Football Returns To Action At Harvard On Friday Night

Sept. 15, 2008

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-1, 0-0 PL) vs. Harvard (0-0, 0-0 Ivy)
Date: September 19, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Harvard Stadium (30,323), Cambridge, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM
Harvard Radio: WWZN 1510 AM, Boston; Bernie Corbett, play-by-play; Mike Giardi, color
Series Record: Harvard leads, 37-22-2
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 31, Harvard 28, September 15, 2007, Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Harvard
This will be the 62nd meeting between the Crusaders and the Crimson on the gridiron, with Harvard leading the all-time series 37-22-2. Holy Cross posted a 31-28 victory over the Crimson last season in Worcester, but prior to that Harvard had won five straight meetings and nine out of 10 games. For all games played at Harvard Stadium, the Crimson hold a 30-17-2 lead in the series, with three straight wins and five victories in the last six meetings. Holy Cross' Tom Gilmore stands 1-3 against Harvard as a head coach, to go along with an 8-8 record against the Crimson as an assistant coach (at Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth and Lehigh), and a 2-2 mark as a player (at Pennsylvania).

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Harvard leads, 37-22-2
In Cambridge: Harvard leads, 30-17-2
At Harvard Stadium: Harvard leads, 30-17-2
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Harvard: 1-3
Tim Murphy vs. Holy Cross: 10-3
In Overtime: Harvard leads, 1-0

Holy Cross Set For Road Opener
Holy Cross is now in its 113th season of intercollegiate football. The Crusaders have an all-time mark of 44-63-4 in their opening road game of the season, including a 6-6 record in road openers over the last 12 years. Following last week's loss to UMass, the Crusaders now stand at 66-38-9 in their season debuts, including a 5-4 mark on opening day during the current decade, and an 18-10-1 record since the beginning of the 1980 season.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Senior Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) is now in his third season as Holy Cross' starting quarterback, and is one of 16 players on the current watch list for the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in the NCAA football championship subdivision. In the season opener against UMass, he hit on 28 of 44 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Last year, Randolph completed 297 of 482 attempts for 3,604 yards and 30 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He set new school single-season records for completions, pass attempts and total offense (3,741 yards), while ranking second on the Holy Cross single-season lists for passing yards and touchdown passes, third for completion percentage (61.6 percent) and fourth for pass efficiency (141.6 rating). Over the course of his collegiate career, Randolph has now hit on 509 of 825 passes for 6,090 yards and 52 scores. He already ranks fourth all-time at Holy Cross in career touchdown passes, fourth in career passing yards, fourth in career completions and fifth in career pass attempts, while his career completion percentage (.617) is the best in school history. In addition, Randolph's 10 career 300-yard passing games are the third most in Holy Cross history, while his two 400-yard passing games are tied for the most-ever by a Crusader.

Offense Puts Up Points
The Holy Cross offense is off to a fast start this year, posting 42 points and 375 total yards in the season opener against UMass. In 2007, the Crusaders enjoyed one of their best offensive seasons in recent history, averaging 35.9 points and 463.4 yards per game. The 35.9 points per game were the best mark since the 1989 squad averaged 36.0 points per contest, while the 463.4 yards were the school's best since the 1991 team averaged 467.1 yards per contest. Holy Cross also scored over 40 points five times last year, including four consecutive games from October 6-27. Prior to that, the Crusaders had not scored 40 points in four straight contests since the 1991 season, when they did it against Brown (42-28), Lehigh (43-42), Lafayette (48-14) and Bucknell (42-6). The school record for most consecutive 40 points games is nine, set in 1987.

Gass & Kielt Head Up Ground Game
The Crusader offense displayed a solid rushing attack in its season opener against UMass, running for 126 yards with two rushing touchdowns. Senior tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) had eight carries for 36 yards and two touchdowns against the Minutemen, in addition to posting a team-best nine receptions for 46 yards. Last season, Gass led the team in rushing with 563 yards and six touchdowns on 101 carries last season, while catching 27 passes for 318 yards and four scores. Following the conclusion of the 2007 campaign, Gass was named second team All-Patriot League. Senior tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) also played well in the season opener, leading the team with 51 yards on 10 carries against UMass. A year ago, Kielt rushed for 367 yards and six scores on 73 carries, to go along with 16 receptions for 150 yards. Entering the Harvard game, Gass and Kielt have combined for 2,122 rushing yards and 33 total touchdowns during their collegiate careers.

