October 2, 2006

Football Set To Renew Rivalry With Brown On Saturday

Oct. 2, 2006

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (3-2, 2-0 PL) vs. Brown (1-2, 0-1 Ivy)
Date: October 7, 2006
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Television: WCTR TV-3, Worcester; Kevin Shea, play-by-play; Andy Lacombe, color; Brianne Mallaghan, sidelines
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Brown Radio: WFUV 90.7 FM, Bronx, N.Y.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 28-20-3
Last Meeting: Brown 37, Holy Cross 14, September 30, 1995, Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Brown
This will be the 54th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bears on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 28-20-3. The schools have not played since the 1995 season, when Brown posted a 37-14 victory at Fitton Field. Overall, the Bears have won two straight games in the series, but prior to that the Crusaders had won six in a row. For games played at Fitton Field, Holy Cross holds a 16-5-2 advantage, going 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 28-20-3
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 16-6-2
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 16-5-2
Current Win Streak: Brown, two games
Tom Gilmore vs. Brown: 0-0
Phil Estes vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
In Overtime: n/a

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. In last week's victory over Fordham, Gough recorded six tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack and a key interception, to win the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of Holy Cross' Homecoming game. In the previous game at Marist, he totaled five solo tackles, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an interception to earn Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors. Gough also had a strong game in the season opener at Georgetown, posting six total tackles and two pass breakups. Through the first five games of the year, he has now totaled 20 tackles, six tackles for loss, two interceptions and three 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. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Gough has now totaled 113 tackles, six interceptions and 17 pass breakups.

Defense Continues Impressive Play
Through the first five games of the 2006 season, the Holy Cross defense has developed into one of the better units in the Patriot League. The Crusaders have held three of their five opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense, with Holy Cross posting a victory on each of those three occasions. Last week, Fordham managed just 245 total yards, while completing only eight of 27 passes and scoring just 13 points on offense. In the previous game at Marist, the Crusaders won 27-0 to post the second shutout during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach (to go along with a 24-0 win at Dartmouth on Oct. 16, 2004), while holding the Red Foxes to just 265 yards of total offense. In the season-opening victory at Georgetown, Holy Cross allowed just 248 total yards and 13 points to the Hoyas. Since the beginning of the 2004 season, the Crusaders have now held their opposition to under 300 yards of total offense seven times. Through the first five contests of the 2006 campaign, the Crusaders are holding their opponents to just 17.8 points, 15.4 first downs and 309.0 yards per game.

Gass & Kielt Head Up Ground Game
The Crusader offense has displayed a solid ground game in 2006, running for 108.2 yards per game with five rushing touchdown. Sophomore tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) currently leads the team in rushing with 278 yards and two touchdowns on 62 carries. Last week against Fordham, Gass ran 21 times for a career-high 102 yards and a touchdown. He also had a strong game in the season-opener at Georgetown when he carried 15 times for 56 yards and a score. Sophomore tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) is also enjoying a strong season with 241 yards and two scores on 49 carries. His top game so far came in the victory at Marist, when he rushed 11 times for a career-high 71 yards.

Quarterback Combination Leads Crusader Offense
Sophomore quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) and junior quarterback Brian McSharry (Abington, Mass.) have provided solid leadership for the Holy Cross offense so far this season. Randolph has connected on 37 of 54 attempts this year for 443 yards and four scores, despite missing two games due to injury. Last week against Fordham, he completed 19 of 27 attempts for 263 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to delivering a key 48-yard rush in the fourth quarter to secure the victory, and was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week. Randolph previously hit on eight of 12 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown at Marist, while connecting on 10 of 15 attempts for 79 yards at Georgetown. Meanwhile, McSharry has completed 69 of 114 passes on the year for 711 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception. In the victory at Marist, he hit on 15 of 23 attempts for 139 yards and two scores, in addition to rushing for a touchdown. Previously at Harvard, McSharry completed 19 of 38 attempts for a career-best 265 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 82.6 percent of his passes (19 of 23) for 126 yards and a score against Northeastern, while hitting on 16 of 30 attempts for 181 yards and a touchdown at Georgetown. Overall this season, Holy Cross ranks 15th in the nation with an average of 235.4 passing yards per game, with a 137.1 team pass efficiency rating.

