Football Topplse Towson Tigers

Bill Stoklosa

The Raiders welcomed the Towson Tigers back to Andy Kerr Stadium last Saturday in a rematch of former Patriot League foes. Though the weather was gray and rainy for most of the game, Colgate delivered an impressive Family Weekend performance and defeated the Towson Tigers, 27-17.

Colgate started its first drive of the game at its 12-yard line after first-year defensive back Coree’ Moses intercepted a pass from Towson quarterback Sean Schaefer. The Raiders proceeded to drive 87 yards down the field to the Towson one. On first-and-goal, Relph fired a bullet to senior Erik Burke, who made a sensational catch at the goal line to give ‘Gate the lead. The Michigan native caught six balls on the day for 105 yards, marking the fifth time he cracked over 100 receiving yards this season.

Towson answered right back however, as running back Nick Williams ran in from 15 yards out to tie the game at seven. Colgate would drive the ball inside the red zone two more times in the first half, but Relph turned the ball over with a pick and a fumble. Colgate’s defense held firm for most of the second quarter, but Towson drove 56 yards in just 1:15 and kicked a field goal as time expired to head into the locker room with a 10-7 lead.

Shockingly, the running game struggled in the first half, as Colgate accrued just 20 rushing yards. With the running attack on its heels, Relph had to step up, which he most certainly did. Although the two turnovers were costly, the Victor, New York native moved the Colgate offense down the field with relative ease throughout most of the game and threw for a career-high 264 yards. According to Head Coach Dick Biddle, Relph’s increased role was not just because of Scott’s struggles.

“We planned to throw the ball more not out of necessity, but out of what Towson did,” Biddle said. “They played a lot of man-to-man with no help.”

On Towson’s first drive of the second half, Tigers running back Rasheed McClaude was gang-tackled at the Towson 15 and fumbled the ball. One of the tacklers, the illustrious senior linebacker Mike Gallihugh, recovered the fumble. The recovery set up the offense 15 yards from the endzone, but the drive literally went nowhere, as Colgate netted zero yards. Senior kicker Mike Buck booted a 32-yard field goal to tie the score at 10. On the next Towson drive, Tigers kicker Mark Bencivengo baldy missed a 43-yard field goal, giving Colgate the ball at the 26-yard line with the chance to take the lead. Thanks in large part to a 32-yard pass from Relph to Burke, the Raiders got into field goal range, and Buck kicked a 42-yard field goal to give Colgate a 13-10 lead. However, the lead did not last, as Nick Williams’ second touchdown run of the day from eight yards out put Towson back on top. After the extra point, Towson had a 17-13 lead with 14:33 left in the fourth quarter.

The rest of the quarter belonged to the Raiders, as they controlled the ball for nearly 13 minutes in the final period. After the Tiger touchdown, Colgate methodically drove to the Towson 20 thanks in large part to Scott, Relph and sophomore wide receiver Pat Simonds, who accounted for every one of Colgate’s yards on this drive. On third-and-ten, Relph threw a seventeen-yard strike to Simonds, which set Colgate up at the Towson three. Scott took it from there, scampering across the goal line for the go-ahead score.

With the Raiders on top, 20-17, Colgate forced a three-an-out after a 41-yard kick return by Towson kick returner Jimmy McClam set the Tigers up at midfield. Colgate started the possession at its own 14 and drove 86 yards all the way to pay dirt to put the final nail in the coffin. Jordan Scott rushed for 59 of the 86 yards on the drive. He also ran for a first down on a huge fourth-an-one from the Towson 38 with 3:50 left. Scott finished with 37 carries for 137 rushing yards on the afternoon and capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run that gave Colgate the lead for good, 27-17. Gallihugh picked off a Schaefer pass on Towson’s next drive to seal the deal.

“We executed it[running game] better, the defense got tired and Scott is a good back that gets better with time,” Biddle said regarding his team’s resurgent running game in the fourth quarter.

In addition to his two takeaways, Gallihugh was also the co-leader in tackles with nine. First-year cornerback Mike Barry joined Gallihugh on the top of the leader board with nine tackles of his own. Coach Biddle was impressed with Barry and the secondary as a whole.

“The secondary played very well,” Biddle said. “They all did a good job. They tipped some passes and made good plays.”

Biddle was also impressed with the play of his offensive line, which was depleted by injuries suffered against Cornell last week.

“They stepped up…they really did a great job on the last drive,” Biddle said.

Colgate’s next opponent will be Leopards of Lafayette this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Easton, PA.