The Colgate football team defeated the Lafayette Leopards 38-17 to improve their record to 4-5 after jumping out to a 24-0 lead that they would not relinquish. The Raiders recorded seven sacks on the afternoon and were able to frustrate the Leopards’ offense from start to finish. Leading the charge were senior defensive linemen Brett Field and Victor Steffen, who tallied three sacks apiece.
The Colgate offense was not dormant in this game either. In his best effort of the season, senior running back John Wilkins scored two touchdowns and racked up 59 yards on eight carries.
Wilkins, who has been battling injuries throughout the latter half of his Colgate career, spoke about his journey and what today meant to him following the game.
“It’s been a great recovery. My team has been behind me the whole time and that really sticks with you. The offensive line made some great blocks, Jake made some great calls and I just ran the ball. It felt amazing,” Wilkins said.
Senior quarterback Jake Melville had arguably his best performance of the season and his most complete game of the year by completing 15 of 23 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Melville also added an impressive 141 yards rushing on 17 carries and another score. Sophomore wide receiver Owen Rockett caught four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown to lead the receiving corp.
The final score did not do justice to how close this game really was. Although the Raiders sped out to a 24-0 first half lead, the Leopards would add a touchdown right before halftime and ten points early in the second half to cut the lead to 24-17. Melville’s 24-yard touchdown run put the Raiders up 31-17 to give them a commanding lead that they would not surrender. Overcoming poor third quarter performances has been the focal point for this team.
Speaking on the game, Head coach Dan Hunt stressed the importance of his offense’s ability to keep the lead under their command.
“It was really interesting to go from up 24-0, and then the offense had one possession, and it was 24-17. But not only did we take the punch, we fought back and increased the lead and got it comfortable again,” Hunt said.
Melville, senior wide receiver John Maddaluna and junior linebacker Pat Afriyie all continued to climb the ranks amongst Colgate top performers. Melville’s 202 yards passing moved him into fifth all-time in passing yardage amongst Colgate quarterbacks with 5,640. Maddaluna’s six catches also moved him to fifth all-time in career receptions amongst Colgate receivers with 146. Afriyie’s lone sack moved him into sole possession of third place amongst Colgate defenders, with 23 career sacks. Afriyie needs just seven more sacks to set the Raider record.
Colgate will look to improve their record to 5-5 in their final game of the season when they take on the Georgetown Hoyas this upcoming Saturday on Senior Day. The Hoyas are 3-7 on the season and are coming off a 21-7 loss to Bucknell. Kickoff from Andy Kerr Stadium will be at 1 p.m.