November 6, 2006

Crusaders Travel To Colgate For 2006 Regular Season Finale

Nov. 6, 2006

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-3, 4-1 PL) vs. Colgate (3-6, 2-2 PL)
Date: November 11, 2006
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Place: Andy Kerr Stadium (10,221), Hamilton, N.Y.
Television: Time Warner Cable; Mark Larson, play-by-play; Dale Drypolcher, color; Danny Liedka, sidelines
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Charles Bare, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Colgate Radio: WKXZ 99.3 FM, Oneonta, N.Y.; Eric Malanoski, play-by-play; Steve Stilwell, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 36-26-5
Last Meeting: Colgate 27, Holy Cross 14, October 22, 2005, Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Colgate
This will be the 69th meeting between the Crusaders and the Raiders on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 36-27-5. Colgate has won five straight and eight out of the last nine games in the series, but prior to that Holy Cross had posted 14 consecutive victories over the Raiders. For games played in Hamilton, the Crusaders hold a 13-10-3 advantage against Colgate, but the Raiders have won two straight and three of the last four. The schools first met on November 3, 1917, with Colgate posting a 21-0 victory in Utica, N.Y.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 36-26-5
In Hamilton: Holy Cross leads, 13-10-3
At Andy Kerr Stadium: Holy Cross leads, 13-10-3
Current Win Streak: Colgate, five games
Tom Gilmore vs. Colgate: 0-2
Dick Biddle vs. Holy Cross: 8-2
In Overtime: n/a

Holy Cross Stays In The Hunt For 2006 Patriot League Title
The Crusaders enter this week's game in second place in the Patriot League with a 4-1 mark in conference games so far this year, just a half game behind Lehigh. If Holy Cross can defeat Colgate, it has a good chance to claim at least a share of this season's Patriot League title. 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. Earlier this season, the Crusaders won their first three Patriot League games for the seventh time in school history, and the first time since 2001. During five of the previous six 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 21st season of play in the Patriot League, the Crusaders own an all-time record of 60-54 (.526) in conference action.

Crusaders Look To Reach Eight Wins
If Holy Cross can post a victory in its regular season finale against Colgate, the Crusaders would finish the regular season with an overall record of 8-3. With eight victories, Holy Cross would post its most wins since the 1991 squad ended the year with a perfect 11-0 record. In the 111-year history of Crusader football, Holy Cross has previously reached eight victories in a season on 20 occasions: 1903 (8-2), 1923 (8-2), 1925 (8-2), 1930 (8-2), 1934 (8-2), 1935 (9-0-1), 1937 (8-0-2), 1938 (8-1), 1945 (8-2), 1951 (8-2), 1952 (8-2), 1982 (8-3), 1983 (9-2-1), 1984 (8-3), 1986 (10-1), 1987 (11-0), 1988 (9-2), 1989 (10-1), 1990 (9-1-1) and 1991 (11-0).

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Sophomore quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) has developed into an excellent leader for the Holy Cross offense so far this season, and was recently named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week in four consecutive weeks, becoming the first player in conference history to accomplish that feat. In last week's victory over Bucknell, Randolph completed 19 of 33 attempts for 277 yards and two scores. The previous week against Lehigh, he hit on 26 of 53 attempts for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Earlier in the season at Lafayette, Randolph completed 34 of 46 passes for 352 yards and four scores, in addition to rushing for a touchdown. He broke the school single game record with his 34 completions (Brian Hall previously held the record with 32 against Lafayette in 2001), while his 352 yards were the most by a Crusader quarterback since Hall threw for 366 yards against Fordham on Nov. 9, 2002. Randolph also had a huge game against Brown, when he connected on 30 of 39 attempts for 329 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Randolph's 30 completions were the fifth-most in school history in a single game. Some of his other top performances this season have come against Dartmouth (20 of 32 passing for 259 yards and a touchdown), Fordham (completing 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), Marist (hitting on eight of 12 passes for 101 yards and a score) and Georgetown (connecting on 10 of 15 attempts for 79 yards). Overall this season, Randolph has completed 166 of 257 attempts for 1,969 yards and 17 touchdowns with only five interceptions, despite missing two games due to injury. In addition, he recently had a streak of 160 straight passes thrown without an interception.

