September 5, 2005

Crusaders To Face Georgetown In Patriot League Opener

Sept. 5, 2005

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Georgetown (1-0, 1-0 PL)
Date: September 10, 2005
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Georgetown Radio: WGTB 92.3 FM, Washington, D.C.; www.wgtb923.com, internet
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 10-7
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 31, Georgetown 28 (OT), November 20, 2004, Washington, D.C.

The Series With Georgetown
This will be the 18th meeting between the Crusaders and the Hoyas on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 10-7. The Crusaders have won their last five games against Georgetown, and have been victorious in seven of the last nine meetings. For games played in Worcester, Holy Cross owns a 5-4 advantage in the series, including two straight wins and three victories in the last four meetings. The last win for the Hoyas in the series came on Sept. 11, 1999, when they posted a 34-16 victory at Fitton Field.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 10-7
At Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 5-4
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 5-4
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, five games
Tom Gilmore vs. Georgetown: 1-0
Bob Benson vs. Holy Cross: 2-7

Holy Cross In Homecoming Games
The Crusaders have posted an all-time record of 27-28-1 in Homecoming games, including losses in each of the last three seasons. Since winning 11 straight games on Homecoming Weekend from 1982-1992, Holy Cross has gone only 2-10 in Homecoming games over the last 12 years. Last season, the Crusaders suffered a 42-14 setback against Lehigh on Homecoming Weekend. This year's game will mark the first time the Crusaders have ever faced Georgetown on Homecoming.

Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy On The Line This Week
The Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy has been presented annually to the most outstanding player in Holy Cross' Homecoming game since 1965. It is given in memory of Johnny Turco (Class of 1952), a former star halfback and a member of the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame. There has only been one player who has won the honor two times in his career (Joe Segreti, in 1988 and 1990). Last season, Lehigh quarterback Mark Borda won the Turco Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Homecoming game.

Crusaders Looking For Fast Start
With last week's victory over Sacred Heart, Holy Cross won its season opener for the first time since 2002 and improved its all-time record in season debuts to 65-36-9. This week, the Crusaders will look to start the year 2-0 for the first time since the 2002 squad began the year with victories over Army (30-21) and Georgetown (41-14). Holy Cross has opened the year 2-0 three times in the last five seasons, as the 2000 and 2001 squad also won their opening two games of the year.

Holy Cross In Patriot League Openers
Holy Cross will begin its 20th season of play in the Patriot League when it faces Georgetown this weekend. The Crusaders own an all-time mark of 11-8 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season, including a 5-2 mark over the last seven seasons. The only loss during that span came in the last two years, when Holy Cross fell to Lehigh (38-20 in 2003) and Fordham (42-35 in 2004). From 1998 through 2002, the Crusaders won five straight conference openers, against Towson twice (31-24 in 1998; 17-14 in 2000), Georgetown twice (33-7 in 2001; 41-13 in 2002) and Lafayette once (30-12 in 1999). Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 53-50 (.515) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

O'Neil Leading Aerial Attack
Senior quarterback John O'Neil (White Plains, N.Y.) is now in his third year as the starting signal caller for Holy Cross.. In the season opener against Sacred Heart, he completed 15 of 21 attempts for 225 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to catching two touchdown passes. Last season, O'Neil completed 193 of 356 attempts for 2,022 yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished 2004 ranked third in the Patriot League in both passing yards and total offense, while placing fifth on the Holy Cross single season list for passing attempts and ninth for passing yards. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, O'Neil has now completed 424 of 752 passes for 4,821 yards and 39 touchdowns. Entering this week, O'Neil is currently ranked fourth all-time at Holy Cross in career completions, attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage (56.0), and fifth in yards of total offense (5,162).

Silva Shines In Season Opener
Senior tailback Steve Silva had an outstanding day in the victory over Sacred Heart, and was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week. He accounted for 179 total yards against the Pioneers, while having a hand in six of the Crusaders' eight touchdowns. Rushing the ball, Silva totaled 85 yards and three scores on 15 carries, setting a new career high for rushing touchdowns. He also had a fine day as a receiver, tying for the team-lead in receptions with four for 40 yards and another touchdown. In addition, Silva threw a pair of touchdown passes for eight and 16 yards, and his only two passing attempts of the day. To round things out, he added a pair of punt returns for 30 yards. Making Silva's numbers even more impressive is that he accounted for almost all of them in the first half. He had only 23 rushing yards and 15 punt return yards after the break, with all six of his touchdowns coming in the first two quarters. Silva's outstanding performance in the season opener comes on the heels of a 2004 season in which he led the team in both rushing yards (708 yards on 161 carries) and receptions (60 catches for 507 yards), in addition to scoring a team-high 11 touchdowns. He became the first Crusader since Gordie Lockbaum in 1986 to lead the team in both receptions and rushing yards, while his 1,663 all-purpose yards were the most in the Patriot League. Over the course of his four-year career as a Crusader, Silva has rushed for 1,818 yards and 25 touchdowns on 441 carries, while catching 104 passes for 866 yards and two scores.
Click here to vote for Silva as the National Player of the Week.

