This past weekend, the Colgate men’s football team battled ninth-ranked Richmond Spiders until the very end. Following their big win, broadcasted on ESPN, against California Polytechnic State University, the Raiders prepared for the tough face-off against a higher ranked team. Although the Raiders fell to the Spiders in the last minutes of the game, the Colgate men’s football team proved to be worthy of a top 20 ranking.
On Saturday, September 9, maroon tents surrounded Andy Kerr stadium. Multiple organizations and athletic teams set up tailgates to celebrate the first home game of the Colgate Raiders’ 2017 season. Armed with Holy Smokes BBQ and Colgate pom-poms, Colgate fans were ready to cheer on our team, with 6,994 supportive students, athletes and fans filling the stadium to root for the Raiders.
“The atmosphere was energetic and upbeat,” sophomore attendee Alissa Masini said about the tailgate.
The Raiders held the Spiders scoreless for the first quarter of the game. First-year quarterback Grant Breneman made an impressive first collegiate game appearance, leading the team in rushing yards with 67 yards. His first career touchdown pass was to senior wide receiver Alex Greenawalt, putting the Raiders on the board with 13:02 left in the second quarter. Two minutes later, the Spiders answered with a touchdown drive, tying the game at 7-7. In the third quarter, the Raiders once again shut down all scoring opportunities attempted by the Spiders. The Raiders forced a three-and-out and then junior tailback James Holland rushed 66 yards on a punt return for the only touchdown in quarter three.
Although the Raiders led 14-7 going into the final quarter, the Spiders were knocking on the door. Richmond made two scoring plays within six minutes, making the score 17-14 with nine minutes left to play. With four minutes on the clock, sophomore placekicker Chris Puzzi kicked for a 25-yard field goal. The game remained tied at 17-17 until the last two minutes, when Richmond made a 27-yard field goal. The Raider offense started on Colgate’s 31 yard line with 1:30 left on the clock to rally back into field goal range. However, the Raiders scoring opportunity was cut short by an interception on the first play. The final score of the Raider-Spider competition was 20-17, a good showing against a high-ranked team.
“Our defense has been playing great thus far, we just need to keep putting points on the board and execute,” Sophomore starting quarterback Carmine Scarfone said.
The Raider defense held the Spiders to 368 yards of total offense, a drastic difference from the Spiders 652 yards against number three-ranked Sam Houston State University. Some other impressive statistics from Saturday’s game include junior defensive back Tyler Castillo’s 11 tackles and junior defensive back Alec Wisniewski’s first career interception.
“These kids are starting to believe that if you just play harder longer and play physical football, you can make things happen,” head coach Dan Hunt said.
The Raiders will face the University of Buffalo’s Bulls on Saturday, September 16 at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3. Scarfone believes that if the Raiders are able to “go out there and play Colgate football for 60 minutes, the rest will take care of itself.” The Bulls will be a huge test for the Raiders, but with hard work and focus, they can come out with a big win.
Contact Cassie Warwick at [email protected]