September 24, 2007

Crusaders Set To Battle Yale On Family Weekend

Sept. 24, 2007

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-1, 1-0 PL) vs. #22 Yale (2-0, 1-0 Ivy)
Date: September 29, 2007
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Television: CN8; Mark Brown, play-by-play; Bob Norton, color
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Yale Radio: WELI 960 AM, Hamden, Conn.; Ron Vaccaro, play-by-play; Carm Cozza, color
Series Record: Yale leads, 25-4
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 22, Yale 19; October 1, 2005; New Haven, Conn.

The Series With Yale
This will be the 29th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bulldogs on the gridiron, with Yale leading the all-time series 25-4. The Bulldogs had won 11 straight games in the series, before the Crusaders posted a 22-19 victory in New Haven in 2005. For games played in Worcester, Yale owns a 6-0 all-time lead against Holy Cross. In the last meeting at Fitton Field, the Bulldogs posted a 41-16 win in 2003. The two schools first met on Oct. 14, 1903, when Yale won 36-10 in New Haven.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Yale leads, 25-4
In Worcester: Yale leads, 6-0
At Fitton Field: Yale leads, 6-0
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Yale: 1-0
Jack Siedlecki vs. Holy Cross: 6-1
In Overtime: n/a

Holy Cross On Family Weekend
The Crusaders have posted an all-time record of 27-23-1 in Family Weekend games. Holy Cross has lost five straight and 11 out of its last 12 contests on Family Weekend. Last year, Lehigh posted a 28-14 victory over the Crusaders. Holy Cross was also defeated by Colgate in 2005 (27-14), Bucknell in 2004 (42-27), Dartmouth in 2003 (24-20) and Lehigh in 2002 (21-12). The last Family Weekend victory came in 2001, when the Crusaders downed Lafayette 63-53. This year's game will mark the first-ever meeting between Holy Cross and Yale on Family Weekend. (A complete list of Family Weekend results can be found by clicking here.)

Anderson Award On The Line
The Dr. Edward N. Anderson Award is presented annually to the outstanding player in the Family Weekend game, as determined by the working press. The award is sponsored by the Holy Cross Club of Greater Worcester, and was originally awarded to the most outstanding player of the Holy Cross-Massachusetts game. It is presented in honor of former Holy Cross head coach Edward Anderson, who had a 129-67-8 record in 21 seasons as the Crusaders' coach (1933-1938; 1950-1964), and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Last season, Lehigh's Marques Thompson claimed the award, after leading the Mountain Hawks to a 28-14 victory over the Crusaders. A player from the visiting team has taken home the honor in seven of the last eight seasons, with lone exception coming in 2001. That year, Holy Cross quarterback Brian Hall earned the award, after throwing for 416 yards and five touchdowns in a 63-53 victory over Lafayette. (A complete list of past Anderson Award winners can be found by clicking here.)

Holy Cross Against The Ivy League
The Crusaders have enjoyed a great deal of success against Ivy League opposition during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach. Holy Cross stands 6-3 against Ivy League foes under Gilmore's direction, including three straight wins. That mark includes a 3-0 record against Dartmouth, 1-0 marks against both Brown and Yale, and a 1-3 record against Harvard. The Crusaders' all-time record against the Ivy League stands at 99-132-9 (29-20-3 against Brown, 6-2 vs. Columbia, 0-5 against Cornell, 32-34-4 vs. Dartmouth, 22-37-2 against Harvard, 3-2 vs. Pennsylvania, 3-7 against Princeton and 4-25 vs. Yale).

