Holy Cross To Take On Bucknell In 2006 Home Finale
Oct. 30, 2006
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (6-3, 3-1 PL) vs. Bucknell (5-4, 2-2 PL)
Date: November 4, 2006
Time: 12:30 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
Bucknell Radio: WEGH 107.3 FM, Sunbury, Pa.; Doug Birdsong, play-by-play; George Burman, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 13-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 51, Bucknell 33, November 19, 2005, Lewisburg, Pa.
The Series With Bucknell
This will be the 23rd meeting between the Crusaders and the Bison on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 13-9. The Crusaders defeated Bucknell 51-33 in Lewisburg last season, but before that the Bison had been victorious in eight of the previous 10 meetings. Bucknell has won three of its last five trips to Fitton Field, including a 42-27 victory in 2004. For all games played in Worcester, Holy Cross owns a 9-3 advantage in the series. The schools first met on October 31, 1925, with the Crusaders posting a 23-7 win at Fitton Field.
Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 13-9
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 9-3
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 9-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Bucknell: 1-1
Tim Landis vs. Holy Cross: 3-2
Holy Cross has 21 seniors who will be playing in their final regular season home game at Fitton Field against Bucknell. The members of the Holy Cross senior class are linebacker Dan Adams (Springfield, Va.), placekicker Mike Allen (West Hills, Calif.), defensive back Marc Crosby (Saratoga, Calif.), placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.), wide receiver Matt Fanning (Marlborough, Mass.), quarterback Mike Finucane (Branford, Conn.), offensive lineman Eric Gendron (Warwick, R.I.), defensive back Casey Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.), tight end Frank Herlihy (West Seneca, N.Y.), wide receiver Joe Hogan (Vestal, N.Y.), running back Kevin Kelly (Potomac, Md.), defensive lineman Matt Lemire (Worcester, Mass.), offensive lineman Bill McCarthy (Brick, N.J.), punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.), offensive lineman Hall McMillan (Annapolis, Md.), running back Ryan Morosky (Commack, N.Y.), defensive lineman Kyle Nelthorpe (Riverside, Calif.), linebacker Chris Nielsen (Center Line, Mich.), defensive lineman John Markus Pinard (Bellevue, Wash.), defensive back Blake Potolicchio (Bethesda, Md.) and offensive lineman Andrew Schoepfer (Waterford, Conn.). The Crusader seniors have led the team to a 12-8 record over the last two seasons, good for the school's most victories in a two-year period since 1991 and 1992.
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, and was recently named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week in four consecutive weeks, becoming the first player in conference history to accomplish that feat. Last week against Lehigh, he hit on 26 of 53 attempts for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The previous week at Lafayette, Randolph completed 34 of 46 passes for 352 yards and four scores, in addition to rushing for a touchdown. He broke the school single game record with his 34 completions (Brian Hall previously held the record with 32 against Lafayette in 2001), while his 352 yards were the most by a Crusader quarterback since Hall threw for 366 yards against Fordham on Nov. 9, 2002. Previously at Dartmouth, Randolph hit on 20 of 32 attempts for 259 yards and a touchdown. A week earlier against Brown, he connected on 30 of 39 attempts for 329 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Randolph's 30 completions were the fifth-most in school history in a single game. Randolph also played well 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. Earlier in the year he hit on eight of 12 passes for 101 yards and a score at Marist, while connecting on 10 of 15 attempts for 79 yards at Georgetown. Overall this season, Randolph has completed 147 of 224 attempts for 1,692 yards and 15 touchdowns with only three interceptions, despite missing two games due to injury. In addition, he recently had a streak of 160 straight passes thrown without an interception.
Crusaders Show Outstanding Depth At Wide
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 over 20 receptions on the year. Junior wide receiver Ryan Maher (Boca Raton, Fla.) leads the team with 57 catches for 610 yards and six touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Thomas Harrison (Wilmington, N.C.) has caught 41 passes for 501 yards and four touchdowns, while sophomore wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has added 34 receptions for 430 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, senior wide receiver Matt Fanning (Marlborough, Mass.) has posted 29 catches for 372 yards and two scores, and sophomore wide out Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.) has brought in 21 receptions for 224 yards and three scores. All told this season, eight different Holy Cross wide receivers have already caught at least one pass.
DeSantis Kicks Crusaders To
Senior placekicker Mike DeSantis (Belle Mead, N.J.) continues to show why he is one of the top placekickers in the Patriot League. In the victory at Lafayette, DeSantis hit a 20-yard field goal and all five of his extra point attempts, including the 124th extra point of his Holy Cross career to break the school record for career extra points made. Earlier in the season at Dartmouth, he made three of four field goals and his only extra point try for a total of 10 points, including a game-winning 18-yard field goal in overtime. Following the Dartmouth contest, DeSantis was named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week. Through nine games played this season, he leads the team in scoring with 44 points, making six of nine field goals and 26 of 28 extra points. DeSantis, who was a second team All-Patriot League selection in 2004, has now hit on 24 of 34 career field goal attempts and 127 of 139 career extra points for a total of 199 points. He holds the school records for career field goal percentage (70.6 percent) and career extra points made, while standing third in career field goals made.
