Category Archives: Holy Cross

Patriot League Fans Stunned At the Firing of Tom Gilmore at Holy Cross

It was clear that Holy Cross' 32-0 loss to Yale wasn't going to yield many highlights for their end-of-the-year DVD.

“We just couldn’t string anything together,” head coach Tom Gilmore said after the loss. “They got us on our heels. They were executing some big plays and it snowballed. Yale kept the pressure on and it one of those days we couldn’t flip the momentum.”

At 2-5, the Crusaders did, and still do, have a chance to win the Patriot League, if they win the rest of their games and Lafayette loses twice - certainly not an inconceivable notion.

Even so, Holy Cross athletic director Nathan Pine sent shockwaves through the Patriot League this weekend when he called head coach Tom Gilmore and told him that he was being terminated immediately, with Brian Rock, the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, taking over in an interim basis.

“Traditionally I’m not a proponent of a mid-season change,” Pine told Jen Toland of The Worcester Telegram-Gazette, “but I’ve watched carefully, and especially over these last three weeks our team has seemed to spiral and our performance has gotten progressively worse and so I didn’t want to delay the decision any longer, because hopefully this can be a rallying point and a galvanizing moment for our team to still have some success at the end of the season. I just didn’t feel like that would happen if we didn’t have a significant change.”

The fall of this Holy Cross team and the circumstances that led to Gilmore's firing was stunning.
Read more »

An LFN Investigation: What’s Wrong with Patriot League football?

This week, Lafayette plays Harvard up in Cambridge, where the 2-4 Leopards are expected to lose to the 2-2 Crimson.  I say expected to lose because with one exception since 2000, that's what's happened every time Lafayette has played Harvard: they have lost 12 out of their last 13 to the Johnnies, and have a lifetime record of 3-19 against them.

The expectation among Patriot League football fans is that football scholarships was supposed to change all of that.  Simply offer conventional football scholarships, add to that a chance to play in the FCS Playoffs, and suddenly football recruits choosing between Harvard and Lehigh for business would start choosing Lehigh.

It hasn't worked out quite that way.

Through five games in 2017, the combined record of the Patriot League is a mind-boggling 8-21 outside of Patriot League contests.   And of those eight wins, only one has come against a team from the Ivy League - Colgate's 21-7 win over Cornell.  Collectively, the Patriot League is 1-7 against the Ancient Eight, with six of those seven losses coming by more than two touchdowns.

This is not what fans of the Patriot League signed up for five years ago when they decided to offer the same sort of scholarships that schools like Delaware, Montana and North Dakota State.  But is the problem scholarships, or is it something else?


Read more »

An LFN Investigation: What’s Wrong with Patriot League football?

This week, Lafayette plays Harvard up in Cambridge, where the 2-4 Leopards are expected to lose to the 2-2 Crimson.  I say expected to lose because with one exception since 2000, that's what's happened every time Lafayette has played Harvard: they have lost 12 out of their last 13 to the Johnnies, and have a lifetime record of 3-19 against them.

The expectation among Patriot League football fans is that football scholarships was supposed to change all of that.  Simply offer conventional football scholarships, add to that a chance to play in the FCS Playoffs, and suddenly football recruits choosing between Harvard and Lehigh for business would start choosing Lehigh.

It hasn't worked out quite that way.

Through five games in 2017, the combined record of the Patriot League is a mind-boggling 8-21 outside of Patriot League contests.   And of those eight wins, only one has come against a team from the Ivy League - Colgate's 21-7 win over Cornell.  Collectively, the Patriot League is 1-7 against the Ancient Eight, with six of those seven losses coming by more than two touchdowns.

This is not what fans of the Patriot League signed up for five years ago when they decided to offer the same sort of scholarships that schools like Delaware, Montana and North Dakota State.  But is the problem scholarships, or is it something else?


Read more »

LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/19/2017


I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and let's just get all the drama out of the way now - James Madison is my clear-cut No. 1.

I know, right?  Shocking.

This week saw two Top 10 teams of mine last week go down - and Virginia, the games weren't close.  One might not have been too much of a surprise, as it came against a nationally-ranked team at their place.  But the other stunned a lot of people, including myself, and frankly, I hate missing the call of a Patriot League team upsetting a CAA team.
Read more »

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 1, Holy Cross

The pie-eating contests were what I loved the best about the Worcester Patsy Parties.

Maybe it was the Purple People Eater moniker, the fact that they coincided with a particularly busy party weekend, it wasn't abundantly clear, but they always made for a great shindig.

I remembered the undergrads, lined up, eating the blueberry pies one after another.  It never ended well, but for some reason all the unsuspecting young people, waiting for the starting gun to go off, made me smile, as if they didn't know what they were really getting into.

It wasn't just about the pies: there was all sorts of great food and drink there: the blueberry crush cocktails, of which I had too many on multiple occasions, stood out.

