The Colgate Raiders won their sixth game in a row this past weekend to defeat the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 35-24 and clinch the Patriot League Championship to gain an automatic berth into the Football Chamion-ship Subdivisions (FCS) Playoffs, which begin Novem-ber 24. In Coach Biddle’s 17 years at Colgate, this is his seventh Patriot League title and first since 2008.
Heading to Bethlehem, PA against an undefeated Lehigh team, the Raiders were the underdogs to the na-tionally ranked Mountain Hawks. With both teams hold-ing undefeated records in the Patriot League, the winner was given the Patriot League title and therefore a spot in the FCS Playoffs.
The game started off with the Mountain Hawks striking quickly and holding a 14-0 lead early in the second quar-ter. With much hope lost for the Raiders, they began to play some of their strongest football of the year. The Raid-ers responded with a 14 play drive that spanned 75 yards and ended in a one yard touchdown run by senior tailback Jordan McCord.
After the Mountain Hawks responded with a quick touchdown drive, the Raiders capitalized on great field po-sition and drove down the field converting on a 10-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Gavin McCarney. Following this play, the Mountain Hawks drove 47 yards on the Raider defense and kicked a successful 43-yard field goal to put the score at 24-14 going into halftime.
At halftime, the Raiders acknowledged they needed to make adjustments, and they came out firing in the second half with an upset on their minds. As the third quarter began to come to a close, the Raiders completed a 10-play 75-yard drive culminating in McCarney’s second touch-down run from nine yards out. Entering the fourth quar-ter, the Raiders trailed by three points but had momentum in their favor having just scored a touchdown.
Heading into the fourth quarter with the lead, the Mountain Hawks simply needed to run the ball through the Raider defense and waste time, but the Raider defense did not let much through. Early in the fourth quarter after receiving a Mountain Hawk punt, the Raiders took the ball down the field 94 yards in under five and a half min-utes resulting in a two yard rush from McCarney and the Raiders’ first lead of the game.
After a three and out by the Mountain Hawks defense in which they promptly kicked it back to the Raiders, the Raiders took the ball and held on for close to seven min-utes. During this drive, the Raiders spanned 62 yards on 11 plays, taking their time in converting what would be the drive that put the game out of reach.
With a 35-24 lead, the Raiders handed the ball back over to the Mountain Hawks with a little over a minute left in the game. Unlikely to take the lead back, the Mountain Hawks were forced into a hurry-up offense, resulting in senior Mike Yeager’s second interception of the contest to officially ice the game. With a couple of kneel downs, the Raiders rushed the field and were able to earn the Patriot League title.
As was the case in many of their games, McCarney led the successful Raider attack to a victory with his dual threat, rushing for 126 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He threw for 180 in the air, 62 of which went to Morrison, who tied for a team-high three catches.
McCarney’s partner in crime on the ground, McCord, ran for 121 yards with a heavy workload of 35 carries. Mc-Cord came up especially big in the fourth quarter, gaining 60 of his yards then as well as eclipsing 100 yards for the 10th time this season. McCord’s 1486 rushing yards on the season has him fourth in the nation in rushing yards. McCarney joins McCord as being nationally recognized as well, ranking seventh in the nation in total offense.
Following their big win, the Raiders begin to look ahead to the FCS Playoffs and are eager to see where they are seeded, but before that begins, the Raiders close out the season this weekend as they travel to Fordham to take on the Rams at 1 p.m.
Contact Spencer Serling at [email protected]