Crusaders Wrap Up 2017 Season
4-7 Overall Record
3-3 Patriot League Record (Third Place)
SENIOR SALUTE: Holy Cross has 26 seniors who wrapped up their collegiate careers at the end of the 2017 season. The members of the Holy Cross senior class were wide receiver Blaise Bell, offensive lineman Daniel Bernard, running back Gabe Guild, wide receiver Andre Harton, defensive lineman Jordan Kupec, defensive lineman Jack Kutschke, wide receiver Darrius Lacy, defensive back Brett Laurie, linebacker Nick McBeath, defensive back Mike McCaffrey, punter Will McGrail, quarterback James McHale, wide receiver Matt Millett, defensive back Alim Muhammad, offensive lineman James Murray, offensive lineman Nick Piker, quarterback Peter Pujals, defensive back Chris Sarni, tight end Jayke Simsheuser, offensive lineman Charles Steele, defensive lineman Patrick Stewart, defensive back Chase Stratton, defensive back Ahmad Tyler, running back Diquan Walker, placekicker A.J. Wells and defensive lineman Phil Zobrest.
PUJALS LEADS THE WAY: Fifth-year senior quarterback Peter Pujals just concluded his final season leading the Crusaders. In 11 games played this year, Pujals connected on 238 of 430 attempts for 2,776 yards and 17 touchdowns. During the Monmouth game, he completed 36 of 63 passes for a school single-game record 509 yards and four touchdowns. Previously against New Hampshire, Pujals hit on 21 of 39 passes for 367 yards and five scores. He also played well at Connecticut, completing 33 of 56 attempts for 358 yards and a touchdown. In 2016, he started the first four games before suffering a season-ending injury at Dartmouth and receiving a medical redshirt. Pujals previously earned first team All-Patriot League honors in 2015, after being a second team selection in 2014 and taking home Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors in 2013. Over the course of his collegiate career, Pujals hit on 1,071 of 1,796 passes for 11,695 yards and 84 touchdowns, while rushing 511 times for 1,756 yards and 19 scores.
MCBEATH SHINES AT LINEBACKER: Senior linebacker Nick McBeath was the leader of the Holy Cross defense this year. During the victory at Fordham, he totaled nine tackles with a pass breakup and a 61-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Previously against Georgetown, McBeath led the team with 13 tackles and two tackles for loss. He also played well against Colgate, making a season-high 18 total tackles. A few of McBeath’s other top games this year came against Dartmouth (11 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble), New Hampshire (14 tackles and a sack), Bucknell (nine tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and an interception) and Connecticut (11 tackles and a fumble recovery). On the season, he totaled 114 tackles with five sacks, 13 tackles for loss and two interceptions. In 2016, McBeath was named first team All-Patriot League after leading the conference with 106 total tackles. Over the course of his career with the Crusaders, he totaled 322 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and eight pass breakups. McBeath also became the first Holy Cross player with at least 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons since Dan Adams in 2005 (115) and 2006 (109).
PUJALS BREAKS THREE SCHOOL RECORDS: Senior quarterback Peter Pujals broke three Holy Cross career records during the 2017 season finale at Lehigh. Pujals played in his 48th career game, passing Mike McCabe who appeared in 47 games from 2007-2011. He also started for the 46th time in his career against the Mountain Hawks, breaking the mark of current Holy Cross offensive line coach Chris Smith who started 45 times from 2006-2009. In addition, Pujals attempted 1,796 career passes, to move past Dominic Randolph who threw 1,786 passes from 2006-2009. On top of that, he finished his career ranked second all-time at Holy Cross in career.
