October 9, 2006

Holy Cross Hits The Road To Face Dartmouth

Oct. 9, 2006

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (4-2, 2-0 PL) vs. Dartmouth (0-4, 0-2 Ivy)
Date: October 14, 2006
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Place: Memorial Field (17,000), Hanover, N.H.
Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Dartmouth Radio: WDCR 1340 AM & WFRD 99.3 FM, Hanover, N.H.; Bob Lipman, play-by-play; Wayne Young, color
Series Record: Dartmouth leads, 34-31-4
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 28, Dartmouth 16, October 15, 2005, Worcester, Mass.

The Series With Dartmouth
This will be the 70th meeting between the Crusaders and the Big Green on the gridiron, with Dartmouth leading the all-time series 34-31-4. Holy Cross has posted victories in each of the last two years, but prior to that Dartmouth had won two straight and six out of eight games in the series. For games played in Hanover, Dartmouth holds a 21-17-3 advantage against the Crusaders, but Holy Cross has gone 17-14-3 since the opening of Memorial Field. The schools first met on October 3, 1903, with the Big Green posting an 18-0 victory in Hanover.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Dartmouth leads, 34-31-4
In Hanover: Dartmouth leads, 21-17-3
At Memorial Field: Holy Cross leads, 17-14-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
Tom Gilmore vs. Dartmouth: 2-0
Buddy Teevens vs. Holy Cross: 0-6
In Overtime: n/a

Crusaders Look To Extend Win Streak
Holy Cross is off to a 4-2 start this season, and is currently riding a three-game winning streak. The Crusaders began their current winning streak with a 27-0 victory at Marist, before defeating Fordham (28-21) and Brown (35-30) at home. This marks the third time during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach that Holy Cross has won three straight games. The previous winning streaks under Gilmore came from Oct. 1-15, 2005 (downing Yale, Lehigh and Dartmouth) and from Nov. 20, 2004-Sept. 10, 2005 (defeating Georgetown, Sacred Heart and Georgetown again). With a victory over Dartmouth this week, the Crusaders would post their first four-game winning streak since coming out victorious in the final three games of 2000 (over Bucknell, Colgate and Fordham) and the first two contests of 2001 (against Georgetown and Towson). Holy Cross has not won four straight games within a single season since the 1991 team posted a perfect 11-0 record.

Crusaders Show Depth At Wide Receiver
Holy Cross has shown that it has a number of other weapons in the passing game this season, as five different wide receivers have already recorded at least 11 receptions on the year. Junior wide receiver Ryan Maher (Boca Raton, Fla.) leads the team with 34 catches for 344 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) has caught 27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added 21 receptions for 277 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, senior wide receiver Matt Fanning (Marlborough, Mass.) has posted 20 catches for 249 yards and two scores, and sophomore wide out Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has brought in 11 receptions for 108 yards and a score. All told this season, eight different Holy Cross wide receivers have already caught at least one pass.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Sophomore quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) has developed into an excellent leader for the Holy Cross offense so far this season. During last week's victory over Brown, he connected on 30 of 39 attempts for 329 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Randolph's 30 completions were the fourth-most in school history in a single game, while his 329 yards were the most by a Crusader quarterback since Brian Hall threw for 366 yards against Fordham on Nov. 9, 2002. Randolph also played well in the previous game against Fordham, completing 19 of 27 attempts for 263 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to delivering a key 48-yard rush in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. Following the victory over the Rams, he was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week. Randolph previously hit on eight of 12 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown at Marist, while connecting on 10 of 15 attempts for 79 yards at Georgetown. Overall this season, he has now completed 67 of 93 attempts for 772 yards and eight touchdowns with only two interceptions, despite missing two games due to injury.

Gass Heads Up Ground Game
Sophomore tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.) is enjoying a solid season as the top running back for the Crusaders. In last week's victory over Brown, he carried 18 times for 65 yards and a touchdown, while catching two passes for 26 yards. In the previous game against Fordham, Gass ran 21 times for a career-high 102 yards and a touchdown, in addition to catching five passes for 56 yards and another score. He also had a strong game in the season-opener at Georgetown when he carried 15 times for 56 yards and a score. Gass currently leads the team in rushing with 343 yards and three touchdowns on 62 carries this season, in addition to catching 12 passes for 104 yards and two scores.

