Crusaders Head To Yale For Saturday Afternoon Showdown

Sept. 29, 2008

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-2, 1-0 PL) vs. Yale (1-1, 0-1 Ivy)
Date: October 4, 2008
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Place: Yale Bowl (61,446), New Haven, Conn.
Live Stats: Gametracker
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Yale Radio: WELI 960 AM, Hamden, Conn.; Ron Vaccaro, play-by-play; Carm Cozza, color
Series Record: Yale leads, 26-4
Last Meeting: Yale 38, Holy Cross 17; September 29, 2007; Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Yale
This will be the 31st meeting between the Crusaders and the Bulldogs on the gridiron, with Yale leading the all-time series 26-4. The Bulldogs have won 11 of the last 12 games played in the series, although the Crusaders did post a 22-19 victory during their last visit to New Haven in 2005. Prior to 2005, Yale had won six straight meetings at the Yale Bowl. For all games played in New Haven, the Bulldogs hold a 19-4 advantage. The two schools first met on Oct. 14, 1903, when Yale won 36-10 in New Haven.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Yale leads, 26-4
In New Haven: Yale leads, 19-4
At the Yale Bowl: Yale leads, 8-4
Current Win Streak: Yale, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Yale: 1-1
Jack Siedlecki vs. Holy Cross: 7-1

Crusaders Winning Turnover Battle
Holy Cross is once again among the top teams in the nation when it comes to turnover margin. The Crusaders forced five total turnovers last week at Georgetown, and took the ball away four times in the previous contest at Harvard. Through three games played this season, Holy Cross has now taken the ball away 10 times, and given it away just five times. Since the beginning of the 2005 campaign, Holy Cross is now plus-31 in turnovers, forcing their opponents to cough up the ball 78 times, while giving the ball away only 47 times. During both the 2005 and 2007 seasons, the Crusaders led the Patriot League in turnover margin with a plus-11 mark in each campaign. Holy Cross also ranked seventh in the nation in turnover margin in 2005, while placing 17th in the country in 2007. In addition, the Crusaders had a streak of 297 consecutive offensive plays without a turnover last season from Sept. 29, 2007 to Oct. 27, 2007 (spanning five games).

Mushaweh Steps Up In Secondary
Senior cornerback Kyle Mushaweh (Woodbury, Conn.) has been one of the top players for the Crusader defense so far this season. Last week at Georgetown, Mushaweh intercepted three passes, in addition to recording four solo tackles. His three picks against the Hoyas tied for the fourth-most ever by a Holy Cross player in a single game. Overall this season, Mushaweh has a team-best three interceptions to go along with 14 total tackles, two pass breakups and one tackle for loss. During the 2007 campaign, he tied for the team lead in both interception (four) and pass breakups (five), while making 57 total tackles. Over the course of his collegiate career, Mushaweh has totaled seven interceptions, 13 pass breakups and 131 total tackles.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Senior Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) is now in his third season as Holy Cross' starting quarterback, and is one of 16 players on the current watch list for the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the top player in the NCAA football championship subdivision. Through three games played this season, he has hit on 80 of 135 passes for 768 yards and seven touchdowns with only three interceptions. Last year, Randolph completed 297 of 482 attempts for 3,604 yards and 30 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He set new school single-season records for completions, pass attempts and total offense (3,741 yards), while ranking second on the Holy Cross single-season lists for passing yards and touchdown passes, third for completion percentage (61.6 percent) and fourth for pass efficiency (141.6 rating). Over the course of his collegiate career, Randolph has now hit on 561 of 916 passes for 6,609 yards and 56 scores. He currently ranks third all-time at Holy Cross in career touchdown passes, fourth in career passing yards, fourth in career completions and fourth in career pass attempts, while his career completion percentage (.612) is the second-best in school history. In addition, Randolph's 10 career 300-yard passing games are the third most in Holy Cross history, while his two 400-yard passing games are tied for the most-ever by a Crusader.

Offense Puts Up Points
The Holy Cross offense is off to a fast start this year, averaging 34.7 points and 385.7 total yards per game. In 2007, the Crusaders enjoyed one of their best offensive seasons in recent history, averaging 35.9 points and 463.4 yards per game. The 35.9 points per game were the best mark since the 1989 squad averaged 36.0 points per contest, while the 463.4 yards were the school's best since the 1991 team averaged 467.1 yards per contest. Holy Cross also scored over 40 points five times last year, including four consecutive games from October 6-27. Prior to that, the Crusaders had not scored 40 points in four straight contests since the 1991 season, when they did it against Brown (42-28), Lehigh (43-42), Lafayette (48-14) and Bucknell (42-6). The school record for most consecutive 40 points games is nine, set in 1987.

