The Colgate football team improved their record to 3-4, with an important 26-8 win at home against Holy Cross on Family Weekend. The Raiders’ defense shined in this one, holding the Crusaders scoreless until the final seconds of the game.
Colgate held the Crusaders to just 21 yards rushing. Sophomore cornerback Tyler Castillo led the Raiders with a career-high 13 tackles. The defense also recorded four sacks, 1.5 of which came from junior linebacker Pat Afriyie. Afriyie also found the endzone himself when senior linebacker Charles Cairnie sacked and forced Holy Cross junior quarterback Blaise Bell to fumble in the endzone.
Head coach Dan Hunt praised the defensive intensity that allowed the team to get off to an impressive start and carry their momentum for the entire game.
“The defense played with a lot of intensity all day, and they took the field like they were going to keep them there after we had turned the ball over, down near the goal line. To get the sack, the fumble and the touchdown – that really got us going,” Hunt said.
The Raiders’ offense was not dormant in this one either. Despite four first-half turnovers – three of which came inside the Holy Cross 20-yard line – the offense totaled 408 yards. Senior quarterback Jake Melville threw for 225 yards and added another 83 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Senior wide receiver John Maddaluna caught six passes for 92 yards, while junior wide receiver Alex Greenawalt had four receptions for 81 yards. First-year running back Alex Mathews recorded his first career touchdown run on a short scamper early in the fourth quarter.
When asked about his growing role in the offense, Mathews stressed the importance of getting comfortable in the offense.
“I had to get comfortable with the system and just settle in. I knew I was in for a fun season; I just had to get used to the offense, and now things are starting to pay off,” Mathews said.
Mathews’ teammates call him “ATM,” and he will need to continue to cash in on his early success as he continues to spell junior running back Keyon Washington, while junior running back James Holland remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Contributions from underclassmen who came into the season not expecting to have a huge impact have been the key to the team’s recent success. Along with Mathews, sophomore linebacker T.J. Holl and junior safety Alec Wisniewski have played major roles for the team after crucial starters went down with injuries. The Raiders will need these kind of contributions as they continue to chase Lehigh.
Despite their 3-4 record, the Raiders are playing their most impressive football of the season. They have won back-to-back games for the first time this season and, behind an impressive defense that is ranked fifth nationally in rushing yards allowed per game, they will continue to strive for their second league title in as many years.
The Raiders will prepare for a must-win game against the Fordham Rams in the Bronx, NY this weekend. The Rams were beaten by Lehigh 58-37 this past weekend. Both the Rams and Raiders will need to win, and hope for a Lehigh mishap, in order to get themselves back in the running for the Patriot League title. The matchup will take place on Saturday,
November 5 at 1 p.m.