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Colgate Runs Away from Lafayette
Raiders spot Leopards 10-point cushion before unleashing Eachus.
HAMILTON, N.Y. - The game, the way Nate Eachus saw it, was pretty simple. Give Greg Sullivan ‘’a soft pocket'’ for the football and let him do his thing.
For two quarters Saturday, it looked like Lafayette was inside the head of Sullivan, Colgate’s quarterback. He was pressing and very little was going right. The Raiders had just 43 rushing yards on 17 attempts and Sullivan completed only two of nine passes – one of them to the Leopards.
And still, Lafayette led by only 10 points.
Then, given life when Lafayette fumbled after having a first down on the Colgate 5 in the third quarter, Sullivan either gave the ball to Eachus or pulled it back and made a play himself as the Raiders literally ran the proud Leopards defense into the ground in a 21-13 victory.
The loss left Lafayette in a win-or-else situation the rest of the Patriot League season.
‘’The key was that we were down by just 10 points at halftime,'’ Colgate coach Dick Biddle said, giving his defense a great deal of the credit. ‘’They moved the ball, but we made them kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. The second half, we went back to what we’re good at.'’
Colgate drove 92 yards for one touchdown, turned a botched Lafayette kickoff into a second score, used up 8 minutes, 26 seconds while driving for a fourth-quarter TD – oh, yes, and turned in the best defensive effort of the season to choke the Leopards’ offense.
The win was Colgate’s third in a row, all in the league. It was Lafayette’s first league loss.
Eachus, the former Hazleton Area High star who may have turned a lot of football coaches away because it looked like he might prefer to be a college wrestler, carried the ball 34 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He had six carries on the first TD drive and 13 on the third one.
‘’It’s his call,'’ Eachus said of Sullivan. ‘’If he wants me to run, he gives it to me. If he wants to run, he takes it. I don’t know if I’m getting the ball; if I do, I run.'’
Sullivan, who had only one yard in the first half on four runs and completed one pass for three yards, wound up with 61 yards on 10 carries. He threw for only 59 yards, but every completion was a dagger for Lafayette.
‘’After we got that turnover in the red zone, we just stepped it up,'’ Eachus said. ‘’The holes started getting bigger and bigger. We got first down after first down.'’
Lafayette controlled the game in the first half, running 45 plays to Colgate’s 26. However, the Leopards had just 25 offensive plays in the final two periods as compared to the Raiders’ 38.
Shaun Adair tied his personal single-game mark for catches with 10 for a career-high 129 yards, but no touchdowns. Davis Rodriguez kicked a career-best 47-yard field goal and had a 35-yarder, but he missed one from 29.
‘’Me personally, I take it as a big punch in the face,'’ Adair said afterward. ‘’I put this whole game on our offense and on my own shoulders.'’
Fullback Joe Russo, who scored the only Lafayette touchdown, added, ‘’We found a way to beat ourselves.'’
‘’We’ll bounce back; it’s not over,'’ a disappointed Frank Tavani said after his team lost for only the second time in eight games overall. ‘’It’s a double-elimination tournament. Anything can happen. There’s a lot of football to be played.'’
But the fact is, Lafayette now is in the losers’ bracket. It still has a game against co-leader Holy Cross, and not in control of its destiny.
Lafayette also needs someone to defeat Colgate, which also has to meet Holy Cross.
Colgate runs away from Lafayette
By Paul Reinhard, Special to The Morning Call