October 27, 2008

Football Continues Homestand With Bucknell On Saturday

Oct. 27, 2008

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (4-3, 2-0 PL) vs. Bucknell (4-3, 1-1 PL)
Date: November 1, 2008
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Place: Fitton Field (23,500), Worcester, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Bucknell Radio: WEGH 107.3 FM, Sunbury, Pa.; Doug Birdsong, play-by-play; Kevin Herr, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 15-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 45, Bucknell 21, October 27, 2007, Lewisburg, Pa.

The Series With Bucknell
This will be the 25th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bison on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 15-9. The Crusaders have won the last three contests between the two schools, but before that the Bison had been victorious in eight of the previous 10 meetings. The schools have split the last six meetings at Fitton Field, including a 27-10 Holy Cross victory in 2006. For all games played in Worcester, the Crusaders own a 10-3 advantage in the series. The schools first met on October 31, 1925, with Holy Cross posting a 23-7 win at Fitton Field.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 15-9
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 10-3
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 10-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, three games
Tom Gilmore vs. Bucknell: 3-1
Tim Landis vs. Holy Cross: 3-4

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. Last week against Lehigh, Randolph completed 28 of 39 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. During the previous contest at Dartmouth, he connected on 33 of 45 attempts for 391 yards and two scores. Earlier in the season, Randolph hit on 41 of 54 passes for 430 yards and four touchdowns against Brown, while completing a 41 of 63 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns at Yale. During the Yale and Brown games, Randolph broke and then tied the school single-game record for completions, which he had set himself by connecting on 34 passes at Lafayette on Oct. 21, 2006. Through seven games played this season, he has hit on 223 of 336 passes for 2,295 yards and 19 touchdowns. Last year, Randolph completed 297 of 482 attempts for 3,604 yards and 30 touchdowns. 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 704 of 1,117 passes for 8,136 yards and 68 scores. He enters the Bucknell game standing just four touchdown passes and 19 completions away from the all-time Holy Cross records (72 touchdowns by Tom Ciaccio and 723 completions by Jeff Wiley). Randolph also ranks third all-time at Holy Cross in career passing yards and second in career pass attempts, while his career completion percentage (.630) is the best in school history. In addition, Randolph's 14 career 300-yard passing games and three 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader.

Offense Puts Up Points
The Holy Cross offense is enjoying another outstanding season, averaging 36.0 points and 451.6 total yards per game. The Crusaders have hit the 40-point mark three times so far this year, scoring 44 points at Dartmouth, 42 points against Massachusetts and 41 points against Brown. Last year, Holy Cross averaged 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 1991.

Brock Becomes Big-Play Threat
Senior wide receiver Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has turned into one of the top options in the Holy Cross passing game this year. Last week against Lehigh, he caught six passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. During the previous contest at Dartmouth, Brock posted six receptions for 105 yards and a score. He also had a huge day against Brown, finishing with six catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Overall this season, Brock now leads the team in receiving with 35 catches for 506 yards and eight scores. With four regular season games remaining, he will have a chance to break the school single-season record for touchdown receptions, which is held by Chris Summers with 13 scoring catches in 1993. Last year, Brock ranked fourth on the team and fifth in the Patriot League with 45 receptions for 537 yards and two touchdowns. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has totaled 104 catches for 1,300 yards and 13 scores.

Kielt Heads Up Ground Game
Senior tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) has turned in two straight outstanding performances since taking over as the primary rusher for the Crusaders. During last week's victory over Lehigh, he ran 18 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. In the previous contest at Dartmouth, Kielt carried 18 times for 120 yards and three scores, in addition to catching five passes for 75 yards and another score. With his performances against Lehigh and Dartmouth, he became the first Holy Cross player two rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games since Steve Silva in 2005 (against Lafayette and Bucknell). Overall this season, Kielt now leads the team in rushing with 439 yards and four touchdowns on 78 carries, while posting 20 catches for 161 yards and one score. Over the course of his collegiate career, Kielt has now totaled 1,362 yards and 18 touchdowns on 274 carries. His 18 career rushing touchdowns are tied for 10th-most in Holy Cross history.

Partain Gets His Kicks
Senior placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.) is enjoying a strong season, hitting 33 of 34 extra point attempts and five out of eight field goal attempts. From Sept. 6, 2007 through Oct. 18, 2008, Partain made a school-record 74 consecutive extra points, breaking the mark of Anthony Pignio who made 58 straight extra points from 1991-1993. The streak ended in the Dartmouth game, when his second extra point attempt was blocked. Partain's top game so far this season came in the victory over Brown, when he made field goals of 43 and 46 yards, while adding five extra points for a total of 11 points. In addition to his success on the field, Partain has been named a semifinalist for the 2008 Draddy Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation. 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 totaled 134 points, making 17 of 24 field goals and 83 of 84 extra points.

