Holy Cross four down preview: Holy Cross Crusaders (3-0) @ Colgate Raiders (1-2)

Photo – ESPN

Kickoff: The No. 13 Crusaders begin Patriot League play with a road game in upstate New York on Saturday afternoon. After somehow dropping a spot in the FCS rankings despite a 3-0 start, Holy cross is looking to make a statement against a Raiders’ team it blew out by 32 points last year.

1st Down: The offense should shine: With Matt Sluka now becoming a thrower as well as a runner, the Crusaders’ offense is extremely dangerous. With Ayir Asante and Jalen Coker leading the way and both Peter Oliver and Jordan Fuller carrying the load in the back field, there’s a pick-your-poison element to this offense that Colgate probably can’t handle.

2nd Down: Focus, focus, focus: This shouldn’t be an issue for a Bob Chesney-coached team, but it needs to be mentioned. Chesney talked earlier in the week about wiping the slate clean despite the fantastic start, he also called this “playoff football” based on the difficulty of earning a playoff bid without being a league champion. The Crusaders should be locked in.

3rd Down: Statement games to voters are a real thing: Chesney is a master at trying to ignore the noise like another famous football coach in this area, but everybody’s human. The Crusaders were disrespected in both the coaches poll and the general FCS poll after a dominant beatdown of Yale, dropping to 13. Chesney said he didn’t care whether his team was ranked first, 25th or not at all, but his players probably do. Colgate might be on the wrong end of a loud statement from the guys in purple and white.

 4th Down: Derek Ng continues to be Mr. Consistency: It’s not every day that an FCS program as someone who is basically automatic kicking field goals, but Holy Cross has been luck. Derek Ng decided to come back late in the offseason, and then set the school record with his 38th career make last Saturday. If it ever comes down to needing three for a win, Ng is a guy you want lining up. He may not be needed much in Saturday, but we’re sure he’ll bang home any attempts that come his way.

Extra Point: These are the types of games national title contenders dominate from start to finish. It’ll be interesting to see if Colgate is able to start fast at home and make things interesting early. If not, this should be an easy 4-0 start and (you would think) a top-10 ranking next week for the Crusaders.

Final Drive: If you aren’t paying attention to Holy Cross yet, you should probably start. FCS football doesn’t get nearly enough attention not just here, but across the country. Worcester, MA has a change to have one of the truly elite programs in the United States and something special is happening with Chesney leading the way.