Raiders Unable to Overcome Early Turnovers, Fall to 0-2

Spencer Serling

The Raiders, hoping to avenge last year’s loss  to the Albany Great Danes, fell just short this weekend, dropping their home opener at Andy Kerr Stadium. Four first-half turnovers put ‘Gate in a hole and despite a big second half comeback, the Great Danes (1-1) goal-line stand held off the Raiders (0-2) in the end.

Colgate came into the game with a chip on its shoulder and hoped to overcome the dreary gametime weather. Having lost to Albany last season, the Raiders hoped the outcome this year would be different. The Raiders first play from scrimmage, however, did not help their cause. Senior quarterback Gavin McCarney dropped back to pass but his attempt was tipped and intercepted by the Great Danes, who promptly marched the rest of the way down the field for a quick 7-0 lead.

The next Raider drive had more success as they reached the red zone, but as McCarney reached out on a rush for the touchdown, he was hit and the ball went through the back of the end zone for a touchback. The Raider defense, however, was able to hold the Great Danes to a field goal and keep the deficit at 10.

The Raiders got the ball back and proceeded down the field. Eight plays and 80 yards later, sophomore John Wilkins plunged his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run to cut the Great Danes lead to 10-7. Early in the second quarter, however, as the Raiders finally began to grab some momentum, Wilkins injured his knee and had to leave the game; his status for the rest of the season remains unlikely. Just two plays after, the Great Danes capitalized on a 51-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 17-7.

After the Great Danes took advantage of another Raiders turnover to go up 24-7, McCarney was able to salvage the tough first half on offense. McCaney hit senior Nat Bellamy for a three-yard touchdown pass with just 14 seconds left on the board to get the Raiders back in the game at 24-14.

The second half opened and the Great Danes did their best to grab the momentum back. Driving down the field on a long 12-play drive, the Great Danes found their way into the end zone yet again to get the lead to 30-14. With just under 3:30 remaining in the third quarter, junior wide receiver Jimmy DeCicco took a run 40 yards downfield to bring the Raiders back into the game at 30-20. After senior defensive end Andrew Nairin came up with a big interception, sophomore running back Demetrius Russell, filling in for the injured Wilkins, powered his way into the end zone to bring the Raiders within three.

The Great Danes proceeded to drive down the field and reach Raiders territory but junior Mike Armiento and senior Austin Dier came up with a big stop on fourth down to get the Raiders the ball back. The Raiders, once again, reached the red zone but couldn’t convert. Backed up to their own end zone, the Great Danes were able to give themselves breathing room and then ran the rest of the way to extend their lead to 37-27 with just over 1:30 remaining.

With so little time left, the Raiders knew they needed to make quick work and get on the board, and were able to do so with a 76-yard drive that lasted just 1:09. With 18 seconds left, the Raiders knew they needed to attempt an onside kick, but the Great Danes recovered and took the victory.

The Raiders did themselves in with early turnovers, but their effort in the second half was valiant and will surely carry momentum for them as they hope to rebound from these two early season losses. The Raiders travel to University of New Hampshire next weekend to take on the Wildcats at Cowell Stadium.

Contact Spencer Serling at [email protected].