To say the least, it has a been a disappointing season for Holy Cross Football. After flying out of the gates with dominant victories over Bucknell and New Hampshire, the injury-ridden team’s play significantly deteriorated, rattling off five straight losses, with the opponents outscoring the Crusaders a whopping 77-7 in the final two contests. Of course, the 32-0 loss at Yale on October 14 resulted in the surprising midseason firing of Head Coach Tom Gilmore who was in his 14th season at Mt. St. James. Midseason firings are rare, particularly at the FCS level. While the Patriot League is a distinguished academic league, its teams are simply not the high level football juggernauts seen in the SEC, Big Ten, or any FBS conference for that matter. The move left many members of the student body, alumni, and media scratching their heads, but the athletic department has clearly established its mission to bring Holy Cross back to athletic relevance, as seen with the new $32 million Luth Athletic Complex.
After a tough loss to Colgate on October 21, the team defeated Georgetown on Senior Day 24-10, handing interim coach Brian Rock his first career win. Fifth-year senior Peter Pujals completed 25 of 38 passes for 262 yards ending his illustrious career on The Hill in fitting manner. The team’s defense came up clutch, limiting the Hoyas to 191 yards of total offense, including only 44 yards on the ground, showing vast improvements.
With all that said, the season is not lost, as the Georgetown win has the potential to propel the Crusaders in the right direction with two games remaining. Holy Cross travels to the Bronx tomorrow to take on archrival Fordham, who at just 3-6 on year is having a down season. Revenge will be on the mind of the players, having been served a crushing defeat a year ago at Yankee Stadium in the 2016 Ram-Crusader Cup. While Colgate has all but secured this year’s Patriot League title, the final two games against Fordham and Lehigh will indicate the team’s grit, where with gutsy performances they have the potential to carry some momentum into next fall.
photo from GoHolyCross.com