Crusader Offense Has Big Day
The Holy Cross offense had an outstanding afternoon in the season opening victory over Sacred Heart. The Crusaders scored 56 points and ran up 437 yards to total offense of the day, including 258 passing yards and 179 rushing yards. The 56 points scored were the most by Holy Cross since Oct. 20, 2001, when it posted a 63-53 victory over Lafayette at Fitton Field. The 437 total yards were also impressive, as the Crusaders bettered that mark only once during the 2004 season (577 yards against Marist). The offensive attack was a balanced one, as several different players contributed to the victory. Holy Cross had eight different players rush the ball, 10 individuals had receptions, and four players attempted passes.

The Last Meeting With Georgetown
Mike DeSantis kicked a 35-yard field goal in overtime, to break a 28-28 tie and lift the Holy Cross football team to a 31-28 victory over Georgetown at Harbin Field. Georgetown had the ball first in overtime, but was able to gain only one yard on its first three plays from scrimmage. Kyle Trodden and Sain Karim combined for a key five-yard tackle for loss during the series. The Hoyas then lined up to attempt a 43-yard field goal, but the snap went over the holder's head, giving possession to the Crusaders. Holy Cross had a pair of incomplete passes on its first two plays of overtime, before Steve Silva carried for an eight-yard gain, setting up DeSantis' 35-yard game-winner. In the first quarter Holy Cross took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive of the game, with Silva scoring the touchdown on a nine-yard run. Georgetown responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Drew Crawford to Craig Agnello, tying the score at 7-7 after one quarter. In the second period, the Crusaders regained the lead on a 20-yard scoring pass from quarterback John O'Neil to Sean Gruber. But the Hoyas tied the score at 14-14 before halftime on a one-yard pass from Crawford to Jordan Jarry. Georgetown then opened up a 28-14 lead midway through the third quarter, with Crawford scoring on a 38-yard run and throwing a 67-yard touchdown pass to Janeiro Wooten. But Holy Cross would come back with two touchdowns of its own, tying the score at 28-28 in the fourth quarter to force the overtime. O'Neil connected with Gruber on a 16-yard scoring pass, then threw a 36-yard touchdown to Thomas Harrison. David Fitzpatrick led the Holy Cross defense with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery, while David Mitchell had seven tackles, a forced fumble and a sack.

Holy Cross Receivers Look Strong
In the season opening victory over Sacred Heart, Holy Cross had 10 different players catch at least one pass. Senior Bob Turkovich (Bedford, Pa.) led the way with four catches for 42 yards, while senior Sean Gruber (Richwood, Ky.) added a 77-yard touchdown reception.The Crusaders' depth at receiver should come as no surprise, as all eight players off the 2004 Holy Cross team who caught at least 10 passes are back in uniform this fall. In addition to Gruber and Turkovich, the Crusaders also return senior Bryan Anderson (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and sophomore Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.). Last season, Gruber led the team with 720 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns, while ranking second on the team in catches with 48. Turkovich had 20 receptions for 211 yards and a score last season, despite missing four games due to injury. Anderson totaled 17 catches for 185 yards in 2004, while Thomas Harrison had 12 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. In addition, Holy Cross returns one of the Patriot League's top tight ends in fifth-year senior Luke Dugan (Maple Plain, Minn.). Last year, Dugan recorded 17 catches for 202 yards and three scores.

Crusaders Have Tri-Captains In 2005
Holy Cross has three captains for the 2005 football season, as senior running back Gideon Akande (Chicago, Ill.), senior quarterback John O'Neil and senior tailback Steve Silva were elected as the team's tri-captains. Silva, who was also a co-captain during the 2004 campaign, becomes only the ninth player in school history to serve as a team captain for more than one season. Previous two-year captains were George Connor (1905-1906), Raymond Lynch (1916-1917), Thomas Lamb (1969-1970), Craig Cerratani (1977-1978), Ed Kutschke (1985-1986), John Aloisi (1998-1999), David Puloka (1999-2000) and Brian Hall (2001-2002).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Three Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 3. Senior tailback Steve Silva leads the nation in both points scored and points responsible for. The rankings:

 

Category              Rank  Player/Team     Avg.
Scoring                  1  
Steve Silva     24.0
                         7  Holy Cross      56.0
                        14  
John O'Neil     12.0
Points Responsible For   1  
Steve Silva     36.0
                         3  
John O'Neil     24.0
Turnover Margin          3  Holy Cross      +4.0
Passing Efficiency       7  
John O'Neil    192.9
                        11  Holy Cross     185.8
Punt Returns            16  
Steve Silva     15.0
                        17  Holy Cross      15.0
Kickoff Returns         21  Holy Cross      25.5
Total Offense           22  Holy Cross     437.0
                        32  
John O'Neil    233.0
Passing Yards           23  Holy Cross     258.0
All-Purpose Yards       29  
Steve Silva    155.0
Completions             36  
John O'Neil     15.0
Receiving Yards         46  
Sean Gruber     77.0
Rushing Yards           47  
Steve Silva     85.0

