Luke Anthony ‘23
Approaching the midpoint of the 2019 season, the Holy Cross football team (2-3 overall, 1-0 Patriot League) is currently the top ranked team in the Patriot League after taking down Bucknell on October 5. After starting the season 1-2, the Crusaders traveled to the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University to take on the ACC powerhouse that finished 10-3 overall and ranked 15th in the nation at the end of 2018. The Orange jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter behind sophomore quarterback Tommy DeVito’s two touchdown passes. Holy Cross responded in its first possession of the second quarter by driving 44 yards down the field on 9 plays, ending in a 48-yard field goal by sophomore Derek Ng. Following the field goal, it was all Orange as Syracuse went on to score three more touchdowns and added a field goal. Devito completed 19 of 31 passes for 269 yards, throwing four touchdowns and just one interception. Holy Cross junior quarterback Connor Degenhardt completed 13 of 24 passes for 104 yards, and was sacked four times. Junior wideout Tenio Ayeni caught four passes for 64 yards, and fellow third-year running back Peter Oliver added 44 yards on the ground on 15 carries. The Crusaders 41-3 loss dropped them to 1-3 on the season.
The following week, Holy Cross was on the road again, traveling to Bucknell in its first Patriot League matchup of the year. After a scoreless first quarter, Bucknell got on the board first behind a two-yard touchdown run by Chad Freshnock. A few minutes later, Gerrit Van Itallie returned an interception 52 yards for a score as the Bison went up 14-0. Midway through the second quarter, Degenhardt threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Derek Mountain to narrow the Bison lead to seven. With just two and a half minutes remaining in the first half, the Crusaders marched 70 yards down the field on just 7 plays, ending in a one-yard touchdown run by Degenhardt. The Crusader defense continued to hold strong, posting a second-half shutout to seal the game. The HC offense added another score in the third quarter on a seven play, 66-yard drive capped off again by a one-yard rushing score by Degenhardt. The quarterback finished 19 of 34 for 276 yards and a touchdown through the air. He added another two touchdowns on the ground. Sophomore receiver Spencer Gilliam led the team with 80 yards on just three catches, and senior running back Domenic Cozier ran for over 100 yards on 16 carries, averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
Holy Cross has a great opportunity to turn its season around at this point and stay atop the Patriot League. Next week, the Crusaders travel to Providence, Rhode Island to face a 1-2 Brown team, and then return to Worcester on October 19 to take on the tough Harvard Crimson in another Patriot League-Ivy League matchup. The following week, the Crusaders will welcome a winless Colgate team to Fitton Field for Family Weekend, and will end the year at Lehigh, vs Lafayette, at Fordham, and vs Georgetown for the regular season finale.