September 18, 2006

Holy Cross Travels To Marist For Saturday Night Game

Sept. 18, 2006

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-2, 1-0 PL) vs. Marist (1-2, 0-0 MAAC)
Date: September 23, 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Leonidoff Field (2,000), Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Marist Radio: WKIP 1450 AM, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Ed Weir, play-by-play; Mike Ferraro, color
Live Stats: Gametracker
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 44, Marist 13, November 6, 2004, Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Marist
This will be only the second meeting between the Crusaders and the Red Foxes on the gridiron. In the only previous contest, Holy Cross posted a 44-13 victory at Fitton Field on November 6, 2004. The Crusaders also have an all-time record of 3-3 against current members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, including five games against Duquesne.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
In Poughkeepsie: First Meeting
At Leonidoff Field: First Meeting
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Marist: 1-0
Jim Parady vs. Holy Cross: 0-1
In Overtime: n/a

Fanning Enjoying Breakout Season
Senior wide receiver Matt Fanning (Marlborough, Mass.) is developing into one of the top offensive threats for the Crusaders this season. In last week's game at Harvard, he caught six passes for a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown. Fanning also had a strong day in the season opener at Georgetown, totaling six catches for 69 yards and a score, while bringing in four receptions for 27 yards against Northeastern. Through the first three games of the year, he leads the team in receiving with 16 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns. This comes after Fanning caught only one pass for six yards in his first three seasons on the team. In addition to his work as a wide out, Fanning has also served as Holy Cross' top punt returner this year, averaging 9.2 yards on five returns.

McSharry Leads Crusader Offense
Junior quarterback Brian McSharry (Abington, Mass.) has played well for Holy Cross this season, after taking over in the second quarter of the season opener at Georgetown. Last week at Harvard, he completed 19 of 38 attempts for a career-best 265 yards and two touchdowns. The previous week against Northeastern, McSharry completed 82.6 percent of his passes (19 of 23) for 126 yards and a score. He also had a strong game against Georgetown, hitting on 16 of 30 attempts for 181 yards and a touchdown. Through the first three games of the year, McSharry has now thrown for 572 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception, while completing 54 of 91 passes (59.3 percent). Over the course of his collegiate career, he has hit on 76 of 131 attempts for 783 yards and five touchdowns.

Adams Leads Crusader Defense
Senior linebacker Dan Adams (Springfield, Va.) is once again one of the top defensive players in the Patriot League this year. Last week at Harvard, Adams recorded a team-best nine solo tackles, including one tackle for loss. The previous week against Northeastern, he led the team with 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops and two tackles for loss. In the season opener at Georgetown, Adams totaled eight tackles, with three tackles for loss, an interception, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Following the Georgetown contest, Adams was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week, and received the Boston Globe Gold Helmet award. Through three games, he has now totaled 27 tackles, including 23 solo stops and a team-best six tackles for loss. Prior to the start of the season, Adams was named the 16th-best linebacker in all of Division I-AA by the Sports Network. A year ago, he 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) and Bucknell (10 total tackles). Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 235 total tackles, 189 solo stops and 12 tackles for loss.

Gough Steps Up In The Secondary
Senior cornerback Casey Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.) looks to be one of the top defensive backs and kickoff returners in the Patriot League this season. Through the first three games of the year, Gough has totaled nine tackles and a team-high three pass breakups. His best game so far came in the season opener at Georgetown, when he posted six total tackles and two pass breakups. Prior to the start of the year, Gough was named a preseason honorable mention All-American as a kickoff returner by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette. A year ago, he 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, Gough 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 102 tackles, four interceptions and 17 pass breakups.

The Last Meeting With Marist
John O'Neil completed 21 of 33 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 73 yards and another score on six carries, to lead Holy Cross to a 44-13 victory over Marist at Fitton Field on November 6, 2004. Steve Silva also had an outstanding day, totaling 269 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, caught five passes for 62 yards, and returned three kickoffs for 86 yards. Holy Cross opened the game on fire, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first 7:44 of the game, before Marist even ran an offensive play. The Crusaders took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for a touchdown, with fullback Frank Herlihy scoring on a four-yard pass from O'Neil. Casey Gough then recovered an onside kick, setting up a 32-yard touchdown run by O'Neil. The Red Foxes were then unable to field a squib kick, and Holy Cross' Matt Lane recovered to set up a 17-yard touchdown pass from O'Neil to Luke Dugan. Silva's two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter padded the Crusaders' cushion to 28-0, before Marist answered with a seven-yard touchdown run from Brian Kiraly before halftime. Silva's second touchdown in the third quarter gave Holy Cross a 35-7 lead. Marist's Obozua Ehikioya scored on a three-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter, but Holy Cross' Matt Dugan blocked the extra-point attempt and ran 93 yards untouched for two points and a 37-13 Holy Cross lead. O'Neil connected with Herlihy on a five-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to close the scoring.

