Holy Cross to open season on Saturday at Navy
WORCESTER, Mass. - Holy Cross will begin its 124th football season when it travels to Navy on Saturday, Aug. 31, for a 3:30 p.m. contest. The game between the Crusaders and the Midshipmen will be shown live to a national audience on the CBS Sports Network, and can be heard on WEEI 1440 AM in Worcester.
Holy Cross is coming off a 2018 campaign in which it went 5-6 overall, tied for second in the Patriot League with a 4-2 mark in conference play and finished the year with a four-game winning streak.
On the offensive side of the ball, Holy Cross returns the entire offensive line which paved the way for the team to rank second in the Patriot League in total offense (327.3 yards per game), rushing (132.5 yards per game) and scoring (24.4 points per game) last season. Senior left guard Brett Boddy and junior left tackle Brian Foley, who were both named first team All-Patriot League in 2018, look to lead the charge up front. The Crusaders also return senior running back Domenic Cozier, who was named second team All-Patriot League a year ago after rushing for 643 yards and eight touchdowns on 130 carries.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Crusaders have four starters back on a unit with the potential to develop into one of the top defenses in the conference. Holy Cross ranked third in the Patriot League in scoring defense last season at 26.0 point per game, while allowing 369.2 yards per contest. Junior defensive back Joe Lang looks to lead the way, after totaling 77 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 2018. Senior defensive back Alex Johnson added 62 tackles and a team-best seven pass breakup a year ago, while senior defensive back Corey Stefanik posted 37 tackles, two sacks and six tackles for loss.
Navy is coming off a 2018 season in which it went 3-10 overall with a 2-6 mark in the American Athletic Conference. The Midshipmen finished the year fifth in the nation in rushing with an average of 276.1 yards per contest. Senior quarterback Malcolm Perry looks to lead the Navy offense, after rushing 172 times for 1,087 yards and seven touchdowns last season, while completing nine of 25 passes for 222 yards and two scores. Junior running back Nelson Smith added 411 yards and three touchdowns on 78 carries in 2018, while junior running back C.J. Williams carried 22 times for 183 yards and a score. On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Nizaire Cromartie totaled 58 tackles and two forced fumbles a year ago, with senior defensive back Elan Nash adding 38 tackles, an interception and two pass breakups. The Midshipmen are led by head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who is entering his 12th season at Navy. Niumatalolo’s career record stands at 87-58 with nine bowl game appearances.
This week’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the Crusaders and the Midshipmen on the gridiron.
After the contest at Navy, Holy Cross will play its home opener against New Hampshire on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 1:00 p.m.