Game Day Quick Facts:
The Teams: #25 Holy Cross (1-0, 1-0 PL) vs. Sacred Heart (0-1, 0-0 NEC)
Date: September 12, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader Vision
Unofficial Live Statistics: Click Here
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 56, Sacred Heart 21, September 3, 2005, Worcester, Mass.
The Series With Sacred Heart
This will be only the second meeting between the Crusaders and the Pioneers on the gridiron. The schools first met on Sept. 3, 2005, with Holy Cross posting a 56-21 victory at Fitton Field. Against current members of the Northeast Conference, the Crusaders stand 3-3 with marks of 1-0 against Sacred Heart and 2-3 vs. Duquesne. Sacred Heart is 0-2 all-time against the Patriot League, falling to both Holy Cross and Lafayette.
Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Sacred Heart: 1-0
Paul Gorham vs. Holy Cross: 0-1
Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Senior Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) is now in his fourth season as Holy Cross' starting quarterback, and is one of the favorites to win the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in the NCAA football championship subdivision. In the season opener against Georgetown, he completed 36 of 56 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, Randolph threw for at least 300 yards in each of his last eight games, including three 400-yard performances. In 11 games played last season, he hit on 340 of 520 passes for 3,838 yards and 34 touchdowns. Randolph set new Holy Cross single-season records for passing yards, total offense (3,917 yards), completions and pass attempts, while tying the mark for touchdown passes in 2008. He now owns the top two spots on the single-season lists for both completions and pass attempts.
Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph has completed 857 of 1,357 passes for 10,093 yards and 85 scores, while amassing 10,415 yards of total offense. During the Georgetown game, he broke the Holy Cross and Patriot League records for career passing yards, while becoming the first player in school or conference history to throw for over 10,000 career yards. Last season, Randolph broke the Holy Cross career records for completions, pass attempts, touchdown passes and yards of total offense. In addition, his career completion percentage of .632 in the best in school history, while 19 career 300-yard passing games and six 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader. Randolph enters the Sacred Heart game ranked 19th all-time in NCAA football championship subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history in touchdown passes, 22nd in passing yards and 23rd in total offense.
Defense Dominates Georgetown
The Holy Cross defense turned in an outstanding performance last Saturday in the 20-7 victory over Georgetown. The Crusaders allowed only seven points, seven first downs and 169 total yards on the day. After the Hoyas scored a touchdown on their opening possession, Holy Cross held Georgetown to just 104 total yards and no points over the final 55:50 of play. At one point during the second and third quarters, the Crusaders held the Hoyas without a first down for five straight possessions. The seven points, seven first downs and 169 total yards were all the fewest allowed by the Holy Cross defense since Sept. 22, 2007, when they defeated Georgetown 55-0.
Lamkin, Rodriguez Rack Up Tackles
Senior linebacker Sean Lamkin (Jenks, Okla.) and senior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) have been two of the top players on the Holy Cross defense over the last few years, and both were named second team All-Patriot League in 2008. In the season opener against Georgetown, Lamkin totaled seven tackles with his first career interception and one tackle for loss. Last year, he led the team with 71 total tackles in 11 games played, including 56 solo stops, six tackles for loss and one sack. Lamkin also broke up two passes, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble last season. Over the course of his collegiate career, Lamkin has now totaled 102 tackles with 11 tackles for loss. Rodriguez opened the 2009 campaign with a team-high eight solo tackles and two pass breakups against Georgetown. He finished 2008 ranked second on the team with 68 tackles in 11 games played, including 49 solo stops, four sacks and eight tackles for loss. Rodriguez also broke up four passes last year, forced a fumble and recovered one fumble. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Rodriguez has now totaled 146 total tackles with 10 tackles for loss.
Experienced Wide Receivers Shine In Passing Game
Holy Cross once again has a number of outstanding weapons in the passing game, as five different wide receivers caught at least three passes against Georgetown in the season opener. Senior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) led the way with seven catches for 82 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Junior wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) also had a strong day, catching seven passes for 79 yards. In addition, senior wide receiver Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) totaled five receptions for 33 yards, junior wide out Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) posted four catches for 59 yards and junior wide receiver Rob Koster (Bellerose, N.Y.) caught three passes for 30 yards. Overall, the Crusaders had nine different players with at least one reception against Georgetown.
Offensive Line Paves The Way For Success
Holy Cross returns four starters to an offensive line which looks to be one of the most dominating units in the Patriot League in 2009. During the season opener against Georgetown, the line lead the way for the Crusaders to amass 519 yards of total offense. The starters on the Holy Cross line are senior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) at center, senior Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) and junior Mike Bernazzani (Whitman, Mass.) at guard, and senior Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) and junior Mike McCabe (Watertown, Conn.) at tackle. All told, the offensive linemen on Holy Cross' roster have combined for 94 career starts. A year ago, Jones was named first team All-Patriot League and Poole earned second team All-Patriot League honors. During the 2008 season, the line paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 106.5 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which allowed the Crusaders to throw for 348.9 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross allowed only 16 sacks in 11 games last year, while attempting 523 passes (just one sack for every 33.7 times the team dropped back to pass).
