Many felt that this would be a special season for Holy Cross and so far they’ve been right. After upsetting FBS Buffalo last week on a miraculous Hail Mary, the #13 Crusaders (3-0) picked up another big win on Saturday, this time over Yale out of the Ivy League. The 24-point victory over the Bulldogs made it very evident that Holy Cross isn’t slowing down as Patriot League play approaches.
It wasn’t so much dominance by the Crusaders, though, that defined the start of the game. It was more so missed opportunities by Yale. On their first drive, the Bulldogs offense marched down into Holy Cross territory with relative ease but on a fourth and short, quarterback Nolan Grooms connected on a pass to David Pantelis but it was short of the first down.
On their next possession, Yale again moved into to enemy territory but this time it was a missed field goal that kept them off the board. Empty possessions against an opponent like Holy Cross are ill afforded and soon, the Bulldogs would end up paying for their failures to convert.
Early in the second quarter, Crusaders QB Matthew Sluka ran in for a two-yard touchdown that got the scoring going. The Bulldogs were able to answer that score with a touchdown of their own but they weren’t able to answer the next one.
Wide receiver Jalen Coker reached outside of his wheelhouse and tossed a 36-yard throw to running back Tyler Purdy for a score to go up 14-7. Not long after, Sluka replicated Coker and threw a 36-yard touchdown of his own to Ayir Asante.
The 21-7 halftime lead only got bigger for the Crusaders in the third quarter when Jordan Fuller broke free for a 22-yard touchdown run. It was the longest run of Fuller’s 11 carries of the afternoon.
It wasn’t just the Crusaders’ offense that was making plays. On Yale’s ensuing possession after Fuller’s score, Terrence Pence jumped in front of an underthrown ball by Grooms and nabbed his first interception of the season.
Sluka would score again later in the quarter with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Coker. Later in the fourth, kicker Derek Ng hit a 22-yard field goal to put an exclamation point on the day. With the made kick, Ng became the leader in Holy Cross program history for career field goal makes.
Try as they might, Yale’s defense could not find an answer for the Holy Cross offense. In total the Crusaders put up 571 yards of offense and picked up 27 first downs during the 38-14 rout. The defense forced two turnovers and the Bulldogs to just 140 passing yards.
Head coach Bob Chesney has the Crusaders off to their first 3-0 start since the 2009 campaign (excluding the 2020 spring season).Now they turn their attention to Patriot League action against Colgate next Saturday.