Football Heads To Staten Island To Face Wagner

Kyle Pedretty

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-8, 1-3 PL) vs. Wagner (6-3, 6-1 NEC)
Date: November 10, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hameline Field (3,300), Staten Island, N.Y.
Live Video Streaming:
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM & 94.9 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; John O'Neill, color; Click Here to Listen
Unofficial Live Statistics:
Series Record: First Meeting

The Series With Wagner
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Crusaders and the Seahawks on the gridiron. Against current members of the Northeast Conference, Holy Cross stands 4-3 all-time with marks of 2-0 against Sacred Heart and 2-3 vs. Duquesne. Wagner has an all-time record of 9-7 against current members of the Patriot League (8-3 against Fordham, 1-2 vs. Georgetown and 0-2 against Lafayette).

Series Quick Facts
Overall: First Meeting
In Staten Island: First Meeting
At Hameline Field: First Meeting
Current Win Streak: None
Tom Gilmore vs. Wagner: 0-0
Walt Hameline vs. Holy Cross: 0-0

Holy Cross Faces Tough Slate
Holy Cross has faced the third hardest schedule in the NCAA football championship subdivision this season, according to the latest NCAA statistics. The nine teams which the Crusaders have played so far this year have a cumulative record of 43-26 (not including games against Holy Cross), good for a .623 winning percentage. The only teams in the nation to have played a tougher schedule are Missouri State (.642 opponent winning percentage) and North Dakota (.639 opponent winning percentage). All eight of Holy Cross' losses this year have come against teams with winning records: New Hampshire (8-2), Brown (5-3), Dartmouth (5-3), Harvard (7-1), Colgate (6-3), Lafayette (5-4), Fordham (5-4) and Lehigh (9-0).

The Quarterback Combo
Sophomore quarterbacks Steven Elder (San Antonio, Texas) and Ryan Laughlin (Glen Mills, Pa.) have both turned in some strong performances for the Crusaders over the last several games. Last week against Lehigh, Laughlin completed 17 of 27 attempts for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while Elder hit on 12 of 17 passes for 133 yards and two scores. During the previous contest against Fordham, Laughlin connected on 18 of 28 attempts for 223 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 36 yards and a score on four carries. Earlier in the season at Colgate, Elder completed 24 of 39 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, Elder now leads the team by hitting on 83 of 138 attempts for 968 yards and five touchdowns. Laughlin has completed 66 of 111 passes for 644 yards and five scores this year, while ranking third on the team in rushing with 90 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Neither Elder nor Laughlin had appeared in a collegiate varsity game before this season.

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 64 catches for 634 yards and four touchdowns through nine games played. During last week's game against Lehigh, Fess led the team with 10 catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns. In the previous contest against Fordham, he posted eight receptions for a career-high 139 yards and two scores. A few of Fess' other top performances this season have come against Lafayette (nine catches for 93 yards), 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 118 catches for 1,157 yards and six touchdowns during his collegiate career.

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 nine games of the season, he has played 474 snaps as an offensive guard, 65 snaps as a defensive tackle and 37 snaps on special teams. Maliska has started three games on defense and six 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 14 of the team's 22 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.

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 nine games this season, Schneider ranks fourth on the team by catching 16 passes for 161 yards and two scores. During the Lehigh game, he made a season-high five receptions for 72 yards. Schneider previously totaled three receptions for 39 yards in the victory over Bucknell, while catching touchdown passes against both Lafayette and 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 94 catches for 815 yards and 11 scores. His 11 career touchdown receptions are the most ever by a Crusader tight end.

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 Fordham game, 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 leads the team with 76 total tackles and seven pass breakups, and is tied for the team-lead with two interceptions. 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. Over the course of his career with the Crusaders, Mannix has now totaled 214 tackles, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and 23 pass breakups.

Mistretta Making Big Plays
Senior wide out Gerald Mistretta (Brooklyn, N.Y.) continues to be one of the top weapons in the Holy Cross passing game this season. Mistretta currently ranks second on the team with 44 receptions for 541 yards and five scores in nine games played. Last week against Lehigh, he totaled eight receptions for 104 yards and two scores. Previously against Fordham, Mistretta caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, in addition to making another catch for a two-point conversion. He also had a big day at Colgate, leading 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 138 catches for 1,769 yards and 15 scores. He currently stands seventh all-time at Holy Cross in career receptions and career receiving yards, while ranking 12th in career touchdown catches.

Woods Makes Presence Felt
Junior tailback Reggie Woods (Bowie, Md.) has come to life over the last few games, leading the team in rushing in each of the past two weeks. During the Lehigh game, Woods rushed 29 times for a career-high 139 yards and his first collegiate touchdown. Previously against Fordham, he carried 15 times for a team-best 71 yards. On the season, Woods currently ranks second on the team with 268 yards and a score on 61 carries. A year ago, he finished third on the team in rushing with 328 yards on 87 carries. Woods' top game in 2011 came against Brown, when he ran the ball 11 times for 75 yards. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now rushed for 613 yards and a touchdown on 158 carries, and caught 10 passes for 59 yards.

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 37 points on the year, hitting six of nine field goal attempts (including a long of 46 yards) and 19 of 20 extra points. Macomber has also averaged 40.2 yards on 54 punts, with a long of 59 yards and 18 kicks downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In addition, he has averaged 62.1 yards on 35 kickoffs with 17 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 39 of 46 extra points, for a total of 93 points scored. His 18 career field goals made currently rank eighth all-time at Holy Cross.

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 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 349 yards and three scores on 95 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 288 times for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns, while catching 25 passes for 159 yards.

