Football Set To Battle Colgate For Patriot League Title

Nov. 17, 2008

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-3, 5-0 PL) vs. #21 Colgate (8-2, 4-0 PL)
Date: November 22, 2008
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Andy Kerr Stadium (10,221), Hamilton, N.Y.
Television: Time Warner Cable; Joe Brown, play-by-play; Dale Drypolcher, color; Danny Liedka, sidelines
Live Video Streaming: www.gocolgateraiders.com
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Colgate Radio: WKXZ 99.3 FM, Oneonta, N.Y.; Eric Malanoski, play-by-play; Mike Getman, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 37-28-5
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 27, Colgate 20; November 17, 2007; Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Colgate
This will be the 71st meeting between the Crusaders and the Raiders on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 37-28-5. Prior to the Crusaders' 27-20 victory in Worcester last season, Colgate had won six straight and nine out of 10 games in the series. From 1983-1996, Holy Cross posted 14 consecutive victories over the Raiders. For games played in Hamilton, the Crusaders hold a 13-11-3 advantage against Colgate, but the Raiders have won three straight and four of the last five. 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, 37-28-5
In Hamilton: Holy Cross leads, 13-11-3
At Andy Kerr Stadium: Holy Cross leads, 13-11-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Colgate: 1-3
Dick Biddle vs. Holy Cross: 9-3

Holy Cross Faces Colgate For Patriot League Title
The Crusaders enter this week's contest in a tie for first place in the Patriot League with a 5-0 mark in conference games this year. Colgate is the only other undefeated team in the conference at 4-0 (the Raiders' game with Georgetown in October was cancelled and will not be made up), so the winner of this week's game will win the Patriot League title outright. 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 have won five Patriot League games for just the third time in school history. Holy Cross previously went 5-0 in conference play in both 1990 and 1991, when there were only six teams in the Patriot League. With a victory over Colgate this week, the Crusaders would win six conference games for the first time ever. Now in its 23rd season of play in the Patriot League, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 69-57 (.548) in conference action.

Crusaders Look To Extend Win Streak
Holy Cross stands 7-3 overall this season, and is currently riding a six-game winning streak. This marks the longest winning streak during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach at Holy Cross. The Crusaders had previously won five in a row under Gilmore from Sept. 23-Oct. 21, 2006 (defeating Marist, Fordham, Brown, Dartmouth and Lafayette). With a victory over Colgate this week, the Crusaders would post their first seven-game winning streak since the 1991 team posted a perfect 11-0 record.

Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) has completed 805 of 1,274 passes for 9,363 yards and 80 scores. During the Fordham game, he broke the Holy Cross career records for touchdown passes (72 by Tom Ciaccio from 1988-1991) and pass attempts (1,208 by Jeff Wiley from 1985-1988). Previously against Bucknell, he broke the school career record for completions (723 by Wiley). Randolph currently needs 335 passing yards and 203 yards of total offense to break Wiley's career records in those categories (9,698 passing yards and 9,877 yards of total offense). Randolph's career completion percentage of .632 is also the best in school history, while 17 career 300-yard passing games and five 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader.

Brock Becomes Big-Play Threat
Senior wide receiver Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has turned into one of the top options in the Holy Cross passing game this year. Last week at Lafayette, he caught six passes for 122 yards. During the previous contest against Fordham, Brock posted eight receptions for 105 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. Earlier in the season, he had big games against Bucknell (seven catches for 76 yards and a score), Lehigh (six receptions for 94 yards and two scores), Dartmouth (six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown) and Brown (six receptions for 130 yards and two scores). Overall this season, Brock now leads the team in receiving with 56 catches for 809 yards and 12 scores. He enters this week's game against Colgate just one touchdown reception away from the Holy Cross single season record, which is held by Chris Summers with 13 scoring catches in 1993. Last year, Brock ranked fourth on the team and fifth in the Patriot League with 45 receptions for 537 yards and two touchdowns. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has totaled 125 catches for 1,603 yards and 17 scores.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Senior Dominic Randolph is now in his third season as Holy Cross' starting quarterback, and is one of 16 players on the current watch list for the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in the NCAA football championship subdivision. Randolph has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his last seven games, including three 400-yard performances. Last week at Lafayette, he completed 28 of 49 attempts for 422 yards and three scores, including a game-winning 37-yard touchdown pass with just six seconds remaining. During the previous contest against Fordham, he connected on 35 of 59 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns. Some of Randolph's other top performances this season have come against Bucknell (38 of 49 for 398 yards and four scores), Lehigh (28 of 39 for 330 yards and three touchdowns), Dartmouth (33 of 45 for 391 yards and two scores), Brown (41 of 54 for 430 yards and four touchdowns) and Yale (41 of 63 for 376 yards and three touchdowns). During the Yale and Brown games, Randolph broke and then tied the school single-game record for completions, which he had set himself by connecting on 34 passes at Lafayette on Oct. 21, 2006. Through 10 games played this season, he has hit on 324 of 493 passes for 3,522 yards and 31 touchdowns. With one regular season game remaining, Randolph has already set new Holy Cross single season records for completions and pass attempts, while standing second on the list for touchdown passes and ranking third in both passing yards and yards of total offense (3,176). He enters this week's game three touchdown passes, 155 passing yards and 134 yards of total offense away from those single season records.

