VILLANOVA, Pa. – Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) accounted for 353 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, but the 17th-ranked Holy Cross football team was defeated by No. 2 Villanova 38-28 at Villanova Stadium in the first round of the NCAA football championship subdivision playoffs. Randolph completed 31 of 51 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing twice for six yards and a score. Holy Cross finishes the season with an overall record of 9-3, while the Wildcats improve to 11-1 and advance to the quarterfinals.
Villanova took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field, taking a 7-0 lead on a six-yard scoring run by Aaron Ball. The Crusaders responded on their first possession, with Randolph rushing two yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats came right back with 29-yard touchdown pass from Chris Whitney to Dorian Wells, before Randolph threw a two-yard scoring strike to sophomore tight end Alex Schneider (Inner Grove Heights, Minn.) to tie the game at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter.
On Villanova’s next possession, senior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) forced a fumble at the Holy Cross 15-yard line, but the officials ruled that the runner was down, allowing the Wildcats to keep the ball. Four plays later, Whitney scored on a one-yard rush to make the score 21-14. Angelo Babbaro then added a two-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter, and Villanova led 28-14 at halftime.
In the third quarter, senior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Randolph, before Matt Szczur scored on a five-yard run for the Wildcats to make the score 35-21.
Early in the fourth quarter, Randolph hooked up with Schnieder on a five-yard scoring pass to cut the Villanova lead to seven points. But Nick Yako then kicked a 25-yard field goal to put the Wildcats up 38-28, and Villanova was able to hang on for the victory.
Edger finished the game with seven catches for 104 yards, while junior wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) added seven receptions for 85 yards and Schneider caught seven passes for 52 yards. Sophomore linebacker C.J. Martin (Plano, Texas) led the Holy Cross defense with 13 total tackles, including two tackles for loss.
The Wildcats were led by Szczur with 238 all-purpose yards, including seven receptions for 130 yards.