Colgate football continued its dominating streak in the Patriot League this past weekend, keeping the team atop the Patriot League standings before heading into the last game of the season. The Raiders shut out Lafayette 27-0 for a fourth consecutive win, bolstered by a standout performance on defense.
“We really wanted to put up a goose egg [shutout] and that’s what we got. We worked hard these last two weeks to prepare, and everyone got healthy. Then we came out here and executed. It was great,” sophomore linebacker Nick Ioanilli said.
Ioanilli returned an interception for the first pick-six of his career, for one of three interceptions on the day. Ioanili’s interception was part of a particularly fruitful third quarter which also featured a 63-yard interception return from sophomore Aidan Gaertner for his career first, setting up a field goal score. Adding to the litany of takeaways was sophomore defensive back Abu Daramy-Swaray, who swooped around the edge for an acrobatically-blocked field goal, also resulting in a Colgate score.
“Coach Knowles has been harping on it all week, saying these guys weren’t going to touch me off the edge. I came off the edge really hard and saw the ball hadn’t been kicked, so I just jumped out and it hit me right in the stomach,” Daramy-Swaray said.
With seven tackles and a career-high three pass deflections, Daramy-Swaray frustrated a Lafayette aerial attack. As per usual, the Colgate pass-rush was out in full force, featuring three sacks for a league-leading 28 on the season. The Raiders were especially successful in stifling the Lafayette running game, allowing a mere 18 yards on the ground to a team that normally averages just over 130 per game.
“They earned the goose egg [shutout] and they earned a lot of our points, so that’s a great day at the office. When Lafayette was able to get into our territory, the defense really did a nice job of stepping up and making plays,” head coach Dan Hunt said.
On a day when the defense carried the team, the Raider offense left something to be desired. Coming off Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors, first-year quarterback Grant Breneman struggled to make plays, completing five of 17 passes for 92 yards in an uncharacteristically tepid performance on an otherwise impressive year. However, Breneman added a touchdown on the ground, and senior tailback James Holland led the team with 98 yards as the offense was able to take advantage the short yardage situations created by takeaways on the other side of the ball in putting up points on the board.
During its four-game winning streak, Colgate has allowed 12, seven, three and now zero points. The Raiders will look to cap off the season with a win at Georgetown on Saturday, November 18, hoping to win the Patriot League title for the second time in three years. As of now, the Raiders are tied with Lehigh for first in the league standings. In order to win the Patriot League championship, Colgate needs some luck – after losing its head-to-head matchup in a heartbreaker to Lehigh earlier in the season, Colgate would be relegated to second place if a tie should occur. While they need a win at Georgetown, the Lehigh-Lafayette game has significant ramifications for Colgate’s championship hopes, as it will determine how the Raiders will be ranked. Kickoff against Georgetown, whose current record is 1-9, will be at 12:30 p.m. in Washington, D.C.
Contact Neil Ahlawat at [email protected]