Football Plays Host To Lehigh On Senior Day
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-7, 1-2 PL) vs. #8 Lehigh (8-0, 2-0 PL)
Date: November 3, 2012
Time: 12:30 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: Lehigh leads, 14-12-1
Last Meeting: Lehigh 14, Holy Cross 7; November 5, 2011; Bethlehem, Pa.
The Series With Lehigh
This will be the 28th meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks on the gridiron, with Lehigh leading the all-time series 14-12-1. The Mountain Hawks have won the last two games in the series, but prior to that Holy Cross had been victorious in four out the previous five meetings. For games played in Worcester, Lehigh holds an 8-5-1 lead in the series, including wins in eight of the l ast nine games. Dating back to 2004, the visiting team has won six of the last eight contests in the series. The schools first met on Nov. 8, 1924, in Worcester, with the teams playing to a 3-3 tie.
Series Quick Facts
Overall: Lehigh leads, 14-12-1
In Worcester: Lehigh leads, 8-5-1
At Fitton Field: Lehigh leads, 8-5-1
Current Win Streak: Lehigh, 2 games
Tom Gilmore vs. Lehigh: 4-4
Andy Coen vs. Holy Cross: 3-3
In Overtime: n/a
Holy Cross has 21 seniors who will be playing in their final regular season home game at Fitton Field against Lehigh. The members of the Holy Cross senior class are tight end Reed Apfelbaum (Upper St. Clair, Pa.), tailback Sam Auffant (Hampton, N.H.), tailback Matt Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.), offensive lineman Casey Bessemer (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.), tight end Josh Hauser (Dallas, Texas), linebacker David Herman (Cincinnati, Ohio), offensive lineman Fred Hilow (Lakewood, Ohio), tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario), placekicker Patrick Jarvis (Hopkinton, Mass.), offensive lineman Billy Lang (Millersville, Md.), offensive and defensive lineman Jack Maliska (Winchendon, Mass.), strong safety Tom Mannix (Kenilworth, N.J.), linebacker Nick Mercurio (Wading River, N.Y.), wide receiver Gerald Mistretta (Brooklyn, N.Y.), linebacker Pat O'Connell (Framingham, Mass.), offensive lineman Kyle Pedretty (Dunedin, Fla.), linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.), tight end Alex Schneider (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.), linebacker Erik Wachter (Whitehouse Station, N.J.), quarterback Kevin Watson (Belle Mead, N.J.) and center Sean Whited (Canton, Ohio). These 21 players will be recognized prior to the start of the game. The Crusader seniors have led the team to a 22-20 record over the last four seasons, including the 2009 Patriot League championship and a trip to the 2009 NCAA playoffs.
Holy Cross Faces Tough Slate
Holy Cross has faced the 21st hardest schedule in the NCAA football championship subdivision this season, according to the latest NCAA statistics. The eight teams which the Crusaders have played so far this year have a cumulative record of 29-24 (not including games against Holy Cross), good for a .547 winning percentage. The Crusaders currently own the second toughest schedule in the Patriot League, behind only Fordham. All seven of Holy Cross' losses this year have come against teams with winning records: New Hampshire (7-2), Brown (4-3), Dartmouth (4-3), Harvard (6-1), Colgate (5-3), Lafayette (5-3) and Fordham (5-3). The Crusaders' schedule does not get any easier, as two of the three teams remaining currently have winning records.
A Jack Of All Trades
Senior Jack Maliska 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 seven games of the season, he has played 383 snaps as an offensive guard, 63 snaps as a defensive tackle and 31 snaps on special teams. Maliska has started three games on defense and five games on offense, including starts on both sides of the ball against Dartmouth and Harvard. He has recorded three solo tackles on defense, and has been on the field for nine of the team's 17 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 51 tackles, two sacks and six tackles for loss.
Mannix Stands Out In Secondary
Senior strong safety Tom Mannix is once again one of the top players in the Holy Cross secondary, after earning second team All-Patriot League honors in 2011. During last week's game against Fordham, Mannix led the team with 12 solo tackles and two pass breakups. Previously at Lafayette, he posted a team-best 11 total tackles. A few of Mannix's other top performances this year have come against Colgate (eight tackles and a pass breakup), Harvard (11 solo tackles, two pass breakups and a tackle for loss), Dartmouth (four tackles and an interception), Brown (14 solo tackles and an interception) and New Hampshire (five tackles and a pass breakup). On the season, he has totaled 69 tackles with two interceptions and a team-high seven 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. During his career with the Crusaders, Mannix has now totaled 207 tackles, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and 23 pass breakups.
Schneider Shines At Tight End
Senior tight end Alex Schneider is once again a key part of the Holy Cross passing game in 2012. Through eight games this season, Schneider has caught 11 passes for 89 yards and two scores. During the game at Lafayette, he made a 12-yard reception for a touchdown. Schneider previously totaled three receptions for 39 yards in the victory over Bucknell, and caught 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 89 catches for 743 yards and 11 scores. His 11 career touchdown receptions are the most ever by a Crusader tight end.