BRADY MAKING BIG PLAYS: Junior linebacker Ryan Brady was one of the leaders of the Holy Cross defense this year. In 11 games played, he totaled 110 tackles with four sacks and 10 tackles for loss. In the season finale at Lehigh,Brady led the team with 13 tackles and a sack. Previously against Monmouth, he totaled 12 tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss. Brady also played well against Lafayette, making a team-best 10 tackles with two tackles for loss. A few of his other top games this season were against New Hampshire (eight tackles, two sacks) and Connecticut (14 tackles). Over the course of his collegiate career, Brady has now totaled 137 tackles, six sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
RING OF HONOR INDUCTS SEVENTH CLASS: The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross honored three individuals as the seventh class of the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor. Dr. Eddie Anderson, Dennis Golden (Class of 1963) and David Murphy (Class of 1990) were honored in a ceremony at the game against New Hampshire on Sept. 16. Only former Crusader football players and coaches who have been elected to the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame are eligible for this honor, which is an annual event each fall. Individuals who have previously been inducted into the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor include Ronnie Cahill (Class of 1940), Tom Ciaccio (Class of 1992), George Connor (Class of ex1946), Gill Fenerty (Class of 1986), Harry Flaherty (Class of 1984), Tom Greene (Class of 1959), Tom Hennessey (Class of 1963), Bruce Kozerski (Class of 1984), Jack Lentz (Class of 1967), Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), Charlie Maloy (Class of 1953), Pat McCarthy (Class of 1963), Jon Morris (Class of 1964), Edmund Murphy (Class of 1943), Bill Osmanski (Class of 1939), Vince Promuto (Class of 1960), John Provost (Class of 1975), Dave Quehl (Class of 1976), Johnny Turco (Class of 1952), Glenn Verrette (Class of 1980), Jeff Wiley (Class of 1989) and Joe Wilson (Class of 1973).
DEFENDING THE HOME TURF: Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years, went just 2-3 at home this season. The Crusaders, who played their first game at Fitton Field in 1903, have posted an all-time home mark of 378-190-27 (.658). From Oct. 11, 2008-Oct. 9, 2010, Holy Cross had a streak of 13 straight victories at home. The Crusaders had a perfect 6-0 mark at Fitton Field in 2009, and finished the 2011 campaign with a winning record at home for the sixth straight season. 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).
GUILD BREAKS 2,000-YARD MARK: Senior tailback Gabe Guild wrapped a stellar Holy Cross career this season. Over the course of the last five years, Guild carried the ball 414 times for 2,055 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is only the eighth player in school history to break the 2,000-yard mark in career rushing yards, while standing seventh all-time with an average of 5.0 yards per rush. This season, Guild ran the ball 93 times for a team-best 466 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to catching 12 passes for 124 yards.
MCBEATH, MURRAY & PUJALS SERVE AS CAPTAINS: Holy Cross had three captains for the 2017 football season. Senior linebacker Nick McBeath, senior offensive lineman James Murray and senior quarterback Peter Pujals were named the team’s captains following the conclusion of spring practice. Pujals previously served as a captain during the 2014, 2015 and 2016 campaigns, and is the first player in school history to spend four seasons as a captain. The only other three-year captain in school history was Dominic Randolph in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: The 2017 campaign marks the 122nd season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 628-520-54, good for a .545 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Holy Cross’ 624 all-time victories ranked as the 15th most among all FCS schools. Holy Cross has had 31 first team All-America selections, sent 69 players on to professional football, won five Lambert Cups, claimed six 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.
ROCK SERVES AS INTERIM HEAD COACH: Brian Rock was named the interim head coach of the Holy Cross football team for the final four games of the 2017 season, posting a record of 2-2. He continued to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, roles which held since the beginning of the 2015 season. Prior to his time at Holy Cross, Rock was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kent State from 2011-2014. His other coaching stops include time at Purdue (2006-2010), Western Michigan (1992-2005), St. Joseph’s of Indiana (1987-1991) and Bowling Green (1985-1986). Rock is a 1985 graduate of Bowling Green with a bachelor’s degree in education.
