November 5, 2007

Crusaders Return Home To Face Lafayette On Saturday

Nov. 5, 2007

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (6-3, 3-1 PL) vs. Lafayette (5-4, 2-2 PL)
Date: November 10, 2007
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Television: CSTV / Lafayette Sports Network; Gary Laubach, play-by-play; John Leone, color; Dan Mowdy, sidelines
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
Lafayette Radio: WGPA 1100 AM, Bethlehem, Pa.; Dick Hammer, play-by-play; Joe Craig, color
Series Record: Lafayette leads, 13-8
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 38, Lafayette 28; October 21, 2006; Easton, Pa.

The Series With Lafayette
This will be the 22nd meeting between the Crusaders and the Leopards on the gridiron, with Lafayette leading the all-time series 13-8. Prior to Holy Cross' 38-28 win last season, the Leopards had won four straight and 12 of the previous 14 contests in the series. For games played in Worcester, the teams have split the previous 10 meetings. Lafayette has won its last two visits to Fitton Field, since the Crusaders posted a 63-53 victory on Oct. 20, 2001. The schools first met on Sept. 20, 1986, with Holy Cross coming out victorious 38-14 in Easton.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Lafayette leads, 13-8
In Worcester: Tied, 5-5
At Fitton Field: Tied, 5-5
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Lafayette: 1-2
Frank Tavani vs. Holy Cross: 5-2
In Overtime: n/a

Holy Cross In The Patriot League
The Crusaders enter this week's contest one game out of first place in the Patriot League with a 3-1 mark in conference games so far this year. Fordham currently stands 5-0 in the league, but Holy Cross could still earn a share of the conference title if it wins both of its remaining games. The Crusaders have won five Patriot League championships in their history (all of them outright), but have not captured the conference title since 1991. Holy Cross also won league titles in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990. This season, the Crusaders won their first three Patriot League games for the eighth time in school history, and the second straight year. During five of the previous seven seasons in which Holy Cross opened Patriot League play 3-0, it went on to win the conference title with an unbeaten league record. Now in their 22nd season of play in the Patriot League, the Crusaders own an all-time record of 63-56 (.529) in conference action.

Offense Continues To Put Up Points
Holy Cross is currently enjoying one of the best offensive seasons in school history. Through nine contests, the Crusaders are currently averaging 38.6 points and 483.0 yards per game. Both of those marks would be the second-best in school history, behind only the undefeated 1987 team which averaged 46.5 points and 552.2 yards per game. Holy Cross has also scored over 40 points five times this 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.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Junior quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) continues to be an excellent leader for the Holy Cross offense this season. In nine games played this year, Randolph has completed 242 of 393 attempts for 2,916 yards and 26 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Last week at Fordham, he completed 32 of 53 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns. In the previous game at Bucknell, Randolph connected on 30 of 43 attempts for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a huge game at Brown, completing 29 of 37 attempts for 404 yards and six touchdowns, while setting new career highs for passing yards and touchdown passes. Two of his scoring passes against Brown came in the fourth quarter, after Brown had come back to tie the score at 34-34. Some of Randolph's other top performances in 2007 came against Lehigh (22 of 32 for 375 yards and three scores), Dartmouth (24 of 35 for 298 yards and two touchdowns), Georgetown (22 of 33 for 302 yards and two touchdowns), Harvard (29 of 55 for 339 yards and four touchdowns) and Massachusetts (32 of 62 for 296 yards and two scores). 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 426 of 692 passes for 5,153 yards and 45 scores. Still in just his second year as a starter, Randolph already ranks fifth all-time at Holy Cross in career touchdown passes, fifth in career completions, fifth in career passing yards and fifth in career pass attempts, while his career completion percentage (.616) is the best in school history. With two games still remaining in the 2007 regular season, he also stands second on the Crusader single season list for touchdown passes (26), second in completions (210), fourth for passing yards (2,916) and fifth in passing attempts (340). In addition, his nine career 300-yard passing games are the third most in Holy Cross history.