Crusaders Show Outstanding 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 over 20 receptions on the year. Junior wide receiver Ryan Maher (Boca Raton, Fla.) leads the team with 65 catches for 739 yards and six touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) has caught 43 passes for 524 yards and four touchdowns, while sophomore wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added 36 receptions for 478 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, senior wide receiver Matt Fanning (Marlborough, Mass.) has posted 31 catches for 394 yards and three scores, and sophomore wide out Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has brought in 23 receptions for 247 yards and three scores. All told this season, eight different Holy Cross wide receivers have already caught at least one pass.

DeSantis Kicks Crusaders To Victory
Senior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.) continues to show why he is one of the top placekickers in the Patriot League. In the victory at Lafayette, DeSantis hit a 20-yard field goal and all five of his extra point attempts, including the 124th extra point of his Holy Cross career to break the school record for career extra points made. Earlier in the season at Dartmouth, he made three of four field goals and his only extra point try for a total of 10 points, including a game-winning 18-yard field goal in overtime. Following the Dartmouth contest, DeSantis was named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week. Through 10 games played this season, he leads the team in scoring with 47 points, making six of nine field goals and 29 of 31 extra points. DeSantis, who was a second team All-Patriot League selection in 2004, has now hit on 24 of 34 career field goal attempts and 130 of 142 career extra points for a total of 202 points. He holds the school records for career field goal percentage (70.6 percent) and career extra points made, while standing third in career field goals made. In addition, DeSantis has become only the sixth player in school history to score 200 career points.

The Last Meeting With Colgate
Bob Turkovich had a career-high six receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Colgate 27-14 on Family Weekend at Fitton Field. On Colgate's opening possession, the Crusaders stripped the ball from wide receiver Erik Burke and John Markus Pinard recovered the fumble to give Holy Cross the ball at the Raiders' 48-yard line. On the very next play, John O'Neil threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Turkovich, giving the Crusaders a 7-0 lead. Colgate came right back down the field to tie the score at 7-7 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Mike Saraceno to Burke. The Raiders then went up 14-7 early in the second quarter on a two-yard run by Jordan Scott. But Holy Cross would tie the score before the intermission, with O'Neil tossing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Sean Gruber. Both teams struggled to move the ball during the third quarter, before Colgate's Jacob Stein hit a pair of short field goals in the fourth quarter to put the Raiders up 20-14. The Crusaders then drove into Colgate territory with under five minutes left to play, before Jared Nepa intercepted a pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown to conclude the scoring. O'Neil completed 21 of 38 passes for 252 yards on the day, while Steve Silva posted 10 receptions for 63 yards. Scott led the Raiders by rushing for 222 yards and a score on 45 carries, and received the Dr. Edward N. Anderson Award as the most valuable player of the Family Weekend game. Dan Adams led the Holy Cross defense with a career-high 21 solo tackles, while Nepa totaled eight tackles, a tackle for loss, and interception and a pass breakup for Colgate.

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 the victory at Lafayette, he ranked second on the team with seven tackles, in addition to posting a fourth quarter interception to end the Leopards' final drive. In the previous game at Dartmouth, he posted seven tackles with one tackle for loss and a key pass breakup in the fourth quarter to prevent a touchdown. Earlier in the year against 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. He also had a strong game at Marist, where 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. Through the first 10 games of the year, he has now totaled 49 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three interceptions and five pass breakups. Gough is also enjoying a solid season as the Crusaders' top kickoff returner, averaging 20.9 yards on 28 returns. Prior to the start of the year, Gough was named a preseason honorable mention All-American as a kickoff returner by Don Hansen's Football Gazette. A year ago, he was named second team All-Patriot League, 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 142 tackles, seven interceptions and 19 pass breakups. He has also totaled 1,324 yards and a touchdown on 52 career kickoff returns, to rank third all-time at Holy Cross in career kickoff return yards, and second in career kickoff return average (25.5 yards per return).

Defense Continues Impressive Play
Through the first 10 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 four of their opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense, with Holy Cross posting a victory on each of those four occasions. Last week against Bucknell, Holy Cross gave up just 252 total yards and 10 points. On Sept. 30, Fordham managed just 245 total yards, while completing only eight of 27 passes and scoring just 13 points on offense. Previously 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 eight times. Through the first 10 contests of the 2006 campaign, the Crusaders are holding their opponents to just 20.6 points, 16.8 first downs and 321.7 yards per game, with a 103.4 pass efficiency 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 40 tackles with nine tackles for loss, a team-high six sacks and a pass breakup through 10 games. In the victory over Brown, he posted a career-high three sacks, while recording four total tackles, to earn Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors. Previously against Fordham, Nielsen 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 grade point average 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. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Nielsen now has 134 total tackles, 110 solo tackles and 19 tackles for loss.