The Last Meeting With Bucknell
Terrance Gass accounted for 195 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, to lead Holy Cross to a 45-21 victory over Bucknell at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on October 27, 2007. Gass rushed 12 times for 125 yards and a touchdown, in addition to catching three passes for 70 yards and a score. The Crusaders opened the scoring on their first possession of the game with a 13-yard touchdown run by Ryan Maher. Following a fumble recovery by Alex Carson, Mike Kielt added a one-yard scoring run. Later in the first quarter, Dominic Randolph threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Gass, giving Holy Cross a 21-0 lead. Bucknell then put its first points on the board, with Marcello Trigg throwing a 16-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Kizekai to make the score 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. Randolph threw his second touchdown pass of the day early in the second quarter, with a 16-yard strike to Thomas Harrison. Gass then added a five-yard scoring run, to give Holy Cross a 35-7 halftime lead. The Bison cut into the lead with an 11-yard touchdown run by Trigg early in the third quarter, but the Crusaders came right back with a five-yard scoring pass from Randolph to Maher. Matt Partain then kicked a 22-yard field goal to put Holy Cross up 45-14 at the end of the third quarter. Kizekai concluded the scoring for Bucknell with an 80-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. Randolph finished the day completing 30 of 43 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns. Marcus Rodriguez led the defense with seven total tackles.

Crusaders Show Outstanding Depth At Wide Receiver
In addition to senior wide receiver Jon Brock, Holy Cross has shown that it has a number of other weapons in the passing game, as six other wide outs have at least 14 receptions so far this season. Sophomore wide receiver Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has posted 22 catches for 239 yards and three touchdowns, while senior wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added 22 receptions for 200 yards and two scores. Sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) has totaled 21 catches for 189 yards, and junior wide out Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has caught 20 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. In addition, sophomore wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) has 19 receptions for 206 yards and one score, and junior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) has posted 14 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown.

Rodriguez Among Defensive Leaders
For the second straight season, junior linebacker Marcus Rodriguez (Peoria, Ariz.) is one of the top players on the Holy Cross defense. He has totaled 37 tackles through seven games played, including 26 solo stops, one sack and four tackles for loss. Rodriguez has also broken up four passes this year and recovered one fumble. His top game so far in 2008 came at Harvard, when he recorded 10 total tackles and a sack for eight yards. Last season, Rodriguez posted a team-high 69 total tackles in nine games, including 51 solo stops and two tackles for loss. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 107 total tackles with six tackles for loss.

Brown & DiMichele Lead Secondary
Senior strong safety Daryl Brown (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and sophomore cornerback Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) are both enjoying strong seasons in the Holy Cross defensive backfield. Brown is currently tied for the team lead with three interceptions, in addition to ranking second on the team with 38 total tackles. In addition, he has posted two tackles for loss and one pass breakup. DiMichele has posted a team-best 43 total tackles on the season, including 34 solo stops and two tackles for loss. He also ranks second on the team with six pass breakups, while recording a pair of interceptions.

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 seven games played, the line has allowed the Crusaders to average 36.0 points and 451.6 total yards per game. The line has paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 123.7 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which has allowed the Crusaders to throw for 327.9 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has allowed just nine sacks in seven games this year, while attempting 339 passes (just one sack for every 38.7 times the team dropped back to pass). Senior center Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.), senior guard Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.) and senior tackle Mason Olson (Stockton, Calif.) have all started every game for the Crusaders so far this season. Junior tackle Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) has started the last six contests for the Crusaders, while junior guard Rob Petrosino (Bogota, N.J.) has been in the starting lineup for the last five games.

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 leads the team with an average of 27.9 yards on 10 kickoff returns. 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 has averaged 20.6 yards on 17 kickoff returns and 8.3 yards on 17 punt returns. As a team, the Crusaders are currently averaging 21.7 yards per kickoff return and 8.3 yards per punt return.

