October 1, 2012

Holy Cross Plays Host To Bucknell In Patriot League Opener

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-4, 0-0 PL) vs. Bucknell (1-3, 0-1 PL)
Date: October 6, 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, 18-10
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 16, Bucknell 13; October 22, 2011; Lewisburg, Pa.

The Series With Bucknell
This will be the 29th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bison on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 18-10. The Crusaders have won six of the last seven contests between the two schools, with the only win for the Bison during that time being a 23-17 victory in Lewisburg in 2009. Holy Cross holds a slim 5-3 lead during the last eight meetings at Fitton Field, but has won three straight. For all games played in Worcester, the Crusaders own a 12-3 advantage in the series. The schools first met on Oct. 31, 1925, with Holy Cross posting a 23-7 win at Fitton Field.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 18-10
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 12-3
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 12-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
Tom Gilmore vs. Bucknell: 6-2
Joe Susan vs. Holy Cross: 0-2

Crusaders In Patriot League Openers
Holy Cross will begin its 27th season of play in the Patriot League when it faces Bucknell on Oct. 6. The Crusaders own an all-time mark of 17-9 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season, including a 37-7 victory over Colgate last year. Holy Cross has won six of its last seven conference openers, including five victories over Georgetown (48-6 in 2005, 26-13 in 2006, 55-0 in 2007, 38-14 in 2008 and 20-7 in 2009). The Crusaders also stand 11-3 in conference openers over the last 13 seasons, with the only losses during that span coming against Lehigh (38-20 in 2003), Fordham (42-35 in 2004) and Georgetown (17-7 in 2010). In addition, Holy Cross owns an all-time mark of 20-6 in its opening Patriot League home contest of the season. The Crusaders have been victorious in their first conference home game in each of the last seven years, since falling to Fordham 42-35 in 2004.

Holy Cross Set For Annual Kids' Day
The Holy Cross football team will hold its annual Price Chopper Kids' Day during the contest with Bucknell on Oct. 6. The Crusaders will hold a free pregame clinic for kids aged 13 and under beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Fitton Field. The first 150 kids to the clinic will receive a free Kids' Day t-shirt, compliments of Price Chopper. In the event of rain, the pregame clinic will be moved to the Holy Cross Field House (no cleats or black soled shoes will be permitted in the Field House). Youth cheerleaders are also welcome, as the Holy Cross cheerleading team with hold a clinic as well. For the Bucknell game, all kids aged 17 and under will be admitted for only $1.00.

A Jack Of All Trades
Senior Jack Maliska (Winchendon, Mass.) earned second team All-Patriot League honors as a defensive tackle during the 2011 season, and was expected to once again be a force for the Holy Cross defense this year. But due to a number of injuries along the offensive line, Maliska has been needed by the Crusaders on both sides of the ball. Through the first four games of the season, he has played 161 snaps as an offensive guard, 49 snaps as a defensive tackle and 15 snaps on special teams. Maliska has started three games on defense and two games on offense, including starts on both sides of the ball against Dartmouth and Harvard. He has recorded one solo tackle on defense, and has been on the field for three of the team's six touchdown drives on offense. Last year, Maliska totaled 35 tackles for the Crusaders, 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 49 tackles, two sacks and six tackles for loss.

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. He has scored a team-high 15 points on the year, hitting all three of his field goal attempts (including a long of 46 yards) and all six of his extra points. Macomber has also averaged 39.1 yards on 26 punts, with a long of 52 yards and seven kicks downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In addition, he has averaged 63.5 yards on 11 kickoffs with six touchbacks. 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 15 career field goals made currently rank ninth 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. Last week at Harvard, Mannix led the team with 11 solo tackles, to go along with two pass breakups and a tackle for loss. Previously against Dartmouth, he totaled four tackles and intercepted a pass. Mannix also had 14 solo tackles and an interception against Brown, while recording five tackles and a pass breakup against New Hampshire. On the season, he has totaled 34 tackles with a team-best two interceptions and three pass breakups. 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 172 tackles, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and 19 pass breakups.