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 nine games played this year, Maher has totaled a team-best 63 receptions for 762 yards and nine touchdowns. Last week at Fordham, he totaled seven receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Previously at Lehigh, Maher led the team with nine receptions for a career-best 165 yards and a score. Earlier in the season at Brown, he caught six passes for 110 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Some of Maher's other top performances this season have come against Bucknell (six catches, 88 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns), Georgetown (five receptions for 83 yards and a score), Dartmouth (seven receptions for 71 yards and a score), Harvard (nine catches for 75 yards and a touchdown) and Massachusetts (11 receptions for 85 yards). Last year, he led the team and the 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 20 consecutive games, while posting three or more receptions in 17 straight contests. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 136 catches for 1,697 yards and 15 touchdowns. Maher currently ranks sixth all-time at Holy Cross in career receptions and seventh in career receiving yards.

Offensive Line Continues Strong Play
The Holy Cross offensive line has been a key reason why the Crusaders rank among the top teams in the nation in both total offense and scoring. The line has paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 149.8 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which has allowed the Crusaders to throw for 333.2 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has allowed only 12 sacks in nine games this year, while attempting 408 passes (just one sack for every 35.0 times the team drops back to pass). Junior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) is the starting center for Holy Cross, flanked by junior Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) and sophomore Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) at the guard spots, and senior Dan Nolan (Pittsfield, Mass.) and junior Mason Olson (Stockton, Calif.) at the tackle positions. All five of those players have started every game so far this season.

The Last Meeting With Lafayette - Holy Cross 38, Lafayette 28
Dominic Randolph threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another score, to lead Holy Cross to a 38-28 victory over Lafayette at Fisher Field on October 21, 2006. Randolph completed 34 of 46 passes on the day for 352 yards, setting a school single game record for completions. The Leopards scored on their first two possessions to take an early 14-0 lead, with Maurice White (21 yards) and Brad Maurer (one yard) both running for touchdowns. The Crusaders put their first points on the board late in the opening quarter, as Randolph rushed one yard for a touchdown. In the second quarter, the Leopards went up 21-7 on a one-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Hurt. But before halftime, Holy Cross cut the lead to seven points on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Randolph to Jon Brock. The Crusaders tied the score at 21-21 midway through the third quarter, on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Randolph to Ryan Maher. But Lafayette regained the lead on its next possession, with Hurt running 31 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Early in the fourth quarter, Holy Cross tied the score at 28-28 as Randolph and Maher hooked up once again, this time for a seven-yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing kickoff return, Randy Wright forced a fumble by Lafayette's Tim Watson, which was recovered by Sean Lamkin at the 29-yard line. Five plays later, Randolph threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Brock to give the Crusaders their first lead of the day, 35-28. With 1:31 remaining in the game, Mike DeSantis hit a 20-yard field goal to put the game out of reach, making the final score 38-28. Maher finished the game with nine catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns, while Brock totaled six receptions for 79 yards and two scores.

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 22-20, including a 19-12 mark since the beginning of the 2005 season. 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.

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 348-164-27 (.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 20-22 at home, with a 3-1 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.

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 nine games played so far this year, he has posted 52 total tackles with five tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble and five pass breakups, while returning 11 kickoffs for 293 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 recorded 199 tackles, nine interceptions and 26 pass breakups. He has also totaled 1,663 yards and a touchdown on 65 career kickoff returns, to rank second all-time at Holy Cross in career kickoff return yards and career kickoff return average (25.6 yards per return).

Crusaders Dominate Turnover Battle
In nine games played so far this season, Holy Cross forced its opponents to commit 20 turnovers, while giving the ball away just 11 times. The Crusaders have recovered 13 fumbles on the year, in addition to posting seven interceptions. In the Lehigh game, Holy Cross forced a total of six turnovers (three interceptions and three fumbles), good for its most takeaways in a game since Nov. 2, 2002, when Bucknell turned the ball over to the Crusaders six times. Senior cornerback Casey Gough, junior cornerback Kyle Mushaweh (Woodbury, Conn.) and junior strong safety Daryl Brown (Stone Mountain, Ga.) are tied for the team lead in interceptions with two each. Both Mushaweh and Brown have also returned an interception for a touchdown this season. Sophomore defensive tackle Alex Carson (Atlanta, Ga.) and senior wide receiver Ryan Maher are tied for the team lead in fumble recoveries with two each (Maher's recoveries came while playing on the punt coverage team). On the offensive side of the ball, the Crusaders have thrown seven interceptions and lost just four fumbles. Holy Cross had a streak of 297 consecutive offensive plays without a turnover earlier this season, spanning five games.

