Crusaders Set To Open Season At Bryant

Blake Berresford

Preseason Quick Hitter Video: Offense

Preseason Quick Hitter Video: Defense

Preseason Quick Hitter Video: Special Teams & Schedule

Complete Release in PDF Format

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Bryant (0-0, 0-0 NEC)
Date: August 31, 2013
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Place: Bulldog Stadium (3,400), Smithfield, R.I.
Live Video Streaming: NEC Front Row
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM & 94.9 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; Click Here to Listen
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime

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

Series Quick Facts
Overall: First Meeting
In Smithfield: First Meeting
At Bulldog Stadium: First Meeting
Current Win Streak: None
Tom Gilmore vs. Bryant: 0-0
Marty Fine vs. Holy Cross: 0-0

For Openers
Holy Cross will start its 118th season of intercollegiate football with the Bryant game. The Crusaders have always been excellent on opening day, posting a record of 69-39-9 in their season debuts. Following last season's 38-17 loss to New Hampshire, Holy Cross stands 7-6 on opening day over the last 13 years. Since the beginning of the 1980 season, Holy Cross owns a 20-12-1 mark in its opener. The Crusaders also have an all-time mark of 45-67-4 in their opening road game of the season. Holy Cross has lost its last three road openers, since posting a 42-21 victory at Northeastern in 2009.

Fess Coming Off Fantastic Season
Senior wide receiver Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.) should once again be among the top players on the Holy Cross offense this season. Last year, he led the team with 80 catches for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games played. Fess' 80 total receptions on the year were the second-most ever by a Crusader in a single season, behind only Ari Confesor's 90 catches in 2003. During the Wagner game, he led the team with six receptions for 101 yards. Previously against Lehigh, Fess caught 10 passes for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also played well against Fordham, posting eight receptions for a career-high 139 yards and two scores. A few of Fess' other top performances last season came against Georgetown (10 receptions for 60 yards), Lafayette (nine catches for 93 yards), Colgate (10 receptions for 100 yards) and New Hampshire (10 receptions for 85 yards). In 2011, 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 134 catches for 1,318 yards and six touchdowns during his collegiate career. He currently ranks 10th all-time at Holy Cross in career receptions, and needs 57 catches this year to break the all-time school record.

Macomber Steps Up In Kicking Game
Senior John Macomber (Vienna, Va.) earned second team All-Patriot League honors for the Crusaders last season, as both a placekicker and a punter. He ranked second on the team with 55 points scored last year, hitting 10 of 13 field goal attempts (including a long of 46 yards) and 25 of 26 extra points. Macomber also averaged 40.9 yards on 62 punts, with a long of 59 yards and 23 kicks downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In addition, he averaged 62.4 yards on 47 kickoffs with 21 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 22 of 28 field goals and 45 of 52 extra points, for a total of 111 points scored. His 22 career field goals made currently rank sixth all-time at Holy Cross.

Raymond Heads Up Return Game
Sophomore wide receiver Kalif Raymond (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was the top kickoff and punt returner for the Crusaders during the 2012 season, and earned first team All-Patriot League honors. Raymond returned 32 kickoffs for 777 yards and a touchdown last year (good for an average of 24.3 yards per return), in addition to bringing back 19 punts for 101 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.

Acquah & Tucker Play Well Up Front
Senior defensive end Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.) and senior outside linebacker Mike Tucker (Chester Springs, Pa.) both look to play key roles along the Holy Cross defensive front this season. Acquah was named second team All-Patriot League for his play last year. He tied his career high with 10 tackles against New Hampshire, in addition to breaking up a pass and blocking an extra point. Acquah also made eight tackles at Lafayette and seven tackles at Harvard, and finished the season with 54 total tackles, two sacks and seven tackles for loss. In 2011, he 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, Acquah has now totaled 94 tackles, four sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Tucker totaled 28 tackles last year, with a team-best nine tackles for loss, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. In 2011, 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 59 tackles, 11 sacks and 16 tackles for loss.

Three Starters Return To Lead Offensive Line
Holy Cross returns three starters to an offensive line which looks to become one of the top units in the Patriot League this year. In 2012, the line paved the way for the Crusaders to average 21.2 points and 343.5 total yards per game. The line also allowed only 26 sacks last year while the team attempted 392 passes. Returning starters for the Crusaders include senior Blake Berresford (Montoursville, Pa.) at right tackle, fifth-year senior Casey Bessemer (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.) at left guard and fifth-year senior Kyle Pedretty (Dunedin, Fla.) at left tackle. Bessemer has started 22 consecutive games for Holy Cross, and has played in 33 contests during his collegiate career. Pedretty has played in 23 career games with 22 starts, while Berresford has started in all 13 of his career games played. Those three are expected to be joined in the starting lineup by senior Jay Knighton (Pottstown, Pa.) at center and junior Ryan Schnieber (Cincinnati, Ohio) at right guard.