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 32 points on the year, hitting six of eight field goal attempts (including a long of 46 yards) and 14 of 15 extra points. Macomber has also averaged 40.7 yards on 49 punts, with a long of 59 yards and 17 kicks downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In addition, he has averaged 61.8 yards on 29 kickoffs with 13 touchbacks. Macomber led the team in scoring during the 2011 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. Over the course of his career as a Crusaders, Macomber has now made 18 of 23 field goals and 34 of 41 extra points, for a total of 88 points scored. His 18 career field goals made currently rank eighth all-time at Holy Cross.
SanDoval Shines In Senior Year
Senior linebacker Roman SanDoval has been one of the top players on the Holy Cross defense so far this season. During last week's game against Fordham, he totaled 11 tackles with one pass breakup. Previously at Lafayette, SanDoval recorded nine tackles with a quarterback sack and a pass breakup. He also played well in games earlier this season against Colgate (13 total tackles), Bucknell (five tackles and a quarterback sack), Dartmouth (career-high 14 total tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack) and New Hampshire (team-high 13 tackles with one tackle for loss). On the season, SanDoval now leads the team with 72 tackles, including three sacks and five 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 127 total tackles, four sacks and eight tackles for loss.
The Last Meeting With Lehigh
Ricky Otis recorded 12 tackles, an interception, a quarterback sack and a pass breakup, but Holy Cross was defeated by eighth-ranked Lehigh 14-7 at Goodman Stadium on Nov. 5, 2011. The Mountain Hawks relied on two second half touchdown runs by Matt Fitz to come from behind for the victory. The Crusader defense held Lehigh to just 14 points and 394 total yards, well below its averages of 37.1 points and 491.0 yards entering the game. Tom Mannix had 12 tackles and a forced fumble for Holy Cross, while C.J. Martin added seven tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. After a scoreless first quarter, the Crusaders used an eight-play, 83-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead on a five-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Taggart to Kyle Toulouse. The Mountain Hawks would drive into Holy Cross territory late in the second quarter, but a 37-yard field goal attempt by Tim Divers hit the left upright, and the Crusaders took a seven-point lead into the locker room at halftime. After a 41-yard field goal attempt by John Macomber hit the crossbar to come up just short, Lehigh tied the score at 7-7 on a three-yard touchdown run by Fitz with 3:30 left in the third quarter. The Mountain Hawks then claimed their first lead of the game on a one-yard scoring run from Fitz with 8:57 to go in the fourth quarter. Divers would miss a 23-yard field goal wide left with 2:03 to play to keep Holy Cross in the game, but the Crusaders were not able to score again as the Mountain Hawks held on for the victory.
Tradition Of Excellence
The 2012 campaign marks the 117th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 606-484-54, good for a .553 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.
Fess Enjoying Fantastic Season
Junior wide receiver Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.) has been one of the top players on the Holy Cross offense this season. He currently leads the team with 54 catches for 544 yards and two touchdowns through eight games played. During last week's game against Fordham, Fess posted eight receptions for career highs of 139 yards and two scores. Previously at Lafayette, he led the team with nine catches for 93 yards. A few of Fess' other top performances this season have come against Colgate (10 receptions for 100 yards), Bucknell (six catches for 60 yards) and New Hampshire (10 receptions for 85 yards). Last season, he earned second team All-Patriot League honors after ranking second on the team with 45 receptions for 417 yards and two scores. Fess has now totaled 108 catches for 1,067 yards and four touchdowns during his collegiate career.
Mistretta Making Big Plays
Senior wide out Gerald Mistretta continues to be one of the top weapons in the Holy Cross passing game this season. He currently ranks second on the team with 36 receptions for 437 yards and three scores in eight games played. Last week against Fordham, Mistretta caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, in addition to making another catch for a two-point conversion. Previously at Colgate, he led the team with seven receptions for a career-high 162 yards and two scores. A few of Mistretta's other top games this season have come against Brown (seven catches for 70 yards), New Hampshire (six receptions for 62 yards) and Bucknell (four catches for 39 yards). Last year, he was named first team All-Patriot League after leading the team with 60 catches for 723 yards and six touchdowns. Over the course of his career with the Crusaders, Mistretta has now recorded 130 catches for 1,665 yards and 13 scores. He is currently tied for 10th all-time at Holy Cross in career receptions.
Houghton Heads Up Ground Game
Senior tailback Eddie Houghton is once again a key part of the Crusaders' offense this season. In the Colgate game, Houghton carried the ball 13 times for 60 yards and a touchdown. Previously against Dartmouth, he rushed 16 times for a team-high 55 yards and a score, while catching one pass for five yards. A few of Houghton's other top performances earlier this year came against Brown (62 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries) and New Hampshire (seven carries for 48 yards, one reception for two yards). On the season, he has now rushed for 317 yards and three scores on 86 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 279 times for 1,358 yards and 13 touchdowns, while catching 24 passes for 151 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 82-66 (.554) 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.