CRUSADERS AMONG PATRIOT LEAGUE LEADERS: Three Holy Cross players ranked at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, at the end of the 2017 season. Senior quarterback Peter Pujals led the way by ranking second in the league in total offense (266.1 yards/game), second in passing yards (252.4 yards/game) and fourth in pass efficiency (119.4 rating). In addition, senior punter Will McGrail stood fourth in the league in punting (41.2 yards/punt) and senior placekicker A.J. Wells placed fifth in scoring (5.4 points/game). As a team, Holy Cross ranked second in the conference in total offense (397.5 yards/game), rushing defense (120.5 yards/game) and passing offense (254.2 yards/game); while standing third in scoring offense (23.1 points/game), scoring defense (25.4 points/game), total defense (367.9 yards/game) and rushing offense (143.4 yards/game).
CRUSADERS IN THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross just completed its 32nd season of play in the Patriot League, and owns an all-time record of 94-86 (.522) in conference action. The Crusaders won their last conference championship in 2009, clinching the title with a 28-26 victory over Lafayette to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Holy Cross’ six Patriot League championships (all of them outright) have come in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 2009. The Crusaders own the second-most outright championships in conference history, behind only Lehigh with eight titles. In 2009, Holy Cross won five Patriot League games for just the fourth time in school history. The Crusaders previously went 5-1 in 2008, while posting 5-0 conference records in 1990 and 1991.
QUICK HITS: Junior defensive end Teddy Capsis totaled six quarterback sacks for 41 yards and nine tackles for loss for 63 yards this season. He finished the year ranked fourth in the Patriot League in sacks and ninth in tackles for loss ... Senior wide receiver Blaise Bell led the squad with 46 receptions for 601 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has caught 63 passes for 788 yards and 10 touchdowns ... Senior defensive tackle Jack Kutschke ranked third on the team with 42 total tackles this year, including five sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he totaled 101 tackles, 10 quarterback sacks and 22 tackles for loss ... Senior offensive lineman James Murray started all 11 games for the Crusaders at left tackle this season, and finished his career with 40 consecutive starts along the offensive line ... The Crusaders rushed for a season-high 354 yards in the Fordham game, their most since running for 419 yards at Central Connecticut on Sept. 14, 2013 ... Freshman placekicker Jackson McLarty scored 10 points in the victory over Georgetown, while his three field goals made tied for the second-most ever by a Holy Cross player in a single game ... Senior punter Will McGrail totaled 377 yards on 10 punts at Yale, good for the fourth-most punting yards ever by a Crusader in a single game ... Freshman wide out Tenio Ayeni scored the first two touchdowns of his collegiate career against Monmouth, while totaling 89 yards on four receptions ... In the polls released on Sept. 18, Holy Cross was ranked 25th in the nation in the Stats FCS Poll and the FCS Coaches Poll ... Holy Cross’ 51 points scored against New Hampshire on Sept. 16 were its most in a home game since defeating Sacred Heart 52-21 at Fitton Field on Sept. 12, 2009 ... Junior wide receiver Martin Dorsey posted career highs with five receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns during the victory over New Hampshire. His 86-yard touchdown reception against the Wildcats was Holy Cross’ longest play from scrimmage since Erreick Stewart threw an 86-yard touchdown pass to Steve Green against Colgate on Nov. 20, 1999 ... Holy Cross was honored by the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association with the 2017 Academic Progress Rate Award for the Patriot League. The APR Award recognizes one institution at each of the 13 FCS conferences that has the highest APR score, and Holy Cross was one of just eight schools to receive the award for the second straight year ... Senior cornerback Alim Muhammad recorded a career-high 12 tackles and two pass breakups during the Connecticut game. He finished his collegiate career with 116 tackles, three interceptions and 12 pass breakups ... Former Crusader Kalif Raymond (Class of 2016) is currently on the active roster of the New York Giants. Raymond, who previously spent time with the New York Jets and Denver Broncos, made his first career reception with a 12-yard catch against Kansas City on Nov. 19.