Gass & Kielt Head Up Ground Game
The Crusader offense has displayed a solid rushing attack in 2007, running for 149.8 yards per game with 17 rushing touchdown. Junior tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) currently leads the team in rushing with 527 yards and five touchdowns on 83 carries this season, in addition to catching 21 passes for 232 yards and three scores. Gass' top game so far this season came at Bucknell, when he ran for a career-high 125 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, while catching three passes for 70 yards and another score. Some of his other top performances this year have been against Lehigh (117 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns), Brown (109 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns), Dartmouth (12 carries for 76 yards and a score), Harvard (88 yards from scrimmage) and UMass (81 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown). Sophomore tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) is also enjoying a strong season with 357 yards and six scores on 71 carries, to go along with 16 receptions for 150 yards. In the Georgetown game, Kielt led the team with 13 carries for 70 yards and two scores, in addition to catching two passes for 29 yards. His other top games in 2007 have been against Dartmouth (92 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown) and Brown (91 yards from scrimmage).

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 Nov. 3. As a team, Holy Cross stands third in total offense, third in passing yards and ninth in scoring. The rankings:

 

Category              Rank  Player/Team           Avg.
Completions              2  
Dominic Randolph      26.9
Punt Return Coverage     2  Holy Cross             3.2
Passing Yards            2  
Dominic Randolph     324.0
                         3  Holy Cross           333.2
Total Offense            3  
Dominic Randolph     337.4
                         3  Holy Cross           483.0
Points Responsible For   7  
Dominic Randolph      19.3
Fewest Penalty Yards     9  Holy Cross            39.1
Scoring                  9  Holy Cross            38.6
                        28  
Matt Partain           8.2
Receptions              10  
Ryan Maher             7.0
                        45  
Brett McDermott        5.1
Third Down Conversions  12  Holy Cross            45.7
Fewest Penalties        13  Holy Cross             4.9
Receiving Yards         19  
Ryan Maher            84.7
Turnover Margin         20  Holy Cross            +1.1
Kickoff Returns         22  
Casey Gough           26.6
Pass Efficiency         22  
Dominic Randolph     142.7
                        23  Holy Cross           140.6
Pass Defense            30  Holy Cross           179.2
Field Goals             37  
Matt Partain           1.1
Punt Returns            46  
Josh Jenkins           8.9

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. Junior wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) currently ranks second on the team in receiving with 46 catches for 609 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) has added 44 receptions for 608 yards and six scores, while junior wide receiver Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has brought in 36 receptions for 439 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, freshman wide out Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) has caught six passes for 52 yards, senior wide out Justin Maher (Milford, Conn.) has three receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown and sophomore wide receiver Mike Frawley (Glen Mills, Pa.) had three catches for 15 yards. Last season, eight different Holy Cross wide receivers caught at least one pass.

Partain Gets His Kicks
Junior placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.) is enjoying an outstanding season for the Crusaders. Through nine games played, he has hit 10 of 12 field goal attempts and connected on all 44 of his extra point tries, to lead the team in scoring with 74 points. In the victory at Lehigh, Partain made one field goal and eight extra points, good for the second-most made extra points in school history. Previously against Dartmouth he scored 11 points (five extra points and two field goals), including a 49-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. That kick set a record for the longest field goal in Holy Cross history, breaking the mark of 48 yards set by Billy Young against Lafayette in 1986. Earlier this season, Partain kicked a 40-yard field goal against Yale, and a 37-yarder at Brown. He also scored 12 points in both the Georgetown and Brown games, and his current streak of 44 straight extra points made is the second-longest in school history. Prior to this season, Partain had not attempted any field goals or extra points during his collegiate career, although he did handle kickoff duties for Holy Cross in both 2005 and 2006.

