Colgate Football Team Shows Potential at Start of Fall Season

The calendar has turned to September and another exciting season of Colgate Football has arrived, along with all the students on campus. The Raiders are itching to outperform an impressive 2021 season, in which they went 5-1 in the Patriot League and finished in second place behind undefeated Holy Cross.

The team returns sophomore quarterback Matt Brescia, who turned in a strong performance as a first-year last year. Sharing duties with recent graduate Grant Breneman, Brescia not only threw for 594 yards, but also led the team with 588 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. This season, he will be aided in the rushing game by juniors Max Hurlem and Jaeden Henry, and in the passing game by top receiving target senior Garrett Oakey, who had 35 catches for 601 yards last year. Brescia will also be anchored by a solid offensive line. On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Tyler Flick is expected to be a key factor once again. Senior offensive lineman AJ DeSantis noted the strong bond that this year’s team exhibits.

“This team is special because of the brotherhood that has been developing since we stepped off the field last year,” DeSantis said.

Junior offensive lineman Bardhyl Gashi added that the team’s chemistry makes them strong on and off the field.

“We have a team of people who grind and are tough people and players. We’ve been through a lot together and understand what makes everyone tick,” Gashi said.

The team hopes that this improved synchronization can drive success on both sides of the ball. Brescia added, “I expect our team to have a lot of success because of the brotherhood we have formed over the summer. This trust in one another will reflect on the field and lead to a successful season.”

Returning players, as well as the coaching staff, are also excited by the potential they see in this year’s talented first-year class. Several have a chance to make a significant contribution immediately.

“They are a really talented group, and I’m excited to see them make an impact on the field this year,” Gashi said.

The positive and well-mannered attitude towards the first-years on the team strengthens the close ties the players have cultivated over the summer.

“This team has a lot of talent and there is no divide between classes. Everyone is looked at with respect,” Brescia said.

The team’s first game was a tough matchup against heavily favored Stanford on Sept. 3. Stanford, a nationally recognized team, presented a challenging first test. Although the Raiders fought hard until the final whistle, the final score was 41-10, Stanford.

“We go into every game with only the thought of winning in mind,” said Gashi. “So taking a loss is always difficult. But seeing the way the team fought through every quarter and until the last play of the game was promising.”

Colgate highlights included sophomore defensive back Asauni Allen’s fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter and a well-orchestrated drive for a field goal in the third quarter. Brescia threw for 57 and rushed for another 43 yards, while Hurleman churned out 65 yards on the ground. Overall, a solid performance by a decided underdog.

The Raiders look ahead to their next game on Sept. 10 at Maine, where they will try to build on last week’s positives.