Holy Cross Prepares To Face Brown At Fitton Field

Gary Acquah

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-1, 0-0 PL) vs. Brown (0-0, 0-0 Ivy)
Date: September 15, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader Vision
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM & 94.9 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Gordie Lockbaum, color; Click Here to Listen
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 32-22-3
Last Meeting: Brown 20, Holy Cross 13; Oct. 8, 2011; Providence, R.I.

The Series With Brown
This will be the 58th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bears on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 32-22-3. The Crusaders have defeated the Bears in four of the last six years, with five of those six contests decided by seven points or less. For games played at Fitton Field, Holy Cross holds a 19-5-2 advantage, winning three straight and going 9-1-1 in the last 11 meetings. The teams first met on Oct. 1, 1898, with Brown posting a 19-0 victory in Providence.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 32-22-3
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 19-6-2
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 19-5-2
Current Win Streak: Brown, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Brown: 4-2
Phil Estes vs. Holy Cross: 2-4

Balanced Group Of Receivers Leads Holy Cross Offense
The Crusaders have a number of outstanding weapons in the passing game once again this season. Junior wide receiver Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.) had a team-high 10 catches for 85 yards against New Hampshire in the season opener. He earned second team All-Patriot League honors last season after ranking second on the team with 45 receptions for 417 yards and two scores. Fess has now totaled 64 catches for 608 yards and two touchdowns during his collegiate career. Senior wide out Gerald Mistretta (Brooklyn, N.Y.) posted six receptions for 62 yards in the New Hampshire game. He was named first team All-Patriot League in 2011 after leading the team with 60 catches for 723 yards and six touchdowns. Over the course of his career at Holy Cross, Mistretta has now recorded 100 receptions for 1,290 yards and 10 scores. Junior wide out Kyle Toulouse (Arlington, Va.) caught one pass for six yards in the New Hampshire game, after standing third on the squad with 40 catches for 472 yards and three touchdowns a year ago. Toulouse now has 49 receptions for 561 yards and three scores during his career as a Crusader. Junior wide out Jon Smith (Matawan, N.J.) finished with five catches for 42 yards against New Hampshire, and now has 28 career receptions for 316 yards and one touchdown. In addition, junior wide receiver Nate Stanley (Euclid, Ohio) made one catch for five yards against New Hampshire, to bring his career totals to 19 receptions for 222 yards.

Crusaders Look To Post Another Winning Season
In 2012, Holy Cross will attempt to finish with a winning record for the eighth year in a row. The Crusaders concluded the 2010 and 2011 seasons with identical marks of 6-5, after going 9-3 in 2009 (marking only the ninth time the school history the team has won at least nine games). Holy Cross previously went 7-4 in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and its 42-25 mark from 2006-2011 is its best in a six-year span since going 42-23-1 from 1989-1994. Holy Cross also posted a winning record in 2005 (6-5), and has an overall mark of 48-30 from 2005-2011. The last time the Crusaders posted a winning mark in seven straight seasons was from 1986-1992. Holy Cross is one of only 12 football championship subdivision teams in the nation to enter the 2012 campaign with at least seven straight winning seasons, along with Appalachian State, Drake, Harvard, Jacksonville State, James Madison, McNeese State, Montana, Montana State, New Hampshire, Northern Iowa and South Carolina State.

Watson Plays Well In First Start
Senior quarterback Kevin Watson (Belle Mead, N.J.) had a solid performance against New Hampshire in the first start of his collegiate career. Watson completed 33 of 47 passes for 271 yards against the Wildcats, in addition to rushing nine times for 10 yards and a touchdown. His 33 completions against New Hampshire tied him for ninth place on the all-time Holy Cross single-game record list. Entering this year, Watson had played in only eight career games, hitting on 42 of 74 passes for 375 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing 27 times for 77 yards and one score.

Macomber Steps Up In Kicking Game
Junior John Macomber (Vienna, Va.) has handled all of the kicking duties for the Crusaders so far this season. In the season opener against New Hampshire, Macomber scored five points by hitting his only field goal attempt (from 32 yards) and both of his extra points. He also averaged 39.8 yards on six punts, with three of them pinning the Wildcats inside the 20-yard line, and had a 60.5-yard average of two kickoffs. Macomber led the team in scoring last season with 56 points, hitting 12 of 15 field goals and 20 of 26 extra points. He also led the Patriot League in field goal percentage, while his 12 field goals made tied the school single-season record. Macomber's 13 career field goals made currently rank 10th all-time at Holy Cross.

