17th-Ranked Crusaders Travel To Fordham On Saturday

Chris Poole

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: #17 Holy Cross (6-1, 2-0 PL) vs. Fordham (3-4, 0-2 PL)
Date: October 31, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Jack Coffey Field (7,000), Bronx, N.Y.
Live Video Streaming: Fordham All-Access
Live Statistics: Gametracker
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
Fordham Radio: WFUV 90.7 FM, Bronx, N.Y.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 24-20-2
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 38, Fordham 17; November 8, 2008; Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Fordham
This will be the 47th meeting between the Crusaders and the Rams on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 24-20-2. The Crusaders posted a 38-17 victory over the Rams in Worcester last season, but Fordham has won 10 out of the last 14 meetings between the schools. For games played at Jack Coffey Field, the Rams hold a 5-3 advantage with four straight victories. Since Fordham joined the Patriot League prior to the start of the 1990 season, the Rams hold an 11-8 lead in the series. The schools first met on Nov. 8, 1902, with Holy Cross winning 17-0 on the road.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 24-20-2
In New York: Fordham leads, 11-9-1
At Jack Coffey Field: Fordham leads, 5-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Fordham: 2-3
Tom Masella vs. Holy Cross: 1-2

Ram-Crusader Cup On The Line
The winner of the contest between Holy Cross and Fordham will take home the Ram-Crusader Cup. The trophy was first dedicated in 1951 in memory of Major Frank Cavanaugh, a former head coach at both Holy Cross and Fordham. Cavanaugh posted a 16-10-2 record with the Crusaders from 1903-1905, and was later 34-14-4 with the Rams from 1927-1932. Holy Cross has won the Ram-Crusader Cup 13 times in the 23 years it has been awarded.

Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) has completed 1,002 of 1,578 passes for 11,928 yards and 105 scores, while amassing 12,568 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 .635 is the best in school history, while his 21 career 300-yard passing games and seven 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader. Randolph enters this week's game ranked seventh all-time in NCAA football championship subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) history in touchdown passes, passing yards and yards of total offense. He also owns the all-time FCS records with his current streaks of 36 straight games in which he has thrown for at least 200 yards and 37 consecutive games in which he has thrown a touchdown pass, and is just 72 yards away from becoming only the seventh player in FCS history with 12,000 career passing yards.

Experienced Wide Receivers Shine
Holy Cross once again has a number of outstanding weapons in the passing game, as six different wide receivers have caught at least 10 passes so far this season. Junior wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) leads the way with 37 catches for 494 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide out Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) is also enjoying a strong year, catching 27 passes for 436 yards and three scores. In addition, Junior wide receiver Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has totaled 22 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns, senior wide receiver Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has posted 19 catches for 178 yards and five scores, junior wide receiver Rob Koster (Bellerose, N.Y.) has caught 14 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns, and sophomore wide out Charles McCall (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) has added 10 receptions for 99 yards and a score. Overall, the Crusaders have 10 wide receivers and 16 total players with at least one reception on the season.

Offense Puts Up Big Numbers
The Holy Cross offense has put up some impressive numbers during the 2009 season. The Crusaders have averaged 35.4 points and 446.0 yards of total offense per game on the year. Holy Cross has thrown for 321.7 yards per game this season, while averaging 124.3 yards per contest on the ground. The Crusaders have hit the 40-point mark three times this season, scoring 52 points against Sacred Heart and 42 points against both Colgate and Northeastern. The 52 points against Sacred Heart were Holy Cross' highest total since scoring 59 points at Lehigh in 2007. In 2008, 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.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Senior Dominic Randolph 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 seven games so far this year, he has completed 181 of 277 attempts for 2,249 yards and 22 touchdowns, in addition to leading the team in rushing with 335 yards and five scores on 60 carries. In the victory over Colgate, Randolph hit on 20 of 31 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns, in addition to rushing 14 times for a career-high 116 yards and two scores. Previously against Brown, Randolph connected on 38 of 53 attempts for 411 yards and four touchdowns, while directing two fourth quarter scoring drives to tie the game at 31-31. Randolph has also played well against Dartmouth (26 of 36 for 264 yards and three touchdowns), Northeastern (16 of 24 for 305 yards and five scores), Harvard (25 of 39 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, 41 rushing yards and a score), Sacred Heart (274 passing yards and two touchdowns, 64 rushing yards and two scores) and Georgetown (36 of 56 for 414 yards and two touchdowns). In 2008, 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.

