Crusaders Prepare To Wrap Up Regular Season At Bucknell

Luke Chmielinski

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: #13 Holy Cross (9-1, 5-0 PL) vs. Bucknell (3-7, 1-4 PL)
Date: November 21, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium (13,100), Lewisburg, Pa.
Live Video Streaming: Bison Vision
Unofficial Live Statistics: Gametracker
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Bucknell Radio: WEGH 107.3 FM, Sunbury, Pa.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 16-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 34, Bucknell 17; November 1, 2008; Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Bucknell
This will be the 26th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bison on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 16-9. The Crusaders have won the last four contests between the two schools, but before that the Bison had been victorious in eight of the previous 10 meetings. Holy Cross has won its last two visits to Mathewson Stadium (51-33 in 2005 and 45-21 in 2007), but had lost six consecutive games in Lewisburg prior to those contests. The schools first met on October 31, 1925, with Holy Cross posting a 23-7 win at Fitton Field.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 16-9
In Lewisburg: Bucknell leads, 6-5
At Mathewson Stadium: Bucknell leads, 6-5
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, four games
Tom Gilmore vs. Bucknell: 4-1
Tim Landis vs. Holy Cross: 3-5

Holy Cross Claims Patriot League Title For First Time Since 1991
With last week's victory over Lafayette, the Crusaders clinched a share of the Patriot League title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Holy Cross will win the Patriot League championship outright with a win over Bucknell or a Lafayette loss to Lehigh this week. The Crusaders have won five previous Patriot League championships (all of them outright), but this is their first conference title since 1991. Holy Cross also won league titles in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990. This season, the Crusaders have won five Patriot League games for just the fourth time in school history. With a victory over Bucknell, Holy Cross would post six league victories for the first time ever. Now in their 24th season of play in the Patriot League, the Crusaders own an all-time record of 74-58 (.561) in conference action.

Crusaders Look For 10th Victory
With a 9-1 mark so far in 2009, the Crusaders have reached nine victories for only the ninth time in school history and the first time since going 11-0 in 1991. If Holy Cross can defeat Bucknell this week, it will reach double-figure wins for just the fifth time in the history of the program. Previous 10-win seasons have come in 1986 (10-1), 1987 (11-0), 1989 (10-1) and 1991 (11-0). The Crusaders have also guaranteed themselves a winning record for the fifth straight year, after going 7-4 in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and 6-5 in 2005. 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.

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 10 games this year, he has completed 250 of 386 attempts for 3,158 yards and 30 touchdowns, in addition to being tied for the team lead in rushing with 436 yards and six scores on 98 carries. Randolph currently stands second on the Holy Cross single-season lists for pass efficiency rating and touchdowns responsible for; third for touchdown passes and completion percentage; and fourth for passing yards, completions, pass attempts and yards of total offense. During last week's victory over Lafayette, he connected on 23 of 37 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to rushing for a score. Previously against Fordham, Randolph completed 23 of 35 attempts for 314 yards and four scores, while rushing for 75 yards on 16 carries. Earlier in the season against Colgate, he 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. Randolph also played well against Georgetown (36 of 56 for 414 yards and two touchdowns), Brown (38 of 53 attempts for 411 yards and four scores), Northeastern (16 of 24 for 305 yards and five touchdowns), Harvard (25 of 39 for 293 yards and two scores, 41 rushing yards and a touchdown), Sacred Heart (274 passing yards and two touchdowns, 64 rushing yards and two scores), Dartmouth (26 of 36 for 264 yards and three touchdowns) and Lehigh (23 of 37 for 247 yards and two scores). 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 in 2008.

Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph has completed 1,071 of 1,687 passes for 12,837 yards and 113 scores, while amassing 13,578 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 23 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 fourth all-time in NCAA football championship subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history in passing yards, while standing fifth in touchdown passes and yards of total offense. He also owns the all-time FCS records with his current streaks of 39 straight games in which he has thrown for at least 200 yards and 40 consecutive games in which he has thrown a touchdown pass.

