Football Team Travels To Lehigh On Saturday

Mike McCabe

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams:
#13 Holy Cross (7-1, 3-0 PL) vs. Lehigh (2-6, 2-1 PL)
Date: November 7, 2009
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Place: Goodman Stadium (16,000), Bethlehem, Pa.
Television: Service Electric Cable; Mike Zambelli, play-by-play; Mike Yadush, color
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Lehigh Radio: WEEX 1230 AM, Easton, Pa.; WTKZ 1320 AM, Allentown, Pa.
Series Record: Lehigh leads, 12-11-1
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 35, Lehigh 21; October 25, 2008; Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Lehigh
This will be the 25th meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the gridiron, with Lehigh leading the all-time series 12-11-1. After a 3-3 tie in the first game between the schools on Nov. 8, 1924, Holy Cross won the next seven meetings. The Mountain Hawks then won 11 out of 12 games, before the Crusaders came back to claim victory in three of the last four contests. For contests played in Bethlehem, Holy Cross holds a slim 6-5 advantage. The Crusaders have come out victorious in their last two trips to Goodman Stadium, in 2005 (13-10) and 2007 (59-10).

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Lehigh leads, 12-11-1
In Bethlehem: Holy Cross leads, 6-5
At Goodman Stadium: Tied, 5-5
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, 2 games
Tom Gilmore vs. Lehigh: 3-2
Andy Coen vs. Holy Cross: 1-2

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 eight games this year, he has completed 204 of 312 attempts for 2,563 yards and 26 touchdowns, in addition to leading the team in rushing with 410 yards and five scores on 76 carries. During last week's victory over Fordham, Randolph completed 23 of 35 attempts for 314 yards and four scores, while rushing for 75 yards on 16 carries. Previously in the win over Colgate, Randolph hit on 20 of 31 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns, in addition to rushing 14 times for a career-high 116 yards and two scores. Earlier in the season against Brown, Randolph connected on 38 of 53 attempts for 411 yards and four touchdowns, while directing two fourth quarter scoring drives to tie the game at 31-31. Randolph has also played well against Dartmouth (26 of 36 for 264 yards and three touchdowns), Northeastern (16 of 24 for 305 yards and five scores), Harvard (25 of 39 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, 41 rushing yards and a score), Sacred Heart (274 passing yards and two touchdowns, 64 rushing yards and two scores) and Georgetown (36 of 56 for 414 yards and two touchdowns). In 2008, 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.

Experienced Wide Receivers Shine
Holy Cross once again has a number of outstanding weapons in the passing game, as six different wide receivers have caught at least 11 passes so far this season. Junior wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) leads the way with 43 catches for 568 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide out Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) is also enjoying a strong year, catching 31 passes for 527 yards and four scores. In addition, junior wide receiver Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has totaled 29 receptions for 406 yards and five touchdowns, senior wide receiver Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has posted 20 catches for 209 yards and five scores, junior wide receiver Rob Koster (Bellerose, N.Y.) has caught 14 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns, and sophomore wide out Charles McCall (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) has added 11 receptions for 97 yards and a score. Overall, the Crusaders have 11 wide receivers and 17 total players with at least one reception on the season.

Offense Puts Up Big Numbers
The Holy Cross offense has put up some impressive numbers during the 2009 season. The Crusaders have averaged 36.1 points and 454.8 yards of total offense per game on the year. Holy Cross has thrown for 320.8 yards per game this season, while averaging 134.0 yards per contest on the ground. The Crusaders have hit the 40-point mark four times this season, scoring 52 points against Sacred Heart, 42 points against both Colgate and Northeastern, and 41 points against Fordham. The 52 points against Sacred Heart were Holy Cross' 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.

Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph has completed 1,025 of 1,613 passes for 12,242 yards and 109 scores, while amassing 12,957 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 .635 is the best in school history, while his 22 career 300-yard passing games and seven 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader. Randolph enters this week's game ranked sixth all-time in NCAA football championship subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history in touchdown passes and passing yards, while standing seventh in yards of total offense. He also owns the all-time FCS records with his current streaks of 37 straight games in which he has thrown for at least 200 yards and 38 consecutive games in which he has thrown a touchdown pass, and is just 43 yards away from becoming only the seventh player in FCS history with 13,000 career yards of total offense.

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 eight games of the season. Bellomo ranks second on the team in rushing with 365 yards and four touchdowns on 72 carries, in addition to catching 29 passes for 226 yards. He has rushed for over 50 yards four times this year, including a career-high 91 yards against Dartmouth. Last season, Bellomo ran for 150 yards on 39 attempts, while catching four passes for 37 yards. Houghton ranks third on the team with 243 rushing yards and three scores on 41 carries this year, and also has three catches for 31 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.

