Football Leaps Past Lafayette in Second Half

Bill Stoklosa

As has been the case so many times this year, Colgate football was on the ropes needing to stage a comeback. This time however, the stakes were higher, as a loss would have put an end Colgate’s playoff hopes. Yet again, however, the Raiders delivered by rallying from a 21-3 hole to rally and beat the defending Patriot League champion Lafayette Leopards, 36-27.

Lafayette got the ball first and drove all the way to the Colgate 10, but the defense held strong and forced a field goal, which was missed. Unfortunately, the referee called a roughing the kicker penalty on the play, which led to a Lafayette first down. Three plays later, quarterback Rob Curley completed a four-yard pass to Kevin Logan for a touchdown.

Early in the second quarter, Colgate got on the board when senior Mike Buck nailed a 30-yard field goal to make the score 7-3. On Lafayette’s next drive, Colgate forced the Leopards into a third-and-19 situation. But after an 11-yard completion and a huge 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on the Raiders, the drive was kept alive. The error proved especially costly when Rob Curley exploded for a 49-yard touchdown run that gave Lafayette a 14-3 lead. Things got even worse for Colgate when junior quarterback Alex Relph threw a bad pass under pressure and was intercepted by Marcel Quarterman, who returned 40 yards to the Colgate 12. After stuffing the Leopards running attack on first and second down, Curley threw a strike to Shaun Adair for his second passing touchdown of the afternoon. The extra point was good, putting Colgate in a 21-3 hole.

Colgate got momentum flowing in its favor again just before halftime, as junior running back Jordan Scott scampered across the goal line for a four-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes remaining. The big play on the drive was a 24-yard completion from Relph to first-year wide receiver Doug Rosnick. The catch was Rosnick’s first since the third game of the year against Dartmouth.

“That [touchdown] was big because it got [the score] within 11 points,” head coach Dick Biddle said. “It gave the team confidence.”

In the beginning of the third quarter, Colgate went on a 17-play, 65-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard Scott touchdown run. The Raiders opted to go for two to cut the lead to three, but Relph’s pass to sophomore wideout Pat Simonds fell incomplete, making the score 21-16. After forcing Lafayette to punt the ball away, Colgate started a new drive on its own 13-yard line with a chance to take the lead. Fortunately, the high-powered offense delivered for its fans. The key play was a Relph 40-yard bomb to senior wide receiver Erik Burke that set up Colgate at the Leopard 13. Two plays later, Scott ran the ball in from 9 yards out to give Colgate its first lead of the game, 22-21. Looking to go up three, Colgate once again tried to go for two, but the conversion failed once again.

Clinging to a one-point lead, the Colgate defense forced two straight three-and- outs by the Leopards. Unfortunately, Colgate couldn’t extend the lead, and after a fumble by Scott gave the Leopards the ball on their own 42, Lafayette drove all the way down to the Colgate 26. On third-and-ten, Curley went back to pass and chucked a ball intended for Kevin Logan that was intercepted by sophomore defensive back Wayne Moten at the Colgate 13-yard line. It was his second interception of the game and his third pick in the last two games. Moten, who played wide receiver last year, has evolved into a quality defensive back.

“He’s done a good job,” Biddle said referring to Moten. “He’s not very large, but he’s very quick. He has good skills, and really helped us.”

On the ensuing drive, Scott scored his fourth touchdown of the day. After the extra point, Colgate took a 29-21 lead with just under two minutes remaining. In addition to the four scores, Scott also had 194 rushing yards on the day.

Lafayette made things interesting when they scored a quick touchdown after Curley found Adair in the endzone to cut Colgate’s lead to two. Lafayette went for two, but a huge sack by senior defensive tackle Pat Nolan ended the play. On the Leopards’ ensuing onsides kick attempt, sophomore Pat Simonds recovered the ball and ran the pigskin back 38 yards for a touchdown. A Buck extra point put the final nail in Lafayette’s playoff coffin. The Leopards tried to get one last score before the game ended, but sophomore linebacker Greg Hadley forced Brandon Mitchell to fumble and senior cornerback Cody Williams recovered. Relph fell on the ball once, and Colgate walked away with a stunning 36-27 win.

In addition to Moten’s strong performance, senior linebacker Mike Gallihugh also played well defensively, leading the team with 12 tackles. On offense, the tandem of Relph and Burke worked well again, with Relph throwing for 220 yards and Burke racking up 87 yards receiving. Scott received Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts, and first-year free safety Mike Barry earned the Patriot League Rookie of the Week award for accruing eight tackles.

Colgate improves to 2-1 in the Patriot League and 5-3 overall. The win keeps the Raiders’ playoff hopes alive and marks the first time they have won consecutive games all year. Colgate will have to increase its win streak to three this Saturday against Lehigh at Andy Kerr Stadium if they want to have a chance at the postseason. Colgate’s last home game of the year will begin at 12:30 p.m.