College: Holy Cross preparing for biggest test of the season with Harvard

Photo – Holy Cross Athletics

Through its first four games this season, Holy Cross has made it look relatively easy – except for the Hail Mary against Buffalo – while jumping out to a 4-0 start.

This weekend will be the biggest test yet for the No. 11 Crusaders when they travel to historic Harvard Stadium for a matchup with the 2-0 Crimson. Head coach Bob Chesney and his team lost to Tim Murphy’s squad at home (38-13) last season and a similar fate this weekend wouldn’t completely derail the program’s ultimate goals, but would surely but a damper on what has all the makings of a special season.

One big thing the Crusaders can fall back on this weekend is how successful the program has been on the road over the last couple of years.

“I think it’s a couple things,” said Chesney during his Tuesday availability. “When you get in the hotel for that night – I found this to be the case over at Assumption as well – you’re just able to refocus and you’re not…we don’t have a football dorm room here, so you’re involved with a lot of different people, a lot of different schedules. Your roommate as a freshman may not even be a football player, so when you add in all the outside noise that can come with it on campus on a normal Friday night, I think it’s a little bit of a problem.

“I think when we’re on the road, you’re able to eliminate all of that. We put ourselves in a situation where we can just be al together, focused on one mission and not have to worry about anything. You know you’re walking into a hostile environment the next day and it’s pretty exciting to put yourself in a situation where you all come together and bond that evening and focus on the mission at hand. Watch the film together, maybe meet a little more than a regular home game.”

As for what kind of problems the Crimson present, well, there’s a lot of them. Running back Aidan Bourget and quarterback Charlie Dean are at the top of the list, but a good line on both sides and a whole lot of experience make this quite a difficult task for Holy Cross to walk in and get a victory.

“Obviously, coach Murphy is the all-time winningest coach in Ivy history, they just do such a good job, period,” said Chesney. “They’re coming off an 8-2 record from a year ago and both of those losses combined were five points. They were a touchdown away from being 10-0, and one of them in the Princeton game had some pretty interesting calls or whichever it was, I remember there being some issues with the officiating. Very good football team.

“Their history is obviously phenomenal and it’s a huge game for both of us. I think our past two meetings, the biggest thing that stands out to me is that they hold 48-7 halftime lead on us. 24-0 and 24-7 over the past two meetings we’ve played, so we need to be much better than that. Offensively, Aidan Bourget, Charlie Dean, Cam Wimberly (the receiver) they’re just unbelievable football players, and they’re doing it behind an excellent, physical, well-coached offensive line. Schematically, they do all of it…defensively, they stop the run, skill players are probably the best we’ll see and there’s really not much to attack. Nobody runs against them.”

This has the chance to be one of the best games not just of the weekend, but of the year in New England college football. There’s a reason it’s the New England Football Journal/Yolked Game of the Week.

“Overall, they’re a great football team, but so are we,” added Chesney. “It’s going to take everything we’ve got.”