November 3, 2008

Holy Cross Set To Face Fordham On Senior Day

Nov. 3, 2008

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (5-3, 3-0 PL) vs. Fordham (4-4, 0-3 PL)
Date: November 8, 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
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM
Fordham Radio: WFUV 90.7 FM, Bronx, N.Y.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 23-20-2
Last Meeting: Fordham 24, Holy Cross 21; November 3, 2007; Bronx, N.Y.

The Series With Fordham
This will be the 46th meeting between the Crusaders and the Rams on the gridiron, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 23-20-2. The Rams posted a 24-21 victory over the Crusaders in the Bronx last season, and have now won 10 out of the last 13 meetings between the schools. For games played at Fitton Field, Holy Cross holds a 13-8-1 advantage, including a 28-21 victory in 2006. Since Fordham joined the Patriot League prior to the start of the 1990 season, the Rams hold a 10-8 lead in the series. The schools first met on Nov. 8, 1902, with Holy Cross winning 17-0 on the road.

Series Quick Facts
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 23-20-2
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 13-8-1
At Fitton Field: Holy Cross leads, 13-8-1
Current Win Streak: Fordham, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Fordham: 1-3
Tom Masella vs. Holy Cross: 1-1

Senior Salute
Holy Cross has 30 seniors who will be playing in their final regular season home game at Fitton Field against Fordham. The members of the Holy Cross senior class are linebacker Brian Billman (Westerville, Ohio), wide receiver Danny Bluth (Seal Beach, Calif.), offensive lineman Luke Botting (Hamilton, Ohio), wide receiver Jon Brock (Acworth, Ga.), strong safety Daryl Brown (Stone Mountain, Ga.), offensive lineman R.J. Buchholz (Clinton Township, Mich.), defensive lineman Steve Buller (Pittsburgh, Pa.), linebacker Evan Byrd (Downington, Pa.), placekicker Kyle DiLella (Gibbstown, N.J.), wide receiver Tommy Fleming (Kinnelon, N.J.), offensive lineman David Gang (Bethesda, Md.), tailback Terrance Gass (Sicklerville, N.J.), defensive lineman Rory Glowik (Paxton, Mass.), fullback Kevin Golden (Chicago, Ill.), punter Mike Holloway (Alexandria, Va.), tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.), tight end Nate Langelier (Oxnard, Calif.), wide receiver Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.), tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.), cornerback Kyle Mushaweh (Woodbury, Conn.), offensive lineman Mason Olson (Stockton, Calif.), placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.), offensive lineman Chris Poole (Scituate, Mass.), quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio), cornerback Ty Shaw (Aurora, Colo.), linebacker Andrew Sherwood (Unadilla, N.Y.), offensive lineman Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.), linebacker Ryan Stewart (Wayland, Mass.), wide receiver Joe Strzempka (Findlay, Ohio) and defensive lineman Bryan Walwyn (Houston, Texas). These 30 players will be recognized prior to the start of the game, along with team managers Jamie Reynolds (Worcester, Mass.) and Kim Sweet (Walpole, Mass.). The Crusader seniors have led the team to a 25-16 record over the last four seasons, good for the school's most victories in a four-year period since 1990-1993.

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 3-0 mark in conference games so far this year. Colgate, which also stands 3-0 in league contests, is the only other undefeated team in the conference. 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 season, the Crusaders have won their first three Patriot League games 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 67-57 (.540) in conference action.

Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph has completed 742 of 1,166 passes for 8,534 yards and 72 touchdowns. During the Bucknell game, he broke the Holy Cross career record for completions (Jeff Wiley held the old record with 723 completions from 1985-1988) and tied the school career record for touchdown passes (72 by Tom Ciaccio from 1988-1991). Randolph enters this week's contest against Fordham with a chance to break Wiley's career record of 1,208 pass attempts. Randolph also ranks third all-time at Holy Cross in career passing yards and career yards of total offense (8,833), while his career completion percentage (.636) is the best in school history. In addition, Randolph's 15 career 300-yard passing games and three 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader.