Crusaders Show Outstanding Depth At Wide Receiver
Through three games played this season, Holy Cross showed that it has a number of weapons in the passing game, as eight different wide receivers have at least one reception. Senior wide receiver Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has posted 11 catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added 12 receptions for 108 yards and one score. Sophomore wide out Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has totaled eight catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore wide receiver Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) has caught seven passes for 75 yards and one score. In addition, sophomore wide out Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) has six receptions for 78 yards, junior wide out Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has caught six passes for 44 yards, junior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) has posted two catches for 43 yards and senior wide out Danny Bluth (Seal Beach, Calif.) has one reception for four yards.

The Last Meeting With The Bulldogs
Yale's Mike McLeod rushed 40 times for 256 yards and five touchdowns, to lead the 22nd-ranked Bulldogs to a 38-17 victory over Holy Cross at Fitton Field on September 29, 2007. Following the contest, McLeod received the Dr. Edward N. Anderson Award as the most valuable player of the Crusaders' Family Weekend game. The Bulldogs opened the scoring with a 36-yard field goal by Alan Kimball at the 8:55-mark on the first quarter, after an interception gave Yale possession at the Holy Cross 21-yard line. Later in the quarter, McLeod scored on a three-yard run to make the score 10-0. Early in the second quarter, Casey Gough intercepted a pass and returned it 21 yards to the Yale 17-yard line, setting up a 40-yard field goal by Matt Partain. McLeod then began to dominate the game, scoring on runs of one-yard, 23 yards and one yard to make the score 31-3 late in the second quarter. The Crusaders were able to cut the lead to 31-10 before halftime, marching 65 yards in just 51 seconds as Dominic Randolph tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Brett McDermott. The only points of the third quarter came on McLeod's fifth touchdown of the day, a 23-yard run after the Bulldogs converted a fake punt, making the score 38-10. Holy Cross made the score 38-17 early in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run by Mike Kielt. The Crusaders would threaten again a few minutes later after Daryl Brown blocked a punt, which he then recovered at the Yale 11-yard line. But Holy Cross was unable to convert on fourth-and-one, and the Bulldogs then held on for the victory. Gough led the defense by recording six total tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception, while Marcus Rodriguez posted 11 tackles.

Partain Gets His Kicks
Senior placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.) is off to a strong start this season, hitting all 14 of his extra point attempts and his only two field goal attempts. Dating back to last season, Partain has now made 64 consecutive extra points, breaking the school record which had been held by Anthony Pignio with 58 straight extra points made from 1991-1993. A first team All-Patriot League selection in 2007, Partain hit 12 of 16 field goal attempts and connected on all 50 of his extra point tries a year ago, to lead the team in scoring with 86 points. He tied the school single season record for most field goals made, while becoming the first kicker in Holy Cross history to make all of his extra points with at least 30 attempts. In the 2007 game against Dartmouth, he kicked the longest field goal in school history when he booted a 49-yarder on the final play of the first half. Partain also made eight extra points in the 2007 victory at Lehigh, good for the second-most made extra points in school history. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has now totaled 106 points, making 14 of 18 field goals and 64 of 64 extra points.

Gass & Kielt Head Up Ground Game
The Crusader offense has displayed a solid rushing attack so far this season, running for 389 yards with six rushing touchdowns. Senior tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) leads the team with 39 carries for 175 yards and four touchdowns, in addition to posting a team-best 14 receptions for 74 yards. His top game so far this year came at Georgetown, when he ran 24 times for a career-high 135 yards and a score. Senior tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) has also played well, ranking second on the team with 152 rushing yards on 27 carries, and five catches for 32 yards. Last season, Gass led the team in rushing with 563 yards and six touchdowns on 101 carries last season, while Kielt ran for 367 yards and six scores on 73 carries. Entering the Yale game, Gass and Kielt have combined for 2,362 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns during their collegiate careers.

Offensive Line Continues Strong Play
The Holy Cross offensive line has been a key reason for the team's success on offense so far this season. Through three games played, the line has allowed the Crusaders to average 34.7 points and 385.7 total yards per game. Last year, the line paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 128.2 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which has allowed the Crusaders to throw for 335.2 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross allowed only 14 sacks in 11 games last year, while attempting 497 passes (just one sack for every 36.5 times the team dropped back to pass). Starters for the Crusaders with at least one year of experience include senior Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.) at center, senior Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) at guard, and junior Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) and senior Mason Olson (Stockton, Calif.) at the tackle positions. Each of those four started all 11 games for Holy Cross last season. The final guard spot is currently being manned by sophomore Mike Bernazzani (Whitman, Mass.) and junior Rob Petrosino (Bogota, N.J.).

