Holy Cross Travels To Lafayette For Key League Showdown
Nov. 10, 2008
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (6-3, 4-0 PL) vs. Lafayette (7-2, 3-1 PL)
Date: November 15, 2008
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Fisher Stadium (13,132), Easton, Pa.
Television: Lafayette Sports Network; Gary Laubach, play-by-play; John Leone, color; Dan Mowdy, sidelines
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Tom Kelleher, color; www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Lafayette Radio: WGPA 1100 AM, Bethlehem, Pa.; Dick Hammer, play-by-play; Joe Craig, color
Series Record: Lafayette leads, 14-8
Last Meeting: Lafayette 31, Holy Cross 21; November 10, 2007; Worcester, Mass.
The Series With Lafayette
This will be the 23rd meeting between the Crusaders and the Leopards on the gridiron, with Lafayette leading the all-time series 14-8. The Leopards have won five of the last six games played in the series, with the only Holy Cross victory during that time being a 38-28 triumph at Fisher Stadium in 2006. For games played in Easton, Lafayette has posted an 8-3 record against Holy Cross, with seven straight wins prior to the Crusaders' victory in 2006. The schools first met on Sept. 20, 1986, with Holy Cross coming out victorious 38-14 in Easton.
Series Quick Facts
Overall: Lafayette leads, 14-8
In Easton: Lafayette leads, 8-3
At Fisher Stadium: Lafayette leads, 8-3
Current Win Streak: Lafayette, one game
Tom Gilmore vs. Lafayette: 1-3
Frank Tavani vs. Holy Cross: 6-2
Holy Cross In Hunt For League
The Crusaders enter this week's contest in a tie for first place in the Patriot League with a 4-0 mark in conference games so far this year. Colgate, which also stands 4-0 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 four Patriot League games for the sixth time in school history. During each of the previous five seasons in which Holy Cross opened Patriot League play 4-0, 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 68-57 (.544) in conference action.
Randolph Attacks Record Book
Over the course of his collegiate career, senior quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) has completed 777 of 1,225 passes for 8,941 yards and 77 touchdowns. During the Fordham game, he broke the Holy Cross career records for touchdown passes (72 by Tom Ciaccio from 1988-1991) and pass attempts (1,208 by Jeff Wiley from 1985-1988). Previously against Bucknell, he broke the school career record for completions (723 by Wiley). Randolph enters this week's contest against Lafayette just 757 yards away from Wiley's record of 9,698 career passing yards. Randolph also ranks second all-time at Holy Cross in career yards of total offense (9,243), while his career completion percentage (.634) is the best in school history. In addition, Randolph's 16 career 300-yard passing games and four 400-yard passing games are both the most-ever by a Crusader.
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 Fordham, he caught eight passes for 105 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. During the previous contest against Bucknell, Brock posted seven receptions for 76 yards and a score. Earlier in the season, he had big games against Lehigh (six receptions for 94 yards and two scores), 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 50 catches for 687 yards and 12 scores. He enters this week's game against Lafayette just one touchdown reception away from the Holy Cross single season record, 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 119 catches for 1,481 yards and 17 scores.
Offense Puts Up Points
The Holy Cross offense is enjoying another outstanding season, averaging 36.0 points and 464.9 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.
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 Fordham, he connected on 35 of 59 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns. During the previous contest against Bucknell, Randolph hit on 38 of 49 attempts for 398 yards and four scores. He also had a big day against Lehigh, completing 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 nine games played this season, he has hit on 296 of 444 passes for 3,100 yards and 28 touchdowns. With two regular season games remaining, Randolph currently ranks second on the school single season lists for completions and pass attempts, third for passing yards and touchdown passes, and fourth for yards of total offense (3,176).
Kielt Heads Up Ground Game
Senior tailback Mike Kielt (Southbury, Conn.) has turned in some outstanding performances since taking over as the primary rusher for the Crusaders. 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 554 yards and four touchdowns on 98 carries, while posting 31 catches for 262 yards and one score. Over the course of his collegiate career, Kielt has now totaled 1,477 yards and 18 touchdowns on 294 carries. His 18 career rushing touchdowns are tied for 10th-most in Holy Cross history.
