Following a closely-contested loss to the Richmond Spiders at Andy Kerr stadium last week, the short-handed Colgate Raider defense stepped into the spotlight of FBS level Division 1 football only to fall to Buffalo, surrendering 30 points by halftime and ultimately losing with a final score of 33-10.
With a 6 p.m. kickoff broadcasted on ESPN3, it was a night that clearly belonged to the Buffalo Bulls, playing at home for the first time this season. UB came out strong on offense with a 13 play touchdown drive to start the game and had built a 20 to 3 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Each of Buffalo’s first four drives would result in a touchdown. The Raiders were without some of their top defensive talent which included injured defensive starter and All-American senior Pat Afriyie, senior Trent Williams, junior Tyler Castillo and junior Ben Hunt, all of whom had previously combined for 57 starts.
The Raiders struggled to contain the Buffalo’s run game, allowing a season-high 302 yards on the ground and 486 yards of total offense.
After a three-and-out by the Raiders on their first possession, Buffalo only needed four plays to score their second touchdown of the game. Although Colgate would score on sophomore Chris Puzzi’s 22-yard field goal on the team’s next drive, UB marched right down the field again to take a definitive 20 to 3 first quarter lead, and never looked back.
Colgate’s first and only touchdown came on a 12-play 76 yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. First-year Malik Twyman capitalized on a 5-yard run, his first collegiate score. Making his first start for Colgate, first-year Grant Breneman completed a mere six of 23 passes for 56 yards, but was able to add 68 yards on the ground.
“He did some really nice things. He made some tough plays, some long runs that bailed us out. Obviously again we have to get more effective throwing the football from his end of thing,” head coach Dan Hunt said.
Particularly notable on the defensive side of things for Colgate was an 18-tackle performance by junior TJ Holl, setting a personal career high for the second time in three games this season. Holl came into the game leading the Patriot League in tackles.
“He’s what you want out of a linebacker, you seem him side-to-side, he makes things happen,” Hunt said.
Hidden by the lopsided score, Colgate had some success running the ball with 192 yards led by Breneman. Hunt noted his team’s success on the ground.
“Early on we were able to run the ball pretty well, but it got to the type of game where we just didn’t have the time to do that,” Hunt said.
In his postgame comments, Hunt spoke about the impact of having so many prominent players injured and how it’s influenced the team.
“We had a lot of kids playing tonight who haven’t normally played. Down the road there may be a silver lining as far as experience, but we’ve got some work to do to get ready for another good team next week,” Hunt said.
Looking forward, Colgate plays their next three of four games at home – their sole away game at Cornell on September 30 – starting with a matchup with Furman University next Saturday afternoon.
Contact Neil Ahlawat at [email protected]