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 565-456-54, good for a .551 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.

The Last Meeting With Brown
Brown quarterback Jason McCullough completed 26 of 38 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns, to lead the Bears to a 37-14 victory over Holy Cross at Fitton Field on Sept. 30, 1995. McCullough did most of his damage in the first half, hitting on 24 of 31 attempts for 311 yards and all five of his scores before the intermission. The Bears opened the scoring on a 35-yard touchdown pass from McCullough to Stephen Smith, before Holy Cross responded with a 21-yard scoring run by Brion Stapp to tie the score at 7-7. But Brown would then score 30 unanswered points in the second quarter to take control of the game, thanks to four straight Crusader turnovers. The Bears began the period with a 14-play, 97-yard drive, as Costa Panagos scored on a six-yard pass from McCullough. Sean Morey would then catch a pair of touchdown passes from McCullough, from 20 and seven yards out, before McCullough added his fifth scoring pass with a 15-yard strike to Marquis Jessie. Before the half ended, Matt Lucke hit a 28-yard field goal to give the Bears a 37-7 advantage. After the break, neither team had much success on offense, with the score remaining 37-7 until late in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders put the final points on the board with 1:55 remaining in the game, on a 47-yard fumble return by Terrence Browning. Overall, Brown posted 548 yards of total offense on the day, in addition to forcing six turnovers by the Crusaders. Stapp led the Holy Cross offense by completing 11 of 24 passes for 150 yards, while Brian Hopkins had a team-best four receptions for 58 yards. Jessie led the Brown rushing attack with 86 yards on 12 carries, while Jason Dummert had a game-high six receptions for 83 yards for the Bears. Defensively, David Streeter had 16 total tackles and four tackles for loss to lead the Crusaders. Bill Robertson had nine tackles and two tackles for loss to lead Brown, while Greg Parker added three tackles and two interceptions.

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, and has led Holy Cross in tackles in every contest this season. In the Harvard game, Adams recorded 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 five games, he has now totaled 39 tackles, including 32 solo stops and a team-best eight 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 247 total tackles, 198 solo stops and 14 tackles for loss.

Crusaders Show Depth At Wide Receiver
Holy Cross has shown that it has a number of other weapons in the passing game this season, as five different wide receivers have already recorded at least 11 receptions on the year. Junior wide receiver Ryan Maher (Boca Raton, Fla.) leads the team with 24 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) has caught 21 passes for a team-high 241 yards and a touchdown, while senior wide receiver Matt Fanning (Marlborough, Mass.) has posted 18 catches for 232 yards and two scores. In addition, sophomore wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added 14 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore wide out Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has brought in 11 receptions for 108 yards and a score. All told this season, eight different Holy Cross wide receivers have already caught at least one pass.

Kickers Shine In Senior Seasons
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 114 of 126 career extra points for a total of 174 points. He already holds the school career record for field goal percentage (71.4 percent), while standing second all-time in career extra points made. McManaway was named second team All-Patriot League in 2005, and has averaged 34.6 yards on 176 punts during his collegiate career, while placing 32 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line. He enters this week's game ranked fourth all-time at Holy Cross in both career punts and career punting yards (6,097).

Holy Cross In The Patriot League
Holy Cross is now in its 21st season of play in the Patriot League. The Crusaders are currently in first place in the conference with a 2-0 mark in league games so far this year. This marks the second straight season in which Holy Cross has opened the year with a 2-0 mark in conference play. With their victories over Georgetown and Fordham to open the year, the Crusaders now stand 13-8 all-time in Patriot League openers, and 15-6 all-time in conference home openers. Overall, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 58-53 (.523) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Six Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 30. Senior linebacker Dan Adams leads the way by standing eighth in solo tackles. The rankings:

 

Category               Rank  Player/Team       Avg.
Solo Tackles              8  
Dan Adams          6.4
Passing Yards            15  Holy Cross       235.4
                         42  
Brian McSharry   177.8
Tackles For Loss         16  
Dan Adams          1.6
Pass Efficiency Defense  18  Holy Cross       102.6
Completions              21  
Brian McSharry    17.3
Net Punting              22  Holy Cross        34.7
Scoring Defense          28  Holy Cross        17.8
Points Responsible For   29  
Brian McSharry    10.5
Punt Returns             37  
Matt Fanning      10.3
Pass Efficiency          29  Holy Cross       137.1
                         40  
Brian McSharry   128.5
Receptions               45  
Ryan Maher         4.8
Interceptions            47  
Casey Gough        0.4
Passes Defended          47  
Casey Gough        1.0
Quarterback Sacks        49  
Chris Nielsen      0.6