Crusaders Show Outstanding Depth At Wide Receiver
In the season opener against UMass, Holy Cross showed that it has a number of weapons in the passing game, as seven different wide receivers had at least one reception. Senior wide receiver Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) posted five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore wide out Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) added four receptions for 47 yards and two scores. Sophomore wide receiver Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) finished the game with four catches for 44 yards, and junior wide out Nick Cole (Tuscon, Ariz.) caught two passes for 17 yards. In addition, senior wide receiver Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) had one reception for eight yards, sophomore wide out Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) caught a pass for 13 yards and junior wid receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) posted one catch for 26 yards.

Partain Gets His Kicks
Senior placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.) is off to a strong start this season, hitting all six of his extra point attempts in the season opener against UMass. Dating back to last season, Partain has now made 56 consecutive extra points, standing just behind Anthony Pignio's school record of 58 straight extra points made from 1991-1993. A first team All-Patriot League selection in 2007, Partain hit 12 of 16 field goal attempts and connected on all 50 of his extra point tries a year ago, to lead the team in scoring with 86 points. He tied the school single season record for most field goals made, while becoming the first kicker in Holy Cross history to make all of his extra points with at least 30 attempts. In the 2007 game against Dartmouth, he kicked the longest field goal in school history when he booted a 49-yarder on the final play of the first half. Partain also made eight extra points in the 2007 victory at Lehigh, good for the second-most made extra points in school history. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has now totaled 92 points, making 12 of 16 field goals and 56 of 56 extra points.

The Last Meeting With Harvard
Dominic Randolph threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Harrison with 19 second remaining in the fourth quarter, to lead Holy Cross to a 31-28 victory over Harvard at Fitton Field, September 15, 2007. Randolph completed 29 of 55 passes on the day for 339 yards and four touchdowns, and received the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player of Holy Cross' Homecoming game. After a scoreless first quarter, Harvard jumped out to a 14-0 lead, as Matt Lagace caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Liam O'Hagan, then O'Hagan scored on a one-yard run. Holy Cross responded with a 10-yard scoring pass from Randolph to Brett McDermott, and added a 26-yard field goal by Matt Partain on the final play of the quarter, to make the score 14-10 at the break. The Crusaders then took the second half kickoff and marched right back down the field, with Randolph throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Maher, putting Holy Cross in front 17-14. Later in the quarter, Randolph hit Jon Brock with a 14-yard scoring strike, to increase the Crusader lead to 24-14. Harvard refused to go away, as O'Hagan tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to Corey Mazza, then Cheng Ho scored on a 47-yard run, putting the Crimson back in front 28-24 with 12:10 left in the fourth quarter. But the Crusader defense stiffened, forcing Harvard to punt on its next three possessions, giving Holy Cross one last chance from its own 23-yard line with 1:19 remaining. The Crusaders then marched 77 yards in six plays, with Harrison's catch concluding the scoring. Mark Kelliher led the Holy Cross defense with seven total tackles and one tackle for loss, while Glenn Dorris had seven tackles, a sack and an interception for Harvard.

Holy Cross Picked Second In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2008 Crusaders have been picked to finish in second place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, Holy Cross senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and linebacker Andy Romans of Lafayette was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

 

Rank  School (1st place votes)   2007 Record  Points
  1.  Fordham (9)               8-4 / 5-1 PL      68
  2.  Holy Cross (4)            7-4 / 4-2 PL      56
  3.  Colgate (1)               7-4 / 4-2 PL      53
  4.  Lafayette                 7-4 / 4-2 PL      48
  5.  Lehigh                    5-6 / 2-4 PL      35
  6.  Bucknell                  3-8 / 1-5 PL      18
  7.  Georgetown               1-10 / 1-5 PL      16

Brown & Randolph Named Captains
Holy Cross will have two captains during the 2008 football season. Senior strong safety Daryl Brown (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and senior quarterback Dominic Randolph were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. Randolph, who was also one of three captains during the 2007 campaign, becomes only the 11th player in school history to serve as a team captain for more than one season. Previous two-year captains were George Connor (1905-1906), Raymond Lynch (1916-1917), Thomas Lamb (1969-1970), Craig Cerratani (1977-1978), Ed Kutschke (1985-1986), John Aloisi (1998-1999), David Puloka (1999-2000), Brian Hall (2001-2002), Steve Silva (2004-2005) and Casey Gough (2006-2007).