SanDoval Steps Up In Senior Year
Senior linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.) has been one of the top players on the Holy Cross defense so far this season. During the Dartmouth game, SanDoval led the team with a career-high 14 total tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack. Previously against New Hampshire, he posted a team-high 13 tackles with one tackle for loss. On the season, SanDoval is now tied for the team lead with 34 tackles, including a sack and three tackles for loss. Last year, he totaled 15 tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss in the first three games, before missing the remainder of the season due to injury. Over the course of his collegiate career, SanDoval now has 89 total tackles, two sacks and six tackles for loss.

Houghton Heads Up Ground Game
Senior tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) is once again a key part of the Crusaders' offense this season. In the Dartmouth game, Houghton rushed 16 times for a team-high 55 yards and a score, while catching one pass for five yards. Previously against Brown, he led the team with 62 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Houghton also played well against New Hampshire, carrying the ball seven times for a team-high 48 yards and catching one pass for two yards. On the season, he has now rushed for 175 yards and two scores on 42 carries. 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 235 times for 1,216 yards and 12 touchdowns, while catching 22 passes for 129 yards.

Crusaders In The Patriot League
Now in 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 Bucknell
Chandler Fenner totaled eight tackles, a sack and a pass breakup, to lead Holy Cross to a 16-13 victory over Bucknell at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Oct. 22, 2011. Fenner led a Holy Cross defense which held the Bison to just 146 total yards and eight first downs on the day, while recording six sacks. Ryan Taggart led the Crusader offense by completing 32 of 58 passes for 380 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Nate Stanley had a career-high nine receptions for 109 yards. Mike Tucker finished the game with four tackles and a career-best three sacks, and C.J. Martin added four tackles and two sacks. The Bison opened the scoring at the 6:47-mark of the first quarter, when Drew Orth kicked a 37-yard field goal after Bucknell had recovered a fumble at the Holy Cross 21-yard line. The Crusaders came back on their next possession with a five-yard touchdown pass from Taggart to Gerald Mistretta, to claim a 7-3 lead. Bucknell cut the margin to 7-6 late in the second quarter on an Orth field goal, from 25 yards, after the Bison recovered another fumble in Crusader territory. But before halftime, Holy Cross marched back down the field, with Taggart tossing a five-yard scoring strike to Mike Fess, making the score 13-6 at the break. The Bison opened the second half with a one-yard touchdown run by Tyler Smith, to tie the game at 13-13. The Crusaders regained the lead on a 30-yard field goal by John Macomber with 6:27 to play in the third quarter. The defenses would then dominate play the rest of the game, before Bucknell took over at its own 31-yard line with 1:55 to play. On that final drive of only four plays, Holy Cross recorded a pair of sacks by Martin and Tucker, to go along with two incomplete passes to end the game.

Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years, but stands 0-3 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 367-172-27 (.672). 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).

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.) currently leads the team with 21 catches for 152 yards through four games. 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 75 catches for 675 yards and two touchdowns during his collegiate career. Senior wide out Gerald Mistretta (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has posted 17 receptions for a team-high 149 yards over the first four contests of the season. 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 111 receptions for 1,377 yards and 10 scores. Junior wide out Kyle Toulouse (Arlington, Va.) has caught 14 passes for 92 yards so far in 2011, after standing third on the squad with 40 catches for 472 yards and three touchdowns a year ago. Toulouse now has 62 receptions for 647 yards and three scores during his career as a Crusader. Junior wide out Jon Smith (Matawan, N.J.) has 10 catches for 105 yards on the season, and now has 33 career receptions for 379 yards and one touchdown. In addition, junior wide receiver Nate Stanley (Euclid, Ohio) has made four catches for 81 yards this year, to bring his career totals to 22 receptions for 298 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 51-42 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 48-34 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.

