Behind another dominant performance from senior quarterback Matthew Sluka, the Holy Cross football team opened Patriot League play with a 47-7 win over Colgate at Fitton Field Saturday afternoon.
Sluka, the league’s reigning offensive player of the week, threw four touchdown passes in the middle quarters as the Crusaders (3-1, 1-0 Patriot) scored 40 straight points after Colgate’s lone touchdown late in the first quarter. Sluka finished 16 of 28 with 186 passing yards.
“Offensively, we did a really nice job protecting the ball and moving the ball down the field,” Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney said. “Defensively, the first drive, not ideal, but then after that I think everybody started playing a different brand of football.”
The Crusaders, ranked No. 6 in the FCS coaches poll, rumbled for 317 rushing yards, led by junior Jordan Fuller’s 121 and two touchdown runs. Sophomore Sam Slade added 75, fifth-year Tyler Purdy chipped in with 61, and Sluka contributed 41.
Junior Justin Shorter (112 receiving yards) and senior Jalen Coker (57) each caught a pair of Sluka touchdown passes.
“It started on special teams. On that first kick return just getting hit, I felt like I had to make a play after that,” Shorter said. “Then just making sure I’m getting open for Sluka every game.”
The Crusaders’ defense held Colgate (0-4, 0-1 Patriot) to just 4.06 yards per play. Freshman cornerback Eli Thompson came up with two interceptions, and fifth-year linebacker Jacob Dobbs recorded 12 tackles, including a sack.
“We responded and were a lot better in the first half after that first drive,” Dobbs said. “I thought we had a lot of young guys step up and make some great plays, like Eli Thompson coming in and having two interceptions. Watching these young kids grow and compete, there’s no fear. They go in there and they play football and it looks like they’re not freshmen.”
Junior Michael Brescia scored Colgate’s lone touchdown with a 7-yard run in the first quarter.
The Crusaders host rival Harvard (2-0, 1-0 Ivy) in a nonconference game next Saturday at Polar Park.