Randolph Leads Crusader Offense
Senior Dominic Randolph 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 Bucknell, Randolph hit on 38 of 49 attempts for 398 yards and four scores. During the previous contest against Lehigh, he completed 28 of 39 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Earlier in the season, Randolph connected on 33 of 45 attempts for 391 yards and two scores at Dartmouth, while hitting on 41 of 54 passes for 430 yards and four touchdowns against Brown, and 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 eight games played this season, he has hit on 261 of 385 passes for 2,693 yards and 23 touchdowns. With three regular season games remaining, Randolph currently ranks third on the Holy Cross single season lists for completions and pass attempts, while standing fifth for passing yards, touchdown passes and yards of total offense.

Kielt Heads Up Ground Game
Senior tailback Mike Kielt has turned in some outstanding performances since taking over as the primary rusher for the Crusaders. Last week against Bucknell, Kielt rushed 11 times for 69 yards and caught a team-best eight passes for 83 yards. During the previous contest against Lehigh, he ran 18 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. Kielt also had a huge game at Dartmouth, carrying 18 times for 120 yards and three scores, in addition to catching five passes for 75 yards and another touchdown. 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 508 yards and four touchdowns on 89 carries, while posting 28 catches for 244 yards and one score. Over the course of his collegiate career, Kielt has now totaled 1,431 yards and 18 touchdowns on 285 carries. His 18 career rushing touchdowns are tied for 10th-most in Holy Cross history.

The Last Meeting With Fordham
Dominic Randolph threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Fordham 24-21 at Jack Coffey Field on November 3, 2007. Randolph completed 32 of 53 passes on the day and also rushed for 26 yards on five carries, to finish with 335 yards of total offense. Fordham opened the scoring at the 12:38-mark of the first quarter, when Jonte Coven ran 61 yards for a touchdown. The Rams then increased their lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter on a 26-yard scoring pass from John Skelton to Cody Kritzer. The Crusaders scored their first points midway through the second quarter, when Randolph tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Maher, and trailed 14-7 at halftime. The Rams built their lead back up to 14 points in the third quarter, when James Crockett recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. But Holy Cross came right back with a 19-yard scoring pass from Randolph to Brett McDermott. Midway through the fourth quarter, Adam Danko kicked a 32-yard field goal to put Fordham up 24-14. The Crusaders then marched right back down the field, with Randolph tossing a two-yard touchdown pass to McDermott to cut the lead down to three points. But Holy Cross was not able to score again when it got the ball back with 1:26 left in the game, and Fordham held on for the win. McDermott caught a game-high nine passes for 106 yards, while Jon Brock added seven receptions for 61 yards. Coven led Fordham by rushing for 167 yards on 29 carries. Defensively, Marcus Rodriguez led Holy Cross with 15 tackles, while Casey Gough added eight tackles, an interception and a pass breakup, and Evan Byrd totaled two sacks with a forced fumble. Crockett had seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery for the Rams.

Brock Becomes Big-Play Threat
Senior wide receiver Jon Brock has turned into one of the top options in the Holy Cross passing game this year. Last week against Bucknell, he caught seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. During the previous contest against Lehigh, Brock posted six receptions for 94 yards and two scores. Earlier in the season, he had big games against Dartmouth (six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown) and Brown (six receptions for 130 yards and two scores). Overall this season, Brock now leads the team in receiving with 42 catches for 582 yards and nine scores. With three regular season games remaining, he has 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 111 catches for 1,376 yards and 14 scores.

Offense Puts Up Points
The Holy Cross offense is enjoying another outstanding season, averaging 35.8 points and 461.6 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.

Partain Gets His Kicks
Senior placekicker Matt Partain is enjoying a strong season, hitting 37 of 38 extra point attempts and seven out of 11 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 was 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 144 points, making 19 of 27 field goals and 87 of 88 extra points.

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 19 receptions so far this season. Sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) has totaled 27 catches for 236 yards, and junior wide out Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has caught 24 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has posted 23 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns, while senior wide out Brett McDermott has added 23 receptions for 228 yards and two scores. In addition, sophomore wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) has 20 receptions for 212 yards and one score, and junior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) has posted 19 catches for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

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 a team-best 46 tackles through eight games played, including 32 solo stops, two sacks and five tackles for loss. Rodriguez has also broken up four passes this year, forced a fumble and recovered one fumble. Last week against Bucknell, he totaled nine tackles with a sack and a forced fumble. Rodriguez also had a big day at Harvard, recording 10 total tackles and a sack for eight yards. Last season, he 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, Rodriguez has now totaled 116 total tackles with seven tackles for loss.