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 third on the team with 66 total tackles, to go along with six pass breakups and three forced fumbles. During his career as a Crusader, he has now recorded 85 total tackles and seven pass breakups. Junior strong safety Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) stands fourth on the squad with 63 total tackles this year, in addition to posting four tackles for loss, five pass breakups and two interceptions. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 135 tackles, 15 pass breakups and four interceptions. Junior free safety Alex Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) has recorded 45 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 95 tackles and 11 pass breakups. Senior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) has recorded 48 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 91 tackles, 26 pass breakups and three interceptions during his collegiate career.

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 39-26, including a 36-18 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 and 2008). 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 four victories over ranked opponents, three 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.

Smith Keeps Starting At Center
Senior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) enters the Bucknell game having started 43 consecutive games at center for the Crusaders. During the Lehigh game, he broke the all-time school record for consecutive games started, which had been held by Casey Gough (41 straight starts) 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. This week, he can break the all-time school record for total games started, which he currently shares with Gough and Patrick Quay (1997-2000) at 43 starts.

Offensive Line Paves The Way
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. This season the line has paved the way for the Crusaders to average 34.1 points and 443.7 total yards per contest. The line has allowed Holy Cross to throw for 316.1 yards per game in 2009, and has given up only 13 sacks while the team has attempted 389 passes (just one sack for every 30.9 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 (Bogota, N.J.) have both started games at the other guard spot. All told, those six offensive linemen have combined for 139 career starts. A year ago, Jones was named first team All-Patriot League and Poole earned second team All-Patriot League honors.

Crusaders Look To Extend Win Streak
Holy Cross stands 9-1 overall this season, and is currently riding a five-game winning streak. This marks the second-longest winning streak during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach at Holy Cross. Last year the Crusaders won six straight games from Oct. 11-Nov. 15 (defeating Brown, Dartmouth, Lehigh, Bucknell, Fordham and Lafayette). With a victory over Bucknell this week, the Crusaders would post only their second six-game winning streak since the 1991 team posted a perfect 11-0 record.

Offense Puts Up Big Numbers
The Holy Cross offense has put up some impressive numbers during the 2009 season. The Crusaders have averaged 34.1 points and 443.7 yards of total offense per game on the year. Holy Cross has thrown for 316.1 yards per game this season, while averaging 127.6 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.

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 13 passes so far this season. Junior wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) leads the way with 52 catches for 675 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wide out Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) is also enjoying a strong year, catching 39 passes for 669 yards and four scores. In addition, junior wide receiver Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has totaled 37 receptions for 538 yards and eight touchdowns, senior wide receiver Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has posted 21 catches for 215 yards and five scores, junior wide receiver Rob Koster (Bellerose, N.Y.) has caught 19 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns, and sophomore wide out Charles McCall (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) has added 13 receptions for 113 yards and a score. Overall, the Crusaders have 11 wide receivers and 17 total players with at least one reception on the season.

The Last Meeting With Bucknell
Dominic Randolph connected on 38 of 49 passes for 398 yards and four touchdowns, to lead Holy Cross to a 34-17 victory over Bucknell at Fitton Field on Nov. 1, 2008. Bucknell jumped out to a 7-0 lead at the 6:41-mark of the first quarter, when A.J. Kizekai took a screen pass from Marcello Trigg and ran 79 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. The Bison then increased their lead to 10-0 with just 51 seconds left in the second quarter on a 47-yard Will Carney field goal. But before the half ended, Randolph led Holy Cross on a four-play, 64-yard drive, ending with a 20-yard scoring pass to Jon Brock, to make the score 10-7 at the break. The Crusaders took the lead for good on the opening drive of the second half, with Randolph throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to Bill Edger. Holy Cross then increased its lead to 17-10 on a 24-yard field goal by Matt Partain. Randolph added two more touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, of 13 yards to Ryan McGuire and five yards to Edger, putting the Crusaders up 31-10. Bucknell scored one more touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Andrew Lair to Shaun Pasternak, before Partain concluded the scoring for Holy Cross with a 29-yard field goal. Mike Kielt had a strong all-around game for the Crusaders, rushing for 69 yards on 11 carries and catching a team-best eight passes for 83 yards. Brock added seven receptions for 76 yards, while Josh Jenkins finished with six catches for 47 yards. Kizekai led the Bucknell offense with 12 carries for 45 yards and three receptions for 90 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Marcus Rodriguez had a team-best nine tackles, with a sack and a forced fumble. Sean Lamkin added five tackles, with a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

