Sept. 24, 2005
NEWARK, Del. - Senior running back Steve Silva (East Providence, R.I.) accounted for 279 total yards, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by sixth-ranked Delaware 35-23 at Delaware Stadium. The Blue Hens improve to 3-0 on the season with the victory, while the Crusaders fall to 2-2 overall.
The defenses dominated the game for most of the first half, as each team punted four straight times to start the evening. But on Delaware's fifth possession, senior linebacker Matt Dugan (Washington, D.C.) recovered a fumble at the Blue Hen 39-yard line. Four plays later, senior quarterback John O'Neil (White Plains, N.Y.) threw a four-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Sean Gruber (Richwood, Ky.), giving the Crusaders a 7-0 lead. Delaware responded on its next possession, as Omar Cuff scored on a one-yard run to tie the score at 7-7 at the break.
Holy Cross took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched right down the field, but stalled in the red zone and had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by junior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.). Cuff then scored his second touchdown on a 23-yard run to give the Blue Hens their first lead, but the Crusaders came back with a 39-yard scoring pass from O'Neil to Gruber on a fourth down play, putting Holy Cross up 17-14.
The Crusader lead would be short lived, as Sonny Riccio threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Joe Bleymeier late in the third quarter, putting the Blue Hens in the lead for good at 21-17. Delaware added two more touchdowns on a pair of short drives in the fourth quarter, going 19 yards after a 54-yard punt return, and 38 yards following a blocked punt. Silva concluded the scoring for Holy Cross later in the quarter with a four-yard touchdown run.
O'Neil completed 17 of 32 passes for 236 yards and two scores, while Gruber had 131 yards and two touchdowns on five catches. Cuff led the Blue Hens by rushing for 177 yards and two scores on 26 carries, and Riccio completed 16 of 22 attempts for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Junior linebacker Dan Adams (Springfield, Va.) led the Crusader defense with 10 total tackles.
Silva had 106 rushing yards on the day to surpass 2,000 yards rushing for his career, becoming the seventh Holy Cross player to reach that milestone.