Smith Keeps Starting At Center
Senior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) enters the Fordham game having started 40 consecutive games at center for the Crusaders. If he starts again against the Rams, he will tie the all-time school record with 41 consecutive games started. Casey Gough holds the Holy Cross record with 41 straight starts from 2004-2007. Smith is tied with Mike Zimirowski for second, as Zimirowski started 40 straight contests from 1993-1996. Smith started all 11 of the Crusaders' games in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and has started all seven contests so far in 2009. He is also closing in on the all-time school record for total games started, which is currently shared by Gough and Patrick Quay (1997-2000) at 43 starts.

Holy Cross In Hunt For League Title
The Crusaders enter this week's contest in a tie for first place in the Patriot League with a 2-0 mark in conference games so far this year. Lafayette and Lehigh are also unbeaten in league play with 2-0 records, while Colgate stands a half game back at 2-1. 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 their first two Patriot League games for the fifth straight year and the 12th time in school history. Now in their 24th season of play in the Patriot League, the Crusaders own an all-time record of 71-58 (.550) in conference action.

Starters Shine In Secondary
All four of the starters in the Holy Cross defensive backfield have been playing well during the 2009 season. Senior cornerback John Myrick (Dayton, Ohio) ranks second on the team with 49 total tackles, to go along with three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. During his career as a Crusader, he has now recorded 68 total tackles and four pass breakups. Junior strong safety Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) stands third on the squad with 45 total tackles this year, in addition to posting four tackles for loss, five pass breakups and one interception. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 117 tackles, 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. Junior free safety Alex Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) has recorded 28 total tackles so far in 2009, in addition to posting five pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. His three-year career totals at Holy Cross now include 78 tackles and 11 pass breakups. Senior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) has recorded 30 total tackles, a team-high 11 pass breakups and two interceptions on the season. A second team All-Patriot League selection in 2008, he has now totaled 73 tackles, 24 pass breakups and three interceptions during his collegiate career.

Bellomo & Houghton Provide Solid Combination At Tailback
Sophomore tailback Matt Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.) and freshman tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) have both played well in the opening seven games of the season. Bellomo ranks second on the team in rushing with 283 yards and four touchdowns on 59 carries, in addition to catching 27 passes for 204 yards. Last season, Bellomo ran for 150 yards on 39 attempts, while catching four passes for 37 yards. Houghton ranks third on the team with 203 rushing yards and two scores on 33 carries this year, and also has three catches for 31 yards. Houghton's 52 rushing yards in the season opener against Georgetown 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.

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 36-26, including a 33-18 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. Gilmore has also led the Crusaders to three victories over ranked opponents, two of which have come in 2009. 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.

Offensive Line Paves The Way For Success
Holy Cross has a number of experienced players along the offensive line, where it has one of the most dominating units in the Patriot League in 2009. So far this season, the line has paved the way for the Crusaders to average 35.4 points and 446.0 total yards per contest. The line has allowed Holy Cross to throw for 321.7 yards per game in 2009, and has given up only eight sacks while the team has attempted 280 passes (just one sack for every 36.0 times the team dropped back to pass). Starters on the Holy Cross line include senior Chris Smith at center, senior Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) at guard, senior Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) at tackle and junior Mike McCabe (Watertown, Conn.) at tackle. Junior Mike Bernazzani (Whitman, Mass.) and senior Rob Petrosino (Bogata, N.J.) have both started games at the other guard spot. All told, those six offensive linemen have combined for 124 career starts. A year ago, Jones was named first team All-Patriot League and Poole earned second team All-Patriot League honors.

The Last Meeting With Fordham
Dominic Randolph completed 35 of 59 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns, to lead Holy Cross to a 38-17 victory over Fordham at Fitton Field on Nov. 8, 2008. Holy Cross jumped out to a 7-0 lead at the 8:06-mark of the first quarter, on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Randolph to Brett McDermott. Later in the quarter, Matt Partain nailed a 22-yard field goal to make the score 10-0. Early in the second quarter, Randolph threw a four-yard scoring strike to Ryan McGuire, to increase the lead to 17-0. Fordham scored its first points of the day on its next drive, when Adam Danko kicked a 23-yard field goal. But before the half was over, Randolph threw a nine-yard scoring pass to Jon Brock, making the score 24-3 heading into the locker room. Holy Cross increased its lead to 38-3 in the third quarter, with Randolph tossing two more touchdown passes to Brock, of 21 yards and 25 yards. The Rams concluded the scoring with two fourth quarter touchdowns, on a seven-yard pass from John Skelton to Cody Kritzer and a 75-yard interception return by Kelvin Colbert. Brock finished the game with eight receptions for 105 yards, while McDermott posted six catches for 93 yards. Mike Kielt totaled a team-best 46 rushing yards on nine carries, in addition to catching three passes for 18 yards. For Fordham, Skelton completed 14 of 31 passes for 168 yards, and Xavier Martin rushed for 61 yards on 17 carries. Sean Lamkin led the Crusader defense with eight total tackles, while Alex Carson added six tackles and Marcus Rodriguez recorded five tackles with a quarterback sack.