The Last Meeting With Sacred Heart
Steve Silva accounted for 179 yards and six touchdowns, to lead Holy Cross to a 56-21 victory over Sacred Heart in the 2005 season opener at Fitton Field on Sept. 3, 2005. Silva recorded 141 yards and all of his scoring in the first half, as the Crusaders scored touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions to take a 49-14 lead at the break. The Pioneers actually began the game with a quick 14-0 lead, scoring a pair of touchdowns on their opening possessions, with drives that went just 41 and 23 yards. Ed Pricolo rushed one yard for the first touchdown, then Joey Henley caught a 14-yard scoring pass from Tyler Arciaga. But the Crusaders then came to life, dominating the game for the remainder of the day. Silva tossed an eight yard touchdown pass to John O'Neil to open the Holy Cross scoring, then ran four yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14. O'Neil then threw a pair of touchdown passes, of 25 yards to Silva and 77 yards to Sean Gruber, giving the Crusaders a 28-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. Silva threw another touchdown pass to O'Neil, this one going for 16 yards, before rushing for two more touchdowns prior to halftime to put Holy Cross up 49-14. Sacred Heart scored its final points on a touchdown run by Pricolo in the third quarter, then Gideon Akande concluded the scoring late in the third quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run. O'Neil finished the day having completed 15 of 21 passes for 225 yards and two scores, in addition to his two touchdown receptions. The Crusaders had 10 different players catch passes in the game, led by Bob Turkovich with four receptions for 42 yards. The Holy Cross defense was led by Dan Adams with nine tackles, while Casey Gough added five tackles, an interception and a pass breakup. Henley led Sacred Heart with 10 receptions for 125 yards and a score, while Pricolo added 21 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
DiMichele & Wright Lead Secondary
Junior strong safety Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) and senior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) both played well in the season-opening victory over Georgetown. DiMichele made six solo tackles against the Hoyas, with one tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Last season, he ranked third on the team with 58 total tackles, including 53 solo stops and two tackles for loss. DiMichele also ranked second on the team with 10 pass breakups in 2008, while recording a pair of interceptions. Wright posted four solo tackles against Georgetown, in addition to breaking up two passes. In 2008, he earned second team All-Patriot League honors, after leading the team with 12 pass breakups. In addition, Wright recorded one interception and 34 total tackles a year ago, including two tackles for loss.
Bellomo, Houghton Shine At Tailback
Sophomore tailback Matt Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.) and freshman tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) both had solid performances against Georgetown in the season opener. Bellomo caught six passes for 67 yards, in addition to rushing for 14 yards on seven carries. Last season, Bellomo rushed for 150 yards on 39 attempts, while catching four passes for 37 yards. Houghton led the team with 52 rushing yards on seven carries against the Hoyas, and also caught a pass for nine yards. Houghton's 52 rushing yards were the most by a Holy Cross player in his collegiate debut since Gideon Akande ran for 87 yards on eight carries against Georgetown in 2002.
Offense Puts Up Big Numbers
The Holy Cross offense opened the 2009 season by scoring 20 points and recording 519 yards of total offense in the victory over Georgetown. Last year, the Crusaders averaged 34.4 points and 455.4 total yards per game. Holy Cross also totaled 348.9 passing yards per game a year ago, the second-most in school history behind only the 1987 team which averaged 358.4 yards through the air. In addition, Holy Cross hit the 40-point mark three times last year, scoring 44 points at Dartmouth, 42 points against Massachusetts and 41 points against Brown. The Crusaders also had an outstanding year offensively in 2007, averaging 35.9 points and 463.4 yards per game.
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 354-166-27 (.672). 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 26-24 at home, with a 1-0 mark so far in 2009. Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in each of the last three years, going 3-2 in 2006, 4-2 in 2007 and 4-1 in 2008.
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 Sept. 5. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (414.0 yards/game) and total offense (431.0 yards/game), while standing second in pass efficiency (131.0 rating). Junior kicker Rob Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) ranks first in field goals (2.0 made/game), third in punting (39.0 yards/punt) and fourth in scoring (8.0 points/game), while senior wide out Bill Edger stands second in receptions (7.0 catches/game), fourth in receiving yards (82.0 yards/game) and fifth in scoring (6.0 points/game). In addition, junior wide receiver Luke Chmielinski is second in the league in receptions (7.0 catches/return); junior wide out Freddie Santana ranks fourth in punt returns (1.8 yards/return); freshman tailback Eddie Houghton stands fifth in rushing (52.0 yards/game); sophomore tailback Matt Bellomo is fifth in receptions (6.0 catches/game); and senior tight end Paul Nielsen (Center Line, Mich.) ranks fifth in scoring (6.0 points/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in passing offense (414.0 yards/game), total offense (519.0 yards/game), rushing defense (38.0 yards/game), passing defense (131.0 yards/game), total defense (169.0 yards/game), scoring defense (7.0 points/game) and pass efficiency defense (78.3 rating); while standing second in pass efficiency (131.0 rating) and punt returns (6.6 yards/return); and ranking third in net punting (32.5 yards/punt).
