Football Plays Host To Colgate On Saturday

Tom Mannix

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-1, 0-0 PL) vs. Colgate (1-0, 0-0 PL)
Date: September 10, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM & 94.9 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Gordie Lockbaum, color; Click Here to Listen
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 39-29-5
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 31, Colgate 24; October 23, 2010; Hamilton, N.Y.

The Series With Colgate
This will be the 74th meeting between the Crusaders and the Raiders on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 39-29-5. The Crusaders have won two straight and three of the last four games played in the series, but Colgate had posted six straight victories prior to that. From 1983-1996, Holy Cross recorded 14 consecutive wins over the Raiders. For games played in Worcester, the Crusaders hold a 25-16-2 advantage against Colgate, including two straight victories. The schools first met on November 3, 1917, with Colgate posting a 21-0 victory in Utica, N.Y.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 39-29-5
In  Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 25-16-2
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 25-16-2
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
Tom Gilmore vs. Colgate: 3-4
Dick Biddle vs. Holy Cross: 10-5

Crusaders In Patriot League Openers
Holy Cross will begin its 26th season of play in the Patriot League when it faces Colgate on Sept. 10. The Crusaders own an all-time mark of 16-9 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season, but they were defeated by Georgetown 17-7 last year. Prior to that, Holy Cross had won its conference opener in each of the previous five seasons, defeating Georgetown every time (48-6 in 2005, 26-13 in 2006, 55-0 in 2007, 38-14 in 2008 and 20-7 in 2009). The Crusaders also stand 10-3 in conference openers over the last 12 seasons, with the only other losses during that span coming against Lehigh (38-20 in 2003) and Fordham (42-35 in 2004).

Holy Cross Draws Huge Crowd For Season Opener
During the season-opening game against Massachusetts on Sept. 1, a total of 15,942 fans showed up at Fitton Field. That marked the largest home attendance for the Crusaders since Oct. 20, 1990, when a crowd of 17,848 was on hand to watch Holy Cross defeat Lehigh 34-22. The Crusaders have played in front of numerous home crowds of over 25,000 in their history, prior to the stadium renovation in 1986 which reduced the seating capacity to 23,500. The largest unofficial attendance at Fitton Field was 27,000 for the Holy Cross-Brown game on Nov. 11, 1938.

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.

Fenner Leads Secondary
Senior cornerback Chandler Fenner (Virginia Beach, Va.) is once again among the top defensive backs in the Patriot League in 2011. During the season opener against Massachusetts, he totaled four tackles and a career-high three pass breakups. 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 94 tackles, two forced fumbles and seven pass breakups in 34 games played.

Taggart Shines At Quarterback
Senior quarterback Ryan Taggart (Bedford, Texas) is in his second year as the starter for the Crusaders in 2011. During the season opener against Massachusetts, Taggart hit on 23 of 44 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 15 yards and a score on nine carries. 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). During his career with the Crusaders, Taggart has now completed 210 of 363 passes for 2,148 yards and 15 touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 306 yards and six scores on 97 carries.

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 363-168-27 (.675). From Oct. 11, 2008-Oct. 9, 2010, Holy Cross had a streak of 13 straight victories at home. 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).

The Last Meeting With Colgate
Bill Edger caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Taggart with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, to break a 24-24 tie and lift Holy Cross to a 31-24 victory over Colgate at Andy Kerr Field on Oct. 23, 2010. The Crusaders began their final drive with just 1:03 remaining in the fourth quarter at their own 24-yard line. After Taggart picked up two first downs early in the drive with rushes for 12 and nine yards, Holy Cross had first and 10 at the Colgate 39-yard line. Taggart then threw a 26-yard pass to Freddie Santana with less than 20 seconds to go, giving the Crusaders another first down at the 13-yard line and setting up the game-winning touchdown. Holy Cross had opened the game by taking a 7-0 lead at the 11:19 mark of the first quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Mark Tolzien to Santana. The Crusaders then increased their lead to 10-0 on a 22-yard field goal from Rob Dornfried. The Raiders responded with a 35-yard touchdown run by Nate Eachus later in the first quarter, but Andrew Zitnik returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a score to put Holy Cross back up by 10 points, 17-7. The Crusaders would eventually take a 24-7 lead into the locker room, thanks to a seven-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien to Luke Chmielinski. Colgate came back in the third quarter with a one-yard scoring run by Eachus, then trimmed the lead to 24-16 when Lamont Sonds sacked Tolzien in the end zone for a safety. The Raiders eventually tied the score at 24-24, with a five-yard touchdown strike from Greg Sullivan to Doug Rosnick at the 6:37-mark of the fourth quarter, followed by a two-point conversion pass from Sullivan to Rosnick. But after neither team scored on its next possession, Holy Cross drove down the field to score the winning touchdown.