SanDoval Set For Final Year
Fifth-year senior linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.) looks to once again be among of the top players on the Holy Cross defense this season. During last year's 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 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). Overall last season, SanDoval totaled 75 tackles, including three sacks and five tackles for loss. In 2011, he recorded 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 130 total tackles, four sacks and eight tackles for loss.

The Quarterback Combo
Junior quarterbacks Steven Elder (San Antonio, Texas) and Ryan Laughlin (Glen Mills, Pa.) both turned in some strong performances for the Crusaders last season. Elder, who is expected to start in the season opener at Bryant, led the team by hitting on 106 of 173 attempts for 1,281 yards and seven touchdowns last year. During the Wagner game, he connected on 16 of 25 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. Elder previously hit on 12 of 17 passes for 133 yards and two scores against Lehigh, while completing 24 of 39 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns at Colgate. Laughlin completed 81 of 132 passes for 752 yards and six scores last season, while ranking third on the team in rushing with 144 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries. Against Lehigh, he completed 17 of 27 attempts for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Laughlin also connected on 18 of 28 attempts for 223 yards and three touchdowns against Fordham, in addition to rushing for 36 yards and a score on four carries. Neither Elder nor Laughlin had appeared in a collegiate varsity game before last season.

Football Legends Ring Of Honor Inductions Set For Sept. 21
The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross will honor three former football standouts on Sept. 21, as the fourth class of the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor. Tom Greene (Class of 1959), Dave Quehl (Class of 1976) and Johnny Turco (Class of 1952) will all be honored in a ceremony prior to the Monmouth game, and receive 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 have previously been inducted into the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor include Ronnie Cahill (Class of 1940), George Connor (Class of ex1946), Gill Fenerty (Class of 1986), Bruce Kozerski (Class of 1984), Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), Pat McCarthy (Class of 1963), 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), Jeff Wiley (Class of 1989) and Joe Wilson (Class of 1973).

Holy Cross Picked Third In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2013 Crusaders have been picked to finish in third place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. Holy Cross received a total of 35 points in the poll, to trail only Colgate and Lehigh. The rankings:

Rank   School (1st place votes) 2012 Record Points
1.   Colgate (8) 8-4 / 6-0 PL 68
2.   Lehigh (6) 10-1 / 5-1 PL 56
3.   Holy Cross 2-9 / 2-4 PL 35
4.   Lafayette 5-6 / 2-4 PL 32
5.   Georgetown 5-6 / 2-4 PL 26
6.   Bucknell 3-8 / 1-5 PL 15

Crusaders In The Patriot League
Looking ahead to its 28th season of play in the Patriot League, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 83-67 (.553) 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.

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

Holy Cross Looks To Post Another Winning Season
In 2013, the Crusaders will attempt to finish with a winning record for the eighth time in a nine-year span. The Crusaders had a streak of seven straight winning seasons snapped last year, when they went just 2-9 overall. 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 seven-year run, the last time the Crusaders posted a winning mark in seven straight seasons was from 1986-1992.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year (in 2006 and 2009), Tom Gilmore is now in his 10th season as the head football coach at Holy Cross in 2013. He has guided the Crusaders to an overall record of 53-47 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 50-39 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 led the Crusaders to winning records in seven straight seasons from 2005-2011, 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 Among League Leaders
Five Holy Cross players ranked at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, at the end of the 2012 season. Wide out Mike Fess led the conference in receptions (7.3 catches/game), while standing fourth in receiving yards (72.3 yards/game). Placekicker John Macomber ranked second in the league in punting (40.9 yards/punt) and stood third in field goals (0.9 made/game). In addition wide receiver Kalif Raymond led the conference in kickoff returns (24.3 yards/return), wide out Gerald Mistretta ranked fifth in receptions (4.9 catches/game) and quarterback Ryan Laughlin stood fifth in pass efficiency (122.7 rating). As a team, Holy Cross led the league in kickoff returns (22.5 yards/return) and ranked second in net punting (36.1 yards/punt).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Five Crusaders were ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, at the conclusion of the 2012 season. As a team, Holy Cross led in the nation in fewest penalties, while ranking third in fewest penalty yards and 26th in kickoff returns. The rankings:

