Crusaders Hit The Road To Face No. 6 Delaware
Sept. 19, 2005
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-1, 1-0 PL) vs. #6 Delaware (2-0, 0-0 A-10)
Date: September 24, 2005
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Delaware Stadium (22,000), Newark, Del.
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Delaware Radio: WRDX 94.7 FM, Claymont, Del.; Mike Corey, play-by-play; Bill Komissaroff, color; www.river947.com, internet
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 22, Delaware 6; September 28, 1985; Worcester, Mass.
The Series With Delaware
This will be only the third meeting between the Crusaders and the Blue Hens on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 2-0. The teams first met on Nov. 12, 1983, in Newark, with the Crusaders posting a 24-0 victory on the road. The second game in the series came on Sept. 28, 1985 in Worcester, with Holy Cross winning 22-6 at Fitton Field. Against current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Crusaders own an all-time mark of 63-42-6 (2-0 vs. Delaware, 0-1 against Hofstra, 5-0-1 vs. Maine, 21-20-5 against Massachusetts, 6-5 vs. New Hampshire, 4-0 against Northeastern, 9-1 vs. Rhode Island, 1-0 against Richmond, 4-3 vs. Towson, 9-12 against Villanova and 2-0 vs. William & Mary).
Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 2-0
At Newark: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
At Delaware Stadium: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
Tom Gilmore vs. Delaware: 0-0
K.C. Keeler vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Gough Named Patriot League Defensive Player Of The
Junior cornerback Casey Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.) had an outstanding game against Harvard last week, and was honored as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week. He made six tackles against the Crimson, and also scored the first touchdown of his collegiate career on a 42-yard interception return in the first quarter. Through three games on the season, Gough leads the team with two interceptions and 53 interception return yards. He also ranks fourth on the squad with 12 tackles, including 11 solo stops, and has one pass breakup. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Gough has now totaled 60 tackles, three interceptions and nine pass breakups.
Crusaders Continue To Dominate Turnover Battle In
Through three games so far this season, Holy Cross has forced its opponents to commit eight turnovers, while giving the ball away only one time. The Crusader defense has posted five interceptions so far this year, in addition to recovering three fumbles. Junior cornerback Casey Gough leads the team with two interceptions on the season, while six other players have either intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble. The Holy Cross defense has also been incredibly consistent, as it has forced at least two turnovers in every game so far this year. On the offensive side of the ball, the Crusaders have not yet thrown an interception this season, and have lost only one fumble (which came on a play where the runner's knee appeared to be down before the ball came loose).
Offense Looking Impressive During 2005
The Crusader offense has put up some big numbers in the first three games of the 2005 season. So far this year, Holy Cross has averaged 41.7 points, 21.7 first downs and 357.3 yards of total offense per contest. The Crusaders have been particularly effective in the first half of games, as they have scored touchdowns on 12 of their 22 first half possessions so far this season. Holy Cross has also avoided turnovers so far in 2005, as the Crusaders have only given the ball away one time this season. In 99 passing attempts so far this year, Holy Cross has not thrown an interception, while in 115 rushing attempts they have lost just one fumble. In addition, Holy Cross' 125 points scored over the first three weeks of the year are its most in a three-game span since the 2001 season (49-17 win over Dartmouth, 63-53 victory over Lafayette and 47-14 loss to Lehigh).
Defense Stepping Up In 2005
The Holy Cross defense is much improved this season, as shown by its performances in the first three games of the year. In the victory over Georgetown, the Crusaders held the Hoyas to only 268 yards of total offense and six points. Holy Cross was particularly impressive in the first half, when it held Georgetown to just 21 yards, two first downs and no points, with the Hoyas longest drive going for only nine yards. The Crusaders also played well in the season opener against Sacred Heart, as the Pioneers were held to 349 yards and 21 points. Overall this year, Holy Cross opponents are averaging just 379.0 yards, 19.3 points and 19.7 first downs per contest. In addition, the Crusaders have forced a total of eight turnovers on the season, with five interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Last year, Holy Cross allowed its opponents to average 33.4 points and 412.0 yards per game.
Silva Shines In Senior Season
Senior tailback Steve Silva (East Providence, R.I.) has turned in some outstanding performances for the Crusaders so far in the 2005 season. In the victory over Georgetown, he rushed 20 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, in addition to catching eight passes for 61 yards and returning three punts for 49 yards. Silva also had a big game in the season opener against Sacred Heart, accounting for 179 total yards against the Pioneers, while having a hand in six of the Crusaders' eight touchdowns (three rushing, two passing and one receiving). He received the Boston Globe Gold Helmet and the Johnny Turco Memorial Award following the Georgetown game, while earning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors after the Sacred Heart contest. Through three games so far this season, Silva now has 500 all-purpose yards while accounting for eight touchdowns. Silva's outstanding start to the year comes on the heels of a 2004 season in which he led the team in both rushing yards (708 yards on 161 carries) and receptions (60 catches for 507 yards), in addition to scoring a team-high 11 touchdowns. Over the course of his four-year career as a Crusader, Silva has rushed for 1,965 yards and 27 touchdowns on 477 carries, while catching 116 passes for 941 yards and two scores. He needs just 35 rushing yards this week to become only the seventh player in school history to run for 2,000 career yards.