The Last Meeting With Bucknell
Steve Silva rushed 33 times for 201 yards and four touchdowns, to lead Holy Cross to a 51-33 victory over Bucknell at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2005. After Casey Gough returned the opening kickoff to the Bucknell 32-yard line, Holy Cross needed only 3:13 to take a 6-0 lead, with Silva scoring the touchdown on a four-yard run. After holding the Bison to three downs and out on their opening possession, the Crusaders marched back down the field again, with Silva scoring on a 16-yard run. Kevin Dunn then intercepted a Dante Ross pass, and on the next play John O'Neil threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Thomas Harrison to make the score 20-0. Bucknell scored its opening points on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Ross to Daniel Zvara, before Mike DeSantis kicked a 34-yard field goal to give Holy Cross a 23-6 lead after the first quarter. The Crusaders added two more touchdowns in the second quarter, on a one-yard run by Silva and a four-yard pass from O'Neil to Frank Herlihy, but the Bison also scored twice to keep the game close at halftime (37-21). Bucknell cut the Holy Cross lead to 10 points (37-27) at the 3:24 mark of the third quarter on a seven-yard run by Ross, but Gough returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown to put the Crusaders up 44-27. Silva scored his final touchdown on a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter, before the Bison added a late touchdown to conclude the scoring. O'Neil finished the day by completing 17 of 29 passes for 257 yards and a pair of scores, while Sean Gruber had a team-best five catches for 95 yards, and Gough totaled 173 yards on four kickoff returns.
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 at Lafayette, he ranked second on the team with seven tackles, in addition to posting a fourth quarter interception to end the Leopards' final drive. In the previous game at Dartmouth, he posted seven tackles with one tackle for loss and a key pass breakup in the fourth quarter to prevent a touchdown. Earlier in the year against 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. He also had a strong game at Marist, where 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. Through the first nine games of the year, he has now totaled 46 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three interceptions and four pass breakups. Gough is also enjoying a solid season as the Crusaders' top kickoff returner, averaging 21.0 yards on 26 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 Football Gazette. A year ago, he was named second team All-Patriot League, after posting a team-best three interceptions, 45 tackles, three tackles for loss and six pass breakups. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Gough has now totaled 139 tackles, seven interceptions and 18 pass breakups. He has also totaled 1,285 yards and a touchdown on 50 career kickoff returns, to rank third all-time at Holy Cross in career kickoff return yards, and first in career kickoff return average (25.7 yards per return).
Defense Continues Impressive Play
Through the first nine 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 opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense, with Holy Cross posting a victory on each of those three occasions. On Sept. 30, 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 nine contests of the 2006 campaign, the Crusaders are holding their opponents to just 21.8 points, 17.3 first downs and 329.4 yards per game, with a 107.8 pass efficiency rating.
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 36 tackles with eight tackles for loss, a team-high six sacks and a pass breakup through nine games. In the victory over Brown, he posted a career-high three sacks, while recording four total tackles, to earn Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors. Previously 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 130 total tackles, 108 solo tackles and 18 tackles for loss.
Adams Keeps Racking Up Tackles
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 eight out of nine contests this season. Last week against Lehigh, Adams totaled 14 tackles with 11 solo stops and a tackle for loss, while in the victory at Lafayette, he posted 11 total tackles, including 10 solo stops. Previously he ranked second on the team with 10 total tackles at Dartmouth (including six solo stops), posted a game-high 11 tackles against Brown (including 10 solo stops), while recording nine solo tackles at Harvard (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 nine games, he has now totaled 85 tackles, including 69 solo stops and a team-best nine 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 293 total tackles, 235 solo stops and 15 tackles for loss. With seven more tackles, Adams will become just the ninth player in school history with 300 career tackles.
Head Coach Tom Gilmore
Tom Gilmore is in his third season as head coach at the College of the Holy Cross. Gilmore enters this week's game with an overall record of 15-16, as the Crusaders have won 15 of his last 26 games. Earlier this season he led Holy Cross to a five-game winning streak, the longest by the Crusaders since the 1991 season. 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.
McManaway Keeps Kicking Away
Senior punter Ryan McManaway (Ferdinand, Ind.) is enjoying another solid year as one of the top punters in the Patriot League. Through the first nine games of the 2006 season, McManaway has averaged 35.6 yards on 37 punts. He has placed nine of his 37 kicks this year inside the opponents' 20-yard line, while forcing the opposition to call 14 fair catches. McManaway, who was named second team All-Patriot League in 2005, has averaged 34.7 yards on 192 punts during his collegiate career, while placing 36 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 (6,660).
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 344-163-27 (.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 16-21 at home, with a 2-2 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.
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 the victory at Dartmouth, Gass ran 18 times for 79 yards and a score, in addition to catching two passes for 26 yards. In the previous game against Brown, he carried 18 times for 65 yards and a touchdown, while catching two passes for 26 yards. Earlier in the year 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 450 yards and four touchdowns on 107 carries this season, in addition to catching 15 passes for 137 yards and two scores.