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. Through the first four games of the season, Schneider has caught four passes for 21 yards, including a six-yard touchdown against Brown. 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 82 catches for 675 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Acquah & Tucker Playing Well Up Front
Junior defensive ends Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) and Mike Tucker (Chester Springs, Pa.) are both playing key roles along the Holy Cross defensive line this season. Tucker has totaled seven tackles so far this year, including two tackles for loss. Last season, he recorded 27 tackles and a pass breakup, while leading the team with nine sacks and earning second team All-Patriot League honors. 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 35 tackles and nine sacks. Acquah tied his career high with 10 tackles against New Hampshire, in addition to breaking up a pass and blocking an extra point. He also made seven tackles at Harvard, and now has 26 total tackles and one sack on the season. Last year, Acquah led all Holy Cross defensive linemen with 40 total tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 66 tackles, three sacks and four tackles for loss.

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 and senior center Sean Whited (Canton, Ohio) 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.

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. 29. Freshman wide receiver Kalif Raymond (Lawrenceville, Ga.) ranks second in the conference in kickoff returns (23.9 yards/return) and fifth in all-purpose yards (107.3 yards/game). Junior placekicker John Macomber currently stands fourth in the league in both punting (39.1 yards/punt) and field goals (0.8 made/game). In addition, senior strong safety Tom Mannix ranks second in interceptions (0.5 picks/game), junior wide out Mike Fess stands fourth in receptions (5.3 catches/game) and junior wide out Kyle Toulouse is fifth in kickoff returns (20.8 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross ranks second in the league in both kickoff returns (20.7 yards/return) and punt returns (11.2 yards/return).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Five Crusaders are ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 29. As a team, Holy Cross ranks ninth in the nation in fewest penalties and 16th in fewest penalty yards. The rankings:

Category Rank    Player / Team Avg. / Pct.
Solo Tackles 3   Tom Mannix 8.0
  10   Roman SanDoval 6.8
Fewest Penalties 9   Holy Cross 4.3
Fewest Penalty Yards 16   Holy Cross 40.3
Interceptions 19   Tom Mannix 0.5
Passes Defended 24   Tom Mannix 1.3
  24   Logan Silver 1.3
Punt Returns 29   Holy Cross 11.3
Kickoff Returns 44   Kalif Raymond 23.9
Receptions 49   Mike Fess 5.3


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 (Warren, Ohio) 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.

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 was 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 had an overall mark of 48-30 from 2005-2011. Prior to that, 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.

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 605-481-54, good for a .554 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 three 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

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 Bison
Bucknell stands 1-3 overall this season, with an 0-1 mark in the Patriot League. The Bison have lost their last three games, and are coming off a 15-10 loss to Cornell. The Bucknell offense is led by junior quarterback Brandon Wesley, who has completed 78 of 126 passes for 761 yards and three touchdowns with four interceptions. Senior tailback Jeremiah Young has rushed 54 times for a team-best 197 yards and a score, while junior wide out Victor Walker has 22 catches for 245 yards on the year. Sophomore linebacker Evan Byers leads the Bison defense with 37 total tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. Joe Susan is in his third season as Bucknell's head coach, and has posted an overall record of 8-18. Susan's career record stands at 18-18, including one season at Davidson.

Quick Hits
Holy Cross' 52 points allowed at Harvard were the most it had given up since Lafayette scored 56 points on Nov. 13, 2004 ... The Crusaders' 49-point margin of defeat at Harvard was their largest since falling to Lehigh 62-8 on Oct. 23, 1999 ... Senior strong safety Tom Mannix has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to the top scholar-athlete in the nation ... Freshman wide receiver Kalif Raymond recorded a career-high 191 all-purpose yards during the Harvard game, including a 42-yard kickoff return and a 35-yard punt return ... Junior linebacker Scotty O'Donoghue (Tampa, Fla.) recorded a career-high 11 total tackles and one pass breakup against Brown. He currently ranks third on the team with 29 total tackles ... Sophomore free safety Logan Silver (Eugene, Ore.) totaled two tackles, a sack, an interception and two pass breakups against Dartmouth. On the season, he has now recorded 15 tackles, one sack, one interception and a team-best four pass breakups ... Prior to the Sept. 22 contest against Dartmouth, Holy Cross honored members of its 1987 team on the 25th anniversary of their perfect 11-0 season ... 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 (Holliston, Mass.), tight end Alex Schneider, quarterback Kevin Watson (Belle Mead, N.J.) and center Sean Whited.