Football Prepares to Play Syracuse at Carrier Dome

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Junior defensive lineman, Pat Afriyie, was recently named to the preseasonAll-American Second Team and Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. 

Raiders Seek Their Ninth Patriot League Title: Paul Smyth

The Colgate football team begins their quest for a ninth Patriot League title as they take on the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. With an advantage of returning 17 starters from last season’s team, they are locked and loaded to live up to their No. 20 preseason ranking.

Leading the Raiders this season will be the defensive trio of junior defensive end Pat Afriyie, senior linebacker Kyle Diener and senior defensive back Chris Morgan. All three players were named to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-Patriot League First Team. Also named to the first team was senior offensive lineman Jordi Dalmau. Afriyie has racked up his share of preseason accolades as he has been named to the preseason All-American Second Team and the preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. The standout defensive end recorded 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles-for-a-loss last season. Adding to the mix will be senior defensive lineman Alex Campbell who was awarded the team’s defensive player of the year award by his teammates and coaches last season. Returning from major knee injuries that ended their 2015 campaign’s early are senior defensive back Adam Bridgeforth and senior defensive lineman and team captain Victor Steffen.

The offensive side of the ball will unquestionably be led by senior quarterback Jake Melville. The Sparta, New Jersey product rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and threw for over 2,500 yards. He also added 11 touchdowns through the air to go with his 11 rushing touchdowns. He is a dual threat player who has shown the ability to change the outlook of a game in seconds. Melville will be joined in the backfield by junior running back James Holland. After battling some late season injuries that had Holland at less than 100 percent throughout most of the playoffs, the junior bruiser is ready to bear the brunt of the backfield load. The receiving corp will be led by junior wide receiver Alex Greenawalt and senior wideout John Maddaluna. Sophomore tight end Nick Martinsen, taking the reigns at the position from John Quazza, should also play an important role in the passing game for Colgate.

Despite entering just his third season as head coach for the Raiders, Dan Hunt has made a name for himself. Colgate has brought in their best recruiting class in the last decade, which was also tabbed as the top rated class in the Patriot League. The Raiders are seeking their ninth league title and their first back-to-back titles since the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Colgate football rarely has had to deal with the pressure of playing each and every week as the team-to-beat in the conference. Ranked as preseason favorites in the Patriot League in nearly every poll, the Raiders must find a way to live up to their immense early season expectations. The journey begins this Friday at 7 p.m. at the storied Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.