Brown & DiMichele Lead Secondary
Senior strong safety Daryl Brown 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 third on the team with 41 total tackles. In addition, he has posted three tackles for loss and two pass breakups. DiMichele stands second on the team with 44 total tackles on the season, including 35 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 eight games played, the line has allowed the Crusaders to average 35.8 points and 461.6 total yards per game. The line has paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 125.0 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which has allowed the Crusaders to throw for 336.6 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has allowed just 11 sacks in eight games this year, while attempting 388 passes (just one sack for every 36.3 times the team dropped back to pass). Senior center Chris Smith, senior guard Chris Poole and senior tackle Mason Olson have all started every game for the Crusaders so far this season. Junior tackle Aaron Jones (Springfield, Ohio) has started the last seven contests for the Crusaders, while junior guard Rob Petrosino (Bogota, N.J.) has been in the starting lineup for the last six games.

Crusaders Look To Post Another Winning Season
With a victory over Fordham this week, the Crusaders would guarantee themselves 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).

Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Six Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Nov. 1. 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     32.6
First Downs               1  Holy Cross           26.4
Total Offense             1  
Dominic Randolph    345.8
                          6  Holy Cross          461.6
Points Responsible For    2  
Dominic Randolph     20.3
Time of Possession        2  Holy Cross          33:44
Passing Yards             2  
Dominic Randolph    336.6
                          3  Holy Cross          336.6
Scoring                  11  Holy Cross           35.8
                         42  
Matt Partain          7.3
Rushing Defense          13  Holy Cross           93.8
Fewest Penalties         14  Holy Cross            4.6
Kickoff Returns          15  
Brett McDermott      26.5
Passes Defended          17  
Michael Wright        1.3
                         50  
Anthony DiMichele     1.0
Third Down Conversions   18  Holy Cross           44.6
Fewest Penalty Yards     25  Holy Cross           42.1
Pass Efficiency          30  
Dominic Randolph    140.5
Receiving Yards          43  
Jon Brock            72.8
Field Goals              46  
Matt Partain          0.9
Receptions               48  
Jon Brock             5.3

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 Nov. 1. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (336.6 yards/game) and total offense (345.8 yards/game), while standing second in pass efficiency (140.5 rating). Senior wide out Jon Brock ranks third in scoring (6.8 points/game), fourth in receiving yards (72.8 yards/game) and fourth in receptions (5.3 catches/game), while senior placekicker Matt Partain stands second in scoring (7.2 points/game), third in extra point percentage (97.4 percent) and third in field goals (0.9 made/game). In addition, senior wide receiver Brett McDermott leads the league in kickoff returns (26.5 yards/return); senior strong safety Daryl Brown is second in interceptions (0.4 picks/game); and sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins ranks third in punt returns (7.5 yards/return). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (35.8 points/game), passing offense (336.6 yards/game), total offense (461.6 yards/game) and rushing defense (93.8 yards/game); while standing second in pass efficiency (139.5 rating); and ranking third in net punting (342.9 yards/punt).

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 352-166-27 (.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 24-24 at home, with a 3-1 mark so far in 2008. Holy Cross has guaranteed itself a winning record at home for the third straight year, after 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 581-465-54, good for a .553 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 28-24, including a 25-16 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 Rams
Fordham enters this week's game with an overall record of 4-4 and an 0-3 mark in the Patriot League. The Rams are coming off a 45-21 victory over Marist, but stand just 1-2 on the road this season. Sophomore tailback Xavier Martin has led the Fordham offense by rushing for 829 yards and seven touchdowns on 182 carries. Junior quarterback John Skelton is also enjoying a strong year, completing 179 of 277 attempts for 2,152 yards and 12 touchdowns with six interceptions, while junior wide out Asa Lucas has a team-best 36 receptions for 449 yards and three scores. Defensively, the Rams are led by sophomore linebacker Andre Delaire, who has totaled 60 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks so far this season. Head coach Tom Masella is in his third season at the helm of the Fordham program, where he has posted a 15-16 record. Prior to his time with the Rams, Masella served as the head coach at Central Connecticut State (2004-2005), Boston University (1996-1997) and Fairfield (1995).

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 caught two touchdown passes at Yale, and has now totaled 26 catches for 299 yards and three scores 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).