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 20 tackles so far this year, with two sacks, five 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 51 tackles, 11 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. 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 47 total tackles, a sack and six 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 87 tackles, three sacks and nine tackles for loss.

Raymond Heads Up Return Game
Freshman wide receiver Kalif Raymond (Lawrenceville, Ga.) has been the top kickoff and punt returner for the Crusaders during the 2012 season. Raymond has returned 27 kickoffs for 661 yards and a touchdown on the year (good for an average of 24.5 yards per return), in addition to bringing back 13 punts for 74 yards. During the game at Lafayette, he returned a kickoff 80 yards for his first career touchdown. Previously at Colgate, Raymond brought back eight kickoffs for 178 yards, to place third on the all-time Holy Cross single-game list for kickoff return yards. He also totaled a career-best 191 all-purpose yards at Harvard, to earn Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors. Raymond came to Holy Cross from the Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Ga., where he caught 30 passes for 511 yards and nine touchdowns during his high school career.

SanDoval Shines In Senior Year
Senior linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.) has been one of the top players on the Holy Cross defense this season. During the Fordham game, 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 has totaled 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.

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 52-46 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 49-38 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.

Crusaders In The Patriot League
Now in its 27th season of play in the Patriot League, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 82-67 (.550) 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.

Crusaders Among League Leaders
Five Holy Cross players rank at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, through games of Nov. 3. Junior wide out Mike Fess leads the conference in receptions (7.1 catches/game), while standing fourth in receiving yards (70.4 yards/game). Junior placekicker John Macomber ranks second in the league in punting (40.2 yards/punt) and stands fourth in field goals (0.7 made/game). In addition freshman wide receiver Kalif Raymond is second in the conference in kickoff returns (24.5 yards/return), senior wide out Gerald Mistretta ranks fifth in receptions (4.9 catches/game) and sophomore quarterback Ryan Laughlin stands fifth in pass efficiency (121.3 rating). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in kickoff returns (22.6 yards/return), stands second in net punting (35.3 yards/punt) and ranks third in passing offense (234.0 yards/game).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Six Crusaders are ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Nov. 3. As a team, Holy Cross ranks second in the nation in fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards, while standing 26th in kickoff returns. The rankings:

Category Rank   Player / Team Avg. / Pct.
Fewest Penalties 2   Holy Cross 3.7
Fewest Penalty Yards 2   Holy Cross 33.3
Solo Tackles 8   Tom Mannix 7.6
  9   Roman SanDoval 7.5
Receptions 12   Mike Fess 7.1
Passes Defended 33   Tom Mannix 1.0
  33   Logan Silver 1.0
Kickoff Returns 26   Holy Cross 22.7
  34   Kalif Raymond 24.5
Punting 43   John Macomber 40.2
Punt Returns 46   Kalif Raymond 5.7

Senior Salute
Holy Cross has 21 seniors who played in their final regular season home game at Fitton Field last week 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, placekicker Patrick Jarvis (Hopkinton, Mass.), offensive lineman Billy Lang (Millersville, Md.), offensive and defensive lineman Jack Maliska, strong safety Tom Mannix, linebacker Nick Mercurio (Wading River, N.Y.), wide receiver Gerald Mistretta, linebacker Pat O'Connell (Framingham, Mass.), offensive lineman Kyle Pedretty (Dunedin, Fla.), linebacker Roman SanDoval, tight end Alex Schneider, linebacker Erik Wachter, quarterback Kevin Watson (Belle Mead, N.J.) and center Sean Whited (Canton, Ohio). These 21 players were recognized prior to the start of the Lehigh game, along with team manager Kevin Callahan (Fairfield, Conn.). The Crusader seniors have led the team to a 22-21 record over the last four seasons, including the 2009 Patriot League championship and a trip to the 2009 NCAA playoffs.

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 606-485-54, 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.

Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years, but went just 1-5 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 368-174-27 (.670). 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 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.

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 had three games shown on live television during the 2012 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule from 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 was available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, was available for $8.95 per game. Season packages were 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.

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 Seahawks
Wagner enters this week's contest with an overall record of 6-3 and a 6-1 mark in the Northeast Conference. The Seahawks have won their last six games, and can claim the Northeast Conference title with a victory over Duquesne next week. Senior quarterback Nick Doscher has led the Wagner offense by completing 84 of 153 passes for 1,328 yards and eight touchdowns with just one interception, while rushing for 282 yards and four scores on 102 carries. Junior tailback Dominique Williams has run for 887 yards and eight touchdowns on 177 carries, while senior wide out David Crawford has a team-best 28 catches for 374 yards and a score. Defensively, the Seahawks are led by senior linebackers C.O. Prime (66 tackles, three tackles for loss, one interception) and Mike Lombardo (61 tackles, four sacks, nine tackles for loss). Walt Hameline is in his 32nd season as Wagner's head coach, and owns a career record of 210-126-2. Hameline, who also serves as the school's athletic director, led the Seahawks to the 1987 NCAA Division III national championship.

Quick Hits
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 ... Senior linebacker Erik Wachter (Whitehouse Station, N.J.) led the team with 10 tackles and a pass breakup against Lehigh. On the season, he has totaled 40 tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and three pass breakups ... 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 nine catches for 119 yards on the season ... Junior wide receiver Kyle Toulouse (Arlington, Va.) currently ranks third on the team with 26 catches for 233 yards this season. He has now caught 74 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns during his Holy Cross career ... 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 returned to the team as fifth-year seniors in 2012: tailback Matt Bellomo, tight end Alex Schneider, quarterback Kevin Watson and center Sean Whited.