Holy Cross Hits The Road To Face Central Connecticut

Daryl Howell

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-2, 0-0 PL) vs. Central Connecticut (0-2, 0-0 NEC)
Date: September 14, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Arute Field (5,500), New Britain, Conn.
Live Video Streaming: NEC Front Row
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM & 94.9 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here to Listen
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime

The Series With CCSU
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Crusaders and the Blue Devils on the gridiron. Against current members of the Northeast Conference, Holy Cross stands 4-5 all-time with marks of 2-0 against Sacred Heart, 2-3 vs. Duquesne, 0-1 against Bryant and 0-1 vs. Wagner. Central Connecticut has an all-time record of 3-4 against current members of the Patriot League (1-0 vs. Colgate, 1-1 against Lafayette and 1-3 vs. Lehigh).

Series Quick Facts
Overall: First Meeting
In New Britain: First Meeting
At Arute Field: First Meeting
Current Win Streak: None
Tom Gilmore vs. Central Connecticut: 0-0
Jeff McInerney vs. Holy Cross: 0-0

Fess Keeps Making Catches
Senior wide receiver Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.) is once again among the top players on the Holy Cross offense this year. In two games so far this season, he leads the team with 10 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. Fess caught four passes for 48 yards at Bryant, then had six catches for 81 yards and a score against Towson. In 2012, he led the team with 80 catches for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games played. Fess' 80 total receptions on the year were the second-most ever by a Crusader in a single season, behind only Ari Confesor's 90 catches in 2003. During last season's Wagner game, he led the team with six receptions for 101 yards. Earlier last year against Lehigh, Fess caught 10 passes for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also played well against Fordham in 2012, posting eight receptions for a career-high 139 yards and two scores. In 2011, Fess earned second team All-Patriot League honors after ranking second on the team with 45 receptions for 417 yards and two scores. He has now totaled 144 catches for 1,447 yards and seven touchdowns during his collegiate career. Fess currently ranks seventh all-time at Holy Cross in career receptions, and needs 47 more catches to break the all-time school record.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2013 campaign marks the 118th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 607-488-54, good for a .552 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2012 season, Holy Cross' 607 all-time victories ranked as the 14th 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.

Acquah & Tucker Play Well Up Front
Senior defensive end Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) and senior outside linebacker Mike Tucker (Chester Springs, Pa.) are both playing key roles along the Holy Cross defensive front this year. Acquah currently ranks third on the team with 13 total tackles so far this season. He tied for the team lead with eight tackles against Towson, after posting five tackles at Bryant. A second team All-Patriot League selection last year, Acquah recorded 54 total tackles, two sacks and seven tackles for loss in 2012. A few of his top games last year were against New Hampshire (career-high 10 tackles, pass breakup, blocked extra point), Lafayette (eight tackles) and Harvard (seven tackles). In 2011, Acquah led all Holy Cross defensive linemen with 40 total tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 107 tackles, four sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Tucker has made two solo tackles so far this season, with one each against Towson and Bryant. He totaled 28 tackles last year, with a team-best nine tackles for loss, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. In 2011, Tucker recorded 27 tackles and a pass breakup, while leading the team with nine sacks and earning second team All-Patriot League honors. He posted a career-high three sacks at Bucknell in 2011, while making a career-best seven tackles with two sacks in the 2011 victory over Harvard. During his Holy Cross career, Tucker has now totaled 61 tackles, 11 sacks and 16 tackles for loss.

SanDoval Steps Up In Final Year
Fifth-year senior linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.) is once again among of the top players on the Holy Cross defense this year. Through two games played, he leads the team with 15 total tackles, including 13 solo stops and one tackle for loss. SanDoval posted eight tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup against Towson, after making seven tackles at Bryant. Last year, he totaled 75 tackles, including three sacks and five tackles for loss. During last year's Fordham game, SanDoval posted 11 tackles with one pass breakup. Earlier in 2012 at Lafayette, he recorded nine tackles with a quarterback sack and a pass breakup. A few of SanDoval's other top games last year came against Colgate (13 total tackles), Bucknell (five tackles and a quarterback sack), Dartmouth (career-high 14 total tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack) and New Hampshire (team-high 13 tackles with one tackle for loss). In 2011, he recorded 15 tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss in the first three games, before missing the remainder of the season due to injury. Over the course of his collegiate career, SanDoval now has 145 total tackles, four sacks and nine tackles for loss.