Today, however, the only crush experienced in the offices were the ones of Holy Cross' Patsy Rating spreadsheets hitting me in the head.

Read more »

Seven Positive Thoughts About All the Patriot League Recruiting Classes

It's recruiting season.  Every incoming recruit is a Patriot League all-star, everyone is a first team all-American, everyone is undefeated.  It's all good times, a chance for kids to be admitted to some of the best Universities in the world.  In that, it's a win for everyone.

While we wait for each of the remaining recruits to be announced as a part of their recruiting classes, I thought I'd comb through all of the incoming classes of the Patriot League and tell you what sticks out to me.

This summart isn't a ratings-based system, than folks like 247Sports have in terms of measuring the number of "starred recruits" (they list Holy Cross as the "winner"), or even a hybrid-based system, like LFN's yearly Patsy Ratings (last seasons "winner": Lehigh) or HERO Sports' list of the top overall FCS recruits (which lists Lafayette as the "winner").  It's just one guy, looking at the recruit lists, and giving his opinion.

Let's start.
Read more »

Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

I've been doing this long enough to know that every Lehigh football team is different.  The dynamics running through every team is different; what motivates one team has no impact on the team of the following year.

But every big win this 2016 team gets, many of the fans who have been here a while keep whispering:

2011.

Like an Adele Spotify channel, you can't help but be reminded of 2011 when you go to Murray Goodman Stadium or Fitton Field or wherever they're playing.  The popular online game between fans on the Lehigh football message board is: Who was better, 2011, or 2016?

The answer is still, beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2011 - for now - but the only reason for that is that 2016 is still in the midst of writing their story.  Yet it can hardly be helped that fans look at the potential of this 2016 team and think, with apologies to Adele, that they are rolling in the same sort of wins that they were in 2011.
Read more »

Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

I've been doing this long enough to know that every Lehigh football team is different.  The dynamics running through every team is different; what motivates one team has no impact on the team of the following year.

But every big win this 2016 team gets, many of the fans who have been here a while keep whispering:

2011.

Like an Adele Spotify channel, you can't help but be reminded of 2011 when you go to Murray Goodman Stadium or Fitton Field or wherever they're playing.  The popular online game between fans on the Lehigh football message board is: Who was better, 2011, or 2016?

The answer is still, beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2011 - for now - but the only reason for that is that 2016 is still in the midst of writing their story.  Yet it can hardly be helped that fans look at the potential of this 2016 team and think, with apologies to Adele, that they are rolling in the same sort of wins that they were in 2011.
Read more »

Raindrops Can’t Slow Down Lehigh, Defeat Holy Cross 46-14

(Photo Credit: Jay Anderson/Worcester Telegram)

It was a day where even when things went wrong they went right for the Mountain Hawks.

It was early in the second quarter, deadlocked at 7.  Sophomore QB Brad Mayes, picked the starter as senior QB Nick Shanfisky would be the backup to let his injured leg continue to heal, would get a drive going with an 18 yard pass to junior WR Troy Pelletier.  Two plays later, sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone would run a counter play left, escape a few tackles, and surge for a 28 yard run into Holy Cross territory.

You could feel some momentum building as Mayes would connect on a 4th and 7 to Pelletier to get into the Holy Cross red zone, and again when he would rifle a ball to junior WR Gatlin Casey over the middle.  There was even more when sophomore RB Micco Brisker would keep his legs moving - and his offensive line, pushing - until he reached the end zone.

Up 13-7, on the extra point Shafnisky, who holds during extra points, got a low snap, and scrolled right.  Looking up, he saw junior DE Tyler Cavenas, wide open in the end zone, waving his hands.  To salvage the free shot at points, he lofted the ball to Tyler - and he came down with the ball.

It ended up a very good day for the Mountain Hawks, where positive thing after positive thing kept happening for the Mountain Hawks, some planned, some unplanned.  Despite a game where weather seemed like it might make for a tough go, Lehigh wasn't slowed down at all in their 46-14 win.
Read more »

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Train Keeps Chugging Through Worcester, Dominate Holy Cross In 46-14 Win

On the first drive of the game, surprise Holy Cross starting QB Blaise Bell connected on a long pass to WR Jake Wieczorek, setting up a big touchdown run by WR Brendan Flaherty.

On the last drive of the game, freshman RB Domenic Cozier ran up the middle to score his first collegiate touchdown for the Crusaders.

In between those two touchdowns, it was for the most part all Lehigh.

Lehigh's defense held Holy Cross to 281 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers - most of it coming on a couple of pass plays - and allowed the offense to to pummel Holy Cross' defense with a balanced attack.  With three passing touchdowns from sophomore QB Brad Mayes and three rushing touchdowns, two of them by sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone, Lehigh would score 46 unanswered points to win resoundingly, 46-14, at Fitton Field.
Read more »