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Randolph Weathers Patriot Storms
WORCESTER — That one-point loss in the snow last November gnawed at Dominic Randolph.
He had done everything in his four years at Holy Cross — everything except win a Patriot League championship — and now he and his teammates had to take that long ride home from Hamilton, N.Y., the disappointment of that season-ending loss to Colgate seared in their memories.
This isn’t how Randolph wanted his college career to end.
A chance to avenge that loss was a big reason Randolph decided to return for a fifth season, having been granted a medical redshirt because he was injured and didn’t play his freshman year.
Yesterday, facing stormy weather once again, Randolph accomplished his mission while adding to his legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Football Championship Subdivision history.
The 6-foot-3 Ohioan passed for four touchdowns and ran for two more, leading the Crusaders over 17th-ranked Colgate and snapping the Raiders’ 15-game regular-season winning streak.
He gained a career-best 116 yards on the ground, becoming just the second opponent this season to crack the century mark against the ’Gate.
And one of the first things he did when it was over was gather his teammates so they could have their pictures taken on soggy Fitton Field with their little brothers. Randolph is in his fourth year working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Mass., and has been honored by the organization for his leadership.
Randolph said spending time with his little brother every week is important to him.
“When the game is stressful and whatnot, you can look to him and kind of relieve some stress,” he said. “It’s fun having him here. It’s exciting.”
Are you catching this, NFL scouts?
In an era when pro football players are making headlines for killing dogs and carrying firearms into nightclubs, here’s a grounded kid with a strong arm and solid character.
Randolph said it’s his dream to play in the NFL, but is he good enough for the pros?
“If he keeps playing like he did today, I would say so,” HC coach Tom Gilmore said. “He just has a unique skill set. He has everything anyone would want in a quarterback. The more people see him in action, up close and personal, the more he’s going to sell them.”
Take yesterday, for instance. The Raiders had been allowing just 16 points a game until Randolph shredded their defense, piling up 404 yards of offense — 40 above his nation-leading average — and winning a unanimous vote for the Eddie Anderson Award, presented to the outstanding player of the Family Weekend game.
He completed the 1,000th pass of his career in the second half and owns just about all school and league passing records. With four games left, he’s sixth all-time in FCS career passing yards and seventh in career TD passes and total offense.
Randolph was on his way to becoming the first HC player to rush for 100 yards and pass for 300 in the same game until Gilmore took the air out the ball late in the fourth quarter.
“People keep asking how much better can Dom get,” Gilmore said. “He’s gotten better every year, just seeing what the defense is giving us, getting in the right play. What Dom does is he forces teams to defend the entire field. You think you’re going to take away one thing, well, we’re going to manipulate you in another way.”
Colgate was geared to slow down HC’s passing attack, which is ranked second in the nation, so Randolph beat the Raiders on the ground.
“To be honest, we planned it a little bit, but we never thought we would run it that much,” Randolph said. “But the holes opened up, and they did what we thought we would do, so the coaches kept calling it and it worked out.”
Colgate came in as the top running team in the country, but Randolph led all rushers and averaged 8.3 yards on his 14 carries.
“It knocks the wind out of you,” he said. “It’s a little more tiring, but it’s fun to run the ball.”
It’s especially fun when those runs help your team avenge a bitter defeat, but he can’t afford to dwell on the past or stare too deep into a future he hopes will include the NFL.
The Crusaders still have a bit of work to do, starting with Saturday’s game at Fordham, where they haven’t won in 10 years.
Beating Colgate does make the road less hazardous, though.
“It will definitely give us confidence, but we have a big game coming up,” Randolph said. “We have four big Patriot League games left.”
And they have one of the best quarterbacks in the country to help them navigate through whatever storms might lie ahead.
Randolph weathers Patriot storms
By Paul Jarvey, The Worcester Telegram-Gazette