Crusaders To Face UMass In First Night Game At Fitton Field
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-0, 0-0 PL) vs. #25 Massachusetts (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
Date: September 1, 2011
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Television: CBS Sports Network; James Bates, play-by-play; Aaron Taylor, color; Brooke Olzendam, sidelines
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM & 94.9 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Gordie Lockbaum, color; click here to listen
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime
Series Record: Massachusetts leads, 21-23-5
Last Meeting: Massachusetts 31, Holy Cross 7; Sept. 11, 2010; Amherst, Mass.
Let There Be Light
The season-opening game against Massachusetts will mark the first-ever contest to take place under the lights at Fitton Field. In the previous 115 years of Crusader football, there has never been a night game played on the Holy Cross campus. Even though this will be the first home night game for the Crusaders, the players are not strangers to playing games under the lights. Holy Cross has played three night games over the last three seasons, including contests last season at UMass and Harvard. The Crusaders have taken part in a total of 15 night games in their history which are on record, with the first coming at Louisiana State on Oct. 5, 1940.
The Series With Massachusetts
This will be the 50th meeting between the Crusaders and the Minutemen on the gridiron, with Massachusetts leading the all-time series 23-21-5. UMass has won the last eight games in the series, including a 31-7 victory in Amherst last year. For games played in Worcester, the Crusaders own a 14-13-5 advantage in the series, but the Minutemen have won the last four meetings. The last win for the Crusaders in the series came on Sept. 14, 1991, when they posted a 22-20 victory at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The schools first met on Sept. 25, 1897, in Amherst, with Holy Cross posting a 4-0 victory.
Series Quick Facts:
Overall: UMass leads, 23-21-5
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 14-13-5
At Fitton Field: Tied, 12-12-4
Current Win Streak: UMass, eight games
Tom Gilmore vs. UMass: 0-3
Kevin Morris vs. Holy Cross: 1-0
Football Legends Ring Of Honor Inductions Set For September 1
The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross will honor four former football standouts this week, as the second class of the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor. George Connor (Class of ex1946), Bruce Kozerski (Class of 1984), Jon Morris (Class of 1964) and Joe Wilson (Class of 1973) will all be honored in a ceremony prior to the UMass game, and receive permanent recognition at Fitton Field. Only former Crusader football players who have been elected to the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame are eligible for this honor, which is an annual event each fall. In 2010, the inaugural class in the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Fame included, Gill Fenerty (Class of 1986), Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), Edmund Murphy (Class of 1943), Bill Osmanski (Class of 1939), Vince Promuto (Class of 1960) and John Provost (Class of 1975).
Holy Cross will start its 116th season of intercollegiate football with the UMass game. The Crusaders have always been excellent on opening day, posting a record of 69-37-9 in their season debuts. Following last season's 38-7 victory over Howard, Holy Cross stands 7-4 on opening day over the last 11 years. Since the beginning of the 1980 season, Holy Cross owns a 20-10-1 mark in its opener. The Crusaders also have an all-time record of 78-29-7 in their opening home game of the season. Holy Cross has a 9-5 record in home openers over the last 14 years.
Crusaders Look To Post Another Winning Season
In 2011, Holy Cross will attempt to finish with a winning record for the seventh year in a row. The Crusaders concluded the 2010 season with an overall mark of 6-5, after going 9-3 in 2009 (marking only the ninth time the school history the team has won at least nine games). Holy Cross previously went 7-4 in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and its 36-20 mark over the last five seasons is its best in a five-year span since going 39-15-1 from 1989-1993. Holy Cross also posted a winning record in 2005 (6-5), and has an overall mark of 42-25 since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. This marks the first time the Crusaders have posted six straight winning seasons since finishing with a winning mark in seven straight years from 1986-1992.
Holy Cross Against The CAA
The Crusaders own an all-time record of 59-46-6 against the 11 schools which currently compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. Holy Cross will play two games against teams from the league this year, facing UMass on Sept. 1 and New Hampshire on Oct. 1. The Crusaders' all-time record against the Colonial Athletic Association includes marks of 2-1 against Delaware, 5-0-1 vs. Maine, 21-23-5 against Massachusetts, 6-5 vs. New Hampshire, 9-1 against Rhode Island, 1-0 vs. Richmond, 4-3 against Towson, 9-13 vs. Villanova and 2-0 against William & Mary.