McDermott & Jenkins Lead Special Teams Success
Senior wide receiver Brett McDermott and sophomore wide out Josh Jenkins have both played key roles in the Crusaders' success on special teams this season. McDermott currently leads the nation in kickoff returns with an average of 42.5 yards per return. In the UMass game, he returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, good for Holy Cross' first kick return for a score since the 2005 season. Jenkins leads the league and stands 13th in the country in punt returns, averaging 14.8 yards per return. As a team, the Crusaders currently lead the Patriot League in both punt returns (14.8 yards/return) and kickoff returns (24.9 yards/return).

Brown & Randolph Named Captains
Holy Cross will have two captains during the 2008 football season. Senior strong safety Daryl Brown (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and senior quarterback Dominic Randolph were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. Randolph, who was also one of three captains during the 2007 campaign, becomes only the 11th 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), Brian Hall (2001-2002), Steve Silva (2004-2005) and Casey Gough (2006-2007).

Holy Cross In The Patriot League
Holy Cross began its 23rd season of play in the Patriot League when it defeated Georgetown 38-14 on Sept. 27. The Crusaders now own an all-time mark of 15-8 in their opening Patriot League contest of the season, including four straight victories (all against Georgetown). Holy Cross also stands 9-2 in conference openers over the last 11 seasons, with the only losses during that span coming against 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 65-57 (.533) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Seven Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Sept. 27. As a team, Holy Cross stands second in the nation in third down defense, third in first downs and fifth in time of possession. The rankings:

 

Category              Rank  Player/Team          Avg.
Kickoff Returns          1  
Brett McDermott      42.5
                        10  Holy Cross           24.9
Interceptions            2  
Kyle Mushaweh         1.0
                        22  
Daryl Brown           0.7
Third Down Defense       2  Holy Cross           21.2
First Downs              3  Holy Cross           23.7
Time of Possession       5  Holy Cross          35:13
Completions              6  
Dominic Randolph     26.7
Points Responsible For   7  
Dominic Randolph     18.0
Turnover Margin          8  Holy Cross           +1.7
Rushing Defense          9  Holy Cross           70.3
Punt Returns            13  
Josh Jenkins         14.8
                        18  Holy Cross           14.8
Passing Yards           17  
Dominic Randolph    256.0
                        22  Holy Cross          256.0
Total Offense           18  
Dominic Randolph    263.0
Passes Defended         21  
Kyle Mushaweh         1.7
                        37  
Michael Wright        1.3
Scoring                 18  Holy Cross           34.7
                        36  
Terrance Gass         8.0

Holy Cross Picked Second In Patriot League Preseason Poll
The 2008 Crusaders were picked to finish in second place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, Holy Cross senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and linebacker Andy Romans of Lafayette was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

 

Rank  School (1st place votes)    2007 Record  Points
  1.  Fordham (9)                8-4 / 5-1 PL      68
  2.  Holy Cross (4)             7-4 / 4-2 PL      56
  3.  Colgate (1)                7-4 / 4-2 PL      53
  4.  Lafayette                  7-4 / 4-2 PL      48
  5.  Lehigh                     5-6 / 2-4 PL      35
  6.  Bucknell                   3-8 / 1-5 PL      18
  7.  Georgetown                1-10 / 1-5 PL      16

Crusaders Among Patriot League Leaders
Several Holy Cross players rank at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, through games of Sept. 27. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (256.0 yards/game), while standing second in total offense (263.0 yards/game) and fourth in pass efficiency (119.7 rating). Sophomore wide out Josh Jenkins ranks first in punt returns (14.8 yards/return), fifth in all-purpose yards (119.7 yards/game) and fifth in kickoff returns (20.4 yards/return), while senior tailback Terrance Gass is second in the league in scoring (8.0 points/game) and fourth in receptions (4.7 catches/game). In addition, senior placekicker Matt Partain stands first in extra point percentage (100.0 percent), second in field goals (0.7 made/game) and third in scoring (6.7 points/game); senior wide receiver Brett McDermott ranks first in kickoff returns (42.5 yards/return); senior cornerback Kyle Mushaweh is first in interceptions (1.0 picks/game); senior strong safety Daryl Brown stands third in interceptions (0.7 picks/game); senior punter Mike Holloway (Alexandria, Va.) ranks fourth in punting (38.4 yards/punt); and senior wide receiver Jon Brock is fifth in scoring (6.0 points/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (34.7 points/game), turnover margin (+1.7 turnovers/game), passing offense (256.0 yards/game), kickoff returns (24.9 yards/return) and punt returns (14.8 yards/return); while standing second in rushing defense (70.3 yards/game); and ranking third in total offense (385.7 yards/game) and net punting (33.6 yards/punt).

