August 28, 2006

Holy Cross To Open Season At Georgetown On Saturday

Aug. 28, 2006

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Georgetown (0-0, 0-0 PL)
Date: September 2, 2006
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Multi-Sport Field (3,500), Washington, D.C.
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Georgetown Radio: WGTB 92.3 FM, Washington
Internet Video: GUHoyas.com; Chuck Timanus, play-by-play
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 11-7
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 48, Georgetown 6, September 10, 2005, Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Georgetown
This will be the 19th meeting between the Crusaders and the Hoyas on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 11-7. The Crusaders have won their last six games against Georgetown, and have been victorious in eight of the last 10 meetings. For games played in Washington, Holy Cross owns a 5-3 advantage in the series, including two straight wins and three victories in the last four meetings. The last win for the Hoyas in the series came on Sept. 11, 1999, when they posted a 34-16 victory at Fitton Field. Since Georgetown became a member of the Patriot League in 2002, the Hoyas have an 0-4 mark against the Crusaders.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 11-7
In Washington: Holy Cross leads, 5-3
At Multi-Sport Field: First Meeting
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, six games
Tom Gilmore vs. Georgetown: 2-0
Kevin Kelly vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 1-0

For Openers
Holy Cross will start its 111th season of intercollegiate football with the game at Georgetown. The Crusaders have always been excellent on opening day, posting a record of 65-36-9 in their season debuts. Holy Cross defeated Sacred Heart 56-21 in its opener last season, and the Crusaders now stand 4-2 on opening day during the current decade. Since the beginning of the 1980 season, Holy Cross stands 17-8-1 in its opener. The Crusaders also have an all-time mark of 43-62-4 in their opening road game of the season. Holy Cross has a 5-5 record in road openers over the last 10 years, with the last victory coming over Army in 2002 (30-21).

Holy Cross Set To Open Another Year In The Patriot League
Holy Cross will begin its 21st season of play in the Patriot League when it faces Georgetown this weekend. The Crusaders own an all-time mark of 12-8 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season, including last year's 48-6 victory over the Hoyas. Holy Cross also stands 6-2 in conference openers over the last eight seasons, with the only losses during that span coming against Lehigh (38-20 in 2003) and Fordham (42-35 in 2004). From 1998 through 2002, the Crusaders won five straight conference openers, against Towson twice (31-24 in 1998; 17-14 in 2000), Georgetown twice (33-7 in 2001; 41-13 in 2002) and Lafayette once (30-12 in 1999). Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 56-53 (.513) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

Crusaders To Have Four Captains
Holy Cross will have four captains during the 2006 football season. Senior linebacker Dan Adams (Springfield, Va.) senior cornerback Casey Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.), senior fullback Frank Herlihy (West Seneca, N.Y.) and senior linebacker Chris Nielsen (Center Line, Mich.) were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. This will mark only the 11th time that the Crusaders have had four captains for a season, with the last occasion coming in 2002 (Ari Confesor, Steve Fox, Ben Koller and Nick Larsen).

Nielsen Looks For Another Big Year
Senior linebacker Chris Nielsen was one of the top players for the Holy Cross defense last season, and looks to return to that role in 2006. Last year he was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I first team, for his outstanding work both on the field and in the classroom (3.43 grade point average in mathematics). On the season, Nielsen ranked second on the team with 72 total tackles, including 61 solo stops and a team-best eight tackles for loss. His top game of 2005 came in the 13-10 victory over 10th-ranked Lehigh, after which he was honored as the Sports Network National Defensive Player of the Week and the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week. Nielsen led the Crusader defense by forcing a fumble and recording 14 total tackles against Lehigh, including 13 solo stops and a tackle for loss. Some of his other top performances last year came against Fordham (with 13 total tackles, including 12 solo stops, two tackles for loss and a sack, in addition to forcing a fumble), Harvard (posting a team-high 10 solo tackles with one tackle for loss), Yale (eight total tackles) and Colgate (seven total tackles). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Nielsen now has 94 total tackles, 79 solo tackles and 10 tackles for loss.

Adams To Lead Crusader Defense
Senior linebacker Dan Adams looks to return to his place as one of the top defensive players in the Patriot League this year. Prior to the start of the season, he was named the 16th-best linebacker in all of Division I-AA by the Sports Network. A year ago, Adams led the Holy Cross defense with 115 total tackles, including 97 solo stops, four tackles for loss and one sack. He finished the season as the national leader in solo tackles with an average of 8.8 per game, while ranking 21st in the country in total tackles. Adams' top game in 2005 came against Colgate, when he set a career high with 21 solo tackles, the most tackles in a game by a Crusader since the 1993 season. Some of his other top performances last year came against Lafayette (16 total tackles, including 14 solo stops and a tackle for loss), Delaware (team-high 10 tackles), Bucknell (10 total tackles), Lehigh (nine tackles and a fumble recovery), Yale (nine tackles), Georgetown (nine tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack), Sacred Heart (nine total tackles) and Harvard (eight solo tackles). Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 208 total tackles, 166 solo stops and six tackles for loss.