Rodriguez Racks Up Tackles
Senior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) has been one of the top players on the Holy Cross defense over the last few years, and was named second team All-Patriot League in 2008. This season, Rodriguez leads the team with 52 total tackles through seven games, in addition to posting five pass breakups. In the victory over Colgate, he made 12 total tackles, including a tackle for loss. Previously against Brown, Rodriguez led the team with 12 total tackles and a pass breakup. Some of his other top games this season have come against Georgetown (team-high eight solo tackles and two pass breakups), Dartmouth (six tackles and a pass breakup), Harvard (five tackles) and Northeastern (five tackles). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Rodriguez has now totaled 190 total tackles with 11 tackles for loss.

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 358-166-27 (.674). 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 30-24 at home, with a 5-0 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.

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 589-467-54, good for a .555 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.

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 Among 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 Oct. 24. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (321.3 yards/game), total offense (369.1 yards/game) and pass efficiency (153.3 rating), while standing fifth in rushing yards (47.9 yards/game). Junior wide out Luke Chmielinski ranks fourth in the conference in receiving yards (70.6 yards/game) and fifth in receptions (5.3 catches/game). In addition, junior wide out Freddie Santana leads the league in punt returns (7.9 yards/return), senior cornerback Michael Wright ranks fourth in interceptions (0.3 picks/game) and junior free safety Alex Johnson stands fourth in kickoff returns (23.1 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (35.4 points/game), rushing defense (87.0 yards/game), passing offense (321.7 yards/game), pass efficiency (152.4 rating), punt returns (10.2 yards/return) and net punting (36.4 yards/punt); while standing second in total offense (446.0 yards/game); and ranking third in pass efficiency defense (119.3 rating).

Crusaders Post A Winning Season
With a 6-1 mark so far in 2009, the Crusaders have guaranteed themselves 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 from 2006-2008 was 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 33-18 since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. This marks the first time the Crusaders have posted five straight winning seasons since finishing with a winning mark in seven straight years from 1986-1992.

Scouting The Rams
Fordham enters this week's game with an overall record of 3-4 and an 0-2 mark in the Patriot League. The Rams had won three games in a row, before falling 26-21 at Lafayette last week. Senior quarterback John Skelton has led the Fordham offense by completing 162 of 264 attempts for 2,185 yards and 17 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Junior tailback Xavier Martin is also enjoying a strong year, rushing for 538 yards and three scores on 98 carries, while senior wide out Jason Caldwell has a team-best 40 receptions for 649 yards and eight touchdowns. Defensively, the Rams are led by junior linebacker Clifton Stuckey, who has totaled 47 tackles and four tackles for loss so far this season. Head coach Tom Masella is in his fourth season at the helm of the Fordham program, where he has posted a 19-22 record. Prior to his time with the Rams, Masella served as the head coach at Central Connecticut State (2004-2005), Boston University (1996-1997) and Fairfield (1995).

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.

Crusader Vision
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.

Quick Hits
The Crusaders are ranked fifth in the latest Lambert Cup poll, through games of Oct. 24 ... Holy Cross won its first four games of the 2009 season, marking the 20th time in school history the Crusaders have opening with at least four straight victories ... Junior defensive end Mude Ohimor (Stoughton, Mass.) leads the team with seven tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks this year. He posted two sacks against both Northeastern and Dartmouth ... Sophomore tight end Alex Schneider (Inner Grove Heights, Minn.) has become a key part of the Holy Cross passing game, catching 12 passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns so far this season ... Senior center Chris Smith has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to the top scholar-athlete in the nation ... Junior kicker Rob Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) leads the team in scoring so far this season with 31 points, making 22 of 23 extra point attempts and three field goals. Dornfried has also averaged 40.8 yards on 13 punts this year ... Holy Cross was picked to finish in first place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors, while senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year ... 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 played all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Northeastern and Sacred Heart).