Adams Keeps Racking Up Tackles
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 nine out of 10 contests this season. In last week's victory over Bucknell, he totaled 13 tackles, with 11 solo stops, two tackles for loss, a sack and a pass breakup. The previous week against Lehigh, Adams totaled 14 tackles with 11 solo stops and a tackle for loss, while in the victory at Lafayette, he posted 11 total tackles, including 10 solo stops. Previously he ranked second on the team with 10 total tackles at Dartmouth (including six solo stops), posted a game-high 11 tackles against Brown (including 10 solo stops), while recording nine solo tackles at Harvard (including one tackle for loss). Earlier in the season 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 10 games, he has now totaled 98 tackles, including 80 solo stops and a team-best 11 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 an NCAA single game record with 21 solo tackles (since tackles became an official statistic in 2000). Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 306 total tackles, 246 solo stops and 17 tackles for loss. Last week, Adams will became just the ninth player in school history with 300 career tackles.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his third season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore enters this week's game with an overall record of 16-16, as the Crusaders have won 16 of his last 27 games. Earlier this season he led Holy Cross to a five-game winning streak, the longest by the Crusaders since the 1991 season. 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.

Gass & Kielt Head Up Ground Game
The Crusader offense has displayed a solid rushing attack in 2006, running for 109.5 yards per game with 10 rushing touchdown. Sophomore tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) currently leads the team in rushing with 450 yards and four touchdowns on 107 carries this season, in addition to catching 15 passes for 137 yards and two scores. Gass' top game of the season came against Fordham, when he ran 21 times for a career-high 102 yards and a touchdown, in addition to catching five passes for 56 yards and another score. Some of his other top performances this year have been against Dartmouth (18 carries for 79 yards and a score), Brown (18 rushes for 65 yards and a touchdown) and Georgetown (15 carries for 56 yards and a score). Sophomore tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) is also enjoying a strong season with 441 yards and four scores on 93 carries, to go along with 13 receptions for 69 yards. In last week's victory over Bucknell, Kielt ran 26 times for a career-high 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while catching three passes for 32 yards. His other top games in 2006 have been against Northeastern (14 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown) and Marist (11 rushes for 71 yards).

McManaway Keeps Kicking Away
Senior punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.) is enjoying another solid year as one of the top punters in the Patriot League. Through the first 10 games of the 2006 season, McManaway has averaged 36.1 yards on 40 punts. He has placed nine of his 40 kicks this year inside the opponents' 20-yard line, while forcing the opposition to call 15 fair catches. In addition, McManaway has led Holy Cross to a net punting average of 34.2 yards per kick, a mark which ranks second in the conference and 30th in the nation. McManaway, who was named second team All-Patriot League in 2005, has averaged 34.8 yards on 195 punts during his collegiate career, while placing 36 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line. He enters this week's game ranked third all-time at Holy Cross in career punts, and fourth in career punting yards (6,788).

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 345-163-27 (.669). Fitton Field is the second-oldest stadium still used for Division I college football, behind only Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania (opened in 1895). Holy Cross' best decade at home occurred from 1980-1989, when the Crusaders recorded a 41-12-1 mark. In the current decade, the Crusaders have posted a record of 17-21 at home, with a 3-2 record in 2006. This year, Holy Cross posted its first winning record at home since the 2001 team went 3-2.

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Four Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Nov. 4. As a team, Holy Cross stands fourth in passing yards and eighth in total offense. The rankings:

 

Category               Rank  Player/Team          Avg.
Passing Yards             4  Holy Cross          271.9
                          9  
Dominic Randolph    246.1
Receptions                7  
Ryan Maher            6.5
Completions               8  
Dominic Randolph     20.8
Solo Tackles              8  
Dan Adams             8.0
Total Offense             8  
Dominic Randolph    248.9
                         17  Holy Cross          381.4
Points Responsible For   10  
Dominic Randolph     13.8
Third Down Conversions   11  Holy Cross           47.0
Pass Efficiency          14  
Dominic Randolph    146.9
                         20  Holy Cross          140.7
Pass Efficiency Defense  16  Holy Cross          103.4
Total Tackles            26  
Dan Adams             9.8
Kickoff Returns          27  Holy Cross           21.6
Net Punting              30  Holy Cross           34.2
Receiving Yards          30  
Ryan Maher           73.9
Punt Returns             34  
Matt Fanning         10.4