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 Nov. 14. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in total offense (359.4 yards/game), while standing second in passing yards (315.8 yards/game) and third in pass efficiency (151.4 rating). Junior placekicker Rob Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) ranks second in field goals (0.8 made/game) and third in scoring (6.5 points/game), while junior wide out Freddie Santana stands second in punt returns (7.7 yards/return) and fifth in scoring. In addition, junior wide out Luke Chmielinski ranks fourth in the league in receiving yards (67.5 yards/game) and fifth in receptions (5.2 catches/game); junior free safety Alex Johnson stands third in kickoff returns (22.8 yards/return); and senior wide receiver Bill Edger is fifth in receiving yards (66.9 yards/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (34.1 points/game), rushing defense (108.0 yards/game), punt returns (9.8 yards/return) and net punting (35.1 yards/punt); while standing second in total offense (443.7 yards/game), passing offense (316.1 yards/game) and pass efficiency defense (123.1 rating); and ranking third in scoring defense (21.8 points/game) and pass efficiency (150.8 rating).

Bellomo & Houghton Provide Solid Combination At Tailback
Sophomore tailback Matt Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.) and freshman tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) have both played well during the 2009 season. Bellomo is tied for the team lead in rushing with 436 yards and four touchdowns on 88 carries, in addition to catching 31 passes for 246 yards. He has rushed for over 50 yards five 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 315 rushing yards and four scores on 55 carries this year, and also has five catches for 43 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.

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 359-166-27 (.675). 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 31-24 at home, with a 6-0 mark so far in 2009. Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home for the fourth straight season, and has a chance to finish with a perfect record at Fitton Field for the first time since 1991 (when it went 4-0). The Crusaders last won six games at home in 1988, when they also went 6-0.

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 88 total tackles through 10 games, in addition to posting six pass breakups. During last week's victory over Lafayette, he made eight tackles and had a key forced fumble late in the fourth quarter. Previously at Lehigh, Rodriguez ranked second on the team with 12 total tackles. Earlier in the season at Fordham, he led the team with 16 total tackles, including a tackle for loss. Some of Rodriguez's other top games this season have come against Colgate (12 total tackles with one tackle for loss), Brown (12 total tackles and a pass breakup), 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 226 total tackles with 12 tackles for loss.

Crusaders Bring In Honors For Their Work In The Classroom
Two Holy Cross players have been honored this season for their performance both in the classroom and on the football field. Senior center Chris Smith was selected as a semifinalist for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is presented to the top scholar-athlete in the nation by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. Smith and junior offensive tackle Mike McCabe also earned ESPN The Magazine first team Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America, with Smith being honored for the third straight year.

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 592-467-54, good for a .556 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.

Senior Salute
The Holy Cross football program has 33 seniors who will be taking part in their final regular season game at Bucknell this week. These 31 players and two team managers have helped lead the team to a 30-13 record over the last four seasons, good for the school's most victories in a four-year period since 1989-1992.

Scouting The Bison
Bucknell stands 3-7 overall this season, with a 1-4 mark in the Patriot League. The Bucknell offense is led by sophomore quarterback C.J. Hopson, who has completed 85 of 167 passes for 905 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions, in addition to leading the team in rushing with 444 yards and four scores on 106 carries. Senior wide receiver Cale Cadman leads Bucknell in receiving with 24 catches for 238 yards. Senior linebacker Greg Jones leads the Bison defense with 97 total tackles, five tackles for loss, three interceptions and three pass breakups. Tim Landis is now in his seventh season as Bucknell's head coach, and has posted an overall record of 31-46. Landis' career record stands at 84-98-1, including three years at St. Mary's (Calif.) and seven seasons at Davidson.

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 regular season 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 Crusaders are ranked fifth in the latest Lambert Cup poll, through games of Nov. 7 ... During the Oct. 24 victory over Colgate, the Crusaders wore pink shoelaces as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month ... 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 ... Junior defensive end Mude Ohimor (Stoughton, Mass.) leads the team with nine tackles for loss and seven 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 19 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns this season ... Junior kicker Rob Dornfried leads the team in scoring this season with 52 points, making 34 of 35 extra point attempts and six of eight 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).