusaders were picked as the No. 13 team in the nation and the top team in the Patriot League by Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview. Holy Cross was also ranked No. 18 in the nation by Athlon and No. 21 by Lindy's ... For only the third time since joining the Patriot League in 1986, Holy Cross is scheduled to play all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Northeastern and Sacred Heart).