This past weekend the Holy Cross Crusaders took on the Fordham Rams for the coveted Crusader Ram Cup. It was the home opener at the historic Fitton Field in Worcester, MA, and the Crusaders did not disappoint. They had a hard fought, come from behind 34-24 win, despite missing some key players at multiple skill positions. This moves the Crusaders to 2-0 in the Patriot League as they continue to control their own destiny as the Playoffs inch closer.
How it Happened
Holy Cross continued their slow offensive start to the season with a lackluster first quarter and a half. They found themselves down 14-6 with Fordham quarterback Tim DeMorat slicing and dicing the Crusader secondary. He is the Patriot League pre-season offensive player of the year, and absolutely showed why. Desperately needing a spark, the Crusaders found it in a plethora of freshman. Freshman cornerback Terrence Spence blocked a punt and returned in for a touchdown to make the score 14-13, drastically changing the momentum of game.
The Crusaders took the reins from this point on, led by a Herculean effort from Freshman quarterback Matt Sluka. He came out of nowhere and was running ALL over the Rams defense. He also hit two big throws, including a touchdown to fellow Freshman receiver Jalen Coker. His 57 yard touchdown was one of the more impressive plays I have honestly seen at Fitton Field. He finished the day with 145 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns to go along with a great touchdown throw in the red zone to seal the victory. His athleticism and decisiveness running the ball is an absolute weapon, and it will be very interesting to see if he starts next week.
Despite giving up way too many yards, the defense had some huge plays down the stretch to seal the game. They stopped the Rams in 3 fourth downs, and cornerback John Smith had a key red zone interception. Smith is quickly turning into the top corner in the entire league and a name to watch out for as the next HC player with NFL caliber talent. While it wasn’t the best day by any stretch for the defense, the foundation is there to compete in the playoffs.
The Crusaders will host the Bucknell Bison next Saturday, and look to move to 3-0 on the year and in the Patriot League. They are still sorting how the championship/seeding will work, but I believe Holy Cross should clinch at least a spot in the Patriot League Championship with a win next week. Catch the full highlight below, and as always (for now) GO CROSS!!!