Oct. 8, 2005
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Junior linebacker Chris Nielsen (Center Line, Mich.) recorded 14 total tackles with two tackles for loss and a forced fumble, to lead Holy Cross to a 13-10 victory over 10th-ranked Lehigh in a driving rain storm at Goodman Stadium. The Crusaders limited the Mountain Hawks to just 289 total yards on the day, while recovering three of Lehigh's 11 fumbles. Holy Cross improves to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League with the victory, while Lehigh falls to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
The Mountain Hawks opened the scoring midway through the first quarter on a 23-yard field goal by Justin Musiek. Lehigh then increased its lead to 10-0 in the second quarter, on a four-yard pass from Mark Borda to John Piascik.
Neither team could generate any offense in the third quarter, but early in the final period senior tailback Steve Silva (East Providence, R.I.) returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown to put Holy Cross back in the game. The extra point attempt was blocked following a bad snap, and the Crusaders trailed 10-6.
Later in the fourth quarter, senior wide receiver Sean Gruber (Richwood, Ky.) ripped the ball away from a Lehigh defensive back Andrew Nelson in the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown catch, giving Holy Cross a 13-6 lead. The Mountain Hawks drove into Crusader territory twice in the closing minutes of the game, but Holy Cross forced fumbles both times to end the Lehigh drives.
Senior quarterback John O'Neil (White Plains, N.Y.) completed 14 of 26 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead the Crusader offense, while Gruber caught five passes for 62 yards and a score. Borda completed seven of 15 passes for 83 yards for the Mountain Hawks, but also lost 11 yards on 11 carries and fumbled five times. Eric Rath added 141 yards on 21 carries for Lehigh, but also fumbled at the Holy Cross 26-yard line with just over two minutes remaining.
Junior linebacker Dan Adams (Springfield, Va.) had nine tackles and a fumble recovery for the Crusader defense, while sophomore strong safety Kent Flanders (Atlanta, Ga.) added seven tackles and recovered two fumbles. Owen Breininger and Anthony Graziani both had 11 tackles for the Mountain Hawks.
The Crusaders return to action next Saturday, Oct. 15, when they play host to Dartmouth in a 1:00 p.m. game at Fitton Field.