Gough Steps Up In The Secondary
Senior cornerback Casey Gough turned in some outstanding performances for the Crusaders in 2005, and looks to be one of the top defensive backs in the Patriot League this season. He also looks to be a standout kickoff returner, and was named a preseason honorable mention All-American by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette. A year ago, Gough was named second team All-Patriot League, after posting a team-best three interceptions, 45 total tackles, three tackles for loss and six pass breakups. In last season's victory over Yale, he recorded a career-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops, with two tackles for loss, an interception and a safety. Following that contest, he was named Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette National Defensive Player of the Week, Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week and ECAC Defensive Player of the Week. Gough was also named Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette National Special Teams Player of the Week and Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week following the Bucknell game, after returning four kickoffs for 173 yards and a touchdown. In addition, he was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week following the Harvard game, after making six tackles and returning an interception 42 yards for a touchdown. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Gough has now totaled 93 tackles, four interceptions and 14 pass breakups.

The Last Meeting - Holy Cross 48, Georgetown 6
Steve Silva rushed 20 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, in addition to catching eight passes for 61 yards, to lead Holy Cross to a 48-6 victory over Georgetown at Fitton Field on Homecoming Weekend. The Crusaders controlled the game from the opening kickoff, marching 66 yards on 13 plays to score on their opening possession, with Silva scoring the touchdown from two yards out. Gideon Akande made the score 14-0 later in the first quarter with a two-yard scoring run, as the Hoyas had only nine yards and no first downs in the opening period. Holy Cross added two more scores in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into the locker room. John O'Neil threw two touchdown passes to account for those points, hitting Sean Gruber from 12 yards out and Akande with an eight yard score. At halftime, the Crusaders held a 252-21 advantage in total offense, while recording 19 first downs to the Hoyas' two. Akande scored his third touchdown of the game on a one-yard run in the third quarter, then Brian McSharry threw an eight-yard scoring pass to Bob Turkovich early in the fourth quarter. Georgetown scored its only points of the day on a one-yard run by Emir Davis, before Terrance Gass concluded the scoring for Holy Cross with a one-yard run of his own. O'Neil finished the day completing 18 of 26 attempts for 155 yards and two scores, while Gruber had five receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. Nick Cangelosi led the Georgetown offense by completing nine of 17 passes for 160 yards. The Crusader defense was led by Dan Adams, who totaled nine tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack. Will King added six solo tackles for Holy Cross, while Ryan Stewart chipped in with five tackles. Jason Carter led the Hoya defense with nine tackles on the day.

Holy Cross Picked Fourth In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2006 Crusaders have been picked to finish in fourth place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, Jordan Scott of Colgate has been named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Geoff Bean of Colgate was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year, and Micah Clukey of Fordham was selected as the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.

 

Rank  School (1st place votes)   2005 Record  Points
  1.  Colgate (8)               8-4 / 5-1 PL      68
  2.  Lafayette (3)             8-4 / 5-1 PL      61
  3.  Lehigh (3)                8-3 / 4-2 PL      57
  4.  Holy Cross                6-5 / 3-3 PL      35
  5.  Fordham                   2-9 / 2-4 PL      33
  6.  Bucknell                 1-10 / 0-6 PL      27
  7.  Georgetown                4-7 / 2-4 PL      13

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 342-161-27 (.671). 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 14-19 at home. Holy Cross had a 3-3 mark at Fitton Field last year, marking the team's first non-losing season at home since the 2001 team went 3-2.

Crusaders Dominate Turnover Battle
During the 2005 season, Holy Cross forced its opponents to commit 24 turnovers, while giving the ball away only 13 times. The Crusader defense posted 11 interceptions on the year, in addition to recovering 13 fumbles. Casey Gough and Tyler Nugent led the team in forced turnovers with three interceptions and one fumble recovery each. Kent Flanders added a pair of fumble recoveries, while Kevin Dunn posted two interceptions and Matt Dugan had one interception and one fumble recovery. The Holy Cross defense was also been incredibly consistent, as it forced at least one turnover in every game, and two or more turnovers eight times. On the offensive side of the ball, the Crusaders threw just seven interception on the season, and lost only six fumbles.

