The last two weeks have been disappointing for Colgate’s football team to say the least. Two weekends ago, the team suffered a crushing overtime loss to Princeton; last Saturday they lost an equally upsetting game to arch rival Cornell for the first time in 14 years.
The Raiders entered their game against Princeton with three straight victories against the Tigers and were coming off an impressive Homecoming victory against Georgetown. It looked like Colgate was going to pull out a victory late in regulation with the scored tied at 20. But, after the Raiders drove down to the Princeton 22 yard line, two consecutive rushing plays resulted in a loss of 5 yards. On the next play the Raiders completed a pass over the middle back to the Princeton 22, bringing up fourth down. In the ensuing chaos the kicking team was sent out on the field, but the result was a feeble attempt at a field goal.
After Princeton scored on a four-yard run in overtime, the Raiders quickly scored a touchdown of their own on a 26 yard screen pass from senior Mike Saraceno to sophomore sensation Scott. Instead of kicking the extra point and sending the game into a second overtime, Coach Dick Biddle decided to go for two points and the win. However a rush attempt by Saraceno was stopped in the backfield and Princeton escaped with a narrow one point 27-26 victory.
Colgate traveled to Ithaca, New York the next week to play their annual rivalry game against Cornell. Colgate suffered from two first quarter turnovers, a fumble by sophomore wide receiver David Morgan and an interception by Saraceno, to go down early. The Big Red scored touchdowns off both these turnovers to take a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Raiders struck back early in the second quarter when Jordan Scott scored a rushing touchdown on a fourth and goal gamble. The Raiders added a two-point conversion to cut the Cornell lead to 14-8. Later in the quarter Cornell was able to increase its lead to 24-8 on a 37 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nathan Ford to receiver Jesse Baker and a 24-yard field goal.
In the second half Cornell extended its lead to 31-8 on a one yard run by Nathan Ford. The Raiders answered with another rushing score by Scott to cut the deficit to 31-14, but this time the two-point conversion failed. The Raiders were unable to muster any more offense and lost by a final score of 38-14. One of the few bright spots for the team was junior linebacker Mike Gallihugh, who had a career-high 19 tackles.
Head Coach Biddle was 27-5 against the Ivy League coming into the game against Princeton, including a 28-7 victory against Dartmouth earlier in the season, making these two losses even more disappointing. However, the Raiders must refocus for an important conference game at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Fordham. Despite their 2-4 record this season, Colgate is still 1-0 in the Patriot League, and a win against the Rams on Saturday can get the team back on track toward a Patriot League title.