Martin & Otis Lead Linebackers
Senior linebacker C.J. Martin (Plano, Texas) and senior linebacker Ricky Otis (Cleves, Ohio) will once again be key parts of the Holy Cross defense in 2011. Otis led the team with 108 total tackles last season and earned first team All-Patriot League honors, despite missing two games due to injury. He led the team with 12 total tackles during the victory over Bucknell in the 2010 season finale, marking the sixth time last year he reached double-figures in tackles. Previously in 2010 at Lafayette, Otis set a new career-high with 17 total tackles. Some of his other top games last season came against Lehigh (14 tackles with a forced fumble), Colgate (10 tackles), Dartmouth (10 tackles and a fumble recovery), Georgetown (16 tackles and a pass breakup) and Howard (12 tackles and a tackle for loss). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Otis now has 135 total tackles, two fumble recoveries and two pass breakups. Martin ranked second on the team with 95 total tackles last year, including 61 solo stops and two tackles for loss. During last season's Bucknell game, he made three tackles and intercepted a pass. Earlier in 2010 at Lafayette, Martin reached double-figures in tackles for the fourth time on the season by recording 14 total stops. A few of his other top performances last year came against Lehigh (eight tackles with one tackle for loss and an interception), Colgate (10 tackles), Georgetown (12 tackles, two pass breakups and a forced fumble) and Massachusetts (18 tackles). Over the course of his collegiate career, Martin has now recorded 128 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and three pass breakups.
The Last Meeting With UMass
UMass quarterback Kyle Havens completed 25 of 38 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns, to lead the 18th-ranked Minutemen to a 31-7 victory over Holy Cross at Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Sept. 11, 2010. UMass opened the scoring at the 5:20-mark of the first quarter on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Havens to Dan Sheeran. The Minutemen increased their lead to 14-0 later in the quarter on a one-yard scoring run by John Griffin. UMass would then recover an onside kick, followed by a Jonathan Hernandez one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The Minutemen went on to add a three-yard touchdown pass from Havens to Rob Blanchflower and a 37-yard Caleb Violette field goal to take a 31-0 lead into the locker room. In the third quarter, Perry Townsend blocked a punt which was recovered by Reed Apfelbaum at the UMass 20-yard line. On the next play, Ryan Taggart threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Santana, for the only points scored by either team in the second half. Taggart completed 17 of 32 attempts on the night for 156 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Anthony DiMichele and C.J. Martin led the defense with 18 total tackles each. Don Lemieux also had a strong game, averaging 47.0 yards on six punts, with three kicks over 50 yards and four punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
Taggart Shines At Quarterback
Senior quarterback Ryan Taggart (Bedford, Texas) returns as the starter for the Crusaders in 2011. Last year, he connected on 185 of 317 passes for 1,899 yards and 14 touchdowns, in addition to ranking second on the team in rushing with 284 yards and five scores on 85 carries. During last season's victory at Lafayette, Taggart completed 15 of 31 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to rushing 10 times for 41 yards and two scores. Against Lehigh in 2010, he hit on 17 of 31 attempts for 178 yards and a touchdown. Taggart also played well at Colgate last year, totaling 98 passing yards and 35 rushing yards, including a game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Some of his other top performances last season came against Brown (19 of 29 for 196 yards and two scores), Fordham (27 of 37 for 289 yards and a touchdown, plus 75 rushing yards and a score) and Howard (17 of 29 for 186 yards and three touchdowns). Prior to the 2010 season, Taggart had played in only five career games, completing both of his pass attempts for four yards and rushing three times for seven yards.
Offensive Line Returns Three Starters
Holy Cross returns three starters to an offensive line which looks to be one of the most dominating units in the Patriot League this year. In 2010, the line allowed just 17 sacks while the team attempted 418 passes (just one sack for every 25.6 times the team has dropped back to pass). Returning starters for the Crusaders include senior Mike McCabe (Watertown, Conn.) at left tackle, senior Sean Whited (Canton, Ohio) at center and junior Kyle Pedretty (Dunedin, Fla.) at right tackle. McCabe has been named All-Patriot League in each of the last two seasons, and has played in 36 career games with 25 starts. Whited has started eight times with 12 career games played, and Pedretty has played in 11 career games with 11 starts. Those three are expected to be joined in the starting lineup by senior Kyle Cannon (Southington, Conn.) at right guard and junior Casey Bessemer (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.) at left guard.