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 second place in the conference with a 3-1 mark in league games so far this year, a half game behind Lehigh. Holy Cross opened the year with a 3-0 mark in conference play for the seventh time in school history, and the first time since 2001. During five of the previous six seasons in which Holy Cross opened Patriot League play 3-0, it went on to win the conference title with an unbeaten league record. 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 59-54 (.522) in Patriot League action, winning five titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991).
Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Five Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA Division I-AA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Oct. 28. As a team, Holy Cross stands fifth in passing yards and eighth in total offense. The rankings:
Category Rank Player/Team Avg. Passing Yards 5 Holy Cross 271.3 7 Dominic Randolph 241.7 Completions 7 Dominic Randolph 21.0 Total Offense 8 Dominic Randolph 244.6 23 Holy Cross 366.9 Points Responsible For 9 Dominic Randolph 14.0 Third Down Conversions 11 Holy Cross 47.5 Pass Efficiency 13 Dominic Randolph 148.5 18 Holy Cross 141.6 Receptions 13 Ryan Maher 6.3 Solo Tackles 16 Dan Adams 7.7 Pass Efficiency Defense 19 Holy Cross 107.8 Kickoff Returns 23 Holy Cross 21.8 Total Tackles 32 Dan Adams 9.4 Punt Returns 36 Matt Fanning 9.4 Receiving Yards 39 Ryan Maher 67.8 Quarterback Sacks 44 Chris Nielsen 0.7
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. 28. Sophomore quarterback Dominic Randolph currently leads the league in passing yards (241.7 yards/game), total offense (244.6 yards/game) and pass efficiency (148.5 rating), while junior wide receiver Ryan Maher leads the conference in receptions (6.3 catches/game) and receiving yards (67.8 yards/game). Junior wide out Thomas Harrison ranks second in the league in receiving yards (55.7 yards/game) and third in receptions (4.6 catches/game), while sophomore wide receiver Brett McDermott stands fourth in both receptions (3.8 catches/game) and receiving yards (47.8 yards/game). In addition, senior cornerback Casey Gough is second in interceptions (0.3 picks/game) and fifth in kickoff returns (21.0 yards/return), senior placekicker Mike DeSantis ranks fourth in field goals (0.7 made/game) and fourth in scoring (4.9 points/game), and senior wide receiver Matt Fanning stands fifth in punt returns (9.4 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in total offense (366.9 yards/game), passing offense (271.3 yards/game), pass efficiency (141.6 rating), pass efficiency defense (107.8 rating) and third down conversions (47.5 percent); while standing second in scoring offense (24.4 points/game), kickoff returns (21.8 yards/return) and net punting (34.2 yards/punt); and ranking third in total defense (329.4 yards/game) and passing defense (176.4 yards/game).
Scouting The Bison
Bucknell stands 5-4 overall and 2-2 in the Patriot League this year, and is coming off a 13-3 victory over Fordham last weekend. The Bucknell offense is led by junior fullback Josh DeStefano, who has rushed for 525 yards and a touchdown on 90 carries. Freshman tailback A.J. Kizekai has added 324 rushing yards and four scores on 43 carries, while sophomore fullback Kevin Mullen has run for 294 yards and two touchdowns on 79 attempts. Freshman quarterback Marcello Trigg has completed 25 of 64 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns with four interceptions on the year. Senior linebacker Dorian Peterson leads the Bison with 83 tackles on the year, while junior linebacker Ryan Slater has added 73 tackles. Tim Landis is now in his fourth season as Bucknell's head coach, and has posted an overall record of 19-24. Landis' career record stands at 72-76-1, including three years at St. Mary's (Calif.) and seven seasons at Davidson.
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 six games shown on television during the 2006 season. Two home games this season were televised live on WCTR TV-3 (Worcester), against Brown on October 7 and Lehigh on October 28. The Lehigh game was also on Fox College Sports Atlantic and WFMZ TV-69 in Allentown, Pa. 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, the October 21 game at Lafayette was carried on the Lafayette Sports Network (RCN Cable and WBPH TV-60 in Allentown, Pa.), and the November 11 contest at Colgate will be shown 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'.
With the victory at Lafayette on Oct. 21, the Crusaders won in Easton for the first time since 1989, breaking a seven-game losing streak at Fisher Field ... Senior linebacker Dan Adams, senior cornerback Casey Gough, senior tight end Frank Herlihy (West Seneca, N.Y.) and senior linebacker Chris Nielsen are Holy Cross' captains this season ... Sophomore linebacker Brian Billman (Westerville, Ohio) led the team with 11 tackles at Dartmouth, including a 12-yard sack and a four-yard tackle for loss, both of which came on third downs in the fourth quarter to force the Big Green to punt. On the season, Billman ranks third on the team with 37 total tackles, including five tackles for loss ... Senior tight end Frank Herlihy caught two passes for 10 yards and a touchdown in the 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 71 of 117 passes for 727 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception. McSharry started three games earlier this season when starter Dominic Randolph was injured ... Sophomore tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) has rushed for 292 yards and two scores on 67 carries this season, despite missing two games due to injury.