Gate Splits Against Bison and Big Red

Gate Splits Against Bison and Big Red

Colgate football entered its game against Bucknell two weeks ago in danger of falling to 0-2 in Patriot League play. However, junior running back Jordan Scott came to the rescue by leading Colgate to a 28-24 win after an hour-long lightning delay. Unfortunately, Colgate could not keep up its momentum on Saturday and lost a defensive duel against rival Cornell by a 17-14 score.

The first quarter of the Bucknell game was action packed. Junior quarterback Alex Relph connected on a 62-yard bomb to sophomore wide receiver Pat Simonds to give Colgate a 7-0 lead. Bucknell answered right back with a three-play, 69-yard drive that was capped off by a five-yard run by A.J. Kizekai, which evened the score at seven.

“We had a guy get knocked out of a lane and that opened up the seam, “Head Coach Dick Biddle said. “We got out of position and two players missed tackles.”

Less than two minutes later, Scott ran the ball into the endzone from two yards out to put Colgate back up by seven. However, a special teams disaster followed as Kizekai, who won the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week award for his efforts, ran the ensuing kickoff back 92-yard for a touchdown. A Bucknell extra point tied the game at 14. Before the quarter was over, Colgate scored the fifth touchdown of the quarter, as Scott reached the endzone once again from seven yards out.

Although the scoreboard operator got a small breather in the second quarter, Colgate still moved the ball well. Two Raider drives stalled in opponents’ territory after senior Mike Buck missed a field goal, and in a controversial call, a pass to senior wideout Erik Burke was ruled incomplete. Just before halftime, Bucknell struck to tie the score, as Kizekai scored his third touchdown of the game on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Marcello Trigg.

On the first drive of the second half, Bucknell took its first lead of the game on a 35-yard field goal from Will Carney. There would be no further scoring until the fourth quarter. With 4:53 left in the game, Colgate had the ball on its own 20 after forcing the Bison to punt it away. However, lightning was spotted in the distance, prompting an hour-long delay. When play resumed, it seems as though the electricity in the air recharged the Colgate offense.

“[The lightning delay] let Jordan get rested,” Biddle said.” When we came back it was like the first quarter for him, and that really helped us.”

With a great mix of pass and run plays, Colgate marched down to the red zone and scored with 31 ticks on the clock when Scott scored his third touchdown of the day from four yards out. Scott had a phenomenal day on the ground by amassing 270 yards. This single game effort put Scott right behind Jamaal Branch ’05 in the Colgate record books for most rushing yards in a game. The reigning Walter Payton Award winner accumulated 283 rushing yards against Holy Cross in 2003.

Colgate still had some work to do to secure the victory. Bucknell had 25 seconds left after the kickoff, but Trigg failed to connect on two long passes down the field. On third-and-ten, senior defensive tackle Pat Nolan ferociously sacked Trigg on third-and-ten, forced a fumble and jumped on the ball to secure the Raider win. Nolan had three-and-a-half sacks on the day. Burke amassed over 100 receiving yards for the fourth straight game by catching nine balls for 114 yards. The whole offense was spectacular on the day, racking up an impressive 558 yards.

“We executed particularly well, and the players believed in what they were doing,” Biddle said. “The only problemwas when you have that many yards of offense you should score more points.”

Colgate’s next opponent was archrival Cornell. Colgate entered Ithaca hoping to avenge last year’s loss to the Big Red. Unfortunately, they did not. Cornell took the early lead in the second quarter when kicker Peter Zell connected on a 23-yard chip shot field goal. The Raiders took the lead before halftime on a 25-yard strike from Relph to Simonds. The score would remain 7-2 in Colgate’s favor when the halftime horn sounded.

Early in the second half, Relph made a costly error, as Cornell’s Frank Morand picked him off and returned it 72 yards to give the Big Red a 10-7 lead. The Raiders battled back, as Burke continued his extraordinary season by hauling in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Relph. On Cornell’s next possession, senior linebacker Mike Gallihugh intercepted quarterback Nathan Ford’s pass at the Colgate 38-yard line. Unfortunately, Colgate could not capitalize on the turnover and punted the ball away to the Cornell nine. Cornell immediately drove 91 yards down the field to score the game-winning touchdown. The drive was capped off by a 28-yard pass from Nathan Ford to Bryan Walters on fourth-and-nineteen. Colgate got another chance after the defense came up huge and forced a Cornell turnover on downs on the Colgate seven-yard line. The Raiders drove all the way to their own 40 before failing to convert on fourth down. Cornell gave the Raiders yet another chance as Ford fumbled the snap on the ensuing Cornell possession. After some questionable long pauses in starting the play clock, Cornell knelt twice and ran out the clock. The 17-14 loss marked the first time Colgate lost consecutive games to Cornell since 1978 and 1979. You can’t hang this loss on the Raider defense. It allowed just one defensive touchdown, held Cornell to 36 yards rushing and came up with two picks. The standout on defense was undoubtedly senior linebacker Mike Gallihugh. He had 13 tackles and an interception on the day, earning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors. Scott also had a solid game, racking up 110 yards on the ground.

Colgate will be at home this Saturday against former Patriot League foe Towson. Bring your parents to the game at 1 p.m. to watch Colgate finish up its non-conference schedule.