Holy Cross Set to Open 122nd Football Season Against UConn

Thursday, August 31, 2017
GoLocalWorcester Sports Team

Peter Pujals
The Holy Cross Crusaders football team will face the Connecticut Huskies on Thursday night to kick off their 122nd football season.

“There is a lot of excitement for this game. This is our season opener, we are playing our first FBS opponent since 2002 and we are renewing an old New England rivalry. We are looking forward to kicking off the 2017 season down in East Hartford,” said Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore.

Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Holy Cross in 2016

Last season, the Crusaders went 4-7 overall and 2-4 i the Patriot League.

Holy Cross went 3-3 in true road games with the highlight of the season coming in a 27-17 win over 20th ranked Harvard.

Holy Cross Offense

The Crusaders return 16 of 22 players from last year’s offense that averaged 24 points and 356 yards per game last season.

“I think we can be very explosive this year, and we will be able to move the ball more consistently because of our leadership and talent. here is nothing more valuable than experience and that will be a key, especially in the early part of the season,” said Gilmore.

The offense will be led by 5th year senior quarterback Peter Pujals, who missed the majority of last season with an injury.

In his career, Pujals has connected on 833 of 1,366 passes for 8,919 yards and 67 touchdowns. He has also rushed 429 times for 1,605 yards and 16 scores. 

Running back Gabe Guild also returns to the team after an injury sidelined him last season. He enters the season having rushed 321 times for 1,589 yards and 16  touchdowns in his career. He has also hauled in 49 passes for 417 yards and a touchdown.

At wide receiver, Holy Cross will look to junior Richie DeNicola who returns for his junior season.

Last year, he ranked third on the team with 49 receptions for 513 yards and four touchdowns, including a career-high 14 catches at Albany.

Senior Darrius Lacy and junior Jordan Montgomery will also play key roles in the offense.

Holy Cross Defense

On the defensive side of the ball, the Crusaders return six starters to a unit that gave up a average of 32 points and 414 yards per game last season.

“We showed some glimpses of what we are capable of doing last year, and we followed that up with an outstanding spring where we gained size and strength and refined our technique. I expect this to be a much improved unit overall,” said Gilmore.

The Crusaders will rely on senior linebacker Nick McBeath, who was named preseason All-Patriot League.

He led the conference with 106 tackles, including eight tackles for loss, one sack, and a forced fumble.

Holy Cross vs UConn

Thursday’s game will mark the 29th all-time meeting between the Crusaders and Huskies.

Holy Cross leads the all-time series 19-8-1, but the schools have not met since the 1985 season.

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