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’Saders Ready to Exact Revenge
The chance to play another year of college football, to hone his skills and polish his game were all reasons Holy Cross quarterback Dominic Randolph came back for a fifth season. One last crack at a Patriot League championship was another.
“Definitely,” Randolph said this week. “That’s the goal of every team and not winning it last year pushed me to try again.”
Colgate beat Holy Cross, 28-27, in the last game of 2008 to claim the Patriot League crown. The longtime foes will clash again at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Fitton Field, and the top-25 matchup should certainly have PL title implications. It is the first of five straight league games for HC.
“Every game’s a big game, but now that we’re back in the Patriot League, this is the biggest game of our season,” Randolph said, “and it’s the biggest game we’ve had in a while because we came up short against them last year for the championship. I still have a sour taste in my mouth from that loss. We’ve been looking forward to this game for a while.”
Seventeenth-ranked Colgate (7-0, 2-0 Patriot) is one of four undefeated FCS teams. Led by sophomores Nate Eachus and Jordan McCord, the Raiders have the nation’s top rushing offense. The No. 22 Crusaders (5-1, 1-0) counter with the country’s second-ranked pass offense and leader in passing yards, Randolph.
Junior quarterback Greg Sullivan has contributed to Colgate’s running attack with 550 yards and six touchdowns, and he also has a fine target in junior Pat Simonds, who’s averaging 85.9 yards and is the PL’s second-leading receiver.
“People talk about the wildcat formation,” HC coach Tom Gilmore said, “well, they’re in the wildcat formation every play because their quarterback is a great running back that can throw the ball as well. They’re hard to defend.”
Colgate has been limiting opponents to 16.3 points a game, due in large part to its defensive line, which Gilmore said will likely be the best HC will see this year.
A point of emphasis for the Crusaders heading into tomorrow’s game is time of possession. HC led, 24-14, at halftime of last year’s game, but had the ball for less than six minutes the entire second half.
“We have to find a way to do what we need to do and keep time of possession in our favor,” said Randolph, who last week tied the late Steve McNair’s FCS record of 36 straight games with a touchdown pass. Randolph is 360 passing yards from 12,000 in his career.
Gilmore was impressed with Randolph’s poise, composure and smarts in leading two late fourth-quarter touchdown drives against Brown. “It’s unbelievable what he can do,” Gilmore said. “He is absolutely unfazed by the game situation.”
The stakes are high for HC tomorrow, just how Randolph likes it.
“I kind of do like it, to be honest,” Randolph said. “It gets you fired up early in the week, and it’s always fun to play in big games, and this certainly is that.”
Hernandez seizes opportunity
With Tony Nelson, the Colonial Athletic Association’s leading rusher, banged up for last week’s showdown with the University of New Hampshire, UMass needed backup Jonathan Hernandez to have a big game.
The former Leominster High running back responded. Hernandez, a redshirt sophomore, rushed for a career-high 166 yards and the winning touchdown — a 42-yard romp — with 5:23 to play as the Minutemen beat No. 4 UNH, 23-17.
Hernandez was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Week.
It was not the first time this season Hernandez took advantage of an opportunity. Nelson, who was sidelined for all but one series of the UNH game with a thigh contusion, also missed this year’s game against Stony Brook. Hernandez stepped in to rush for 130 yards and three touchdowns.
“Jon’s been that guy for us all year,” UMass coach Kevin Morris said. “He’s got that kind of ability. He’s just a tough, hard-nosed, blue-collar kid.”
Hernandez set a school record with 2,099 rushing yards his senior year at Leominster. He was a two-time Division 1 MVP and led the Blue Devils to back-to-back Super Bowls.
Nelson is expected back for the No. 14 Minutemen’s game at No. 1 Richmond tomorrow.
On the year, Hernandez has 75 carries for 408 yards and six TDs
“We’re very excited to have him,” Morris said. “At this point in time, we need Jon to do all those things. I just didn’t think he would have this many touches, but with Tony being banged up, Jon’s had to step up, and he’s done a great job.”
’Saders ready to exact revenge
By Jennifer Toland, The Worcester Telegram-Gazette