Category Rank   Player / Team Avg. / Pct.
Fewest Penalties 1   Holy Cross 3.8
Fewest Penalty Yards 3   Holy Cross 35.1
Solo Tackles 10   Roman SanDoval 6.9
  17   Tom Mannix 6.8
Receptions 11   Mike Fess 7.3
Kickoff Returns 26   Holy Cross 22.5
  35   Kalif Raymond 24.3
Punting 38   John Macomber 40.9
Field Goals 44   John Macomber 0.9
Receiving Yards 46   Mike Fess 72.3

Acquah & Fess Named Captains
Holy Cross will have two captains during the 2013 football season. Senior defensive end Gary Acquah and senior wide receiver Mike Fess 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 Tom Mannix, Gerald Mistretta, Roman SanDoval and Sean Whited, who served as the Crusaders' captains during the 2012 season.

Crusaders Earn Six Spots On Preseason All-Patriot League Team
Holy Cross players claimed six spots on the 2013 preseason All-Patriot League team, as selected by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Senior John Macomber was named to the team twice, as both a placekicker and a punter. He was joined on the squad by senior Gary Acquah (defensive line), senior Mike Fess (wide receiver), senior Kyle Pedretty (offensive line) and sophomore Kalif Raymond (return specialist). The Crusaders' six selections to the preseason All-Patriot League team were the most in the conference.

Crusaders Bring In Several Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players have received preseason honors from various organizations heading into the 2013 campaign. Senior wide receiver Mike Fess led the way, being named a second team All-American by USA College Football. Senior placekicker and punter John Macomber was selected to the watch list for the Fred Mitchell Award, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate placekicker at any level outside of the football bowl subdivision. In addition, Macomber, senior defensive end Gary Acquah and sophomore wide receiver Kalif Raymond were all selected to the College Football Performance Awards Watch Lists for the Football Championship Subdivision. Macomber is a candidate for the Placekicker Award, Acquah is up for the Defensive Lineman Award and Raymond is a candidate for the All-Purpose Performer Award.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2013 campaign will mark the 118th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 607-486-54, 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.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2013 will air on WTAG 580 AM and 94.9 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 43rd season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 27th 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. All of the Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet by clicking 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 2013 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2013 campaign:

Oct. 5 vs. Harvard: Charter TV3
Oct. 19 vs. Colgate: CBS Sports Network
Oct. 26 vs. Lafayette: Charter TV3
Nov. 9 at Lehigh: Service Electric

Crusader Vision
Live video streaming of most 2013 Holy Cross regular season home football games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Campus Insiders as part of the Patriot League Network, is available free of charge. 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 free of charge. For more details, click here.

On Social Media
Updates on Holy Cross football can be found through the Holy Cross Athletics pages on the following social media networks:

Facebook: Holy Cross Athletics
Twitter: @GoHolyCross
YouTube: GoHolyCross
Instagram: GoHolyCross

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 Bulldogs
Bryant is coming off a 2012 campaign in which it went 4-7 overall and tied for fourth in the Northeast Conference with a 4-4 mark in league games. Senior wide receiver Jordan Harris looks to lead the Bulldog offense, after catching 61 passes for a school-record 1,243 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, while earning Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. Bryant also returns senior quarterback Mike Westerhaus, who completed 167 of 327 passes for 2,384 yards and 19 touchdowns with 13 interceptions in 2012. The leaders of the Bulldog defense are expected to be junior defensive end Jeff Covitz (58 tackles, eight sacks, 17 tackles for loss last year) and senior cornerback Jeremy Woodson (54 tackles, two interceptions, nine pass breakups last season). Marty Fine is entering his 10th season as Bryant's head coach, with an overall record of 57-39. Fine's career record stands at 67-50, including two years as the head coach at Sonoma State.

Quick Hits
Senior defensive end Gary Acquah has been named a candidate for the 2013 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The award recognizes a select group of college football players who have made a commitment to enriching the lives of others while contributing to the greater good of their communities ... Four Holy Cross players have returned to the team as fifth-year seniors in 2013: offensive guard Casey Bessemer, offensive guard Billy Lang (Millersville, Md.), offensive tackle Kyle Pedretty and linebacker Roman SanDoval ... The Crusaders had eight All-Patriot League selections in 2012. Four of those players return for Holy Cross in 2013 ... Last season, Holy Cross played the hardest regular season schedule in the NCAA football championship subdivision, according to the NCAA statistics. The 11 teams which the Crusaders faced last year had a cumulative regular season record of 64-42 (not including games against Holy Cross), good for a .604 winning percentage.