Defense Holds Down The Opposition
The Holy Cross defense has been solid through nine games played this season, holding its opponents to 23.7 points, 17.8 first downs and 361.6 yards per game. The Crusaders have been even more impressive against Patriot League opponents, allowing just 13.8 points, 12.5 first downs and 249.2 yards per contest in conference action. Holy Cross has also forced 20 total turnovers this season (seven interceptions and 13 fumbles), good for an average of 2.2 takeaways per game. The defense turned in one of its top performances in recent history in the 55-0 shutout victory over Georgetown on Sept. 22. 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 were 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.

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 Nov. 3. Junior quarterback Dominic Randolph currently leads the league in passing yards (324.0 yards/game), total offense (337.4 yards/game) and pass efficiency (142.7 rating). Senior wide out Ryan Maher leads in the league in receptions (7.0 catches/game) and receiving yards (84.7 yards/game), while standing third in scoring (6.7 points/game). Junior wide receiver Brett McDermott ranks third in the conference in both receiving yards (67.7 yards/game) and receptions (5.1 catches/game), while senior wide receiver Thomas Harrison is fourth in the conference in both receiving yards (67.6 yards/game) and receptions (4.9 catches/game). In addition, junior placekicker Matt Partain ranks first in extra points (100.0 percent), first in field goals (1.1 made/game) and second in scoring (8.2 points/game); junior tailback Terrance Gass stands fourth in rushing (58.6 yards/game) and fifth in scoring (5.3 points/game); freshman wide out Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) is third in punt returns (8.9 yards/return); and senior cornerback Casey Gough ranks second in kickoff returns (26.6 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in total offense (483.0 yards/game), scoring offense (38.6 points/game), passing offense (333.2 yards/game), turnover margin (+1.0 turnovers/game) and pass efficiency (140.6 rating); while standing second in pass defense (179.2 yards/game); and ranking third in total defense (361.6 yards/game), pass efficiency defense (116.9 rating) and punt returns (9.6 yards/return).

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 575-461-54, 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.

Scouting The Leopards
Lafayette enters this week's game with an overall record of 5-4 on the season, including a 2-2 mark in the Patriot League. The Leopards had lost three games in a row, before posting a 34-7 victory over Bucknell last week. Sophomore Rob Curley has taken over as the starting quarterback for Lafayette, completing 44 of 68 passes for 487 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions this year, in addition to rushing for 106 yards and a score on 21 carries. Junior Shaun Adair leads the team with 38 receptions for 486 yards and four touchdowns, while sophomore DeAndré Morrow (235 yards, one score) and senior Brandon Mitchell (230 yards, five touchdowns) are splitting time at tailback. Defensively, the Leopards are led by junior linebacker Andy Romans with 98 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Frank Tavani is now in his eighth season as Lafayette's head coach, and has posted an overall record of 43-46. The 2004 Patriot League Coach of the Year, Tavani served as an assistant coach with the Leopards for 13 years before taking over as head coach.

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 six 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. 3    Fordham     WNBC-TV4.4
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 cornerback Casey Gough, senior free safety Obi Green (The Colony, Texas) and junior quarterback Dominic Randolph are serving as Holy Cross' tri-captains this season ... Junior cornerback Kyle Mushaweh recorded the first two interceptions of his collegiate career in the Lehigh game, returning one of them for a touchdown ... The Crusaders posted a 3-1 mark against Ivy League foes this season, and now stand 8-4 against the Ivy League under Tom Gilmore ... Senior tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.) has seven catches for 58 yards this season, including a 12-yard touchdown reception in the victory over Georgetown ... 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 ... Holy Cross was picked to finish fourth in the 2007 Patriot League preseason poll of head coaches and sports information directors, behind Lafayette, Lehigh and Colgate ... For the first time since joining the Patriot League in 1986, Holy Cross played all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Massachusetts and Yale) ... Holy Cross' victory over Harvard was its first since 2000, and its first over the Crimson at Fitton Field since 1992.