Schneider Shines At Tight End
Senior tight end Alex Schneider (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) will once again be a key part of the Holy Cross passing game in 2011. In 11 games played last season, he ranked fourth on the team with 30 receptions for 217 yards and a score. During the 2010 victory over Fordham, Schneider totaled four catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. An All-Patriot League selection in each of the last two years, Schneider finished the 2009 campaign ranked fourth on the team with 33 receptions for 275 yards, while his six touchdown catches were the second-most on the squad. He ranked second among Patriot League tight ends in both receptions and receiving yards in 2009, and finished the 2009 season with a streak of 10 straight games with at least one catch. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Schneider has now totaled 63 catches for 492 yards and seven touchdowns.
Fenner Looks To Lead Secondary
Senior cornerback Chandler Fenner (Virginia Beach, Va.) should once again be among the top defensive backs in the Patriot League in 2011. Last season, Fenner earned first team All-Patriot League honors after playing in all 11 games with 10 starts. He ranked fifth on the team and 29th in the Patriot League with 58 total tackles, including 51 solo stops, one quarterback sack and two tackles for loss. Fenner also recorded four pass breakups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Fenner has now totaled 90 tackles, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups in 33 games played.
Crusaders In The Patriot League
Heading into its 26th season of play in the Patriot League, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 77-61 (.558) in conference action. The Crusaders won the conference championship in 2009, clinching the title with a 28-26 victory over Lafayette to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Holy Cross' six Patriot League championships (all of them outright) have come in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 2009. The Crusaders are tied for the second-most championships in conference history, behind only Lehigh with nine titles. In 2009, Holy Cross won five Patriot League games for just the fourth time in school history. The Crusaders previously went 5-1 in 2008, while posting 5-0 conference records in 1990 and 1991.
Holy Cross Picked Third In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2011 Crusaders have been picked to finish in third place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, tailback Nate Eachus of Colgate was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while linebacker Mike Groome of Lehigh was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
|Rank||School (1st place votes)||2010 Record||Points|
|1.||Lehigh (8)||10-3 / 6-0 PL||58|
|2.||Colgate (6)||7-4 / 4-2 PL||55|
|3.||Holy Cross||6-5 / 4-2 PL||38|
|4.||Lafayette||2-9 / 1-5 PL||36|
|5.||Georgetown||4-7 / 2-4 PL||19|
|6.||Bucknell||1-10 / 1-5 PL||16|
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 363-167-27 (.676). Holy Cross recently had a streak of 13 straight victories at home, from Oct. 11, 2008-Oct. 9, 2010. The Crusaders had a perfect 6-0 mark at Fitton Field in 2009, and finished the 2010 campaign with a winning record at home for the fifth straight season. 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).
McCabe, Otis & Tolzien Named Team Captains
Holy Cross will have three captains during the 2011 football season. Senior offensive tackle Mike McCabe, senior linebacker Ricky Otis and senior quarterback Mark Tolzien (Rolling Meadows, Ill.) were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. These three players will take over the leadership role from Anthony DiMichele, Sean Lamkin and Freddie Santana, who served as the Crusaders' captains during the 2010 season.
Crusaders Among League Leaders
Several Holy Cross players ranked at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, at the conclusion of the 2010 season. Quarterback Ryan Taggart ranked third in the league in passing yards (172.6 yards/game), fourth in total offense (198.5 yards/game) and fourth in pass efficiency (118.8 rating). Wide out Bill Edger stood fifth in the conference in receptions (4.9 catches/game) and fifth in receiving yards (60.0 yards/game), while placekicker Rob Dornfried was second in the league in field goal percentage (76.9 percent), third in field goals (0.9 made/game) and fourth in scoring (5.2 points/game). In addition, wide receiver Freddie Santana led the league in punt returns (16.8 yards/return), punter Don Lemieux stood second in the conference in punting (39.1 yards/punt) and free safety Alex Johnson stood fifth in kickoff returns (20.6 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross led the league in kickoff returns (24.1 yards/return) and punt returns (15.9 yards/return); while standing third in scoring offense (22.6), passing offense (224.0 yards/game) and net punting (34.3 yards/punt).
Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Seven Crusaders ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, at the conclusion of the 2010 season. As a team, Holy Cross ranked sixth in the nation in punt returns, while standing eighth in kickoff returns and 16th in fewest turnovers. The rankings:
|Category||Rank||Player / Team||Avg.|
|Solo Tackles||2||Ricky Otis||8.2|
|Punt Returns||4||Freddie Santana||16.8|
|Total Tackles||5||Ricky Otis||12.0|
|Kickoff Returns||8||Holy Cross||24.1|
|Fewest Turnovers||16||Holy Cross||1.4|
|Fewest Penalty Yards||29||Holy Cross||46.5|
|Third Down Conversions||30||Holy Cross||41.1|
|Points Responsible For||42||Ryan Taggart||10.4|
|Fumble Recoveries||43||Ricky Otis||0.2|
|Field Goals Made||46||Rob Dornfried||0.9|
Head Coach Tom Gilmore
A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year (in 2006 and 2009), Tom Gilmore is in his eighth season as the head football coach at Holy Cross in 2011. In 2009, Gilmore led the Crusaders to an overall record of 9-3, the Patriot League championship and a trip to the NCAA playoffs. Also a finalist for the 2009 Eddie Robinson Award, he currently owns an overall record of 45-33 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 42-25 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. Gilmore has led the Crusaders to winning records in six 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 2009). Two of Gilmore's players, Dominic Randolph (2007, 2008 and 2009) 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 came 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.
Holy Cross Has Three Preseason All-America Selections
Three different Crusaders have been chosen as preseason All-Americans heading into the 2011 campaign. Senior linebacker Ricky Otis was honored by two organizations, as he was selected as a second team All-American by the FCS Senior Scout Bowl and an honorable mention All-American by the Beyond Sports Network. In addition, senior cornerback Chandler Fenner was named a second team All-American by the FCS Senior Scout Bowl and senior linebacker C.J. Martin was selected as an honorable mention All-American by the FCS Senior Scout Bowl.
Crusaders Bring In Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players were selected preseason All-Patriot League by Phil Steele's 2011 College Football Preview. The first team included senior cornerback Chandler Fenner, senior linebacker Ricky Otis and senior tight end Alex Schneider. Junior tailback Sam Auffant (Hampton, N.H.), junior strong safety Tom Mannix (Kenilworth, N.J.), senior linebacker C.J. Martin, senior offensive tackle Mike McCabe, senior defensive end Ryan McGinn (West Chester, Pa.), junior wide receiver Gerald Mistretta (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and senior center Sean Whited were all selected to the second team. In addition, Otis, sophomore wide receiver Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.) and sophomore defensive back Andrew Zitnik (Warren, Ohio) were all selected to the College Football Performance Awards Watch Lists. Otis is a candidate for the Football Championship Subdivision Linebacker Award, while Fess and Zitnik are both up for the Football Championship Subdivision Kickoff Returner Award.
Tradition Of Excellence
The 2011 campaign will mark the 116th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 599-473-54, good for a .556 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2010 season, Holy Cross' 592 all-time victories ranked as the 16th 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 six 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 On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2011 will air on WTAG 580 AM and 94.9 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 42nd season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 26th year covering the Crusaders on the radio. Former Holy Cross standouts Tom Kelleher and Gordie Lockbaum will serve as the color commentators for selected games this season. All of the Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet by clicking here. 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 five games shown on live television during the 2011 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2011 campaign:
|Sept. 1||Massachusetts||CBS Sports Network|
|Sept. 17||Harvard||Charter TV3|
|Oct. 15||Dartmouth||Charter TV3|
|Nov. 5||Lehigh||Service Electric|
|Nov. 12||Lafayette||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. To listen, click here. (Note: The radio show prior to the UMass game will air on Monday, Aug. 28, from 11:00-11:30 a.m.).
Live video streaming of several 2011 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 $8.95 per game. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.
Scouting The Minutemen
Massachusetts is currently ranked 25th in the nation by the Sports Network, and is coming off a 2010 season in which it posted an overall record of 6-5, and finished in a tie for fifth place in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 4-4 mark in league games. Senior tailback Jonathan Hernandez looks to lead the Minuteman offense, after rushing for 938 yards and nine touchdowns on 219 carries last season. Senior wide receiver Julian Talley will also be a key player for UMass, and is coming off a 2010 campaign in which he caught 56 passes for 747 yards and six scores. On the defensive side of the ball, the Minutemen are led by senior linebacker Tyler Holmes, who totaled 110 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five quarterback sacks and five interceptions last year. Head coach Kevin Morris owns an 11-11 record in his two seasons leading UMass. Morris' career record stands at 54-29, including six seasons at the helm of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Three Holy Cross players have returned to the team as fifth-year seniors in 2011: offensive tackle Mike McCabe, quarterback Ryan Taggart and placekicker Paul Tearson (Austin, Texas) ... The Crusaders had 11 All-Patriot League selections in 2010. Four of those players return for Holy Cross in 2011 ... In three of the last four years, the Holy Cross football team has received an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition Award, for posting multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all football squads in the nation.