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. 4. Sophomore quarterback Dominic Randolph currently leads the league in passing yards (246.1 yards/game), total offense (248.9 yards/game) and pass efficiency (146.9 rating), while junior wide receiver Ryan Maher leads the conference in receptions (6.5 catches/game) and receiving yards (73.9 yards/game), and stands fourth in all-purpose yards (100.5 yards/game). Junior wide out Thomas Harrison ranks second in the league in receiving yards (52.4 yards/game) and third in receptions (4.3 catches/game), while sophomore wide receiver Brett McDermott stands fifth in both receptions (3.6 catches/game) and receiving yards (47.8 yards/game). In addition, senior cornerback Casey Gough is third in interceptions (0.3 picks/game) and fifth in kickoff returns (20.9 yards/return), senior placekicker Mike DeSantis ranks fourth in field goals (0.6 made/game) and fourth in scoring (4.7 points/game), senior punter Ryan McManaway stands fifth in punting (36.1 yards/punt), and sophomore tailback Mike Kielt is fifth in rushing (55.1 yards/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in total offense (381.4 yards/game), passing offense (271.9 yards/game), pass efficiency defense (103.4 rating) and third down conversions (47.0 percent); while standing second in pass efficiency (140.7 rating), scoring offense (24.7 points/game), passing defense (164.7 yards/game), kickoff returns (21.6 yards/return) and net punting (34.2 yards/punt); and ranking third in total defense (321.7 yards/game) and scoring defense (20.6 points/game).

Scouting The Raiders
Colgate stands 3-6 overall and 2-2 in the Patriot League this year, and is coming off back-to-back losses against Lafayette (27-10) and Lehigh (23-15). The Colgate offense is led by sophomore tailback Jordan Scott, who has rushed for 896 yards and 10 touchdowns on 224 carries. Senior quarterback Mike Saraceno is also enjoying a solid season, completing 124 of 204 passes for 1654 yards and eight touchdowns with eight interceptions, in addition to rushing for 281 yards and four scores. Junior wide out Erik Burke is the top receiver for the Raiders, with 32 catches for 430 yards. Junior linebacker Mike Gallihugh leads the Colgate defense with 114 tackles on the year, including five tackles for loss. Dick Biddle is now in his 11th season as the Raiders' head coach, and has posted an overall record of 87-41. Biddle served as Colgate's defensive coordinator before taking over as head coach, and also spent time as an assistant at Navy, Minnesota and Virginia Tech.

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 is 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, is 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 six games shown on television during the 2006 season. Two home games this season were televised live on WCTR TV-3 (Worcester), against Brown on October 7 and Lehigh on October 28. The Lehigh game was also on Fox College Sports Atlantic and WFMZ TV-69 in Allentown, Pa. 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, the October 21 game at Lafayette was carried on the Lafayette Sports Network (RCN Cable and WBPH TV-60 in Allentown, Pa.), and the November 11 contest at Colgate will be shown 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'.

Quick Hits
With the victory at Lafayette on Oct. 21, the Crusaders won in Easton for the first time since 1989, breaking a seven-game losing streak at Fisher Field ... Senior linebacker Dan Adams, senior cornerback Casey Gough, senior tight end Frank Herlihy (West Seneca, N.Y.) and senior linebacker Chris Nielsen are Holy Cross' captains this season ... Junior linebacker Mark Kelliher (Whitman, Mass.) had a huge game against Bucknell last week, with five tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a sack. Overall this season, he has now totaled 33 tackles and two fumble recoveries ... Sophomore linebacker Brian Billman (Westerville, Ohio) led the team with 11 tackles at Dartmouth, including a 12-yard sack and a four-yard tackle for loss, both of which came on third downs in the fourth quarter to force the Big Green to punt. On the season, Billman now has 37 total tackles, including five tackles for loss ... Senior tight end Frank Herlihy caught two passes for 10 yards and a touchdown in the victory over Brown. Herlihy has now scored four career touchdowns on just 24 receptions ... Junior quarterback Brian McSharry (Abington, Mass.) has been a solid backup this season, completing 71 of 118 passes for 727 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception. McSharry started three games earlier this season when starter Dominic Randolph was injured.