Offense Puts Up Points
The Holy Cross offense is enjoying another outstanding season, averaging 35.1 points and 467.4 total yards per game. The Crusaders have hit the 40-point mark three times so far this year, scoring 44 points at Dartmouth, 42 points against Massachusetts and 41 points against Brown. Last year, Holy Cross averaged 35.9 points and 463.4 yards per game. The 35.9 points per game were the best mark since the 1989 squad averaged 36.0 points per contest, while the 463.4 yards were the school's best since the 1991 team averaged 467.1 yards per contest. Holy Cross also scored over 40 points five times last year, including four consecutive games from October 6-27. Prior to that, the Crusaders had not scored 40 points in four straight contests since 1991.

The Last Meeting With Colgate
Dominic Randolph completed 29 of 42 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns, to lead Holy Cross to a 27-20 victory over Colgate at Fitton Field on Nov. 17, 2007. Randolph had the second-most passing yards in Holy Cross history, while setting new career highs for both passing yards and total offense (473 yards). Colgate scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the game, to take a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Jordan Scott scored both times for the Raiders, on runs of four yards and one yard. Holy Cross put its first points on the board midway through the second quarter on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Randolph to Terrance Gass, then Matt Partain added a 41-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10 at halftime. The Raiders increased their lead to 20-10 on their first possession of the third quarter with a nine-yard scoring run by Scott, but Mike Buck's extra point attempt was wide left and the Crusaders were down by just 10 points. Partain then kicked his second field goal of the day, from 27 yards out, to make it a seven-point game. Colgate drove back down the field into the red zone, before Casey Gough intercepted a pass in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Holy Cross then marched 80 yards in just four plays, with Randolph tossing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Brett McDermott, tying the score at 20-20. The Crusaders forced the Raiders to punt after just five plays on their next possession, then came right back down the field with Randolph tossing a three-yard touchdown pass to Justin Maher for the winning score. Colgate had one more chance in the closing seconds, but Adam Sadowski sacked Alex Relph near midfield on the final play of the game to secure the victory. Gough led the Holy Cross defense with five tackles and two interceptions, while Kyle Mushaweh had nine tackles and an interception.

Crusaders Show Outstanding Depth At Wide Receiver
In addition to senior wide receiver Jon Brock, Holy Cross has shown that it has a number of other weapons in the passing game, as six other wide outs have over 20 receptions so far this season. Senior wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has totaled 37 catches for 428 yards and four touchdowns, and sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) has caught 35 passes for 329. Junior wide out Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has posted 30 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore wide receiver Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has added 26 receptions for 290 yards and three scores. In addition, sophomore wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) has 23 receptions for 232 yards and one score, and junior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) has posted 22 catches for 284 yards and three touchdowns.

Rodriguez Among Defensive Leaders
For the second straight season, junior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) is one of the top players on the Holy Cross defense. He currently ranks third on the team with 57 tackles through 10 games played, including 39 solo stops, three sacks and six tackles for loss. Rodriguez has also broken up four passes this year, forced a fumble and recovered one fumble. During the victory over Bucknell, he totaled nine tackles with a sack and a forced fumble. Rodriguez also had a big day at Harvard, recording 10 total tackles and a sack for eight yards. Last season, he posted a team-high 69 total tackles in nine games, including 51 solo stops and two tackles for loss. Over the course of his collegiate career, Rodriguez has now totaled 121 total tackles with eight tackles for loss.