The Last Meeting With Lafayette
Dominic Randolph threw for 247 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, but it was not enough as Holy Cross was defeated by Lafayette 31-21 at Fitton Field on November 10, 2007. Randolph completed 26 of 47 passes on the day, while throwing for a score and rushing for a touchdown. Holy Cross opened the scoring on its first possession of the day, with Randolph throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Maher. Lafayette would tie the score early in the second quarter on a one-yard scoring run by Brandon Mitchell. The Leopards then took the lead when Marcel Quarterman blocked a punt and Tyrell Coon returned it two yards into the end zone for a touchdown. The Crusaders came back to tie the score at 14-14 before halftime, when Randolph scored on a three-yard run. Lafayette took the lead for good on its first possession of the second half, when Coon rushed four yards for a touchdown. The Leopards then increased their lead to 28-14 on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Rob Curley to Michael Conte. Holy Cross responded with a two-yard touchdown run by Terrance Gass, and trailed by seven points heading into the fourth quarter. But the Crusaders could get no closer, with Lafayette's Davis Rodriguez kicking a 41-yard field goal to conclude the scoring. Thomas Harrison led all receivers with seven catches for 80 yards, while Maher added six receptions for 58 yards. Kyle Mushaweh totaled eight tackles, an interception and a pass breakup for the defense, while Casey Gough finished with five tackles, one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
Partain Gets His Kicks
Senior placekicker Matt Partain (Libertyville, Ill.) is enjoying a strong season, hitting 42 of 43 extra point attempts and eight out of 13 field goal attempts for 66 total points. 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. 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 152 points, making 20 of 29 field goals and 92 of 93 extra points.
Crusaders Bring In Academic Honors
Several Holy Cross players have been honored this season for their performance both in the classroom and on the football field. Senior placekicker Matt Partain was selected as a semifinalist for the 2008 Draddy Trophy, which is presented to the top scholar-athlete in the nation by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Partain also earned ESPN The Magazine first team Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America, along with senior tight end Ryan McGuire (Woburn, Mass.) and senior center Chris Smith (Buffalo, N.Y.). Both McGuire and Smith were named Academic All-District for the second consecutive year.
Crusaders Show Outstanding Depth At Wide
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 over 20 receptions so far this season. Sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins (Maywood, Ill.) has totaled 32 catches for 302 yards, and senior wide out Brett McDermott (Mansfield, Mass.) has caught 29 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Junior wide out Nick Cole (Tucson, Ariz.) has posted 27 catches for 251 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore wide receiver Freddie Santana (Staten Island, N.Y.) has added 25 receptions for 276 yards and three scores. In addition, sophomore wide out Luke Chmielinski (Walpole, Mass.) has 23 receptions for 232 yards and one score, and junior wide receiver Bill Edger (Hainesport, N.J.) has posted 21 catches for 261 yards and three touchdowns.
Crusaders Post Another Winning
With last week's victory over Fordham, the Crusaders have guaranteed themselves a winning record for the fourth straight year. With a win over Lafayette this week, Holy Cross would reach the seven win-mark for the third year in a row. The Crusaders went 7-4 in both 2006 and 2007, and their 14-8 mark over the last two seasons is their best in a two-year span since the 1991 and 1992 squads went a combined 17-5. Holy Cross also posted a winning record in 2005 (6-5), and its overall mark of 26-16 since the beginning of the 2005 campaign is its best since going 29-14-1 from 1990-1993 (9-1-1 in 1990, 11-0 in 1991, 6-5 in 1992, 3-8 in 1993).
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 51 tackles through nine games played, including 37 solo stops, three sacks and six tackles for loss. Rodriguez has also broken up four passes this year, forced a fumble and recovered one fumble. During the victory over 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 121 total tackles with eight tackles for loss.
Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Six Crusaders are currently ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through games of Nov. 8. 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 32.9 First Downs 1 Holy Cross 26.9 Passing Yards 1 Dominic Randolph 344.4 3 Holy Cross 344.4 Total Offense 1 Dominic Randolph 352.9 6 Holy Cross 464.9 Points Responsible For 2 Dominic Randolph 21.3 Time of Possession 3 Holy Cross 33:58 Passes Defended 5 Michael Wright 1.4 34 Anthony DiMichele 1.1 Third Down Conversions 7 Holy Cross 47.7 Kickoff Returns 13 Brett McDermott 26.5 Rushing Defense 14 Holy Cross 93.3 Fewest Penalties 16 Holy Cross 4.8 Scoring 18 Jon Brock 8.0 31 Matt Partain 7.3 First Downs Allowed 27 Holy Cross 16.8 Fewest Penalty Yards 29 Holy Cross 43.0 Pass Efficiency 30 Holy Cross 138.9 31 Dominic Randolph 139.8 Receptions 36 Jon Brock 5.6 Receiving Yards 38 Jon Brock 76.3 Field Goals 41 Matt Partain 0.9
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 29-24, including a 26-16 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. He has led Holy Cross to winning records in four straight seasons, including 7-4 marks in 2006 and 2007, and a pair of five-game winning streaks (in 2006 and 2008). Two of Gilmore's players, Dominic Randolph (2007) and Steve Silva (2005), has been named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, with Silva also 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.