Mannix Stands Out In Secondary
Senior strong safety Tom Mannix (Kenilworth, N.J.) is once again one of the top players in the Holy Cross secondary, after earning second team All-Patriot League honors in 2011. During the season opener against New Hampshire, he totaled five tackles and a pass breakup. Mannix ranked second on the team with 87 total tackles last year, to go along with three forced fumbles, an interception, a fumble recovery and 10 pass breakups. During last year's Lehigh game, he recorded a career-high 12 total tackles with a forced fumble. In other games last season, Mannix had eight total tackles and an interception against Dartmouth; made 11 tackles with a forced fumble and a pass breakup against Massachusetts; and totaled 10 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup at New Hampshire. During his career with the Crusaders, he has now totaled 143 tackles, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and 17 pass breakups.

Offensive Line Returns Three Starters
Holy Cross returns three starters to an offensive line which looks to be one of the most dominating units in the Patriot League this year. In 2011, the line paved the way for the Crusaders to average 400.9 yards of total offense per game. Returning starters for the Crusaders include fifth-year senior Sean Whited (Canton, Ohio) at center, senior Casey Bessemer (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.) at left guard and senior Kyle Pedretty (Dunedin, Fla.) at left tackle. Whited was named second team All-Patriot League last season, and has played in 24 career games with 20 starts. Bessemer has started 12 times with 23 career games played, and Pedretty has played in 18 career games with 18 starts. Those three have been joined in the starting lineup by junior Jay Knighton (Pottstown, Pa.) at right guard (10 career games played, two starts) and junior Blake Berresford (Montoursville, Pa.) at right tackle (four career games played, four starts).

Crusaders In The Patriot League
Heading into its 27th season of play in the Patriot League, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 81-63 (.563) 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 are tied for the second-most championships in conference history, behind only Lehigh with 10 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.

The Last Meeting With Brown
Ryan Taggart accounted for 289 yards of total offense, but Holy Cross was defeated by Brown 20-13 at Brown Stadium on Oct. 8, 2011. Taggart completed 27 of 43 attempts for 243 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing for 46 yards on nine carries. The Holy Cross defense was led by Jimmy Thomas with 10 solo tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup, while Chandler Fenner added 10 tackles and three pass breakups. On the offensive side of the ball, Gerald Mistretta had a team-best eight receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. The Crusaders opened the scoring early in the second quarter on a 30-yard field goal by John Macomber. After recovering a fumble at the Holy Cross 35-yard line, the Bears tied the score at 3-3 on Alex Norocea's 35-yard field goal. Another Macomber field goal, from 25 yards, put the Crusaders in front 6-3 with 2:36 left to play in the second quarter. But after the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Holy Cross 48-yard line, Brown pulled in front 10-6 on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Newhall-Caballero to Tellef Lundevall. In the third quarter, Holy Cross regained the lead, 13-10, on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Taggart to Mistretta. The Bears would once again tie up the score (13-13) when Norocea booted a 34-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. Brown then drove 99 yards on 11 plays on its next possession, with Newhall-Caballero tossing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jonah Fay to conclude the scoring.

Holy Cross Against The Ivy League
The Crusaders have enjoyed a good deal of success against Ivy League opposition during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach. Holy Cross stands 15-10 against Ivy League foes under Gilmore's direction, including a 2-1 mark last season. The 15-10 mark over the last eight years includes a 7-1 record against Dartmouth, a 4-2 mark against Brown, a 3-5 record against Harvard and a 1-2 mark against Yale. The Crusaders' all-time record against the Ivy League stands at 108-139-9 (31-22-3 against Brown, 6-2 vs. Columbia, 0-5 against Cornell, 36-35-4 vs. Dartmouth, 24-39-2 against Harvard, 3-2 vs. Pennsylvania, 3-7 against Princeton and 4-27 vs. Yale).

Houghton Heads Up Ground Game
Senior tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) has returned to the starting lineup for the Crusaders this year. Against New Hampshire in the season opener, he carried the ball seven times for a team-high 48 yards and also caught one pass for two yards. In 2011, Houghton led the team and ranked fifth in the Patriot League in rushing with 506 yards and four touchdowns on 86 carries. His top game in 2011 came in the season finale at Fordham, when he carried the ball 15 times for a career-best 153 yards and two scores. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Houghton has now rushed 200 times for 1,089 yards and 10 touchdowns, while catching 19 passes for 111 yards.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year (in 2006 and 2009), Tom Gilmore is now in his ninth season as the head football coach at Holy Cross in 2012. He has guided the Crusaders to an overall record of 51-39 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 48-31 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. In 2009, Gilmore led the Crusaders to an overall record of 9-3, the Patriot League championship and a trip to the NCAA playoffs. A finalist for the 2009 Eddie Robinson Award, Gilmore has led the Crusaders to winning records in seven 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 and 2009). Two of Gilmore's players, Dominic Randolph (2007, 2008 and 2009) and Steve Silva (2005), have been named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, with Silva earning first team All-America honors. Gilmore has also led the Crusaders to four victories over ranked opponents, three of which came 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.