Nielsen Enjoying Another Big Year
Senior linebacker Chris Nielsen (Center Line, Mich.) is one of the top players for the Holy Cross defense this season, having totaled 24 tackles with seven tackles for loss, a team-high six sacks and a pass breakup through six games. In last week's victory over Brown, he posted a career-high three sacks, while posting four total tackles. The previous week against Fordham, Nielsen made four solo tackles with a pair of sacks for eight yards. Last year he was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I first team, for his outstanding work both on the field and in the classroom (3.43 grade point average in mathematics). During the 2005 season, Nielsen ranked second on the team with 72 total tackles, including 61 solo stops and a team-best eight tackles for loss. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Nielsen now has 118 total tackles, 98 solo tackles and 17 tackles for loss.

Defense Continues Impressive Play
Through the first six games of the 2006 season, the Holy Cross defense has developed into one of the better units in the Patriot League. The Crusaders have held three of their six opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense, with Holy Cross posting a victory on each of those three occasions. Two weeks ago, Fordham managed just 245 total yards, while completing only eight of 27 passes and scoring just 13 points on offense. Previously at Marist, the Crusaders won 27-0 to post the second shutout during Tom Gilmore's tenure as head coach (to go along with a 24-0 win at Dartmouth on Oct. 16, 2004), while holding the Red Foxes to just 265 yards of total offense. In the season-opening victory at Georgetown, Holy Cross allowed just 248 total yards and 13 points to the Hoyas. Since the beginning of the 2004 season, the Crusaders have now held their opposition to under 300 yards of total offense seven times. Through the first six contests of the 2006 campaign, the Crusaders are holding their opponents to just 19.8 points, 16.7 first downs and 333.0 yards per game, with a 111.2 pass efficiency rating.

The Last Meeting With Dartmouth
Steve Silva set a pair of school records with 353 all-purpose yards and 167 punt return yards, to lead Holy Cross to a 28-16 victory over Dartmouth at Fitton Field on October 15, 2005. The Crusaders opened the scoring in the first quarter, when John O'Neil threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Gideon Akande. Holy Cross increased the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter on a six-yard scoring pass from Silva to Sean Gruber, then went up 21-0 on a one-yard touchdown run by Silva. On the final play of the second quarter, Silva then returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown to give the Crusaders a 28-0 lead at the break. His punt return was the longest in school history, breaking the old mark of 85 yards shared by Johnny Turco (against Colgate in 1950) and John Provost (against Brown in 1974). Neither team scored any points in the third quarter, and entering the fourth period the Holy Cross defense had allowed only 91 yards and five first downs. The Big Green rallied for 16 unanswered points to close out the game, but was never able to threaten the Crusader lead. Joshua Cohen threw a pair of touchdown passes for Sam Seiberling and Ryan Fuselier, and Holy Cross took a safety on its final possession to account for Dartmouth's points. Silva rushed 25 times for 132 yards and score, caught eight passes for 39 yards, brought back six punts for 167 yards and a touchdown, and returned a kickoff for 15 yards. O'Neil also had a fine game with 132 yards and a score on 15 of 27 passing, while Gruber caught four passes for 57 yards and tied the school career record with his 19th touchdown catch as a Crusader. Cohen led Dartmouth by completing 25 of 44 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions and was sacked five times. Dan Adams had a team-high five tackles for the Holy Cross defense, while Matt Dugan and Kevin Dunn both intercepted passes.

Kickers Shine In Senior Seasons
Senior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.) and senior punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.) give Holy Cross one of the top kicking tandems in the Patriot League. DeSantis, who was a second team All-Patriot League selection in 2004, enters this week's game having made 20 of 29 career field goal attempts and 119 of 131 career extra points for a total of 179 points. He already holds the school career record for field goal percentage (69.0 percent), while standing second all-time in career extra points made (only four away from Tony Melink's record of 123). McManaway was named second team All-Patriot League in 2005, and has averaged 34.6 yards on 179 punts during his collegiate career, while placing 34 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line. He enters this week's game ranked fourth all-time at Holy Cross in both career punts and career punting yards (6,192).