Crusaders In The Patriot League
Looking ahead to its 28th season of play in the Patriot League, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 83-67 (.553) in conference action. The Crusaders won their last 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 10 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.

The Quarterback Combo
Junior quarterbacks Steven Elder (San Antonio, Texas) and Ryan Laughlin (Glen Mills, Pa.) give the Crusaders a pair of experienced options under center. Elder completed 23 of 41 attempts for 309 yards and a touchdown in the season opener at Bryant, before missing the Towson game due to injury. In 2012, he led the team by hitting on 106 of 173 attempts for 1,281 yards and seven touchdowns. A few of Elder's top games last year came against Wagner (16 of 25 for 234 yards and a touchdown), Lehigh (12 of 17 for 133 yards and two scores) and Colgate (24 of 39 for 313 yards and two touchdowns). Laughlin started against Towson last week, completing 14 of 30 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, and rushing eight times for 35 yards. A year ago, he connected on 81 of 132 attempts for 752 yards and six scores, while ranking third on the team in rushing with 144 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries. Laughlin's top performances last season came against Lehigh (17 of 27 for 203 yards and two touchdowns) and Fordham (18 of 28 for 223 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 36 yards and a score on four carries).

Football Legends Ring Of Honor Inductions Set For Sept. 21
The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross will honor three former football standouts on Sept. 21, as the fourth class of the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor. Tom Greene (Class of 1959), Dave Quehl (Class of 1976) and Johnny Turco (Class of 1952) will all be honored in a ceremony prior to the Monmouth 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. Individuals who have previously been inducted into the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor include Ronnie Cahill (Class of 1940), George Connor (Class of ex1946), Gill Fenerty (Class of 1986), Bruce Kozerski (Class of 1984), Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), Pat McCarthy (Class of 1963), Jon Morris (Class of 1964), Edmund Murphy (Class of 1943), Bill Osmanski (Class of 1939), Vince Promuto (Class of 1960), John Provost (Class of 1975), Jeff Wiley (Class of 1989) and Joe Wilson (Class of 1973).

Macomber Heads Up Kicking Game
Senior John Macomber (Vienna, Va.) is once again handling all of the kicking duties for Holy Cross this year. In two games played, he has averaged 41.2 yards on 12 punts, with two kicks downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Macomber has also scored five points on one field goal and two extra points, while averaging 62.8 yards on six kickoffs with two touchbacks. In 2012, he earned second team All-Patriot League honors as both a placekicker and a punter. Macomber ranked second on the team with 55 points scored last year, hitting 10 of 13 field goal attempts (including a long of 46 yards) and 25 of 26 extra points. He also averaged 40.9 yards on 62 punts in 2012, with a long of 59 yards and 23 kicks downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In addition, Macomber averaged 62.4 yards on 47 kickoffs with 21 touchbacks last year. He led the team in scoring during the 2011 season with 56 points, hitting 12 of 15 field goals and 20 of 26 extra points. Macomber also led the Patriot League in field goal percentage in 2011, while his 12 field goals made tied the school single-season record. Over the course of his career as a Crusaders, Macomber has now made 23 of 30 field goals and 47 of 55 extra points, for a total of 116 points scored. His 23 career field goals made currently rank sixth all-time at Holy Cross.

Raymond Heads Up Return Game
Sophomore wide receiver Kalif Raymond (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was the top kickoff and punt returner for the Crusaders during the 2012 season, and earned first team All-Patriot League honors. Raymond returned 32 kickoffs for 777 yards and a touchdown last year (good for an average of 24.3 yards per return), in addition to bringing back 19 punts for 101 yards. During the 2012 game at Lafayette, he returned a kickoff 80 yards for his first career touchdown. Earlier last season at Colgate, Raymond brought back eight kickoffs for 178 yards, to place third on the all-time Holy Cross single-game list for kickoff return yards. He also totaled a career-best 191 all-purpose yards at Harvard in 2012, to earn Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors. Raymond has missed the first two games in 2013 due to injury.

