Football Rallies to Defeat Yale in OT Thriller

Pat Wareham

After a 48-point trouncing at the hands of old-rival Boston College on September 8, Holy Cross (1-2) desperately needed to bounce back and make a statement to the Patriot League that its 0-2 record was not indicative of what was to come for the rest of the season.  However, the team would certainly face a tremendous obstacle in its opponents the 2017 Ivy League champion Yale Bulldogs (0-1), the same team that had blanked the Crusaders 32-0 a year ago.

Things appeared to be heading in the same direction as Yale took the opening kickoff one hundred yards for a touchdown, followed by another score less than two minutes later. Yale pushed the lead to 21-0 on a perfectly executed 23-yard jump pass on fourth down from backup quarterback Patrick Conte. As frustration brewed throughout the stadium, the game looked as if it was over before it began. With nothing to lose new head coach Bob Chesney decided to make a change and called on second-string quarterback, senior Geoff Wade. Within two minutes, the Crusaders had found the endzone.

On the subsequent kickoff, junior Cody Wilkinson lofted a beautiful onside kick, catching the Bulldog special teams napping. Wade and junior halfback Dom Cozier methodically broke down the Yale defense with their run game and once again scored.  

After a frenzied first quarter of play, the second and third quarter proved to be dull, as both teams’ defenses locked down.  With under seven minutes to play in the game, Holy Cross took over at their own deep in their territory down fourteen points. Once again,Wade confidently led the offense down the field, capped with a gorgeous 29-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Martin Dorsey. The Crusader defense made a quick stop, and with 1:47 on the clock, Wade and the offense began their drive at their own 26 yard line.

Wade executed several short passes before unloading a 31-yard strike down the field to senior receiver Blaise Bell, all the way down to the Yale 30-yard line. With pressure mounting, the Holy Cross offense saw three straight passes fall incomplete, bringing up a do-or-die fourth down. With the game on the line, Wade stepped up and made the biggest play of his collegiate career, dropping a 30-yard dime to first-year wideout Spencer Gilliam, sending the Fitton crowd into a melee.

With the Crusaders carrying all the momentum heading into the overtime period, the defense once again came up big, stopping the Yale offense on a daring fourth down attempt.  That was all the team needed, as first-year kicker Derek Ng stepped up and calmly drilled a 45-yard field goal to cap the remarkable comeback.

Having battled back from a 21-point deficit, the Crusaders exhibited incredible resolve in the game’s most critical moments. While the defense looked shaky in the first half, the second half was an entirely different act, as the unit held the Bulldogs scoreless in the third and fourth quarters, as well as the overtime period. Above all, fans should be excited by Geoff Wade’s outstanding play, as he displayed prowess in both the passing and running games, throwing for 242 yards and rushing for another 70. Beyond the stats, Wade appeared to be a confident playmaker, not shying away from the spotlight. Going forward, it is safe to assume that Wade will take over the starting job, as the team looks toward another home matchup against an Ivy League opponent in Dartmouth.

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