Holy Cross holds off Mountain Hawks, 35-21
Posted: October 25, 2008
WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross quarterback Dominic Randolph threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns as the Crusaders rallied past visiting Lehigh by a 35-21 score at Fitton Field on Saturday afternoon. Trailing 21-nothing, Lehigh (2-5 overall, 1-1 Patriot League) battled back to tie the score in the third quarter, before the Crusaders put together the game’s final two scores. Senior captain Matt McGowan had a career day for the Mountain Hawks, rushing for 178 yards and one touchdown to go along with two receptions for 66 yards and another score. His 178 rush yards were the most by a Mountain Hawk since 2003.
Lehigh-Holy Cross Post-Game Show, October 25, 2008
“I’m disappointed obviously,” Lehigh head coach Andy Coen said after the game. “I thought we came in with a good game plan and in that first quarter we didn’t execute very well, particularly on defense. We had missed tackles and a few other missed assignments. I was happy with how we came back after being down 21-0. But you can’t spot a team 21 points, especially a team as good as this. And then when we did get back and had a chance to take the lead, we turn the ball over on consecutive possessions. We seem to be our own worst enemy.”
Lehigh finished with 375 yards of offense, including 166 through the air by sophomore quarterback J.B. Clark who completed 15-of-35 passes, two of which went for scores. Senior Sekou Yansane caught four of those passes for 33 yards, while classmate Mike Fitzgerald hauled in three for 38. Senior Quadir Carter finished with 13 tackles on the day for the Brown and White, while junior Heath Brickner registered a career-best ten stops.
The Crusaders racked up 489 yards of total offense, with Jon Brock catching six passes for 94 yards and a trio of other receivers catching five passes each. Mike Kielt rushed for 105 yards and one score, while Anthony DiMichele led a quartet of Crusaders with at least seven tackles.
Holy Cross (4-3 overall, 2-0 P.L.) started quickly and scored first on a Randolph to Brock four-yard pass which capped an eight-play, 72-yard drive on the opening possession of the afternoon. Following a missed field goal by Lehigh, Holy Cross got the ball back and added to its lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Drew Volkmann, making the score 14-0 with 2:59 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Crusaders upped their lead to 21 points on a 37-yard touchdown run up the right sideline by Kielt. Lehigh responded with its best drive of the afternoon, that covered 65 yards in ten plays and ended in a Clark to Alex Wojdowski touchdown pass, making the score 21-7 with 10:02 left in the first half. The big play on the drive came from McGowan who rumbled 38-yards to set the Mountain Hawks up with a first-and-goal.
Following a three-and-out by Holy Cross, Lehigh got itself right back in the game on a short screen pass from Clark to McGowan that the senior captain took 66 yards to pay dirt, making the score 21-14 at the 7:44 mark of the second. That was the final score of the first half.
Lehigh gained 239 yards of offense in the half, led by McGowan’s 90 yards rushing and 66 receiving. Clark completed 8-of-19 passes for 133 yards and two scores, with seniors Sekou Yansane and Troy Healion both catching two of those passes for 24 yards apiece. Senior Quadir Carter picked off two passes and totaled seven tackles for the Lehigh “D”, which stiffened up its play following a shaky first quarter.
Randolph threw for 207 yards on 15-of-24 passing in the half with Nick Cole and Brock catching three passes apiece. Kielt rushed for 76 yards in the half, which helped contribute to the Crusaders 316 yards of total offense. Alex Johnson finished as the home team’s leading tackler in the first 30 minutes with six stops.
After both teams had the ball once in the early stages of the third, McGowan continued his brilliance on Lehigh’s next drive with a career-long 46-yard burst that he took to the end zone for his second touchdown of the afternoon. That score capped a seven-play, 87-yard drive by the Brown and White and tied the game at 21 with 4:24 to go in the quarter. It also brought the Mountain Hawks all the way back from their early 21-point deficit. Lehigh converted a fourth down play on the drive on the strength of a two-yard rush by McGowan.
Carter spoke about the resolve of the Mountain Hawks and how they were able to battle back from 21 points down. “We’re a tough team; you can see that every week. We always find a way to come back, but that is actually a problem, because we should never get down so we don’t have to fight our way out of a hole. We do a good job of fighting back and that says a lot about the character of this team.”
Holy Cross took the lead back on a two-yard pass from Randolph to Brock on a play in which Randolph scrambled for several seconds before finding his senior wide receiver in the back of the end zone for a 28-21 lead at the 13:25 mark of the fourth. The Crusaders went up by 14 with just 5:13 left in the game on a seven-yard pass from Randolph to Brett McDermott. That capped a methodical 12-play, 77-yard drive that chewed up 5:55 and all but sealed the win for Holy Cross.
Lehigh wraps up its three-game road swing next weekend as the Mountain Hawks head to the nation’s capital to take on the Georgetown Hoyas at Multi-Sport Field. Kick-off is set for 1:00 and all of the action will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as Lehighsports.com with Matt Kerr, Kody Fedorcha ’00 and Matt Markus on the call. Radio pre-game coverage gets underway at noon. The game will not be televised.
EXTRA POINTS … Saturday’s game will be re-played on Sunday morning at 11:00 on Service Electric 2 Sports and at 2:30 PM on Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh … Saturday marked the first time since the Princeton game in which Lehigh was shut out in the first quarter … head coach Andy Coen and the entire Mountain Hawks coaching staff joined in the Coach to Cure MD event, the American Football Coaches Association’s (AFCA) newest charitable project. College football coaches around the country on Saturday wore arm bands to help raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy … Carter now has three career interceptions in Worcester. The Bethlehem native picked off a pass late in the 2006 contest, which sealed the Mountain Hawks 28-14 victory … McGowan’s 66-yard reception was the longest by a Lehigh running back since Jermaine Pugh’s 79-yarder versus archrival Lafayette in 2003 … McGowan has now rushed for 100 or more yards in three consecutive games. He is the first Lehigh running back since Jermaine Pugh in 2002 to accomplish that feat … with his three points on Saturday, senior Jason Leo is now tenth in Patriot League history in scoring among kickers with 178 points ... With the win, the Crusaders become the first home team to win a game in this series since the Mountain Hawks’ 2003 victory at Goodman Stadium.