Maliska & Tucker Lead Defensive Front
Senior defensive tackle Jack Maliska (Winchendon, Mass.) and junior defensive end Mike Tucker (Chester Springs, Pa.) both earned second team All-Patriot League honors last season, and will look to continue their outstanding play in 2012. Maliska totaled 35 tackles a year ago, with 27 solo stops, two sacks and four tackles for loss. His top games in 2011 came against Dartmouth and Lehigh, recording five tackles and a sack in each contest. Over the course of his collegiate career, Maliska now has 48 tackles, two sacks and six tackles for loss. Tucker totaled three tackles in the season opener against New Hampshire, including two tackles for loss. Last season, he recorded 27 tackles and a pass breakup, in addition to leading the team with nine sacks. Tucker posted a career-high three sacks at Bucknell in 2011, while making a career-best seven tackles with two sacks in the victory over Harvard. During his Holy Cross career, Tucker has now totaled 31 tackles and nine sacks.

Schneider Shines At Tight End
Senior tight end Alex Schneider (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) is once again a key part of the Holy Cross passing game in 2012. During the season opener against New Hampshire, Schneider caught two passes for 11 yards. In 11 games played last season, he ranked sixth on the team in receiving with 15 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Schneider previously earned first team All-Patriot League honors in 2010, when he stood fourth on the team with 30 receptions for 217 yards and a score. He was also named second team All-Patriot League in 2009, after ranking fourth on the team with 33 receptions for 275 yards, while his six touchdown catches were the second-most on the squad. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Schneider has now totaled 80 catches for 665 yards and nine touchdowns.

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 Sept. 8. Senior quarterback Kevin Watson leads the conference in both passing yards (271.0 yards/game) and total offense (281.0 yards/game), while standing fifth in both pass efficiency (110.1 rating) and scoring (6.0 points/game). Junior wide out Mike Fess leads the league in receptions (10.0 catches/game) and ranks second in receiving yards (85.0 yards/game), while junior placekicker John Macomber is second in punting (39.8 yards/punt) and third in field goals (1.0 made/game). In addition, senior wide receiver Gerald Mistretta stands second in receptions (6.0 catches/game), junior free safety Andrew Zitnik (Warren, Ohio) ranks fourth in kickoff returns (19.0 yards/return) and senior tailback Matt Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.) is fifth in scoring (6.0 points/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in both passing offense (271.0 yards/game) and net punting (39.8 yards/punt).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Nine Crusaders are ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 8. As a team, Holy Cross ranks 14th in the nation in net punting and 18th in passing yards. The rankings:

Category Rank Player / Team Avg. / Pct.
Completions 2 Kevin Watson 33.0
Receptions 3 Mike Fess 10.0
  35 Gerald Mistretta 6.0
Forced Fumbles 4 Scotty O'Donoghue 1.0
Passes Defended 5 Logan Silver 2.0
Total Tackles 8 Roman SanDoval 13.0
  34 Gary Acquah 10.0
Passing Yards 13 Kevin Watson 271.0
  18 Holy Cross 271.0
Tackles For Loss 13 Mike Tucker 2.0
Total Offense 14 Kevin Watson 281.0
Net Punting 14 Holy Cross 39.8
Receiving Yards 22 Mike Fess 85.0
Field Goals 31 John Macomber 1.0
Punting 44 John Macomber 39.8

Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years, and stands 0-1 at home so far in 2012. The Crusaders, who played their first game at Fitton Field in 1903, have posted an all-time home mark of 367-170-27 (.675). 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).

Mannix, Mistretta, SanDoval & Whited Named Team Captains
Holy Cross will have four captains during the 2012 football season. Senior strong safety Tom Mannix, senior wide receiver Gerald Mistretta, senior linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.) and senior center Sean Whited were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. These three players have taken over the leadership role from Mike McCabe, Ricky Otis and Mark Tolzien, who served as the Crusaders' captains during the 2011 season.