Holy Cross In Hunt For League Title
The Crusaders enter this week's contest in a tie for first place in the Patriot League with a 3-0 mark in conference games this year. Lafayette is also unbeaten in league play with a 3-0 record, while Colgate stands a half game back at 3-1 and Lehigh is one game behind at 2-1. The Crusaders have won five Patriot League championships in their history (all of them outright), but have not captured the conference title since 1991. Holy Cross also won league titles in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990. This season, the Crusaders have won their first three Patriot League games for the fourth straight year and the 10th time in school history. Now in their 24th season of play in the Patriot League, the Crusaders own an all-time record of 72-58 (.554) in conference action.

Starters Shine In Secondary
All four of the starters in the Holy Cross defensive backfield have been playing well during the 2009 season. Senior cornerback John Myrick (Dayton, Ohio) ranks second on the team with 56 total tackles, to go along with four pass breakups and three forced fumbles. During his career as a Crusader, he has now recorded 75 total tackles and five pass breakups. Junior strong safety Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) stands third on the squad with 54 total tackles this year, in addition to posting four tackles for loss, five pass breakups and one interception. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 126 tackles, 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. Junior free safety Alex Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) has recorded 36 total tackles so far in 2009, in addition to posting five pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. His three-year career totals at Holy Cross now include 86 tackles and 11 pass breakups. Senior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) has recorded 40 total tackles, a team-high 13 pass breakups and two interceptions on the season. A second team All-Patriot League selection in 2008, he has now totaled 83 tackles, 26 pass breakups and three interceptions during his collegiate career.

Smith Keeps Starting At Center
Senior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) enters the Lehigh game having started 41 consecutive games at center for the Crusaders. If he starts again against the Mountain Hawks, he will set the all-time school record with 42 consecutive games started. He is currently tied with Casey Gough, who started 41 straight contests from 2004-2007. Smith started all 11 of the Crusaders' games in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and has started all eight contests so far in 2009. He is also closing in on the all-time school record for total games started, which is currently shared by Gough and Patrick Quay (1997-2000) at 43 starts.

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 37-26, including a 34-18 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. He has led Holy Cross to winning records in five 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 three victories over ranked opponents, two of which have come in 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.

Rodriguez Racks Up Tackles
Senior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) has been one of the top players on the Holy Cross defense over the last few years, and was named second team All-Patriot League in 2008. This season, Rodriguez leads the team with 68 total tackles through eight games, in addition to posting six pass breakups. During last week's victory at Fordham, he led the team with 16 total tackles, including a tackle for loss. Previously against Colgate, Rodriguez made 12 total tackles with one tackle for loss. Earlier in the season at Brown, he led the team with 12 total tackles and a pass breakup. Some of Rodriguez's other top games this season have come against Georgetown (team-high eight solo tackles and two pass breakups), Dartmouth (six tackles and a pass breakup), Harvard (five tackles) and Northeastern (five tackles). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Rodriguez has now totaled 206 total tackles with 12 tackles for loss.

The Last Meeting With Lehigh
Dominic Randolph hit on 28 of 39 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns, as Holy Cross defeated Lehigh 35-21 at Fitton Field during Family Weekend on Oct. 25, 2008. For his efforts, Randolph earned the Dr. Edward N. Anderson Award as the most valuable player of the Family Weekend game. The Crusaders opened the game by scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions. The scoring began with a four-yard scoring strike from Randolph to Jon Brock. Drew Volkmann added a one-yard touchdown run, then Mike Kielt rushed 37 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to make the score 21-0. Lehigh responded with a score on its next drive, as J.B. Clark found Alex Wojdowski in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. After the Crusaders next drive stalled, Clark hit Matt McGowan with a 66-yard touchdown pass, and it was a 21-14 game heading into the locker room. McGowan then tied the game at 21-21 on a 46-yard run with 4:18 left in the third quarter, before the Crusaders began what would be the eventual game-winning drive. Twice converting on third down, the Crusaders drove 71 yards in 11 plays, taking the lead for good when Randolph found Brock in the end zone from two yards out. Holy Cross stopped Lehigh on the next possession, and then drove 77 yards in 12 plays, with Randolph tossing an eight-yard scoring pass to Brett McDermott. Lehigh's next two drives ended on interceptions by Ryan Stewart and Daryl Brown, as the Crusaders held on for the win. Kielt ran for 105 yards on 18 carries, while Brock caught six passes for 94 yards. McGowan led Lehigh by rushing for 178 yards on 21 carries. On the defensive side of the ball, Anthony DiMichele led the Crusaders with nine tackles.