Holy Cross Picked First In Patriot League Preseason
The 2009 Crusaders were picked to finish in first place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, Holy Cross senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and linebacker Mark Leggiero of Lafayette was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Crusaders Look To Post Another Winning Season
In 2009, the Crusaders are looking to post a winning record for the fifth straight year. In 2008, Holy Cross finished the season with an overall record of 7-4, marking the third consecutive year in which it has posted seven victories. The Crusaders previously went 7-4 in both 2006 and 2007, and their 21-12 mark over the last three seasons is its best in a three-year span since the 1990, 1991 and 1992 squads went a combined 26-6-1. Holy Cross also posted a winning record in 2005 (6-5), and has an overall mark of 27-17 since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. This marks the first time the Crusaders have posted four straight winning seasons since finishing with a winning mark in seven straight years from 1986-1992.
Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is now in his sixth season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore currently owns an overall record of 31-25, including a 28-17 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, 2007 and 2008, along with winning streaks of six games (in 2008) and five games (in 2006). Two of Gilmore's players, Dominic Randolph (2007 and 2008) 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.
Randolph Named Team Captain
Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph is serving as Holy Cross' team captain during the 2009 football season, as announced by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. Randolph, who was one of three captains during the 2007 campaign and one of two captains in 2008, becomes the first player in school history to serve as a team captain for three seasons. Only 10 other players in the history of Holy Cross football had previously served as a captain for two years. This will also mark the first time since the 1967 season that the Crusaders will have just one player serving as team captain.
Crusaders Bring In Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players earned preseason accolades heading into the 2009 campaign. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named a second team All-American by both The Sports Network and Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview. In addition, several other players were selected preseason All-Patriot League by Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview. Randolph was joined on the first team by senior offensive lineman Aaron Jones, senior offensive lineman Chris Poole, senior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez, senior offensive lineman Chris Smith and senior defensive back Michael Wright. Senior defensive lineman Alex Carson (Atlanta, Ga.), junior defensive back Anthony DiMichele, junior kick returner Josh Jenkins and senior offensive lineman Rob Petrosino were all selected to the second team.
Tradition Of Excellence
The 2009 campaign marks the 114th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 584-466-54, good for a .553 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2009 season, Holy Cross' 583 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 Pioneers
Sacred Heart enters this week's game with an overall record of 0-1, following last week's 31-12 loss to Marist. Junior quarterback Dale Fink led the Pioneers by completing 30 of 44 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Senior fullback Brian Friedman added 61 rushing yards on 11 carries, while senior wide out Steve Tedesco had a team-best six receptions for 79 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore cornerback Titus McIntosh led Sacred Heart with 11 tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. The Pioneers are coming off a 2008 season in which they went 8-3 overall and 4-3 in the Northeast Conference. Head coach Paul Gorham is in his sixth season at the helm of the Pioneers' program, and owns a career record of 23-31. Prior to his time at Sacred Heart, Gorham spent five years as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts.
Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2009 will air on The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 40th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 24th 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 10th year as the color commentator. All of the Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet through the Worcester Pike website. 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 2009 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2009 campaign:
Sept. 19 vs. Harvard: WCTR-TV3
Oct. 24 vs. Colgate: WCTR-TV3
Nov. 7 at Lehigh: Service Electric
Nov. 14 vs. Lafayette: WCTR-TV3 / Lafayette Sports Network
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 through SportsJuice.
Live video streaming of all 2009 Holy Cross home football games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision.The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available for $6.95 per game. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.
Senior tight end Paul Nielsen posted the first two receptions of his collegiate career in the season-opening victory over Georgetown, including an 18-yard touchdown catch to give Holy Cross the lead in the fourth quarter ... The Crusaders had nine different players catch a pass last week, including seven players with multiple receptions ... Senior linebacker Anthony Campbell (New Albany, Ohio) recorded two quarterback sacks among his four total tackles against Georgetown. That marked the second multi-sack game of Campbell's career, after he had previously posted two sacks in the 2008 victory at Lafayette ... Holy Cross placed 25th in the Sports Network preseason national rankings, marking its first appearance in the poll since 2002 ... The Crusaders were picked as the No. 13 team in the nation and the top team in the Patriot League by Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview. Holy Cross was also ranked No. 18 in the nation by Athlon and No. 21 by Lindy's ... For only the third time since joining the Patriot League in 1986, Holy Cross is scheduled to play all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Northeastern and Sacred Heart).