Veterans Anchor Offensive Line
Holy Cross boasts a great deal of experience along the offensive line this season, including four players with at least nine career starts. In two games played so far this year, the line paved the way for the Crusaders to average 284.5 total yards per game. Fifth-year senior left guard Casey Bessemer (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.) leads the team with 24 consecutive games started and 35 career games played. Fifth-year senior left tackle Kyle Pedretty (Dunedin, Fla.) owns 24 starts in 25 career games played, and senior right tackle Blake Berresford (Montoursville, Pa.) has started all 15 of his career games played. The starting lineup is rounded out by senior center Jay Knighton (Pottstown, Pa.) with 20 career games played and nine starts, and junior right guard Ryan Schnieber (Cincinnati, Ohio) with two starts in two games played.

Holy Cross Attempts To Post Another Winning Season
In 2013, the Crusaders will attempt to finish with a winning record for the eighth time in a nine-year span. The Crusaders had a streak of seven straight winning seasons snapped last year, when they went just 2-9 overall. The Crusaders concluded the 2010 and 2011 seasons with identical marks of 6-5, after going 9-3 in 2009 (marking only the ninth time in school history the team has won at least nine games). Holy Cross previously went 7-4 in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and its 42-25 mark from 2006-2011 was its best in a six-year span since going 42-23-1 from 1989-1994. Holy Cross also posted a winning record in 2005 (6-5), and had an overall mark of 48-30 from 2005-2011. Prior to that seven-year run, the last time the Crusaders posted a winning mark in seven straight seasons was from 1986-1992.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year (in 2006 and 2009), Tom Gilmore is now in his 10th season as the head football coach at Holy Cross in 2013. He has guided the Crusaders to an overall record of 53-49 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 50-41 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. In 2009, Gilmore led the Crusaders to an overall record of 9-3, the Patriot League championship and a trip to the NCAA playoffs. A finalist for the 2009 Eddie Robinson Award, Gilmore led the Crusaders to winning records in seven straight seasons from 2005-2011, 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 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 In The NCAA Statistics
Six Crusaders are ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 7. As a team, Holy Cross stands sixth in the nation in punt coverage and 21st in punt returns. The rankings:

Category Rank    Player / Team Avg. / Pct.
Passes Defended 4   Matt Bhaya 2.5
  22   Ben Coffaro 1.5
Punt Returns 6   Holy Cross 27.8
Punt Coverage 21   Holy Cross 0.8
Solo Tackles 21   Roman SanDoval 6.5
  30   Matt Bhaya 6.0
  47   Sam Jones 5.5
Interceptions 27   Matt Bhaya 0.5
  27   Ben Coffaro 0.5
Punting 32   John Macomber 41.2
Tackles For Loss 37   Sam Jones 1.5
Field Goals Made 44   John Macomber 0.5
Receptions 45   Mike Fess 5.0

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. 7. Senior kicker John Macomber leads the league in punting ((41.2 yards/punt) and ranks fourth in field goals (0.5 made/game). Senior wide out Mike Fess stands fifth in the conference in both receptions (5.0 catches/game) and receiving yards (64.5 yards/game), while junior quarterback Ryan Laughlin is fifth in both passing yards (74.5 yards/game) and pass efficiency (86.1 rating). In addition, freshman wide receiver Jake Wieczorek (Cumming, Ga.) ranks fourth in the league in kickoff returns (18.2 yards/return), sophomore strong safety Matt Bhaya (Haddonfield, N.J.) and junior cornerback Ben Coffaro (Cincinnati, Ohio) are tied for fourth in interceptions (0.5 picks/game), and freshman tailback Gabe Guild (Overland Park, Kan.) stands fifth in all-purpose yards (95.0 yards/game).

Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years, but stands 0-1 at home so far in 2013. The Crusaders, who played their first game at Fitton Field in 1903, have posted an all-time home mark of 368-175-27 (.669). 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 2011 campaign with a winning record at home for the sixth 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).

Acquah & Fess Named Captains
Holy Cross has two captains for the 2013 football season. Senior defensive end Gary Acquah and senior wide receiver Mike Fess were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. These two players have taken over the leadership role from Tom Mannix, Gerald Mistretta, Roman SanDoval and Sean Whited, who served as the Crusaders' captains during the 2012 campaign.

Crusaders Earn Six Spots On Preseason All-Patriot League Team
Holy Cross players claimed six spots on the 2013 preseason All-Patriot League team, as selected by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Senior John Macomber was named to the team twice, as both a placekicker and a punter. He was joined on the squad by senior Gary Acquah (defensive line), senior Mike Fess (wide receiver), senior Kyle Pedretty (offensive line) and sophomore Kalif Raymond (return specialist). The Crusaders' six selections to the preseason All-Patriot League team were the most in the conference.

