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Colgate breaks record in win over Leopards
When someone mentioned Colgate’s 755 yards of offense being a Patriot League record, Lafayette coach Frank Tavani said, “I heard somebody say it’s a world record. I don’t know; it might be.”
And before leaving the press box at Andy Kerr Stadium on Saturday, long-time Colgate media guru Bob Cornell said, “I thought you were covering football, not track.”
A 65-41 game will elicit those kind of comments. No sense trying to take it too seriously – unless, of course, your livelihood depends on it.
Colgate was everything as advertised both offensively and defensively, and maybe Nazareth High grad Kris Kent hit the nail on the head with his comment a while back about the Raiders’ offense. This is a bit of a paraphrase, but he said as long as the defense could hold an opponent to under 40 points, everything would be fine.
Even Kent, though, was probably in awe of his own teammates, who scored more points than any other Colgate team in this series, which goes back to 1906 – and needed most of them to turn away a Lafayette team that would have made the late Jim Valvano feel proud because it never gave up, never ever gave up.
Unlike a couple other games this season, this one never gave an indication that Lafayette could win it. Colgate scored touchdowns on its first five possessions, taking a 21-0 lead before the Leopards ever got on track.
All that success didn’t wrap it up, however. Lafayette, which put together six consecutive scoring possessions of its own, pulled to within 10 points a 51-41 with 13 minutes left.
The Leopards had Colgate in a third-and-four situation at its own 36 yard line. Force a punt and get the ball back and who knew what might happen. Instead, Raider quarterback Gavin McCarney made a perfect play fake that froze the Leopard defenders, and Ryne Morrison got behind all of them. McCarney hit him, and he completed the back-breaking 64-yard touchdown play.
Lafayette quarterback Zach Zweizig fumbled and Colgate recovered at the Leopards’ 26, and Jordan McCord put the finishing touches on the game with a four-yard TD run on a fourth down play as Colgate boosted its Patriot League record to 4-0 and its overall mark to 6-3 while ending any hopes Lafayette might have of winning the league title – the Leopards are now 2-2 in the league and 5-4 overall.
“We were all fired up on the sidelines (at 51-41) but that one fumble got us and the morale went down,” said Lafayette running back Ross Scheuerman, who had a career day rushing the ball with 142 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown run and another run of 53 yards. “As an offense, I think we did everything we could.”
It was not near enough, however, because Lafayette’s defense had no answer for Colgate’s read-ride option. As Coach Tavani said earlier in the week, drawing it up on the board and making it happen on the field are two different things.
Colgate rushed 54 times for a league record 531 yards. The Raiders did not have one negative-yardage play on the ground, and McCarney, a magician with the ball, piled up 288 yards and scored three touchdowns – on runs of 75, 13 and four yards. He also had 54- and 40-yard runs to set up other scores.
When he wasn’t running it himself, he was giving it to Jordan McCord, who finished with 203 yards on 27 carries and scored four times. Or, he was completing 13 of 17 passes for 234 yards and a pair of TDs.
Colgate averaged 10.6 yards per offensive play, which is a staggering statistic. But at the same time, the Raiders’ defense was scorched by 542 yards – an average of 10.4 per play – by the losing Leopards.
The point total for the Leopards was the most in a losing effort since 2001, when they were beaten by Holy Cross 63-53 in Tavani’s second year as head coach.
Lafayette had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game for the first time since the Fordham game of 2004. In addition to Scheuerman’s 143, Vaughn Hebron had 119 on nine carries and scored one touchdown on career-best 63-yard run in the third quarter.
Zweizig started in place of Andrew Shoop at quarterback and was 15-for-24 for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Mark Ross had his fifth 100-yard game of the year, making seven catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Zweizig ran for one TD, but he did have the costly fumble and he threw an interception in the end zone to end another scoring chance. “I can’t do that and we’ll just have to learn from that and move on to Fordham,” Zweizig said. “I was trying to make something happen but I have to be a little smarter.”
By Paul Reinhard, Special to The Morning Call