The Colgate football team lost a tough battle to conference rival Fordham 24-20 on Saturday. The Rams outscored the Raiders 14-6 in the second half after trailing 14-10 at the break. Junior running back Keyon Washington led the Raider offense once again, rushing 24 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jake Melville also added 124 rushing yards on 12 attempts, highlighted by a 63-yard touchdown run.
The match-up everyone came to watch was the nationally fifth-ranked Colgate Raiders’ rush defense against the conference’s leading rusher in Fordham junior running back Chase Edmonds. The Raiders’ defense dominated the match-up, holding Edmonds to only 76 yards on 21 attempts and no touchdowns. Senior linebacker Kyle Diener led the team with 11 tackles, while junior linebacker Pat Afriyie and first-year linebacker Nick Wheeler added two sacks apiece.
Despite solid defense from the Raiders, the Rams defense was able to stifle the passing attack of Colgate which helped end any hope of a fourth quarter comeback. Melville completed 10 passes on 22 attempts for just 106 yards. Down 24-20 with under two minutes remaining, the Raiders mounted an 11 play drive that got the ball all the way to the Rams’ 31 yard line. Unfortunately, Melville’s pass intended for junior wide receiver Alex Greenawalt fell incomplete and the Raiders bid at leaving Fordham with a big win fell short.
Head coach Dan Hunt cited inconsistency as the culprit for the teams second half struggles.
“Offensively, we were so hot and cold. We had three good drives and then we really didn’t do a lot. We weren’t able to consistently run the ball or make plays in the pass game when we needed to. When you leave your defense on the field for as many plays as we did, eventually you’re asking for the other team to be able to make a play. And that’s exactly what happened,” Hunt said.
The loss by the Raiders effectively ended any chance the team would have of returning to the playoffs for a second straight season. With Lehigh defeating Bucknell 20-13 on Saturday, the Mountain Hawks clinched at least a share of the Patriot League title and the conference’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. It has been an unfortunately rocky road for a team that returned 17 starters and was projected by many to repeat as league champions.
When asked about what these two games would mean for a group of seniors who have done so much for the program, senior defensive lineman Brett Field stressed the importance of finishing strong.
“For us seniors, it’s our last two games ever. So that’s enough in itself to go out and play with all we have. We also want to be an example for the younger guys – how no matter what the situation, we want to go out and play as hard as we can. Also we want the younger guys to get next year started right by finishing this season off strong,” Field said.
The team will finish the season with two home games against league opponents. The 3-5 Raiders will look to get back to .500 with a game against the 2-7 Lafayette Leopards this upcoming weekend and then will finish their season against the 3-6 Georgetown Hoyas on Senior Day, November 19.