The Colgate football team fell to the heavily favored Syracuse Orange 33-7 on Friday night. Despite scoring on the team’s opening drive, the Raiders’ offense was anemic for most of the contest.
The Raiders put together an impressive opening drive of the game. After a roughing-the-kicker penalty gave the Raiders another set of downs to work with, the offense drove inside the Orange’s 20-yard line with ease. Facing 3rd-and-long, Colgate senior quarterback Jake Melville scrambled left and threw a pass to sophomore wide receiver Owen Rockett for a 19-yard touchdown.
Speaking after the game about the sweet connection, Rockett gleamed with excitement about his first career score.
“It was fantastic. We were kind of struggling to get lined up and I wasn’t really the primary receiver. It was supposed to go to the other side of the field. But, I saw Jake scrambling and we had practiced that a lot, just reacting, and he put it in a great spot,” Rockett said.
Despite the early connection, Colgate’s lead would not last long, as the high-powered Orange offense took off when Syracuse sophomore quarterback Eric Dungey hit redshirt senior wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo for a 43-yard touchdown. The Orange would add 13 more points in the second quarter, with two field goals from junior kicker Cole Murphy and a 49-yard touchdown run on the lone play of the drive by freshman running back Moe Neal. The Orange would connect a few more times in an otherwise uneventful second half to settle the game at the final score of 33-7. Dungey would finish the game going 34 for 40 for 355 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Despite the final score, Colgate’s defense held the Orange to four field goals throughout the game. Senior linebacker Charles Cairnie led the team with 15 tackles while senior linebacker Kyle Diener added nine of his own.
Head coach Dan Hunt spoke highly of his team’s defensive effort in a game that was expected to be extremely fast paced.
“I’m very happy with our defense. For the amount we put them on the field, particularly in the second half, they did a good job holding up against the tempo they were facing. They did a nice job in the red zone, keeping them to field goals that kept it within striking distance for a decent part of the game,” Hunt said.
The tough test of facing an Atlantic Coast Conference team in a hostile environment will only benefit this team, as they face high expectations for their season. After the team’s bye week, the Raiders will travel to New Haven, CT to face the Yale Bulldogs. The Bulldogs defeated the Raiders 29-28 last season when Colgate hosted at Crown Field at Andy Kerr Stadium. In that game, Colgate held a 14-point lead with just over seven minutes to play. Yale was able to capitalize in the game’s final minutes by scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns, with a two-point conversion on the first touchdown, giving them a one-point victory.
Kickoff on September 17 will be at 1:30 p.m. from the Yale Bowl.