Offense Shows Balance In 2006
In addition to quarterback Brian McSharry and wide receiver Matt Fanning, Holy Cross has shown that it has a number of other weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Sophomore tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) has led the team in rushing with 148 yards and two scores on 32 carries, while sophomore tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) has added 136 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Junior wide receiver Ryan Maher (Boca Raton, Fla.) ranks second on the team with 14 catches for 119 yards, while sophomore wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added eight receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. In addition, junior wide receiver Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) has caught eight passes for 81 yards, and sophomore wide out Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has brought in six receptions for 55 yards. Sophomore quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) also played well before suffering an injury in the season opener, hitting on 10 of 15 passes for 79 yards. All told, Holy Cross is averaging 18.0 points, 19.0 first downs and 299.7 yards per game.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2006 campaign marks the 111th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 563-456-54, good for a .550 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2006 season, Holy Cross' 562 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 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.

Holy Cross In The Patriot League
Holy Cross is now in its 21st season of play in the Patriot League. With the season-opening victory at Georgetown, the Crusaders now own an all-time mark of 13-8 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season. Holy Cross is now 7-2 in conference openers over the last nine 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 57-53 (.518) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

Kickers Look To Shine In 2006
Senior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.) and senior punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.) give Holy Cross one of the top kicking tandems in the Patriot League. DeSantis, who was a second team All-Patriot League selection in 2004, enters this week's game having made 20 of 28 career field goal attempts and 107 of 118 career extra points for a total of 167 points. He already holds the school career record for field goal percentage (71.4 percent), while standing third all-time in career extra points made. McManaway was named second team All-Patriot League in 2005, and has averaged 34.4 yards on 169 punts during his collegiate career, while placing 30 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line. He enters this week's game ranked fourth all-time at Holy Cross in career punts, and fifth in career punting yards (5,810).

Crusaders On The Radio
Ten of Holy Cross' 11 games in 2006 will air 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. All of 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 was carried by 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'.

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Five Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 16. Senior linebacker Dan Adams leads the way by standing third in solo tackles and 10th in tackles for loss. The rankings:

 

Category            Rank  Player/Team       Avg.
Solo Tackles           3  
Dan Adams          7.7
Tackles For Loss      10  
Dan Adams          2.0
Completions           15  
Brian McSharry    18.0
Kickoff Returns       18  
Ryan Maher        27.8
Passing Yards         25  Holy Cross       217.0
                      26  
Brian McSharry   190.7
Receiving Yards       27  
Matt Fanning      76.3
Receptions            27  
Matt Fanning       5.3
                      43  
Ryan Maher         4.7
Punt Returns          35  
Matt Fanning       9.2
Field Goals           45  
Mike DeSantis      0.7
Passing Efficiency    48  
Brian McSharry   124.5
Total Offense         50  
Brian McSharry   169.7

Crusaders Among League Leaders
Several Holy Cross players are currently ranked at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, through games of Sept. 16. Junior quarterback Brian McSharry leads the league in passing yards (190.7 yards/game), while standing third in total offense (169.7 yards/game) and fourth in passing efficiency (124.5 rating). Senior wide receiver Matt Fanning leads the conference in both receptions (5.3 catches/game) and receiving yards (76.3 yards/game), while ranking third in punt returns (9.2 yards/return). In addition, junior wide out Ryan Maher stands second in the league in both receptions (4.7 catches/game) and kickoff returns (27.8 yards/return), while senior placekicker Mike DeSantis ranks third in field goals (0.7 field goals/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in passing offense (217.0 yards/game), while ranking second in kickoff returns (21.2 yards/return) and third in scoring offense (18.0 points/game) and punt returns (6.7 yards/return).

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 342-162-27 (.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 14-20 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.

Nielsen Looks For Another Big Year
Senior linebacker Chris Nielsen (Center Line, Mich.) is one of the top players for the Holy Cross defense this season, having totaled 14 tackles with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup through three games. 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 GPA in mathematics). During the 2005 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 win over No. 10 Lehigh, after which he was named 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 at Lehigh, including 13 solo stops and a tackle for loss. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Nielsen now has 108 total tackles, 89 solo tackles and 11 tackles for loss.

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 10-15, as the Crusaders have won 10 of his last 19 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.

Scouting The Red Foxes
Marist enters this week's game with an overall record of 1-2, following last Saturday's 38-7 loss to Wagner. The Red Foxes were also defeated by Central Connecticut State (34-6), while downing Sacred Heart (28-19). Junior quarterback Stephen McGrath has led the Marist offense by completing 51 of 83 attempts for 590 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions, in addition to rushing for 102 yards on 27 carries. Senior wide out Prince Prempeh is the team's top receiver, totaling 250 yards and two scores on 13 catches. Junior running back Obozua Ehikioya has a team-high 111 rushing yards, but did not play against Wagner last week. Defensively, the Red Foxes are led by junior linebacker Dan Smith, who has 34 tackles and two tackles for loss. Head coach Jim Parady is in his 15th season at the helm of the Marist program, where he has a record of 79-64-1.