Martin & Otis Lead Linebackers
Senior linebacker C.J. Martin (Plano, Texas) and senior linebacker Ricky Otis (Cleves, Ohio) are once again key parts of the Holy Cross defense in 2011. During the season opener against Massachusetts, Otis totaled 10 tackles with two tackles for loss. Last season, he led the team with 108 total tackles and earned first team All-Patriot League honors, despite missing two games due to injury. Otis 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, he set a new career-high with 17 total tackles. Some of Otis' 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 145 total tackles, two fumble recoveries and two pass breakups. Martin recorded six total tackles against Massachusetts in the season opener. He 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, Martin made three tackles and intercepted a pass. Earlier in 2010 at Lafayette, he reached double-figures in tackles for the fourth time on the season by recording 14 total stops. A few of Martin's 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 134 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and three pass breakups.

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 37 career games with 26 starts. Whited has started nine times with 13 career games played, and Pedretty has played in 12 career games with 12 starts. Those three have been joined in the starting lineup by senior Andrew Jameson (Brockton, Mass.) 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.

Crusaders In The Patriot League
Now in 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







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.

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Seven Crusaders are ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 3. As a team, Holy Cross ranks first in the nation in fourth down conversions, while standing 16th in punt return coverage and 18th in both fewest turnovers and third down conversion defense. The rankings:

Category Rank Player / Team Avg.
Fourth Down Conversions 1 Holy Cross 100.0
Solo Tackles 2 Tom Mannix 10.0
  25 Ricky Otis 7.0
  25 Andrew Zitnik 7.0
Passes Defended 5 Chandler Fenner 3.0
Forced Fumbles 6 Tom Mannix 1.0
Completions 15 Ryan Taggart 23.0
Punt Return Coverage 16 Holy Cross 1.7
Fewest Penalty Yards 18 Holy Cross 30.0
Third Down Defense 18 Holy Cross 21.4
Passing Defense 20 Holy Cross 134.0
Tackles For Loss 21 Ricky Otis 2.0
Total Tackles 22 Tom Mannix 11.0
  22 Andrew Zitnik 11.0
  38 Ricky Otis 10.0
Field Goals Made 24 Paul Tearson 1.0
Fewest Penalties 27 Holy Cross 5.0
First Downs Allowed 27 Holy Cross 16.0
Passing Yards 27 Ryan Taggart 246.0
Kickoff Returns 28 Andrew Zitnik 25.5
Total Offense 29 Ryan Taggart 261.0
Quarterback Sacks 30 Ryan McGinn 1.0
Points Responsible For 40 Ryan Taggart 12.0

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. 3. Senior quarterback Ryan Taggart leads the way by ranking second in the league in passing yards (246.0 yards/game) and third in total offense (261.0). Senior placekicker Paul Tearson (Austin, Texas) stands second in the conference in field goals made (1.0 made/game), sophomore cornerback Andrew Zitnik (Warren, Ohio) is fourth in kickoff returns (25.5 yards/return) and senior punter Corey Page (Tampa, Fla.) ranks fourth in punting (35.1 yards/punt). As a team, Holy Cross led the league in total defense (314.0 yards/game) and passing defense (134.0 yards/game); while standing second in scoring defense (16.0 points/game) and passing offense (246.0 yards/game); and ranking third in net punting (34.5 yards/punt).

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 45-34 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 42-26 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 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 marks the 116th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 599-474-54, good for a .555 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2011 season, Holy Cross' 599 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.

Football Legends Ring Of Fame Inducts Second Class
The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross honored four former football standouts on Sept. 1, 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) were honored in a ceremony prior to the UMass game, and received 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).

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 vs. Massachusetts: CBS Sports Network
Sept. 17 vs. Harvard: Charter TV3
Oct. 15 vs. Dartmouth: Charter TV3
Nov. 5 at Lehigh: Service Electric
Nov. 12 vs. 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, and can be heard by clicking here.

Crusader Vision
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 Raiders
Colgate enters this week's game with an overall record of 1-0 on the season, after defeating Albany 37-34 in overtime last week. Senior tailback Nate Eachus led the Raiders with 165 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries against the Great Danes, in addition to catching four passes for 59 yards. Sophomore quarterback Gavin McCarney also played well last week, completing 17 of 24 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 114 yards and two scores on 21 attempts. On the defensive side of the ball, senior free safety Vinnie Nicosia had a team-high nine tackles with one tackle for loss against Albany. Dick Biddle is now in his 16th season as the Raiders' head coach, and has posted an overall record of 121-55. Biddle served as Colgate's defensive coordinator before taking over as head coach, and also spent time as an assistant at Navy, Minnesota and Virginia Tech.

Quick Hits
Sophomore tailback Reggie Woods (Bowie, Md.) made the first start of his collegiate career against Massachusetts in the season-opener, and led the team with 45 rushing yards on nine carries ... Junior strong safety Tom Mannix (Kenilworth, N.J.) made a career-high 11 tackles against UMass last week, to go along with a forced fumble and a pass breakup ... Sophomore cornerback Andrew Zitnik (Warren, Ohio) also totaled a career-high 11 tackles against the Minutemen, in addition to breaking up a pass and returning two kickoffs for 51 yards ... 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.