Crusaders Among Patriot League
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. 8. Senior quarterback Dominic Randolph leads the league in passing yards (344.4 yards/game) and total offense (352.9 yards/game), while standing second in pass efficiency (139.8 rating). Senior wide out Jon Brock ranks first in scoring (8.0 points/game), second in receptions (5.6 catches/game) and fourth in receiving yards (76.3 yards/game), while senior placekicker Matt Partain stands second in scoring (7.3 points/game), extra point percentage (97.7 percent) and 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 (Stone Mountain, Ga.) is second in interceptions (0.3 picks/game); sophomore wide receiver Josh Jenkins ranks third in punt returns (7.4 yards/return); and senior tailback Mike Kielt stands fifth in rushing (61.6 yards/game). As a team, Holy Cross leads the league in scoring offense (36.0 points/game), passing offense (344.4 yards/game), total offense (464.9 yards/game) and rushing defense (93.3 yards/game); while standing third in scoring defense (25.6 points/game), total defense (366.4 yards/game), pass efficiency (138.9 rating), net punting (34.9 yards/punt), kickoff returns (20.6 yards/return) and punt returns (7.8 yards/return).
Offensive Line Continues Strong
The Holy Cross offensive line has been a key reason for the team's success on offense so far this season. Through nine games played, the line has allowed the Crusaders to average 36.0 points and 464.9 total yards per game. The line has paved the way for Holy Cross to run for 120.4 yards per game, while also providing pass protection which has allowed the Crusaders to throw for 344.4 yards per contest. In addition, Holy Cross has allowed just 11 sacks in nine games this year, while attempting 447 passes (just one sack for every 41.6 times the team dropped back to pass). Senior center Chris Smith, 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 eight contests for the Crusaders, while junior guard Rob Petrosino (Bogota, N.J.) has been in the starting lineup for the last seven games.
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 353-166-27 (.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 25-24 at home, with a 4-1 mark in 2008. Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home for the third straight year, after going 3-2 at Fitton Field in 2006 and 4-2 in 2007.
Brown, DiMichele & Wright Lead Holy Cross
Senior strong safety Daryl Brown, sophomore cornerback Anthony DiMichele (McKees Rocks, Pa.) and junior cornerback Michael Wright (Fort Washington, Md.) are all enjoying strong seasons in the Holy Cross defensive backfield. Brown is currently tied for the team lead with three interceptions, while ranking fourth on the team with 45 total tackles. In addition, he has posted three tackles for loss and three pass breakups. DiMichele stands second on the team with 49 total tackles this season, including 38 solo stops and two tackles for loss. He also ranks second on the team with eight pass breakups, while recording a pair of interceptions. Wright currently leads the team with 12 pass breakups on the year. In addition, he has recorded one interception and 26 total tackles, including two tackles for loss.
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 582-465-54, 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.
Scouting The Leopards
Lafayette enters this week's game with an overall record of 7-2 on the season, including a 3-1 mark in the Patriot League. The Leopards stand 2-1 at home this year, but will be playing their first game at Fisher Stadium since Oct. 4. Sophomore Marc Quilling has taken over as the starting quarterback for Lafayette, completing 23 of 39 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Senior Shaun Adair leads the team with 44 receptions for 620 yards and four touchdowns, while junior tailback Tyrell Coon has rushed for 414 yards and two touchdowns on 84 carries. Defensively, the Leopards are led by senior linebacker Andy Romans with 79 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks. Frank Tavani is now in his ninth season as Lafayette's head coach, and has posted an overall record of 52-48. The 2004 Patriot League Coach of the Year, Tavani served as an assistant coach with the Leopards for 13 years before taking over as head coach.
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'.
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.
Ten different Crusaders have posted over 20 receptions so far in 2008. Prior to this season, Holy Cross had never had more than seven players with 20 catches in the same year ... 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 28 catches for 325 yards and four 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).