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Seven Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Oct. 25. As a team, Holy Cross leads the nation in first downs, while standing third in passing yards and sixth in total offense. The rankings:

 

Category              Rank  Player/Team           Avg.
Completions              1  
Dominic Randolph      31.9
First Downs              1  Holy Cross            25.9
Total Offense            1  
Dominic Randolph     336.0
                         6  Holy Cross           451.6
Passing Yards            2  
Dominic Randolph     327.9
                         3  Holy Cross           327.9
Points Responsible For   5  
Dominic Randolph      19.7
Time of Possession       8  Holy Cross           33:34
Kickoff Returns         11  
Brett McDermott       27.9
                        30  Holy Cross            21.7
Third Down Conversions  13  Holy Cross            46.5
Scoring                 13  Holy Cross            36.0
                        50  
Jon Brock              6.9
                        50  
Matt Partain           6.9
Fewest Penalties        16  Holy Cross             4.7
Rushing Defense         16  Holy Cross            93.9
Passes Defended         18  
Michael Wright         1.3
                        38  
Anthony DiMichele      1.8
Fewest Penalty Yards    22  Holy Cross            41.0
Third Down Defense      30  Holy Cross            34.7
Pass Efficiency         34  
Dominic Randolph     136.5
Interceptions           39  
Daryl Brown            0.4
Receiving Yards         43  
Jon Brock             72.3

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).

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 Oct. 25. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (327.9 yards/game) and total offense (336.0 yards/game), while standing third in pass efficiency (136.5 rating). Senior wide out Jon Brock ranks second in scoring (6.9 points/game), fourth in receiving yards (72.3 yards/game) and fifth in receptions (5.0 catches/game), while senior placekicker Matt Partain stands second in scoring (6.9 points/game), third in extra point percentage (97.1 percent) and fifth in field goals (0.7 made/game). In addition, senior wide receiver Brett McDermott leads the league in kickoff returns (27.9 yards/return); senior strong safety Daryl Brown is first in interceptions (0.4 picks/game); sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins ranks fourth in punt returns (8.3 yards/return); and sophomore cornerback Anthony DiMichele stands fourth in interceptions (0.3 picks/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (36.0 points/game), passing offense (327.9 yards/game) and total offense (451.6 yards/game); while standing third in rushing defense (93.9 yards/game), pass efficiency (135.2 rating), net punting (32.9 yards/punt) and turnover margin (-0.1 turnovers/game),

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 351-166-27 (.670). 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 23-24 at home, with a 2-1 mark so far in 2008. Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in each of the last two years, going 3-2 at Fitton Field in 2006 and 4-2 in 2007.

Tradition Of Excellence
The 2008 campaign marks the 113th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders enter this week's game with an overall record of 580-465-54, 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.

Holy Cross In Hunt For League Title
The Crusaders enter this week's contest in a tie for first place in the Patriot League with a 2-0 mark in conference games so far this year. Colgate and Lafayette, who meet on Saturday, are both tied with Holy Cross at 2-0 in the league. The Crusaders have won five Patriot League championships in their history (all of them outright), but have not captured the conference title since 1991. Holy Cross also won league titles in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990. This week, the Crusaders are looking to start Patriot League play 3-0 for the ninth time in school history, and the third straight year. During five of the previous eight seasons in which Holy Cross opened Patriot League play 3-0, it went on to win the conference title with an unbeaten league record. Now in their 23rd season of play in the Patriot League, the Crusaders own an all-time record of 66-57 (.537) in conference action.

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 27-24, including a 24-16 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 Bison
Bucknell stands 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the Patriot League this year, with a perfect 3-0 mark in road games. The Bucknell offense is led by junior tailback A.J. Kizekai, who has rushed for 385 yards and a touchdown on 49 carries. Senior quarterback Andrew Lair has added 244 yards and four touchdowns on 43 rushes, while sophomore wide receiver Shaun Pasternak has a team-best 44 catches for 720 yards and seven touchdowns. Junior quarterback Marcello Trigg has completed 97 of 146 passes for 1,280 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year. Junior linebacker Greg Jones has made 45 tackles this year for the Bison defense, while senior linebacker Todd Manjuck has added 43 tackles. Tim Landis is now in his sixth season as Bucknell's head coach, and has posted an overall record of 27-36. Landis' career record stands at 80-88-1, including three years at St. Mary's (Calif.) and seven seasons at Davidson.

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' three losses this season have come by a total combined margin of just seven points. Prior to this year, the Crusaders had not lost three games by a field goal or less in the same season since 1980, when they dropped three one-point contests to Harvard (14-13), Connecticut (18-17) and Boston College (27-26) ... Senior strong safety Daryl Brown and senior quarterback Dominic Randolph are serving as Holy Cross' co-captains this season ... Senior tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.) caught two touchdown passes at Yale, and has now totaled 24 catches for 248 yards on the year ... Holy Cross was picked to finish second in the 2008 Patriot League preseason poll of head coaches and sports information directors, while senior quarterback Dominic Randolph was chosen as the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year ... For only the second time since joining the Patriot League in 1986, Holy Cross played all of its non-conference games against opponents from New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Massachusetts and Yale).