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Football Ventures to Worcester for Patriot Game

Oct. 20, 2015

 Lafayette at Holy Cross
 Gameday Info  GoLeopards.com Gameday
 Date  Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 at 1 p.m.
 Location  Worcester, Mass. | Fitton Field
 Tickets  Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office
 Game Notes  Lafayette Get Acrobat Reader | Holy Cross Get Acrobat Reader
 TV  Lafayette Sports Network (RCN 4/8, 1004/608 in HD, WBPH-60)
 Gary Laubach, Mike Joseph, John Leone
 Live Streaming  Patriot League Network
 Gary Laubach, Mike Joseph, John Leone
 Live Stats  Holy Cross Live Stats
 Social Media  Twitter & Facebook

 

THE OPENING KICK

MATCH-UP: Four games, two at home and two on the road, remain in Lafayette's 2015 football season. The Leopards take to the road on Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Holy Cross' Fitton Field. The teams have split the last four meetings in Worcester and the last four meetings overall.

LAST TIME OUT: No. 18 Harvard churned out 500 offensive yards while working its way to a 42-0 win over Lafayette. Paul Stanton rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns as the Crimson won their 19th straight game overall and 13th in a row on the road.

BRYANT IN THE NATION: Sophomore LB Brandon Bryant is fourth in the nation in solo tackles, making 6.7 solo stops per outing. He ranks ninth in the nation in total tackles (11.6 tpg) and had a 16-tackle effort vs. Fordham, including 10 solo efforts. He made a career-high 18 stops at Delaware and garnered Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors, seven days removed from 13 tackles vs. William & Mary. Holy Cross sophomore Nick McBeath is second in the nation with 7.3 solo tackles per game.

THE SERIES: Lafayette leads the all-time series 16-13 with the teams splitting the last four meetings. The series is one of the more recent one in terms of the first meeting, as the Leopards and Crusaders first squared off in 1986 and have played every season since.

SHUT OUT: Lafayette was shut out for the first time in more than a decade (Sept. 22, 2001 vs. Penn, 37-0) against No. 18 Harvard. The last time Lafayette shut out an opponent, another Ivy League foe was involved when Lafayette beat Columbia 29-0 on Oct. 6, 2007 at Fisher Stadium.

BOSCH SACKS: Sophomore DE Beau Bosch had a breakout game vs. Harvard, registering two of the team's eight sacks on the season. He finished the night with six tackles.

THE RUNNING GAME: Lafayette is averaging 45 rushing yards per game, coming off a nine-yard performance at Georgetown in week six and a -18-yard outing vs. Harvard. Injuries and inexperience have been an issue for an offensive line that is starting two freshmen, two sophomores and senior. Through seven games in 2014, Lafayette was averaging 149 yards per game, but featured four-time All-Patriot League tailback Ross Scheuerman and started three seniors, a junior and a sophomore in the front five.

SPREADING IT AROUND: The Lafayette quarterbacks have spread the ball around to 17 receivers this season. At Georgetown, Drew Reed and Blake Searfoss completed passes to 11 different targets. Lafayette connected with nine players in two games (William & Mary and Princeton), eight three times (Delaware, Fordham, Harvard) and six pass catchers at Wagner.

LIMITING PENALTIES: The Leopards have limited penalties, ranking third in the nation in fewest penalties per game (4.14) and fifth for penalty yards per game (36).

REED MOVING UP: With 215 passing yards against Harvard, junior QB Drew Reed eclipsed the 4000-yard plateau for career passing yards, now having thrown for 4,112 yards while holding down eighth place in the Lafayette record books. He also ranks eighth in career completions with 368, needing 18 to move into seventh spot.
Reed is the school record holder for single-season completion percentage (72.5% in 2013) and is second in career completion percentage (65.8%).

CONSTANT CATCH: Sophomore WR Matt Mrazek has been the Leopards' go-to receiver for most of his time on College Hill. This season, Mrazek has a team-best 41 catches for 474 yards and two touchdowns. He is coming off a Harvard game in which he had seven grabs for 79 yards and a Georgetown contest with seven catches for 103 yards and a score. It was Lafayette's second 100-yard plus receiving performance of the season.
Mrazek started six of the final seven games in 2014, making 26 catches for 360 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

TURNOVERS TELL A MISLEADING STORY: Turnovers don't always tell the story of the game. Lafayette did not commit a turnover the entire 60 minutes in the losses vs. Princeton and Harvard, losing a combined 82-7. The turnover numbers were more telling at Wagner where the Leopards forced three. A forced fumble by Matt Smalley and recovery by Mark Dodd swung the momentum in the Leopards' favor and interceptions by Jared Roberts and Clay Rush clinched the game in the fourth quarter. The Leopards were +1 in turnovers vs. Princeton, -2 at Delaware, -1 vs. William & Mary, -1 vs. Fordham, -2 at Georgetown and even vs. Harvard. Lafayette is -2 for the season.

SWITCHING SIDES: Frank Tavani likens senior Matt Anderson's switch from defensive line to offensive line to learning a new language. Anderson, who had never played offensive line in high school or college, started the Harvard game at left guard. The move was necessitated by season-ending injuries David Miller and the preseason departure of Paul Federinko. Connor Staudle has missed the last four games due to injury without a definite return date. Lafayette currently has eight healthy offensive linemen.

ABOUT HOLY CROSS: Holy Cross is coming off a 4-8 campaign in 2014 when the Crusaders finished fifth in the Patriot League with a 2-4 record. Last week, Holy Cross battled No. 10 Fordham into overtime before losing 47-41. Holy Cross is averaging 28.2 points per game, second best in the Patriot League.

• The Crusaders return seven starters on offense and eight starters on defense while welcoming back 43 lettermen.

• Holy Cross's offense features junior QB Peter Pujals and sophomore RB Diquan Walker. Pujals has completed 148-of-254 for 1,640 yards with 13 TD's and seven interceptions while leading the Patriot League in passing yards per game and ranking sixth in the nation in completions. A dual threat QB, Pujals is second on the team in rushing with 185 rushing yards behind only Walker who has rushed for 215 yards (4.0 ypc) with four touchdowns.

• Holy Cross' top receiving threat has been WR Brendan Flaherty who has 56 catches for 506 yards and six TDs. His 9.3 receptions per game are second best in the FBS.

• Sophomore LB Nick McBeath leads the defense with 59 tackles and four tackles for loss. McBeath's average of 7.3 solo tackles per game is second best in the nation. Senior Kalif Raymond and junior Jake Wieczorek have combined for 50 catches and five TD's.

• Holy Cross is coached by Tom Gilmore (Penn '86) who is in his 12th season as a head coach.