Crusaders On the Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2005 will be on WTAG 580 AM, the true sports leader for the city of Worcester. Bob Fouracre will be in his 36th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 20th year covering the Crusaders on the radio. Former Holy Cross standout Tom Kelleher, who earned first team All-New England honors while leading the undefeated 1987 team in rushing, will be in his sixth year as the color commentator. The Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet at `www.sportsjuice.com'. 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 have four games shown on live television during the 2005 season. Two home games this season will be televised on WCTR TV-3 (Worcester), against Sacred Heart on September 3 and Dartmouth on October 15. In addition, the October 8 contest at Lehigh will be carried by Service Electric Cable Television, while the November 12 game against Lafayette will be shown by the Lafayette Sports Network (RCN on Lehigh Valley Cable and WBPH TV-60 in Allentown, Pa.).

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 1:00-1:30 p.m. exclusively on the internet, with archives of all the shows available to those who can not listen in live. The show is carried free of charge at `www.sportsjuice.com'.

Crusaders Among League Leaders
Several Holy Cross players are currently ranked at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, through games of Sept. 3. Senior tailback Steve Silva ranks first in the conference in scoring (24,0 points/game), third in rushing (85.0 yards/game), third in all-purpose yards (155.0 yards/game) and fourth in punt returns (15.0 yards/return), while senior quarterback John O'Neil stands second in passing efficiency (192.9 rating), third in passing yards (225.0 yards/game), third in scoring (12.0 points/game) and fourth in total offense (233.0 yards/game). In addition, junior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.) ranks first in extra point percentage (100.0 percent), junior punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.) stands fourth in punting (36.2 yards/punt), senior wide out Sean Gruber ranks fifth in receiving yards (77.0 yards/game) and senior running back Gideon Akande stands fifth in all-purpose yards (110.0 yards/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (56.0 points/game), total offense (437.0 yards/game), turnover margin (+4.0 turnovers/game) and pass efficiency defense (94.5 rating); stands second in passing offense (258.0 yards/game) and pass efficiency (185.8 rating); and ranks third in rushing offense (179.0 yards/game), rushing defense (160.0 yards/game) and kickoff returns (25.5 yards/return)

Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years. The Crusaders, who played their first game at Fitton Field in 1903, have posted an all-time home mark of 340-158-27 (.673). 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' best decade at home occurred from 1980-1989, when the Crusaders recorded a 41-12-1 mark. In the current decade, the Crusaders have posted a mark of 12-16 at home. This season, Holy Cross has a 1-0 mark at Fitton Field. The Crusaders are scheduled to play six contests at home this year, including the current three-game homestand.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his second season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. He enters this week's game with an overall record of 4-8, as the Crusaders have won four of his last seven games. Gilmore came to Holy Cross after serving as defensive coordinator at Lehigh University for four seasons, during which the Mountain Hawks were one of the finest defensive teams in Division I-AA. In 2001, he was named as the American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year, after molding a young and inexperienced defense into a unit that allowed just 15.8 points per game and 86.6 yards rushing per game. Gilmore previously spent time as an assistant coach at 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.

Eight Crusaders Earn Preseason All-League Honors
Eight Holy Cross players were named to the 2005 preseason All-Patriot League team, as selected by I-AA.org. Senior center David Cannon (Export, Pa.), senior tight end Luke Dugan, senior wide receiver Sean Gruber and senior tailback Steve Silva were all chosen to the first team. In addition, junior placekicker Mike DeSantis, junior cornerback/kick returner Casey Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.), senior offensive guard Justin LaGrenade (Gaithersburg, Md.) and junior offensive tackle Andrew Schoepfer (Waterford, Conn.) were selected to the second team. Holy Cross' four first team selections were tied for the second most in the league, behind only Lehigh with six. The Crusaders' total of eight total players on the teams also tied for the second most in the conference, trailing just Lafayette with nine.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2005 campaign marks the 110th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 557-449-54, good for a .551 winning percentage. Entering the 2005 season, Holy Cross' 556 all-time victories ranked as the 13th 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 five 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.

Scouting The Hoyas
Georgetown enters this week's game with an overall record of 1-0 and a 1-0 mark in the Patriot League, after posting a 19-16 overtime victory at Bucknell last Saturday. Junior quarterback Nick Cangelosi led the Hoya offense by completing nine of 20 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, in addition to rushing for 91 yards on 16 carries. The Georgetown defense was led by junior defensive lineman Julius Griauzde, who totaled 12 tackles against the Bison. The Hoyas are coming off a 2004 season in which they went 3-8 overall and 0-6 in the conference. Head coach Bob Benson is in his 13th season at the helm of the Hoyas' program, and owns a career record of 69-57. Prior to his time at Georgetown, Benson was an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Albany.

Quick Hits
Three assistant coaches on the Holy Cross staff have been head coaches on the collegiate level. Offensive coordinator Bob Griffin was the head coach at Idaho State (1972-1975) and Rhode Island (1976-1992), defensive coordinator David Kotulski was the head coach at Bucknell (2002), and running backs coach Dave Patenaude was the head coach at New Haven (2002-2003).