Partain Gets His Kicks
Senior placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.) is enjoying a strong season, hitting 45 of 46 extra point attempts and 10 out of 15 field goal attempts for a team-best 75 points. From Sept. 6, 2007 through Oct. 18, 2008, Partain made a school-record 74 consecutive extra points, breaking the mark of Anthony Pignio who made 58 straight extra points from 1991-1993. The streak ended in the Dartmouth game, when his second extra point attempt was blocked. Partain's top game so far this season came in the victory over Brown, when he made field goals of 43 and 46 yards, while adding five extra points for a total of 11 points. A first team All-Patriot League selection in 2007, Partain hit 12 of 16 field goal attempts and connected on all 50 of his extra point tries a year ago, to lead the team in scoring with 86 points. He tied the school single season record for most field goals made, while becoming the first kicker in Holy Cross history to make all of his extra points with at least 30 attempts. In the 2007 game against Dartmouth, he kicked the longest field goal in school history when he booted a 49-yarder on the final play of the first half. Partain also made eight extra points in the 2007 victory at Lehigh, good for the second-most made extra points in school history. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has totaled 161 points, making 22 of 31 field goals and 95 of 96 extra points.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is now in his fifth season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore currently owns an overall record of 30-24, including a 27-16 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. He has led Holy Cross to winning records in four straight seasons, including 7-4 marks in 2006 and 2007, along with winning streaks of six games (in 2008) and five games (in 2006). Two of Gilmore's players, Dominic Randolph (2007) and Steve Silva (2005), have been named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, with Silva also 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.

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Six Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Nov. 15. As a team, Holy Cross leads the nation in first downs, while standing third in passing yards and fourth in total offense. The rankings:

 

Category              Rank  Player/Team          Avg.
Completions              1  Dominic Randolph     32.4
First Downs              1  Holy Cross           27.0
Passing Yards            1  Dominic Randolph    352.2
                         3  Holy Cross          352.2
Total Offense            1  Dominic Randolph    360.7
                         4  Holy Cross          467.4
Points Responsible For   2  Dominic Randolph     21.0
Time of Possession       5  Holy Cross          33:15
Third Down Conversions   9  Holy Cross           47.2
Passes Defended         11  Michael Wright        1.3
                        45  Anthony DiMichele     1.0
Kickoff Returns         17  Brett McDermott      25.9
Rushing Defense         17  Holy Cross           98.6
First Downs Allowed     25  Holy Cross           16.8
Pass Efficiency         28  Dominic Randolph    140.0
                        28  Holy Cross          139.1
Scoring                 29  Matt Partain          7.5
                        36  Jon Brock             7.2
Fewest Penalties        30  Holy Cross            5.2
Field Goals             34  Matt Partain          1.0
Receiving Yards         34  Jon Brock            80.9
Receptions              35  Jon Brock             5.6

Crusaders Among Patriot League Leaders
Several Holy Cross players rank at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, through games of Nov. 15. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (352.2 yards/game) and total offense (360.7 yards/game), while standing second in pass efficiency (140.0 rating). Senior wide out Jon Brock ranks second in scoring (7.2 points/game), second in receptions (5.6 catches/game) and third in receiving yards (80.9 yards/game), while senior placekicker Matt Partain stands first in scoring (7.5 points/game), first in extra point percentage (97.8 percent) and second in field goals (1.0 made/game). In addition, senior wide receiver Brett McDermott stands second in the league in kickoff returns (25.9 yards/return); senior strong safety Daryl Brown (Stone Mountain, Ga.) is second in interceptions (0.3 picks/game); sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins ranks third in punt returns (6.4 yards/return); and senior tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) stands fifth in rushing (57.4 yards/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (35.1 points/game), passing offense (352.2 yards/game), total offense (467.4 yards/game) and rushing defense (98.6 yards/game); while standing third in pass efficiency (139.1 rating) and net punting (33.7 yards/punt).

Offensive Line Continues Strong Play
The Holy Cross offensive line has been a key reason for the team's success on offense so far this season. Through 10 games played, the line has allowed the Crusaders to average 35.1 points and 467.4 total yards per game. The line has paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 115.2 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which has allowed the Crusaders to throw for 352.2 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has allowed just 14 sacks in 10 games this year, while attempting 496 passes (just one sack for every 36.4 times the team dropped back to pass). Senior center Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.), senior guard Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) and senior tackle Mason Olson (Stockton, Calif.) have all started every game for the Crusaders so far this season. Junior tackle Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) has started the last nine contests for the Crusaders, while junior guard Rob Petrosino (Bogota, N.J.) has been in the starting lineup for the last eight games.

Kielt Heads Up Ground Game
Senior tailback Mike Kielt has turned in some outstanding performances since taking over as the primary rusher for the Crusaders. Against Bucknell, Kielt rushed 11 times for 69 yards and caught a team-best eight passes for 83 yards. During the previous contest against Lehigh, he ran 18 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. Kielt also had a huge game at Dartmouth, carrying 18 times for 120 yards and three scores, in addition to catching five passes for 75 yards and another touchdown. With his performances against Lehigh and Dartmouth, he became the first Holy Cross player two rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games since Steve Silva in 2005 (against Lafayette and Bucknell). Overall this season, Kielt now leads the team in rushing with 574 yards and four touchdowns on 101 carries, while posting 31 catches for 262 yards and one score. Over the course of his collegiate career, Kielt has now totaled 1,497 yards and 18 touchdowns on 297 carries. His 18 career rushing touchdowns are tied for 10th-most in Holy Cross history.