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 52-45 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 49-37 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.
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 16 tackles so far this year, with two sacks, four tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. 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 47 tackles and 11 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 eight tackles at Lafayette and seven tackles at Harvard, and now has 45 total tackles, a sack and five tackles for loss 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 85 tackles, three sacks and eight tackles for loss.
Crusaders Among League Leaders
Three Holy Cross players rank at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, through games of Oct. 27. Junior wide out Mike Fess leads the conference in receptions (6.8 catches/game), while standing fifth in receiving yards (68.0 yards/game). Junior placekicker John Macomber ranks second in the league in punting (40.7 yards/punt) and fourth in field goals (0.8 made/game), while freshman wide receiver Kalif Raymond (Lawrenceville, Ga.) leads the conference in kickoff returns (24.7 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in kickoff returns (22.4 yards/return), stands second in net punting (36.7 yards/punt) and ranks third in passing offense (221.2 yards/game).
Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Five Crusaders are ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Oct. 27. As a team, Holy Cross ranks third in the nation in fewest penalties and fourth in fewest penalty yards. The rankings:
|Category||Rank||Player / Team||Avg. / Pct.|
|Fewest Penalties||3||Holy Cross||3.8|
|Fewest Penalty Yards||4||Holy Cross||35.3|
|Solo Tackles||8||Tom Mannix||7.8|
|Passes Defended||20||Tom Mannix||1.1|
|Kickoff Returns||30||Holy Cross||22.4|
|Punt Returns||44||Kalif Raymond||6.4|
Defense Dominates Against Bucknell
The Crusader defense turned in its top performance of the season during the Oct. 6 victory over Bucknell. Holy Cross limited the Bison to just 191 yards of total offense, six points and 10 first downs on the day, setting season lows in all three categories. The Crusaders also recorded two interceptions, sacked the quarterback three times and blocked a punt. The defense nearly posted a shutout, as Bucknell's points came from field goals on drives of three yards and 17 yards, after interceptions had given the Bison the ball in Holy Cross territory. The Bucknell contest marked the first time the Crusaders had held their opponent without a touchdown since shutting out Georgetown 55-0 on Sept. 22, 2007.
Mannix, Mistretta, SanDoval & Whited Named Team Captains
Holy Cross has 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 were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. These four 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.
Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years, but stands just 1-4 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 368-173-27 (.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).
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).
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, Gordie Lockbaum and John O'Neill 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
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 11:30 a.m.-12:00 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.
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Scouting The Mountain Hawks
Lehigh enters this week's game ranked eighth in the nation by the Sports Network, with an overall record of 8-0 and a 2-0 mark in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a bye week, and defeated Bucknell 42-19 in their last game. Senior quarterback Michael Colvin has led the Lehigh offense by completing 163 of 265 passes for 2,142 yards and 11 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, while rushing for 329 yards and eight scores on 81 carries. Junior tailback Zach Barket has run for 413 yards and four touchdowns on 109 carries, while junior wide out Lee Kurfis has a team-best 41 catches for 537 yards and four scores. Defensively, the Mountain Hawks are led by senior linebacker Billy Boyko with 68 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception. Andy Coen is in his seventh season as Lehigh's head coach, and owns a career record of 49-29. Prior to taking over as head coach for the Mountain Hawks, Coen spent 10 years as offensive coordinator at both Lehigh and Penn.
For the remainder of the 2012 season, the Crusaders are wearing a No. 43 helmet decal in remembrance of Sacramento State defensive end John Bloomfield, who passed away on Oct. 21 ... During the Oct. 27 game against Fordham, the Crusaders wore pink shoelaces as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month ... Freshman wide receiver Kalif Raymond has returned 24 kickoffs for 593 yards and a touchdown so far this season, in addition to bringing back 11 punts for 70 yards. During the game at Lafayette he returned a kickoff 80 yards for his first career touchdown, while his 178 kickoff return yards at Colgate placed third on the all-time Holy Cross single-game list ... Sophomore quarterback Ryan Laughlin (Glen Mills, Pa.) had an outstanding day off the bench against Fordham, completing 18 of 28 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing four times for 36 yards and a score ... Sophomore wide out Jereme Murray (State College, Pa.) had a career-best four receptions for 74 yards during last week's game with Fordham. He now has eight catches for 114 yards on the season ... Junior tailback Reggie Woods (Bowie, Md.) carried the ball 15 times for a season-high 71 yards during last week's game against Fordham ... Senior strong safety Tom Mannix was 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 ... 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) ... The Crusaders were picked to finish in second place in the 2012 Patriot League preseason poll of head coaches and sports information directors, behind only Lehigh ... The 2012 campaign will mark the first time Holy Cross will finish the season with a losing record since going 3-8 in 2004 ... 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.