Holy Cross Picked Third In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2013 Crusaders were picked to finish in third place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. Holy Cross received a total of 35 points in the poll, to trail only Colgate and Lehigh. The rankings:

Rank   School (1st place votes) 2012 Record Points
1.   Colgate (8) 8-4 / 6-0 PL 68
2.   Lehigh (6) 10-1 / 5-1 PL 56
3.   Holy Cross 2-9 / 2-4 PL 35
4.   Lafayette 5-6 / 2-4 PL 32
5.   Georgetown 5-6 / 2-4 PL 26
6.   Bucknell 3-8 / 1-5 PL 15

Crusaders Bring In Several Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players received preseason honors from various organizations heading into the 2013 campaign. Senior wide receiver Mike Fess led the way, being named a second team All-American by USA College Football. Senior placekicker and punter John Macomber was selected to the watch list for the Fred Mitchell Award, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate placekicker at any level outside of the football bowl subdivision. In addition, Macomber, senior defensive end Gary Acquah and sophomore wide receiver Kalif Raymond were all selected to the College Football Performance Awards Watch Lists for the Football Championship Subdivision. Macomber is a candidate for the Placekicker Award, Acquah is up for the Defensive Lineman Award and Raymond is a candidate for the All-Purpose Performer Award.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2013 will air on WTAG 580 AM and 94.9 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 43rd season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 27th year covering the Crusaders on the radio. Former Holy Cross standouts Tom Kelleher, Gordie Lockbaum and John O'Neill 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 four games shown on live television during the 2013 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2013 campaign:

Oct. 5 vs. Harvard: Charter TV3
Oct. 19 vs. Colgate: CBS Sports Network
Oct. 26 vs. Lafayette: Charter TV3
Nov. 9 at Lehigh: Service Electric

Crusader Vision
Live video streaming of most 2013 Holy Cross regular season home football games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Campus Insiders as part of the Patriot League Network, is available free of charge. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.

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 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. exclusively on the internet, with archives of all the shows available to those who can not watch live. The show is carried through Crusader Vision free of charge. For more details, click here.

Crusaders On Social Media
Updates on Holy Cross football can be found through the Holy Cross Athletics pages on the following social media networks:

Facebook: Holy Cross Athletics
Twitter: @GoHolyCross
YouTube: GoHolyCross
Instagram: GoHolyCross

E-Mail Alerts
Get all the latest news and results on the Holy Cross football team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts, click here.

Scouting The Blue Devils
Central Connecticut enters this week's game with an overall record of 0-2 on the season. The Blue Devils are coming off a 51-44 double overtime loss at Lehigh last week. Junior tailback Rob Hollomon currently leads the team with 226 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 62 carries. Sophomore quarterback Nick SanGiacomo has completed 21 of 33 passes for 230 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, while junior wide receiver Tyrell Holmes has caught nine passes for 83 yards and two scores. On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker David Rose has made a team-best 13 tackles so far this season, while sophomore defensive end Elijah Yopp has added eight tackles with a quarterback sack and an interception. Head coach Jeff McInerney is in his eighth season at the helm of the Central Connecticut program, where he has an overall record of 44-35. The 2009 Northeast Conference Coach of the Year, he previously spent time as an assistant at Rhode Island, Tulsa, Nevada-Las Vegas, Oregon State, Georgia Southern and Southern California.

Quick Hits
Freshman tailback Gabe Guild currently leads the team in rushing with 71 yards on 22 carries, while ranking second in receiving with nine catches for 119 yards ... Sophomore strong safety Matt Bhaya has recorded a team-best four pass breakup so far this season, to go along with 13 total tackles and an interception ... Junior wide receiver Tyler Artim caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the season opener at Bryant, and now ranks third on the team with seven receptions for 106 yards ... Junior free safety Sam Jones (Canal Winchester, Ohio) ranks fourth on the team with 12 tackles so far this year, with one sack and a team-high three tackles for loss ... Senior defensive end Gary Acquah has been named a candidate for the 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The award recognizes a select group of college football players who have made a commitment to enriching the lives of others while contributing to the greater good of their communities ... Four Holy Cross players have returned to the team as fifth-year seniors in 2013: offensive guard Casey Bessemer, offensive guard Billy Lang (Millersville, Md.), offensive tackle Kyle Pedretty and linebacker Roman SanDoval.