McDermott & Jenkins Lead Special Teams Success
Senior wide receiver Brett McDermott and sophomore wide out Josh Jenkins have both played key roles in the Crusaders' success of special teams this season. McDermott currently leads the nation in kickoff returns with an average of 71.5 yards per return. In the UMass game, he returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, good for Holy Cross' first kick return for a score since the 2005 season. Jenkins leads the league and stands sixth in the country in punt returns, averaging 20.7 yards per return. As a team, the Crusaders currently lead the Patriot League in both kickoff returns (30.3 yards/return) and punt returns (20.7 yards/return).

Crusaders Look To Keep Winning The Turnover Battle
Holy Cross should once again be among the top teams in the nation when it comes to turnover margin. In the season opener against UMass, the Crusaders did not turn the ball over, while forcing the Minutemen to lose one fumble. Since the beginning of the 2005 campaign, Holy Cross is now plus-27 in turnovers, forcing their opponents to cough up the ball 69 times, while giving the ball away only 42 times. During both the 2005 and 2007 seasons, the Crusaders led the Patriot League in turnover margin with a plus-11 mark in each campaign. Holy Cross also ranked seventh in the nation in turnover margin in 2005, while placing 17th in the country in 2007. In addition, the Crusaders had a streak of 297 consecutive offensive plays without a turnover last season from Sept. 29, 2007 to Oct. 27, 2007 (spanning five games).

Holy Cross Set To Open Another Year In The Patriot League
Holy Cross will begin its 23rd season of play in the Patriot League when it faces Georgetown on Sept. 27. The Crusaders own an all-time mark of 14-8 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season, including last year's 55-0 victory over the Hoyas. Holy Cross also stands 8-2 in conference openers over the last 10 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 64-57 (.522) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

Offensive Line Continues Strong Play
Holy Cross returns four starters to an offensive line which was a key reason why the Crusaders ranked among the top teams in the nation in both total offense and scoring last season. In the season opener against UMass, the line allowed the Crusaders to total 42 points and 375 total yards. Last year, the line paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 128.2 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which has allowed the Crusaders to throw for 335.2 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross allowed only 14 sacks in 11 games last year, while attempting 497 passes (just one sack for every 36.5 times the team dropped back to pass). Returning starters for the Crusaders include senior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) at center, senior Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) and junior Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) at the guard spots, and senior Mason Olson (Stockton, Calif.) at one tackle position. Each of those four returnees started all 11 games last season. The final tackle spot will be manned by sophomore Mike McCabe (Watertown, Conn.), who saw action in all 11 games as a backup in 2007.

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Seven Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 13. As a team, Holy Cross stands first in the nation in first downs, fourth in scoring and seventh in time of possession. The rankings:

 

Category             Rank  Player/Team          Avg.
Kickoff Returns         1  
Brett McDermott      71.5
Passes Defended         1  
Michael Wright        3.0
First Downs             1  Holy Cross           27.0
Receptions              4  
Terrance Gass         9.0
Scoring                 4  
Terrance Gass        12.0
                        4  
Freddie Santana      12.0
                        4  Holy Cross           42.0
Completions             5  
Dominic Randolph     28.0
Punt Returns            6  
Josh Jenkins         20.7
Points Responsible For  6  
Dominic Randolph     18.0
                       32  
Terrance Gass        12.0
                       32  
Freddie Santana      12.0
Time of Possession      7  Holy Cross          35:01
Tackles For Loss       11  
Daryl Brown           2.0
Rushing Defense        15  Holy Cross           73.0
Passing Yards          15  
Dominic Randolph    249.0
                       22  Holy Cross          249.0
All-Purpose Yards      16  
Brett McDermott     171.0
Total Offense          16  
Dominic Randolph    260.0
Turnover Margin        20  Holy Cross           +1.0
Pass Efficiency        32  
Dominic Randolph    133.7

Crusaders Bring In Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players earned preseason accolades heading into the 2008 campaign. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was listed as the No. 3 quarterback in the country by The Sports Network, while being named a second team All-American by both The Sports Network and Consensus Draft Services, and receiving preseason Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors from Phil Steele's 2008 College Football Preview. In addition, several players were selected preseason All-Patriot League by Phil Steele's 2008 College Football Preview. Randolph was joined on the first team by senior wide receiver Brett McDermott, senior tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.), senior defensive back Kyle Mushaweh (Woodbury, Conn.), senior placekicker Matt Partain, senior offensive lineman Chris Poole and senior defensive lineman Bryan Walwyn (Houston, Texas), while senior wide receiver Jon Brock, senior tailback Terrance Gass and junior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) were all selected to the second team.