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. 30. Junior quarterback Brian McSharry ranks third in the league in passing yards (177.8 yards/game), while standing fourth in passing efficiency (128.5 rating) and in total offense (162.5 yards/game). Junior wide receiver Thomas Harrison is currently fourth in the conference in both receptions (4.2 catches/game) and receiving yards (48.2 yards/game). In addition, junior wide out Ryan Maher leads the league in receptions (4.8 catches/game), senior wide receiver Matt Fanning is second in punt returns (10.3 yards/return), senior placekicker Mike DeSantis stands fourth in field goals (0.4 field goals/game), senior cornerback Casey Gough ranks fourth in interceptions (0.4 picks/game) and sophomore tailback Terrance Gass is fifth in scoring (4.8 points/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in passing offense (235.4 yards/game) and pass efficiency defense (102.6 rating), while ranking second in scoring defense (17.8 points/game), total offense (343.6 yards/game) and pass efficiency (137.1 rating).

Nielsen Enjoying 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 20 tackles with four tackles for loss, a team-high three sacks and a pass breakup this season. Nielsen's top game so far in 2006 came last week against Fordham, when he made four solo tackles with a pair of sacks for eight yards. 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 114 total tackles, 95 solo tackles and 14 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 12-15, as the Crusaders have won 12 of his last 21 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.

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 343-162-27 (.670). 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 15-20 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.

Scouting The Bears
Brown enters this week's game with an overall record of 1-2 on the season, with an 0-1 mark in the Ivy League. The Bears have been defeated by Harvard (38-21) and Rhode Island (28-21), while posting a victory over Georgetown (34-21). Senior quarterback Joseph DiGiacomo has led the Brown offense by completing 48 of 88 passes for 688 yards this season, with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Senior tailback Akin Oyalowo has a team-best 101 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, while senior wide out Lonnie Hill has caught 15 passes for 241 yards and a score. Defensively, the Bears are led by senior linebacker Zak DeOssie, who has totaled 34 tackles, six tackles for loss, and one sack so far this season. Head coach Phil Estes is in his ninth season at the helm of the Brown program, and owns a career record of 52-30. Estes has led the Bears to a pair of Ivy League titles, during the 1999 and 2005 seasons, and was named the 2005 New England Coach of the Year.

Crusaders Have Four Captains
Holy Cross has four captains for the 2006 football season. Senior linebacker Dan Adams, senior cornerback Casey Gough, senior fullback Frank Herlihy (West Seneca, N.Y.) and senior linebacker Chris Nielsen were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. This marks only the 11th time that the Crusaders have had four captains for a season, with the last occasion coming in 2002 (Ari Confesor, Steve Fox, Ben Koller and Nick Larsen).

HC Picked Fourth In Preseason Poll
The 2006 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, Jordan Scott of Colgate has been named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Geoff Bean of Colgate was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year, and Micah Clukey of Fordham was selected as the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.

 

Rank  School (1st place votes)   2005 Record  Points
  1.  Colgate (8)               8-4 / 5-1 PL      68
  2.  Lafayette (3)             8-4 / 5-1 PL      61
  3.  Lehigh (3)                8-3 / 4-2 PL      57
  4.  Holy Cross                6-5 / 3-3 PL      35
  5.  Fordham                   2-9 / 2-4 PL      33
  6.  Bucknell                 1-10 / 0-6 PL      27
  7.  Georgetown                4-7 / 2-4 PL      13

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 five games shown on television during the 2006 season. Two home games this season will be televised live on WCTR TV-3 (Worcester), against Brown on October 7 and Lehigh on October 28. In addition, the September 9 game against Northeastern was carried live by CN8 on Comcast Cable, the September 30 contest against Fordham was shown nationally on a tape delay basis by ESPNU, and the November 11 game at Colgate will be carried live 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'.