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2006 campaign marks the 111th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 566-456-54, good for a .551 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2006 season, Holy Cross' 562 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 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.

Gough Steps Up In The Secondary
Senior cornerback Casey Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.) is once again among the top defensive backs and kickoff returners in the Patriot League this season. In the victory over Fordham, Gough recorded six tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack and a key interception, to win the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of Holy Cross' Homecoming game. Previously at Marist, he totaled five solo tackles, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an interception to earn Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors. Gough also had a strong game in the season opener at Georgetown, posting six total tackles and two pass breakups. Through the first five games of the year, he has now totaled 20 tackles, six tackles for loss, two interceptions and three pass breakups. Gough is also enjoying a solid season as the Crusaders' top kickoff returner, averaging 20.9 yards on 15 returns. Prior to the start of the year, Gough was named a preseason honorable mention All-American as a kickoff returner by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette. A year ago, he was named second team All-Patriot League, after posting a team-best three interceptions, 45 total tackles, three tackles for loss and six pass breakups. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Gough has now totaled 118 tackles, six interceptions and 17 pass breakups. He has also totaled 1,051 yards and a touchdown on 39 career kickoff returns, to rank fourth all-time at Holy Cross in career kickoff return yards, and first in career kickoff return average (26.9 yards per return).

Adams Leads Crusader Defense
Senior linebacker Dan Adams (Springfield, Va.) is once again one of the top defensive players in the Patriot League this year, and has led Holy Cross in tackles in every contest this season. In last week's victory over Brown, he posted a game-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops. Previously in the Harvard game, Adams recorded nine solo tackles, including one tackle for loss. Earlier in the season against Northeastern, he led the team with 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops and two tackles for loss. In the season opener at Georgetown, Adams totaled eight tackles, with three tackles for loss, an interception, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Following the Georgetown contest, Adams was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week, and received the Boston Globe Gold Helmet award. Through six games, he has now totaled 50 tackles, including 42 solo stops and a team-best eight tackles for loss. Prior to the start of the season, Adams was named the 16th-best linebacker in all of Division I-AA by the Sports Network. A year ago, he led the Holy Cross defense with 115 total tackles, including 97 solo stops, four tackles for loss and one sack. He finished the season as the national leader in solo tackles with an average of 8.8 per game, while ranking 21st in the country in total tackles. Adams' top game in 2005 came against Colgate, when he set an NCAA single game record with 21 solo tackles (since tackles became an official statistic in 2000). Over the course of his career as a Crusader, he has now totaled 258 total tackles, 208 solo stops and 14 tackles for loss.

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Four Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Oct. 7. As a team, Holy Cross stands 10th in passing yards and 12th in interceptions. The rankings:

 

Category                Rank  Player/Team     Avg.
Passing Yards             10  Holy Cross     251.0
Interceptions             12  Holy Cross       1.3
Pass Efficiency           19  Holy Cross     145.4
Quarterback Sacks         19  
Chris Nielsen    1.0
Receptions                24  
Ryan Maher       5.7
Kickoff Returns           27  Holy Cross      22.3
Net Punting               27  Holy Cross      34.3
Pass Efficiency Defense   27  Holy Cross     111.2
Solo Tackles              32  
Dan Adams        7.0
Punt Returns              37  
Matt Fanning    10.3
Tackles For Loss          41  
Dan Adams        1.3
                          42  
Chris Nielsen    1.2

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 Oct. 7. Junior wide receiver Ryan Maher currently leads the conference in receptions (5.7 catches/game), while standing second in receiving yards (57.3 yards/game). Junior wide out Thomas Harrison is right behind Maher, ranking second in the league in receptions (4.5 catches/game) and third in receiving yards (54.7 yards/game). In addition, sophomore tailback Terrance Gass is fourth in scoring (5.0 points/game) and fifth in rushing (57.2 yards/game), senior wide receiver Matt Fanning ranks second in punt returns (10.3 yards/return) and senior cornerback Casey Gough stands fifth in kickoff returns (20.9 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (24.0 points/game), total offense (360.7 yards/game) and passing offense (251.0 yards/game); ranks second in pass efficiency (145.4 rating) and pass efficiency defense (111.2 rating); and stands third in kickoff returns (22.9 yards/return) and punt returns (8.4 yards/return).

Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his third season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. He enters this week's game with an overall record of 13-15, as the Crusaders have won 13 of his last 22 games. Last year, 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. Gilmore came to Holy Cross after serving as defensive coordinator at Lehigh 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.

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 344-162-27 (.671). 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 16-20 at home, with a 2-1 record so far in 2006. Holy Cross had a 3-3 mark at Fitton Field last year, marking the team's first non-losing season at home since the 2001 team went 3-2.

Holy Cross In The Patriot League
Holy Cross is now in its 21st season of play in the Patriot League. The Crusaders are currently in first place in the conference with a 2-0 mark in league games so far this year. This marks the second straight season in which Holy Cross has opened the year with a 2-0 mark in conference play. With their victories over Georgetown and Fordham to open the year, the Crusaders now stand 13-8 all-time in Patriot League openers, and 15-6 all-time in conference home openers. Overall, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 58-53 (.523) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).

Scouting The Big Green
Dartmouth enters this week's game with an overall record of 0-4 on the season, with an 0-2 mark in the Ivy League. The Big Green has been defeated by Colgate (28-7), New Hampshire (56-14), Pennsylvania (17-10) and Yale (26-14) so far in 2006. Senior quarterback Mike Fritz has completed 55 of 87 passes for 675 yards and five touchdowns with six interceptions this year, in addition to leading the team in rushing with 122 yards on 26 carries. Senior wide out Ryan Fuselier is the top receiver for Dartmouth, with 25 catches for 301 yards and two scores. Defensively, the Big Green is led by junior strong safety Ian Wilson with 33 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. Buddy Teevens is in the second year of his second stint as Dartmouth's head coach, with an overall record of 28-34-2. Teevens' career record stands at 62-111-2, including five seasons at Tulane (1992-1996) and three years at Stanford (2002-2004).

Crusaders Have Four Captains
Holy Cross has four captains for the 2006 football season. Senior linebacker Dan Adams, senior cornerback Casey Gough, senior fullback Frank Herlihy (West Seneca, N.Y.) and senior linebacker Chris Nielsen were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. This marks only the 11th time that the Crusaders have had four captains for a season, with the last occasion coming in 2002 (Ari Confesor, Steve Fox, Ben Koller and Nick Larsen).

Holy Cross Picked Fourth In Preseason Poll
The 2006 Crusaders were picked to finish in fourth place in a preseason poll of the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors. In addition, Jordan Scott of Colgate has been named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Geoff Bean of Colgate was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year, and Micah Clukey of Fordham was selected as the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.

 

Rank  School (1st place votes)    2005 Record  Points
  1.  Colgate (8)                8-4 / 5-1 PL      68
  2.  Lafayette (3)              8-4 / 5-1 PL      61
  3.  Lehigh (3)                 8-3 / 4-2 PL      57
  4.  Holy Cross                 6-5 / 3-3 PL      35
  5.  Fordham                    2-9 / 2-4 PL      33
  6.  Bucknell                  1-10 / 0-6 PL      27
  7.  Georgetown                 4-7 / 2-4 PL      13

Crusaders On The Radio
Ten of Holy Cross' 11 games in 2006 will air on WTAG 580 AM, the true sports leader for the city of Worcester. Bob Fouracre is in his 37th season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 21st 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 seventh year as the color commentator. All of 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 to have five games shown on television during the 2006 season. Two home games this season will be televised live on WCTR TV-3 (Worcester), against Brown on October 7 and Lehigh on October 28. In addition, the September 9 game against Northeastern was carried live by CN8 on Comcast Cable, the September 30 contest against Fordham was shown nationally on a tape delay basis by ESPNU, and the November 11 game at Colgate will be carried live by Time Warner Cable in Central New York.

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'.

Quick Hits
Senior tight end Frank Herlihy caught two passes for 10 yards and a touchdown in last week's victory over Brown. Herlihy has now scored four career touchdowns on just 24 receptions ... Junior quarterback Brian McSharry (Abington, Mass.) has been a solid backup this season, completing 69 of 114 passes for 711 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception. McSharry started three game earlier this season when starter Dominic Randolph was injured ... Sophomore tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) rushed for 241 yards and two scores on 49 carries in the first five games of the season, before suffering an injury against Fordham.