Defense Shuts Out Georgetown
The Holy Cross defense turned in one of its top performances in recent history last Saturday in the 55-0 shutout victory over Georgetown. The shutout was the third by the Crusaders during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach, to go along with a 24-0 win at Dartmouth on Oct. 16, 2004, and the 27-0 victory at Marist on Sept. 23, 2006. In addition, Holy Cross held Georgetown to just 65 yards of total offense and only two first downs. The 65 total yards are the fewest by a Crusader opponent since Columbia had only 65 yards on Nov. 1, 1980, while the two first downs are the lowest-ever known total by an opponent. Since the beginning of the 2004 season, the Crusaders have now held their opposition to under 300 yards of total offense nine times. With last week's victory, Holy Cross became the first Patriot League team to record a shutout this season. Through the first three contests of the 2007 campaign, the Crusaders are holding their opponents to 22.7 points, 13.3 first downs and 320.7 yards per game.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Junior quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) continues to be an excellent leader for the Holy Cross offense this season. In three games played this year, Randolph has competed 83 of 150 attempts for 937 yards and eight touchdowns with just two interceptions. Last week against Georgetown, he completed 22 of 33 attempts for 302 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing five times for 22 yards and another score. In the previous game against Harvard, Randolph hit on 29 of 55 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-winning 40-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) with 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the season opener at Massachusetts, he completed 32 of a school-record 62 attempts for 296 yards and two scores without an interception, in addition to rushing for a touchdown. Last season, Randolph earned third team All-Northeast Region honors after completing 184 of 299 attempts for 2,237 yards and 19 touchdowns with only six interceptions, despite missing two games due to injury. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now hit on 267 of 449 passes for 3,174 yards and 27 scores. Despite playing in just 12 career games, Randolph already ranks sixth all-time at Holy Cross in career touchdown passes, ninth in career completions and ninth in career passing yards, with his career completion percentage (.595) is the third best in school history.

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 347-163-27 (.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 19-21 at home, with a 2-0 mark so far in 2007. Last year Holy Cross went 3-2 at Fitton Field, to post its first winning record at home since the 2001 team went 3-2.

The Last Meeting - Holy Cross 22, Yale 19
Casey Gough recorded 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, an interception, a safety and a blocked extra point, to lead Holy Cross to a 22-19 victory over Yale at the Yale Bowl on October 1, 2005. The Crusader defense controlled play for the first three quarters of the game, as Holy Cross jumped out to a 15-0 lead. Mike DeSantis opened the scoring with a 24-yard field goal, then Gough tackled Jordan Spence for a six-yard loss in the Bulldog end zone for a safety. The Crusaders increased the lead to 12-0 before halftime, when Sean Gruber scored a nine-yard touchdown on a reverse. In the third quarter, DeSantis hit his second field goal of the game, from 28 yards out, to make the score 15-0. Yale scored its first points of the game with just over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run by Mike McLeod, but Gough blocked the extra point, allowing Holy Cross to keep a two-possession lead. The Bulldogs added another touchdown at the 4:13 mark on an eight-yard pass from Jeff Mroz to William Blodgett, but Steve Silva returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown, giving the Crusaders a 22-13 lead. Yale concluded the scoring with a 41-yard hail mary pass from Mroz to Chris Denny-Brown on the final play of the game. Silva led the Crusader offense by rushing for 92 yards on 18 carries, in addition catching eight passes for 52 yards, while John O'Neil completed 17 of 33 attempts for 145 yards. Mroz completed 33 of 56 passes for 333 yards to lead Yale, but also threw a pair of interceptions. Tyler Nugent recorded five tackles, an interception and two pass breakups for the Holy Cross defense, while Lee Driftmier and Nick Solakian both had eight tackles for the Bulldogs. The victory by the Crusaders was their first over Yale since the 1982 season, breaking the Bulldogs' 11-game winning streak in the series.

Maher Makes Big Catches
Senior wide receiver Ryan Maher (Boca Raton, Fla.) continues to show why he is one of the top wide outs in the nation. Through three games played this year, Maher has totaled a team-best 25 receptions for 243 yards and two touchdowns. During last week's victory over Georgetown, he posted five receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. Maher previously had nine catches for 75 yards and a score against Harvard, while making 11 receptions for 85 yards at Massachusetts. Last year, he led the team and Patriot League in receiving with 69 catches for 797 yards and six touchdowns. Maher also concluded the 2006 campaign ranked ninth in the country in receptions and 32nd in receiving yards. At the end of the 2006 season, he was named to the All-Patriot League first team and the New England Football Writers All-Star team, in addition to being a second team All-Northeast Region selection. Maher has currently caught a pass in 14 consecutive games, while posting three of more receptions in 11 straight contests. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 98 catches for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns.

Crusaders Dominate Turnover Battle
In three games played so far this season, Holy Cross forced its opponents to commit eight turnovers, while giving the ball away only four times. The Crusaders have recovered seven fumbles on the year, in addition to posting one interception. Senior wide receiver Ryan Maher leads the team with a pair of fumble recoveries, both of which came while playing on the punt coverage team. Five other players have one fumble recovery each, while junior strong safety Daryl Brown (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has one interception. On the offensive side of the ball, the Crusaders have thrown just two interceptions and lost just two fumbles.