Holy Cross Picked Second In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2012 Crusaders were picked to finish in second place in the preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. Holy Cross received a total of 46 points in the poll, to go along with one first place vote. The rankings:

Rank School (1st place votes) 2011 Record Points
1. Lehigh (11) 11-2 / 6-0 PL 60
2. Holy Cross (1) 6-5 / 4-2 PL 46
3. Colgate 5-6 / 2-4 PL 36
4. Georgetown (2) 8-3 / 4-2 PL 33
5. Lafayette 4-7 / 2-4 PL 32
6. Bucknell 6-5 / 3-3 PL 15

Holy Cross Has Six Preseason All-Patriot League Selections
Six Crusaders were selected to the 2012 preseason All-Patriot League team, as selected by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Junior placekicker John Macomber, senior defensive tackle Jack Maliska, senior strong safety Tom Mannix, senior wide receiver Gerald Mistretta, junior linebacker Mike Tucker and senior center Sean Whited were the Holy Cross players named to the team. The Crusaders' six selections were the second-most in the league, behind only Lehigh with seven.

Crusaders Bring In Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players have received preseason honors from various organizations heading into the 2012 campaign. Senior wide receiver Gerald Mistretta was selected as a third team All-American by the Beyond Sports Network. In addition, Mistretta, junior placekicker John Macomber, junior linebacker Mike Tucker and junior defensive back Andrew Zitnik were all selected to the College Football Performance Awards Watch Lists for the Football Championship Subdivision. Mistretta is a candidate for the Wide Receiver Award, Macomber is up for the Placekicker Award, Tucker is a candidate for the Linebacker Award and Zitnik is up for the Kick Returner Award.

Football Legends Ring Of Honor Inducts Third Class
The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross honored three former football standouts on Aug. 30, as the third class of the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor. Ronnie Cahill (Class of 1940), Pat McCarthy (Class of 1963) and Jeff Wiley (Class of 1989) were all honored in a ceremony prior to the New Hampshire game, and received permanent recognition at Fitton Field. Only former Crusader football players 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 had previously been inducted into the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor include George Connor (Class of ex1946), Gill Fenerty (Class of 1986), Bruce Kozerski (Class of 1984), Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), 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) and Joe Wilson (Class of 1973).

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2012 campaign marks the 117th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 605-478-54, good for a .556 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2012 season, Holy Cross' 605 all-time victories ranked as the 14th 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 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.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2012 will air on WTAG 580 AM and 94.9 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 42nd season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 26th year covering the Crusaders on the radio. Former Holy Cross standouts Tom Kelleher and Gordie Lockbaum will serve as the color commentators for selected games this season. To Listen to the Crusaders' games free of charge over the internet, click here. 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 2012 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2012 campaign:

Sept. 22 vs. Dartmouth: Charter TV3
Oct. 20 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network
Oct. 27 vs. Fordham: Charter TV3
Nov. 3 vs. Lehigh: Service Electric

Crusader Vision
Live video streaming of all 2012 Holy Cross regular season home football games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available for $8.95 per game. Season packages are also available for football only ($45.95) or all Holy Cross sports ($99.95). For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.

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 watch live. The show is carried through Crusader Vision at a cost of $1.95 per week, and is also included in season packages for the show only ($14.95), football only ($45.95) or all Holy Cross sports ($99.95). To view the Holy Cross Football Show, click here.

E-Mail Alerts
Get all the latest news and results on the Holy Cross football team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts, click here.

Scouting The Bears
Brown is coming off a 2011 campaign in which it posted a 7-3 overall record and tied for second in the Ivy League standings with a 4-3 mark in conference games. The Bears' offense returns senior tailback Mark Kachmer, who rushed for a team-best 569 yards and four touchdowns on 124 carries last season. Senior wide out Tellef Lundevall also returns, after catching 51 passes for 516 yards and four scores in 2011. The Brown defense, which allowed just 18.6 points and 315.8 yards per game last season, looks to be led by senior cornerback A.J. Cruz. Last season, Cruz totaled 60 tackles, three interceptions and five pass breakups. Head coach Phil Estes is in his 15th season at the helm of the Brown program, and owns a career record of 85-54. Estes has led the Bears to three Ivy League titles, during the 1999, 2005 and 2008 seasons, and was named the 2005 New England Coach of the Year.

Quick Hits
Senior linebacker Roman SanDoval made a career-best 13 total tackles during the season opener against New Hampshire, including one tackle for loss ... Junior defensive end Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) tied his career high with 10 tackles against New Hampshire, in addition to breaking up a pass and blocking an extra point ... The season opener against New Hampshire on Aug. 30 marked the earliest in the year that the Crusaders had ever played a regular season game. Prior to this year, Holy Cross' earliest ever start to the season came on Sept. 1 (in both 2007 and 2011) ... Four Holy Cross players have returned to the team as fifth-year seniors in 2012: tailback Matt Bellomo, tight end Alex Schneider, quarterback Kevin Watson and center Sean Whited.