Brown, DiMichele & Wright Lead Holy Cross Secondary
Senior strong safety Daryl Brown, sophomore cornerback Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) and junior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) are all enjoying strong seasons in the Holy Cross defensive backfield. Brown is currently tied for the team lead with three interceptions, while ranking fourth on the team with 55 total tackles. In addition, he has posted three tackles for loss and three pass breakups. DiMichele is tied for the team lead with 58 total tackles this season, including 46 solo stops and two tackles for loss. He also ranks second on the team with eight pass breakups, while recording a pair of interceptions. Wright currently leads the team with 12 pass breakups on the year. In addition, he has recorded one interception and 32 total tackles, including two tackles for loss.

Crusaders Bring In Academic Honors
Several Holy Cross players have been honored this season for their performance both in the classroom and on the football field. Senior placekicker Matt Partain was selected as a semifinalist for the 2008 Draddy Trophy, which is presented to the top scholar-athlete in the nation by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Partain also earned ESPN The Magazine first team Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America, along with senior tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.) and senior center Chris Smith. Both McGuire and Smith were named Academic All-District for the second consecutive year.

Crusaders Post Another Winning Year
With the Nov. 8 victory over Fordham, the Crusaders guaranteed themselves a winning record for the fourth straight year. Holy Cross has also reached the seven win-mark for the third year in a row. The Crusaders went 7-4 in both 2006 and 2007, and their 14-8 mark over those two seasons is their best in a two-year span since the 1991 and 1992 squads went a combined 17-5. Holy Cross also posted a winning record in 2005 (6-5), and its overall mark of 27-16 since the beginning of the 2005 campaign is its best since going 29-14-1 from 1990-1993 (9-1-1 in 1990, 11-0 in 1991, 6-5 in 1992, 3-8 in 1993).

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 353-166-27 (.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 25-24 at home, with a 4-1 mark in 2008. Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home for the third straight year, after going 3-2 at Fitton Field in 2006 and 4-2 in 2007.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2008 campaign marks the 113th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 583-465-54, good for a .554 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2008 season, Holy Cross' 576 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 Raiders
Colgate stands 8-2 overall and 4-0 in the Patriot League this year, and enters this week with a seven-game winning streak. The Colgate offense is led by junior tailback Jordan Scott, who has rushed for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns on 172 carries. Sophomore quarterback Greg Sullivan is also enjoying a solid season, completing 102 of 172 passes for 1,398 yards and nine touchdowns with seven interceptions, in addition to rushing for 789 yards and seven scores. Junior wide out Pat Simonds is the top receiver for the Raiders, with 55 catches for 960 yards and six touchdowns. Junior linebacker Greg Hadley leads the Colgate defense with 66 tackles on the year, including three tackles for loss. Dick Biddle is now in his 13th season as the Raiders' head coach, and has posted an overall record of 103-48. 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
All of Holy Cross' games in 2008 will air on The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 39th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 23rd 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 ninth year as the color commentator. All of the Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet at `www.worcesterpike.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 four games shown on live television during the 2008 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2008 campaign:

 

Date     Opponent       Television Outlet
Sept. 6  Massachusetts  WCTR-TV3
Oct. 25  Lehigh         WCTR-TV3
Nov. 15  Lafayette      Lafayette Sports Network
Nov. 22  Colgate        Time Warner Cable

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 2008 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.

The Holy Cross Huddle
The Holy Cross Huddle will air each Friday morning during the football season at 8:35 a.m. on The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Hosted by Pike morning personality Bruce Palmer, it will feature a weekly interview with Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore previewing the upcoming game and reviewing the previous week's game.

Quick Hits
Ten different Crusaders have posted over 20 receptions so far in 2008. Prior to this season, Holy Cross had never had more than seven players with 20 catches in the same year ... Holy Cross' three losses this season have come by a total combined margin of just seven points. Prior to this year, the Crusaders had not lost three games by a field goal or less in the same season since 1980, when they dropped three one-point contests to Harvard (14-13), Connecticut (18-17) and Boston College (27-26) ... Senior strong safety Daryl Brown and senior quarterback Dominic Randolph are serving as Holy Cross' co-captains this season ... Senior tight end Ryan McGuire caught two touchdown passes at Yale, and has now totaled 30 catches for 343 yards and four scores on the year ... Holy Cross was picked to finish second in the 2008 Patriot League preseason poll of head coaches and sports information directors, while senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was chosen as the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year ... For only the second 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).