Gough Steps Up In The Secondary
Senior cornerback Casey Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.) is once again among the top defensive backs and kickoff returners in the Patriot League this season. Through three games played so far this season, he has posted eight total tackles with one tackle for loss and one pass breakup, while returning three kickoffs for 68 yards. In 11 games during the 2006 season, Gough totaled 54 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three interceptions, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He was also the Crusaders' top kickoff returner, averaging 21.1 yards on 30 returns. Following the conclusion of the 2006 campaign, Gough was named first team All-Patriot League, while earning second team All-Northeast Region honors. He was previously named second team All-Patriot League in 2005, after posting a team-best three interceptions, 45 tackles, three tackles for loss and six pass breakups. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Gough has now totaled 155 tackles, seven interceptions and 22 pass breakups. He has also totaled 1,438 yards and a touchdown on 57 career kickoff returns, to rank second all-time at Holy Cross in career kickoff return yards and career kickoff return average (25.2 yards per return).

Crusaders Show Outstanding Depth At Wide Receiver
In addition to senior Ryan Maher, Holy Cross has shown that it has a number of other weapons in the passing game, as seven different wide receivers already have receptions this season. Senior wide receiver Thomas Harrison currently ranks second on the team in receiving with 18 catches for a team-best 248 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added 15 receptions for 182 yards and a score, while junior wide receiver Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has brought in 10 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown. In addition, freshman wide out Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) has caught two passes for 17 yards, sophomore wide receiver Mike Frawley (Glen Mills, Pa.) had two catches for eight yards, and senior wide out Justin Maher (Milford, Conn.) has one reception for a 23-yard touchdown. Last season, eight different Holy Cross wide receivers caught at least one pass.

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. 22. As a team, Holy Cross stands third in total offense and fourth in passing yards. The rankings:

 

Category              Rank  Player/Team          Avg.
Completions              2  
Dominic Randolph     27.7
Passing Yards            3  
Dominic Randolph    312.3
                         4  Holy Cross          320.7
Total Offense            3  Holy Cross          490.0
                         4  
Dominic Randolph    327.3
Points Responsible For   5  
Dominic Randolph     20.0
Receptions               5  
Ryan Maher            8.3
                        30  
Thomas Harrison       6.0
Scoring                 12  Holy Cross           38.7
Turnover Margin         13  Holy Cross           +1.3
Receiving Yards         26  
Thomas Harrison      82.7
                        29  
Ryan Maher           81.0
Fewest Penalty Yards    28  Holy Cross           43.7
Field Goals             37  
Matt Partain          1.0
Punt Returns            45  
Josh Jenkins          7.6

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. 22. Junior quarterback Dominic Randolph currently leads the league in passing yards (312.3 yards/game), total offense (327.3 yards/game) and pass efficiency (122.7 rating). Senior wide receiver Ryan Maher leads the conference in receptions (8.3 catches/game), while ranking third in receiving yards (81.0 yards/game) and fifth in all-purpose yards (92.0 yards/game). Senior wide out Thomas Harrison stands second in the league in both receptions (6.0 catches/game) and receiving yards (82.7 yards/game), while junior wide receiver Brett McDermott is fourth in the conference in receptions (5.0 catches/game). In addition, junior placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.) ranks first in extra points (100.0 percent), second in scoring (7.7 points/game) and third in field goals (1.0 made/game), freshman wide out Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) is second in punt returns (7.6 yards/return), and junior cornerback Kyle Mushaweh (Woodbury, Conn.) ranks fifth in kickoff returns (17.0 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in total offense (490.0 yards/game), scoring offense (38.7 points/game), passing offense (320.7 yards/game) and turnover margin (+1.3 turnovers/game); while standing second in rushing defense (134.7 yards/game) and pass efficiency (12.3 rating); and ranking third in total defense (320.7 yards/game) and punt returns (7.6 yards/return).

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his fourth season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore enters this week's game with an overall record of 18-18, as the Crusaders have won 18 of his last 31 games. Last year he led Holy Cross to an overall record of 7-4, including 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.

Crusaders Have Three Captains
The Holy Cross football team has three captains for the 2007 season. Senior cornerback Casey Gough, senior free safety Obi Green (The Colony, Texas) and junior quarterback Dominic Randolph were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. Gough, who was also one of four captains during the 2006 campaign, becomes only the 10th 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) and Steve Silva (2004-2005).