Crusaders Look To Post Another Winning Season
In 2008, the Crusaders are looking to post a winning record for the fourth straight year. Last season, Holy Cross reached the seven win-mark for the second year in a row. The Crusaders' 14-8 mark in 2006 and 2007 combined is also their best in a two-year span since the 1991 and 1992 squads went a combined 17-5. In addition, Holy Cross has posted a winning record in each of the last three seasons, going 6-5 in 2005, 7-4 in 2006 and 7-4 in 2007. This marks the best three-year stretch by the Crusaders in 15 years (9-1-1 in 1990, 11-0 in 1991 and 6-5 in 1992).

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 349-166-27 (.669). 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 record of 21-24 at home, with a 4-2 mark in 2007. Last season, Holy Cross posted a winning record at home for the second straight year, after going 3-2 at Fitton Field in 2006.

Crusaders Bring In Preseason Honors
Several Holy Cross players earned preseason accolades heading into the 2008 campaign. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was listed as the No. 3 quarterback in the country by The Sports Network, while being named a second team All-American by both The Sports Network and Consensus Draft Services, and receiving preseason Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors from Phil Steele's 2008 College Football Preview. In addition, several players were selected preseason All-Patriot League by Phil Steele's 2008 College Football Preview. Randolph was joined on the first team by senior wide receiver Brett McDermott, senior tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.), senior defensive back Kyle Mushaweh, senior placekicker Matt Partain, senior offensive lineman Chris Poole and senior defensive lineman Bryan Walwyn (Houston, Texas), while senior wide receiver Jon Brock, senior tailback Terrance Gass and junior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) were all selected to the second team.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2008 campaign will mark the 113th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 577-464-54, good for a .552 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2008 season, Holy Cross' 576 all-time victories ranked as the 15th 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.

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is now in his fifth season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore currently owns an overall record of 24-23, including a 21-15 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. He has led Holy Cross to 7-4 records in each of the last two years, with the 2006 team posting a five-game winning streak (the longest by the Crusaders since the 1991 season). In 2005, Gilmore guided Holy Cross to an overall record of 6-5, with tailback Steve Silva earning first team All-America honors. On Oct. 8, 2005, Gilmore led the Crusaders to their first victory over a ranked team since 2000, with a 13-10 win at No. 10 Lehigh. 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.

Scouting The Bulldogs
Yale enters this week's game with an overall record of 1-1 on the season, and an 0-1 mark in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs lost to Cornell 17-14 last week, after defeating Georgetown 47-7 in their season opener. Senior tailback Mike McLeod has rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries, while senior quarterback Ryan Fodor has completed 25 of 43 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Junior tight end John Sheffield leads Yale with 11 receptions for 122 yards, while sophomore wide out Jordan Forney has added eight catches for 193 yards and two scores. Senior linebacker Bobby Abare leads the Bulldog defense with 17 tackles so far this year, while senior free safety Steven Santoro has 12 tackles and two interceptions. Head coach Jack Siedlecki has a 65-46 record during his 12 seasons at Yale. His career record stands at 121-68-2, including four years at Amherst College and five seasons at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2008 will air on The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 39th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 23rd 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, is in his ninth year as the color commentator. All of the Crusaders' games will also be available free of charge over the internet at `www.worcesterpike.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 to have four games shown on live television during the 2008 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2008 campaign:

 

Date     Opponent         Television Outlet
Sept. 6  Massachusetts    WCTR-TV3
Oct. 25  Lehigh           WCTR-TV3
Nov. 15  Lafayette        Lafayette Sports Network
Nov. 22  Colgate          Time Warner Cable

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'.

Crusader All-Access
Live video streaming of all 2008 Holy Cross home football games will be available over the internet through Crusader All-Access.The package, done in association with College Sports Television Online, is available for a $9.95 monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Crusader All-Access, click here.

The Holy Cross Huddle
The Holy Cross Huddle will air each Friday morning during the football season at 8:35 a.m. on The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester. Hosted by Pike morning personality Bruce Palmer, it will feature a weekly interview with Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore previewing the upcoming game and reviewing the previous week's game.

Quick Hits
Holy Cross' two losses to open the season have come by a total margin of just four points. It marked the first time the Crusaders have lost back-to-back games by four points or less since the 1984 season (16-12 to Boston University and 14-13 to New Hampshire) ... Sophomore cornerback Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) leads the team with 20 total tackles so far this season, including a career-high nine total tackles in the UMass game ... Junior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez ranks second on the squad with 19 total tackles, to go along with a sack and fumble recovery ... For only the second time since joining the Patriot League in 1986, Holy Cross is scheduled to play all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Massachusetts and Yale).