Ben Kuchipudi ’25
In the final home game of the regular season, Holy Cross continued their magical undefeated season, securing a 36-29 win against the Bryant Bulldogs. The Bulldogs played the Crusaders tough, especially in the second half.
Holy Cross got off to a hot start as Matthew Sluka tossed a 15-yard touchdown to linebacker and tight end Phoenix Dickson. Shortly after, the Crusaders benefited from a Bryant blunder as their long snapper snapped the ball way over the punter’s head, falling into the back of the endzone for a safety. After back-to-back Derek Ng field goals, Holy Cross went up 22-0 heading into halftime, courtesy of a Justin Shorter touchdown.
The game looked to be another Holy Cross blowout, but Bryant made things interesting with two touchdowns on back-to-back drives. Holy Cross got some breathing room as Peter Oliver ’23 broke multiple tackles and clambered for a 34 yard touchdown, but Bryant just wouldn’t go away, as Bryant tight end Jihad Edmond scored his second touchdown of the game to make it a 29-19 ball game. Once again, Oliver scored a long touchdown and the game looked out of reach, but Bryant scored 10 straight points to make it a one possession game with under four minutes.
Fortunately, the Crusaders held on and scraped by the Bulldogs with a 36-29 victory. Matthew Sluka once again played an efficient game, going 12-21 for 144 yards and two touchdowns.Holy Cross ran all over Bryant this game, totaling 326 rushing yards from a season-high 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Oliver, 85 yards by Jordan Fuller, 72 yards from Sluka, and 30 yards from Tyler Purdy. Shockingly, Holy Cross’ leading receiver Jalen Coker was held without a catch. Shorter stepped up with 49 yards and a touchdown on six receptions.
The Crusader defense bottled up the Bulldogs’ run game, but they were shredded through the air, as Bryant quarterback Zevi Eckhaus had 348 yards and two touchdowns. Eckhaus threw two interceptions to Walter Reynolds and Devin Haskins. Holy Cross could not stop the aerial attack. Bryant receiver Landon Ruggieri had four receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown, and Edmond went for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
The game was much closer than it should have been, but Holy Cross continued their winning ways to become 10-0 with a chance to achieve an undefeated regular season next week on the road against the 2-8 Georgetown Hoyas.
Image courtesy of Go Holy Cross: Mark Seliger Photography