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2007 campaign marks the 112th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 571-459-54, good for a .552 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2007 season, Holy Cross' 569 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.

Holy Cross In The Patriot League
Holy Cross began its 22nd season of play in the Patriot League when it defeated Georgetown 55-0 on Sept. 22. The Crusaders now own an all-time mark of 14-8 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season, with victories in each of the last three years. Holy Cross also stands 8-2 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. Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 61-55 (.526) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

Crusaders Bring In Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players earned preseason accolades heading into the 2007 campaign. Senior Casey Gough was named the No. 3 cornerback in the nation by The Sports Network, and also earned preseason All-America honors from both The Sports Network (second team) and College Sporting News (third team). Junior Dominic Randolph was listed as the No. 13 quarterback in the country by The Sports Network, and also received preseason Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors from Street & Smith's 2007 College Football Yearbook. In addition, several players were selected preseason All-Patriot League by Phil Steele's 2007 College Football Preview. Gough was joined on the first team by senior wide receiver Ryan Maher, while Randolph was chosen to the second team along with senior wide receiver Thomas Harrison, junior running back Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.), senior offensive lineman Dan Nolan (Pittsfield, Mass.), senior defensive lineman Adam Sadowski (Tucson, Ariz.) and junior offensive lineman Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.).

Holy Cross Picked Fourth In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2007 Crusaders were picked to finish in fourth place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, quarterback Sedale Threatt of Lehigh was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and linebacker Mike Gallihugh of Colgate was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

 

Rank  School (1st place votes)   2006 Record  Points
  1.  Lafayette (6)             6-6 / 5-1 PL      63
  2.  Lehigh (5)                6-5 / 5-1 PL      62
  3.  Colgate (1)               4-7 / 3-3 PL      52
  4.  Holy Cross (2)            7-4 / 4-2 PL      50
  5.  Bucknell                  6-5 / 3-3 PL      31
  6.  Fordham                   3-8 / 1-5 PL      21
  7.  Georgetown                2-9 / 0-6 PL      15

Scouting The Bulldogs
Yale enters this week's game with an overall record of 2-0 on the season, and a 1-0 mark in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs posted a 51-12 victory over Cornell last week, after defeating Georgetown 28-14 in their season opener. Senior quarterback Matt Polhemus has completed 23 of 41 attempts on the season for 321 yards and one touchdown without an interception, in addition to rushing for 85 yards on 13 carries. Junior tailback Mike McLeod has rushed for 308 yards and seven touchdowns on 40 carries, while sophomore fullback John Sheffield has a team-best 11 receptions for 138. Junior defensive end Brady Hart leads the Bulldog defense with 21 tackles so far this year, while junior linebacker Bobby Abare has 19 tackles and an interception. Head coach Jack Siedlecki has a 57-44 record during his 11 seasons at Yale. His career record stands at 113-66-2, including four years at Amherst College and five seasons at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2007 will air on WTAG 580 AM, the true sports leader for the city of Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 38th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 22nd 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 eighth 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 five games shown on live television during the 2007 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2007 campaign:

 

Date      Opponent    Television Outlet
Sept. 15  Harvard     WCTR-TV3
Sept. 29  Yale        CN8
Oct. 13   Dartmouth   WCTR-TV3
Oct. 20   Lehigh      Service Electric
Nov. 10   Lafayette   CSTV / Lafayette Sports Network

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 2007 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
Senior tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.) made the first two catches of his collegiate career in the victory over Georgetown, including a 12-yard touchdown reception ... Sophomore tailback Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) led the team in rushing against Georgetown with 89 yards on 15 carries ... Holy Cross was picked as the No. 25 team in the nation by Street & Smith's 2007 College Football Yearbook, in addition to being selected as the preseason favorite in the Patriot League. The Crusaders were also ranked 25th in the country by Phil Steele's 2007 College Football Preview, which named Holy Cross and Lehigh co-favorites in the conference. Holy Cross was the only Patriot League team ranked in the Top 25 by either publication ... For the first 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) ... With the victory over Harvard, Holy Cross won its Homecoming game for the third straight season, improving its all-time Homecoming record to 30-28-1 ... Holy Cross' victory over Harvard was its first since 2000, and its first over the Crimson at Fitton Field since 1992 ... The Crusaders won their home opener for the second time in the last three years with the victory over the Crimson, improving their all-time mark in home openers to 76-28-7. In season openers, the Crusaders are 66-37-9 all-time, following the loss at Massachusetts.