Kickers Look To Shine In 2006
Senior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.) and senior punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.) should give Holy Cross the top kicking tandem in the Patriot League this season. DeSantis, who was a second team All-Patriot League selection in 2004, enters the year having made 18 of 25 career field goal attempts and 101 of 111 career extra points for a total of 155 points. He already holds the school career record for field goal percentage (72.0 percent), while standing third all-time in career extra points made. McManaway was named second team All-Patriot League in 2005, and has averaged 34.5 yards on 155 punts during his collegiate career, while placing 27 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line. He enters the 2006 season ranked fifth all-time at Holy Cross in career punts, and sixth in career punting yards (5,343).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Four Crusaders finished the 2005 season ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories. Tailback Steve Silva led the nation in all-purpose yards, while linebacker Dan Adams led the country in solo tackles. The rankings:

 

Category               Rank  Player/Team     Avg.
All-Purpose Yards         1  
Steve Silva    213.4
Solo Tackles              1  
Dan Adams        8.8
                         11  
Chris Nielsen    6.1
Turnovers Lost            2  Holy Cross       1.2
Punt Returns              3  
Steve Silva     18.0
                          6  Holy Cross      16.0
Kickoff Returns           6  Holy Cross      23.4
                         25  
Steve Silva     24.3
Turnover Margin           7  Holy Cross      +1.0
Fewest Penalties          8  Holy Cross       4.7
Scoring                  11  
Steve Silva      9.0
Fewest Penalty Yards     19  Holy Cross      43.5
Total Tackles            21  
Dan Adams       10.5
Completions              32  
John O'Neil     17.0
Receptions               34  
Steve Silva      5.4
Rushing Yards            34  
Steve Silva     91.3
Points Responsible For   42  
Steve Silva     10.8
                         50  
John O'Neil     10.4

Crusaders Among Patriot League Leaders
Several Holy Cross players finished the 2005 season ranked at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories. Tailback Steve Silva ranked first in the conference in all-purpose yards (213.4 yards/game), first in receptions (5.4 catches/game), first in punt returns (18.0 yards/return), second in scoring (9.0 points/game), third in rushing (91.3 yards/game) and third in kickoff returns (24.3 yards/return), while quarterback John O'Neil stood first in passing yards (188.5 yards/game), second in total offense (201.6 yards/game) and fourth in passing efficiency (120.0 rating). In addition, wide receiver Sean Gruber ranked fourth in receiving yards (54.4 yards/game), placekicker Mike DeSantis stood first in extra point percentage (95.1 percent), cornerback Casey Gough and cornerback Tyler Nugent tied for fifth in interceptions (0.3 picks/game) and punter Ryan McManaway stood third in punting (36.0 yards/punt). As a team, Holy Cross led the league in turnover margin (+1.0 turnovers/game), punt returns (16.0 yards/return) and kickoff returns (23.4 yards/return); stood second in scoring offense (28.8 points/game) and net punting (33.2 yards/punt); and ranked third in passing yards (202.2 yards/game) and pass efficiency (122.1 rating).

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his third season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. He enters this week's game with an overall record of 9-13, as the Crusaders have won nine of his last 16 games. Last year, Gilmore guided Holy Cross to an overall record of 6-5, with tailback Steve Silva earning first team All-America honors. On Oct. 8, 2005, Gilmore led the Crusaders to their first victory over a ranked team since 2000, with a 13-10 win at No. 10 Lehigh. Gilmore came to Holy Cross after serving as defensive coordinator at Lehigh for four seasons, during which the Mountain Hawks were one of the finest defensive teams in Division I-AA. In 2001, he was named as the American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year, after molding a young and inexperienced defense into a unit that allowed just 15.8 points per game and 86.6 yards rushing per game. Gilmore previously spent time as an assistant coach at 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.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2006 campaign will mark the 111th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter the 2006 season with an overall record of 562-454-54, good for a .550 winning percentage. Prior to the 2005 season, Holy Cross' 556 all-time victories ranked as the 13th 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.

Scouting The Hoyas
Georgetown is coming off a 2005 season in which it posted an overall record 4-7 and placed fifth in the Patriot League with a 2-4 mark in conference games. Sophomore Ben Hostetler looks to take over as the Hoyas' starting quarterback, after completing 10 of 25 attempts for 115 yards and one touchdown in a backup role last season. Georgetown returns its top receiver from a year ago in junior wide out Kyle Van Fleet, who had 15 catches for 258 yards and a touchdown in 2005. Junior Emir Davis, who rushed 90 times for 237 yards and a score a year ago, looks to take over as the starting tailback. On the defensive side of the ball, Sacred Heart will be led by senior defensive lineman Julius Griauzde, who totaled 66 tackles, five tackles for loss and three forced fumbles last year. Head coach Kevin Kelly is entering his first season at the helm of the Hoyas' program, and his first year as a collegiate head coach. Prior to his time at Georgetown, Kelly spent four years as the linebackers and special teams coach at Navy.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2006 will be on WTAG 580 AM, the true sports leader for the city of Worcester. Bob Fouracre will be in his 37th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 21st 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, will be in his seventh year as the color commentator. The Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet at `www.sportsjuice.com'. 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 2006 season. Two home games this season will be televised on WCTR TV-3 (Worcester), against Brown on October 7 and Lehigh on October 28. In addition, the September 9 contest against Northeastern will be carried CN8 on Comcast Cable, while the November 11 game at Colgate will be shown by Time Warner Cable in Central New York.

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 at `www.sportsjuice.com'.