Crusaders Among Patriot 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. 13. Senior tailback Terrance Gass leads in the league in receptions (9.0 catches/game) and scoring (12.0 points/game), while senior wide receiver Brett McDermott stands first in kickoff returns (71.5 yards/return), first in all-purpose yards (171.0 yards/game) and fifth in scoring (6.0 points/game). Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph ranks second in the league in passing yards (249.0 yards/game), second in total offense (260.0 yards/game) and third in pass efficiency (133.7 rating). In addition, sophomore wide receiver Freddie Santana ranks first in scoring (12.0 points/game); sophomore wide out Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) stands first in punt returns (20.7 yards/return); senior placekicker Matt Partain is first in extra point percentage (100.0 percent) and fifth in scoring (6.0 points/game); and senior wide receiver Jon Brock ranks fifth in receptions (5.0 catches/game). As a team, Holy Cross led the league in scoring offense (42.0 points/game), turnover margin (+1.0 turnovers/game), kickoff returns (30.3 yards/return) and punt returns (20.7 yards/return); stands second in passing offense (249.0 yards/game); and ranks third in rushing defense (73.0 yards/game) and pass efficiency (133.7 rating).

Crusaders Look To Post Another Winning Season
In 2008, the Crusaders are looking to post a winning record for the fourth straight year. Last season, Holy Cross reached the seven win-mark for the second year in a row. The Crusaders' 14-8 mark in 2006 and 2007 combined is also their best in a two-year span since the 1991 and 1992 squads went a combined 17-5. In addition, Holy Cross has also posted a winning record in each of the last three seasons, going 6-5 in 2005, 7-4 in 2006 and 7-4 in 2007. This marks the best three-year stretch by the Crusaders in 15 years (9-1-1 in 1990, 11-0 in 1991 and 6-5 in 1992).

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 349-166-27 (.669). 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 21-24 at home, with a 4-2 mark in 2007. Last season, Holy Cross posted a winning record at home for the second straight year, after going 3-2 at Fitton Field in 2006.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2008 campaign will mark the 113th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 576-463-54, good for a .552 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2008 season, Holy Cross' 576 all-time victories ranked as the 15th 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.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is now in his fifth season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore currently owns an overall record of 23-22, including a 20-14 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. He has led Holy Cross to 7-4 records in each of the last two years, with the 2006 team posting a five-game winning streak (the longest by the Crusaders since the 1991 season). In 2005, 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. 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.

Scouting The Crimson
Harvard is coming off a 2007 campaign in which it posted an 8-2 overall record and won the Ivy League title with a perfect 7-0 mark in conference games. Senior quarterback Chris Pizzotti returns to lead the Crimson offense, after completing 164 of 260 attempts for 2,134 yards and 14 touchdowns with four interceptions last season. Pizzotti's top target is junior wide out Matt Luft, who caught 43 passes for 721 yards and six scores in 2007. The Harvard ground game will be led by junior tailback Cheng Ho, who ran for 722 yards and seven touchdowns on 152 carries last year. The Crimson defense, which allowed just 15.7 points and 274.6 yards per game last season, will be led by senior linebacker Eric Schultz. Last season, Schultz totaled 54 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. Head coach Tim Murphy is in his 15th season at the helm of the Harvard program, where he has a record of 88-51. Murphy's career record stands at 120-96-1, including five seasons as the head coach at Cincinnati and two years as head coach at Maine.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2008 will air on The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 39th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 23rd 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, is in his ninth year as the color commentator. All of the Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet at `www.worcesterpike.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 2008 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2008 campaign:

 

Date     Opponent        Television Outlet
Sept. 6  Massachusetts   WCTR-TV3
Oct. 25  Lehigh          WCTR-TV3
Nov. 15  Lafayette       Lafayette Sports Network
Nov. 22  Colgate         Time Warner Cable

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'.

Crusader All-Access
Live video streaming of all 2008 Holy Cross home football games will be available over the internet through Crusader All-Access.The package, done in association with College Sports Television Online, is available for a $9.95 monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Crusader All-Access, click here.

Quick Hits
Sophomore cornerback Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) recorded a career-high nine total tackles in the UMass game, and junior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) added a career-best three pass breakups ... For only the second time since joining the Patriot League in 1986, Holy Cross is scheduled to play all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Massachusetts and Yale).