Offensive Line Paves The Way For Success
Holy Cross has a number of experienced players along the offensive line, where it has 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 36.1 points and 454.8 total yards per contest. The line has allowed Holy Cross to throw for 320.8 yards per game in 2009, and has given up only eight sacks while the team has attempted 315 passes (just one sack for every 40.4 times the team dropped back to pass). Starters on the Holy Cross line include senior Chris Smith at center, senior Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) at guard, senior Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) at tackle and junior Mike McCabe (Watertown, Conn.) at tackle. Junior Mike Bernazzani (Whitman, Mass.) and senior Rob Petrosino (Bogata, N.J.) have both started games at the other guard spot. All told, those six offensive linemen have combined for 129 career starts. A year ago, Jones was named first team All-Patriot League and Poole earned second team All-Patriot League honors.

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 Oct. 31. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in total offense (371.6 yards/game), while standing second in passing yards (320.4 yards/game) and pass efficiency (154.8 rating), and ranking fifth in rushing yards (51.2 yards/game). Junior wide out Luke Chmielinski stands fourth in the conference in receiving yards (71.0 yards/game) and fifth in receptions (5.4 catches/game), while junior placekicker Rob Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) is first in field goals (0.8 made/game) and second in scoring (7.0 points/game). In addition, junior wide out Freddie Santana leads the league in punt returns (7.9 yards/return), senior cornerback Michael Wright ranks fifth in interceptions (0.3 picks/game) and junior free safety Alex Johnson stands fourth in kickoff returns (23.2 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (36.1 points/game), pass efficiency (154.1 rating), punt returns (10.2 yards/return) and net punting (36.4 yards/punt); while standing second in total offense (454.8 yards/game), rushing defense (101.1 yards/game) and passing offense (320.8 yards/game); and ranking third in rushing offense (134.0 yards/game).

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 590-467-54, good for a .555 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.

Crusaders Post A Winning Season
With a 7-1 mark so far in 2009, the Crusaders have guaranteed themselves 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 from 2006-2008 was 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 34-18 since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. This marks the first time the Crusaders have posted five straight winning seasons since finishing with a winning mark in seven straight years from 1986-1992.

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 358-166-27 (.674). 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 30-24 at home, with a 5-0 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.

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 Mountain Hawks
Lehigh enters this week's game with an overall record of 2-6 on the season, including an 2-1 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks defeated Georgetown (27-0) and Bucknell (35-16) in their first two conference games, before falling at Colgate (27-20) last week. Junior J.B. Clark (78 of 155, 867 yards, six touchdowns, seven interceptions) and sophomore Chris Lum (52 of 107, 564 yards, five touchdowns, five interceptions) have split time at quarterback so far this season. Junior tailback Jay Campbell leads Lehigh in rushing with 338 yards on 76 carries, while sophomore wide out Jake Drwal has a team-best 34 catches for 468 yards and three scores. Defensively, the Mountain Hawks are led by senior linebacker Matt Cohen with 49 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and seven quarterback sacks. Andy Coen is in his fourth season as Lehigh's head coach, and owns a career record of 18-23. Prior to taking over as head coach for the Mountain Hawks, Coen spent 10 years as offensive coordinator at both Lehigh and Penn.

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
The Holy Cross defensive line is now being coached on an interim basis by Walt Housman, who joined the program as a volunteer defensive ends coach this summer. He is taking on the coaching duties of Pat O’Leary, who is on a medical leave of absence ... The Crusaders are ranked fifth in the latest Lambert Cup poll, through games of Oct. 31 ... Holy Cross won its first four games of the 2009 season, marking the 20th time in school history the Crusaders have opening with at least four straight victories ... During the Oct. 24 victory over Colgate, the Crusaders wore pink shoelaces as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month ... Junior defensive end Mude Ohimor (Stoughton, Mass.) leads the team with eight tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks this year. He posted two sacks against both Northeastern and Dartmouth ... Sophomore tight end Alex Schneider (Inner Grove Heights, Minn.) has become a key part of the Holy Cross passing game, catching 13 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns so far this season ... Senior center Chris Smith was a semifinalist for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to the top scholar-athlete in the nation ... Junior kicker Rob Dornfried leads the team in scoring this season with 42 points, making 27 of 28 extra point attempts and five of seven field goals. Dornfried has also averaged 40.8 yards on 13 punts this year ... Holy Cross was picked to finish in first place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors, while senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year ... 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 played all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Northeastern and Sacred Heart).