Football Drops Tough Contest in the South

After squeaking out a win last week, the Colgate football team was looking to toughen up its defense in its first road contest. Things did not go according to plan.

Furman quarterback Cody Worley passed for 113 yards and three touchdowns, propelling the Paladins to a 45–15 win over the 25th–ranked Raiders in ‘Gate’s road opener Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium in Greenville, South Carolina.

Junior running back Nate Eachus led Colgate with 28 rushes for a game-high 134 yards with a touchdown and senior quarterback Greg Sullivan combined for 108 yards but it was not enough for the Raiders.

“Nate is a great football player, a Division I football player,” Coach Biddle said. “He could play at a lot of big schools. We ask a lot of him, but now we need to get everyone to play at his level.”

Sophomore wideout Jonathan Mputu caught his first two career receptions from Sullivan in the loss but the real story was Worley and the Paladins’ offense.

After two stalled drives by Colgate (1–1) to start the game, Furman opened the scoring in the first quarter with a field goal by Ray Early. The Paladins’ drive was accentuated by a 37–yard run from Tersoo Uhaa to the ‘Gate 26, and the Raiders were able to hold on for the three-point deficit.

Furman (1–0) cut short Colgate’s promising movement on its next possession with an interception at the 10–yard line, but the Paladins gave it right back on the next play when senior cornerback Coree’ Moses forced a fumble and junior linebacker Adam Lock jumped on the ball at the Furman 37.

With a great opportunity to tie or take the lead, junior quarterback Steve Rizzo fumbled in the end zone and the Raiders came away with nothing. Instead, Furman moved back down the field and Jerry Williams punched it in from eight yards out to make it 10–0.  

“That play changed the whole outcome of the game,” Head Coach Dick Biddle said. “Whether you like it or not, that affected us because they came right back and scored. Two or three plays like that will change everything.”

Colgate closed the gap later in the quarter after a nine-play, 63–yard drive culminated in an 11–yard dash to the end zone by Sullivan making it 10–7. Eachus was a highlight reel on the drive, rushing four times for 44 yards including a 10–yard spurt on fourth-and-one to keep the drive alive.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, the defense could not hold. The Paladins came right back, building the lead to 17–7 at halftime. Worley, a fifth–year senior, came off the bench for the final minutes of the half and engineered a nine–play, 60–yard scoring drive that he sealed with a 19–yard scoring strike to Tyler Maples.

In the second half, the barrage only got worse. Furman opened the third quarter with the ball, driving 73 yards in 13 plays to push the lead to 24–7. Worley connected with Adam Mims on a 10–yard toss for the touchdown.

After a good return from junior running back Noah Jackson, ‘Gate started to push back down the field, getting down to the Paladins 46–yard line before penalties forced them to punt it away.

Worley, who completed 9 of 14 pass attempts in the contest, continued his strong play in the second half with a three-yard connection with Tersoo Uhaa that gave the Paladins a commanding 31–7 lead in the fourth quarter. Uhaa ran for a career-high 125 yards and a touchdown in the contest and also collected a pair of receptions for 27 yards and a score.

Furman quarterback Chris Forcier, who started the game for the Paladins, made it 38–7 when he took a snap from the center and raced around the left end and down the sideline for an 85–yard touchdown run, the sixth longest run in Furman’s history. Forcier finished the game with seven rushes for 130 yards, exemplifying the Paladins’ balanced offensive attack.

We had a chance to get back in the game and we didn’t do it,” Coach Biddle said. “We pressed on offense to make things happen and that can backfire. On defense, we just got worn out. We should have played better at the end of the game. It got out of hand, and that happens, but it’s disappointing.”

Colgate was finally able to respond with a 12–play, 73–yard scoring drive, and finished off with a one-yard rush by Eachus for the touchdown. Sullivan took it in on the two-point conversion to bring the score to 38–15.

Furman punctuated its offensive dominance with a nine–play, 78–yard drive to finish the game, punching it in once more for the final 30–point margin. Uhaa ran it in from a yard out as the Paladins finished with a 536–260 advantage in total offense over the Raiders.

While it is difficult to take many good things away from this game, Colgate did have a few positives. The Raiders forced two turnovers. Senior linebacker Chris DiMassa recorded a game-high 15 tackles and Eachus became the 15th player to rush for over 2000 yards at Colgate.

“It is an honor to be recognized with all the other elite running backs that have come through Colgate,” Eachus said. “I have to give all the credit to every player on the offensive line at Colgate in the past three years. I know that if it wasn’t for those guys it wouldn’t have

been possible. “

Luckily for the Raiders, they have a week off before their highly anticipated matchup with Syracuse on September 25 at the Carrier Dome. They are going to need it if they are to get to that next level.

“We need to play a tight ballgame,” Coach Biddle said. “Against a team like Syracuse, you can’t make mistakes like we did. We have to focus on getting Colgate better as a team and make a few more plays. We definitely have our work cut out for us.”

Syracuse is currently 1-1 on the season, and they will face off against Maine this weekend at home before the Upstate rivalry in two weeks.

“We know Syracuse is a great team that has many great athletes,” Eachus said. “We need to have a great week of practice to try to minimize the  mistakes we’ve made in the last two games. Then, as long as we stick to our gameplan and try to reduce the number of penalties, I think we will have a good shot at beating them.”

The game is slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.