O'Neil Leading Aerial Attack
Senior quarterback John O'Neil (White Plains, N.Y.) is now in his third year as the starting signal caller for Holy Cross. In three games so far this year, he has completed 51 of 85 attempts for 527 yards and five touchdowns, in addition to catching two touchdown passes. Last season, O'Neil completed 193 of 356 attempts for 2,022 yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished 2004 ranked third in the Patriot League in both passing yards and total offense, while placing ninth on the Holy Cross single season list for passing yards. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, O'Neil has now completed 460 of 816 passes for 5,123 yards and 42 touchdowns, and is only the fourth player in school history to throw for 5,000 career yards. O'Neil is currently ranked fourth all-time at Holy Cross in career completions, attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage (56.4), and fifth in yards of total offense (5,507).
The Last Meeting With Delaware
Gill Fenerty rushed 37 times for 204 yards to lead Holy Cross to a 22-6 victory over Delaware at Fitton Field. Ranked No. 1 in the preseason, the Blue Hens came to Worcester hot off an upset of Navy two weeks earlier, only to be shut down but the Crusaders. The Holy Cross defense held the Blue Hens' ground game to a mere 70 rushing yards, in addition to forcing three fumbles. The Crusaders opened the scoring on a three-yard touchdown run by Dave Hock, then Jeff Wiley added the two-point conversion, after picking up a bad snap on the extra point attempt and running it into the end zone. Holy Cross made it 15-0 early in the second quarter when Lee Hull took a screen pass from Hock and went 26 yards for the score. Delaware cut the lead to 15-6 just before halftime on a six-yard run by Bob Norris, but that was as close as the Blue Hens would get. The Crusaders scored the only points of the second half early in the third quarter on a one-yard run by Chuck Doyle. Hock finished the day by completing 10 of 18 attempts for 87 yards and a touchdown, while Hull had a team-best three receptions for 39 yards and a score. Delaware quarterback Rich Gannon completed 17 of 34 passes for 213 yards, but also threw an interception, fumbled twice and was sacked five times. The Holy Cross defense was led by Jerry McCabe with 11 tackles and Ed Kutschke with six tackles and a sack. Following the contest, Fenerty and Kutschke shared the Johnny Turco Memorial Award as the Most Valuable Players of Holy Cross' Homecoming Game.
Adams Leads Crusader Defense
Junior linebacker Dan Adams (Springfield, Va.) has been the leader of the Holy Cross defense so far this season. In the victory over Georgetown, Adams totaled nine tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack. He also led the team with nine total tackles in the season opener against Sacred Heart, while posting eight solo tackles against Harvard last week. Through three games this year, Adams has 26 total tackles, including 23 solo stops, two tackles for loss and a sack. A year ago, Adams ranked second on the team with 57 tackles, 43 of them being solo. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 119 tackles, 92 solo stops and four tackles for loss.
Holy Cross Receivers Look Strong
In three games so far this season, Holy Cross has 11 different players catch at least one pass. Senior Bob Turkovich (Bedford, Pa.) leads the wide outs with 13 catches for 122 yards and two scores, while senior Sean Gruber (Richwood, Ky.) has seven receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Bryan Anderson (Shrewsbury, Mass.) has added five catches for 45 yards, while sophomore Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) has five receptions for 56 yards.The Crusaders' depth at receiver should come as no surprise, as all eight players off the 2004 Holy Cross team who caught at least 10 passes are back in uniform this fall. Last season, Gruber led the team with 720 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns, while ranking second on the team in catches with 48. Turkovich had 20 receptions for 211 yards and a score last season, despite missing four games due to injury. Anderson totaled 17 catches for 185 yards in 2004, while Harrison had 12 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. In addition, Holy Cross has one of the Patriot League's top tight ends in fifth-year senior Luke Dugan (Maple Plain, Minn.), who has four catches for 52 yards so far in 2005, after totaling 202 yards and three touchdowns on 17 receptions last year.
Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Seven Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 17. Senior tailback Steve Silva stands fifth in the nation in points scored and 11th in all-purpose yards. The rankings:
Category Rank Player/Team Avg. Turnovers Lost 1 Holy Cross 0.3 Turnover Margin 2 Holy Cross +2.3 Solo Tackles 3 Dan Adams 7.7 42 Will King 5.7 42 Chris Nielsen 5.7 Scoring 5 Steve Silva 12.0 9 Holy Cross 41.7 42 Gideon Akande 8.0 Points Responsible For 10 Steve Silva 16.0 21 John O'Neil 14.0 All-Purpose Yards 11 Steve Silva 166.7 Punt Returns 14 Steve Silva 14.0 19 Holy Cross 14.1 Fewest Penalties 15 Holy Cross 4.7 Net Punting 21 Holy Cross 36.3 Interceptions 22 Casey Gough 0.7 Kickoff Returns 30 Holy Cross 25.2 Receptions 32 Steve Silva 5.3 Passing Efficiency 35 John O'Neil 131.5
Crusaders On the Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2005 will be on WTAG 580 AM, the true sports leader for the city of Worcester. Bob Fouracre will be in his 36th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 20th 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 sixth 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 have four games shown on live television during the 2005 season. Two home games this season will be televised on WCTR TV-3 (Worcester), against Sacred Heart on September 3 and Dartmouth on October 15. In addition, the October 8 contest at Lehigh will be carried by Service Electric Cable Television, while the November 12 game against Lafayette will be shown by the Lafayette Sports Network (RCN on Lehigh Valley Cable and WBPH TV-60 in Allentown, Pa.).
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'.
Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his second season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. He enters this week's game with an overall record of 5-9, as the Crusaders have won five of his last nine games. Gilmore came to Holy Cross after serving as defensive coordinator at Lehigh University 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.
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. 17. Senior tailback Steve Silva ranks first in the conference in scoring (12.0 points/game), second in rushing (77.3 yards/game), second in all-purpose yards (166.7 yards/game), third in receptions (5.3 catches/game) and third in punt returns (14.0 yards/return), while senior quarterback John O'Neil stands second in passing efficiency (131.5 rating), third in passing yards (175.5 yards/game) and third in total offense (189.7 yards/game). In addition, senior running back Gideon Akande (Chicago, Ill.) stands third in kickoff returns (25.2 yards/return), fifth in scoring (8.0 points/game) and fifth in all-purpose yards (87.3 yards/game), junior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.) ranks first in extra point percentage (100.0 percent), junior cornerback Casey Gough stands second in interceptions (0.7 picks/game) and junior punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.) ranks fourth in punting (36.5 yards/punt). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in turnover margin (+3.0 turnovers/game); stands second in scoring offense (41.7 points/game), scoring defense (19.3 points/game), total offense (357.3 yards/game), passing offense (199.7 yards/game), pass efficiency (137.1 rating) and kickoff returns (22.6 yards/return); and ranks third in rushing offense (157.7 yards/game), pass efficiency defense (123.8 rating), punt returns (14.1 yards/return) and net punting (36.3 yards/punt).
Tradition Of Excellence
The 2005 campaign marks the 110th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 558-450-54, good for a .551 winning percentage. Entering 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.
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 341-159-27 (.673). 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 mark of 13-17 at home. Holy Cross has a 2-1 mark at Fitton Field so far this year, and has a chance to post its first winning record at home since the 2001 team went 3-2. The Crusaders are scheduled to play three more contests at home this year.
Crusaders Have Tri-Captains In 2005
Holy Cross has three captains for the 2005 football season, as senior running back Gideon Akande, senior quarterback John O'Neil and senior tailback Steve Silva were elected as the team's tri-captains. Silva, who was also a co-captain during the 2004 campaign, becomes only the ninth 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) and Brian Hall (2001-2002).
Scouting The Blue Hens
Delaware enters this week's game with an overall record of 2-0 on the season, and is ranked sixth in the nation by the Sports Network. The Blue Hens are led by sophomore tailback Omar Cuff, who has rushed for 217 yards and five touchdowns on 41 carries, while catching four passes for 53 yards and two scores. Senior quarterback Sonny Riccio has completed 32 of 55 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, while senior tight end Justin LaForgia has a team-high eight receptions for 69 yards. Junior free safety Kyle Campbell leads the Delaware defense with 21 tackles on the year, while senior cornerback Roger Brown has added 18 tackles. K.C. Keeler has a record of 32-11, now in his fourth season as the Blue Hens' head coach. His career record stands at 120-32-1, including nine years at Division III Rowan.
Freshman running back Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week following the game against Georgetown. Gass rushed eight times for 56 yards and his first collegiate touchdown against the Hoyas ... With the victory over Georgetown, Holy Cross won its Patriot League opener for the sixth time in the last eight years, and improved its all-time mark in conference openers to 12-8 ... Three assistant coaches on the Holy Cross staff have been head coaches on the collegiate level. Offensive coordinator Bob Griffin was the head coach at Idaho State (1972-1975) and Rhode Island (1976-1992), defensive coordinator David Kotulski was the head coach at Bucknell (2002), and running backs coach Dave Patenaude was the head coach at New Haven (2002-2003).