Crusaders To Open Season On Thursday At UConn
The Holy Cross football team will begin its 122nd football season when it travels to Connecticut on Thursday, Aug. 31, for a 7:30 p.m. contest. The game between the Crusaders and the Huskies will be televised live by SportsNet New York, and can be heard live on WEEI 1440 AM in Worcester.
This week’s game will be the 29th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Connecticut on the gridiron. The Crusaders lead the all-time series 19-8-1, but the schools have not met since the 1985 season.
Holy Cross is coming off a 2016 campaign in which it went 4-7 overall with a 2-4 mark against Patriot League foes. The Crusaders went 3-3 in true road games last season, in addition to posting a 27-17 victory over 20th-ranked Harvard.
On the offensive side of the ball, Holy Cross returns 16 of the 22 players off last year’s final two-deep chart. They will look to build on what they did a year ago, averaging 356.0 yards of total offense, 23.5 points and 19.2 first downs per game. Fifth-year senior quarterback Peter Pujals returns to lead the Crusaders after missing the majority of the 2016 season due to injury. A first team All-Patriot League selection in 2015, Pujals has hit on 833 of 1,366 passes for 8,919 yards and 67 touchdowns during his collegiate career, while rushing 429 times for 1,605 yards and 16 scores. The offense also brings back fifth-year senior offensive lineman James Murray, who was named second team All-Patriot League in 2016.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Crusaders have six starters back on a unit with the potential to develop into one of the top defenses in the conference. Holy Cross gave up 414.6 yards and 32.3 points per game in 2016, and will look to improve upon those numbers this fall. Senior linebacker Nick McBeath will lead the way after being named first team All-Patriot League in 2016. McBeath led the Patriot League with 106 tackles last season, to go along with eight tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Connecticut went 3-9 overall last season, while going just 1-7 in the American Athletic Conference. Junior quarterback David Pindell is expected to take the helm of the Husky offense, after throwing for 2,424 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2016 at Lackawanna Junior College. Senior linebacker Junior Joseph should be among the leaders for the Connecticut defense, after totaling 81 tackles and two pass breakups last season. The Huskies are led by head coach Randy Edsall, who begins his second stint at Connecticut this fall. Edsall’s career record stands at 96-104, including a 74-70 mark in 12 seasons with the Huskies from 1999-2010.
“There is a lot of excitement for this game,” said Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore. “This is our season opener, we are playing our first FBS opponent since 2002 and we are renewing an old New England rivalry. We are looking forward to kicking off the 2017 season down in East Hartford.”
After the contest at Connecticut, Holy Cross will travel to Bucknell for its Patriot League opener on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 12:00 p.m.
Tickets for the 2017 Holy Cross football season are available by calling 1-844-GOCROSS or by visiting GoHolyCross.com/tickets. Order your tickets today, to make sure you don’t miss out on a minute of the action!