Football’s Killer B’s Dominate Holy Cross

The way they were playing, Geoff Bean and Jamaal Branch could have beaten Holy Cross by themselves. Bean, a sophomore from Oneonta, had seven tackles, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception on his way to his second consecutive Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week award. Branch, the Raiders’ prodigious senior running back, ran wild for 208 yards and four touchdowns as Colgate’s Killer B’s led the football team to a 41-7 pounding of Holy Cross on Saturday. The Raiders overwhelmed Holy Cross, forcing eight Crusader turnovers and gaining 499 yards of total offense in front of a Family Weekend crowd of 9,228 at Andy Kerr Stadium. “Holy Cross helped us,” said head coach Dick Biddle. “They didn’t play well.” The Crusaders fumbled three times in the first quarter, setting up Branch touchdowns from, three 14 and 21 yards out as the Raiders jumped out to 21-0 lead. Bean recovered two of the Crusaders’ early fumbles and junior linebacker Jared Nepa snagged the third. In the second quarter, senior quarterback Chris Brown took over the game, first on the ground and then through the air. Brown scrambled for 22 yards and leapt into the end zone for the Raiders’ fourth touchdown of the day. Two possessions later, with the half winding down, Brown connected with wide-open senior DeWayne Long on a 53-yard scoring strike. The Raiders’ extra point was blocked and returned, but senior holder Mike Rava made a shoe-string tackle on the return man to prevent Holy Cross from getting on the board. The Raiders took a 34-0 lead into halftime. Biddle called Rava’s tackle “a very unselfish play.” The coach was pleased with the extra effort of his team on Saturday. “If you do those little things, you give yourself a chance to win,” he remarked. After a scoreless third quarter, the Raiders found the end zone again in the fourth on Branch’s two-yard run with 12:44 left in the game. The Raider coaching staff mercifully took Branch out of the game following his fourth touchdown of the afternoon. “This was the first time this year that Jamaal really got on track,” Biddle said of Branch, who rushed for over 100 yards for the fifth time this season. The Mashpee, MA native is now second on Colgate’s all-time rushing list with 3,788 yards in his career. Other record-setting Raiders include senior wideout Luke Graham and senior kicker Lane Schwarzberg. Graham’s seven catches for 97 yards make him the second-most prolific receiver in school history with 3,012 receiving yards. Schwarzberg, meanwhile, has scored more points than any other Colgate kicker, with 224 in his career. “Lane has been very consistent for us on extra points and field goals,” Biddle said of his record-setting kicker. “Kickers get taken for granted and seem to only get noticed when they miss a big field goal and cost a team the game. That hasn’t been the case with Lane.” Holy Cross finally scored with 8:36 remaining in the game on a three-yard run by Brian McSharry. But it was way too little, far too late for the Crusaders. Colgate is now 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League. The Raiders travel to Bethlehem, PA tomorrow to face the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, also undefeated in Patriot League play. “They’re a good team, but we’re not going to be intimidated,” Biddle said. “We’re going to play the way we’re capable of playing and hopefully come out of there with a win.” The showdown between 18th-ranked Colgate and the 12th-ranked Mountain Hawks may prove to have playoff implications later in the season. The game will be televised by Time Warner Sports, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. as the Killer B’s try to sting Lehigh with a loss.