Sept. 2, 2008
By Matt Dougherty
Patriot League Media Relations Director
On an offense that throws the ball as proficiently as anyone in the country, and features a Walter Payton Award candidate at quarterback, people tend to forget the running game.
But Holy Cross senior running back Terrance Gass just happens to enjoy his role on the wide-open Crusader offense.
"Our offense really spreads the defense out. We're always looking to create more space and have more running room, and I'm able to get out and run and catch in the open field," Gass said.
He added, "It's good for me because it's just the type of player I am. I can run and catch the ball better than doing the same thing over and over."
Gass did plenty of both with success in 2007. While quarterback Dominic Randolph was earning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors and a talented group of wide receivers was racking up huge numbers, Gass quietly played his role in the potent Crusader attack by rushing for 563 yards and six touchdowns and catching 27 passes for 318 yards and four scores. Gass posted a 5.6 yards per carry average that led all Patriot League players, and earned Second-Team All-Patriot League honors for his efforts and big-play ability.
Holy Cross finished in the top five nationally in total and passing offense in 2007, racking up 463.4 total yards per game and 335.2 yards per contest through the air. They also scored 35.9 points per game, leading the Patriot League in all three categories.
With eight starters back, including Randolph at quarterback on the heels of being named a Walter Payton Award candidate, Gass sees the Crusader offense hitting on all cylinders when the 2008 season kicks off on Saturday at home against Massachusetts.
"We have a lot of players with experience and a lot of people with time being together in one unit," Gass said. "There's a great connection between Dom and the receivers, the offensive line and all the way down."
Gass hails from Sicklerville, New Jersey, which is closer in distance to each of the other six Patriot League football schools than it is to Holy Cross. But even though he came to Worcester on the heels of some tough seasons, Gass wanted to make the journey because he saw a Crusader program on the rise under Head Coach Tom Gilmore.
"Holy Cross was going to have a bright future with Coach Gilmore," Gass said. "It was going in a positive direction and had a great academic reputation to go with top level football."
That hope for a bright future has turned into reality, as Gilmore and the Crusaders have finished with a winning mark in each of Gass' three seasons and posted a 4-2 record in Patriot League play in each of the past two years. While those seasons have been successful for total victories, Holy Cross has come just short of winning its first Patriot League title since 1991 and advancing to the FCS postseason for the first time as a Patriot League member and first time overall since 1983.
The Crusaders were picked second in the Patriot League's preseason poll of coaches and sports information directors. They are expected to contend for the League crown yet again, but Gass knows it will not be easy.
"The competition in the Patriot League is great, every game is a championship game for everyone. Every game is a must win."
Gass plans on a career in the accounting field after graduation, and interned with a Deloitte & Touche office in Boston over the summer. For now, he's going to enjoy one more year of "counting", as the Crusaders hope to accumulate the points and yards on offense again and take the next step by winning the Patriot League title.