My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Volleyball Recruit

Not sure what the interest in Volleyball is around these parts, but it looks like we landed a recruit by the name of Megan Fanta out of the Wisconsin area. The blurb:

Hillsboro senior setter Meghan Fanta told the La Crosse Tribune she has orally committed to play volleyball at Division I Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. She led the Tigers to three straight Division 4 state tournament berths capped by a runner-up finish three weeks ago.
Welcome to Colgate Meghan!

Monday, November 28, 2005

More UNH Feedback

Another UNH fan has been kind enough to send me their impressions of the game on Saturday. Here goes:

I thought Colgate started out playing pretty good defense. UNH had one drive for a TD out of how many drives -- three anyway, maybe even five. Unfortunately, your offense just couldn't muster a drive to eat up time or get a score. The UNH punt return was huge. Eventually UNH got another score and it looked like Colgate would get a score to be down 20-7. But then UNH got an INT then a drive for a TD and it was 27-0. If that wasn't bad enough for Colgate, they threw another INT leading to the bomb to Ball just before halftime. 34-0, ball game over.

That's the thing about UNH, eventually they are probably going to score on you. Either they are running plays to establish stuff later or they are probing to determine what the defense will give them. You just can't give them extra opportunities. And once they get into a lead, the defense can really go into ball hawking, create turnovers, take gambles, blitz more, etc. It also forces a team like Colgate to alter their gameplan.

Frankly, our D didn't get enough credit for this game. They kept Colgate in check until the offense sprung into action. Take solace though, last week I felt UNH could score EVERY time it took the field on offense. I definitely didn't feel that way yesterday. And UNH buried some decent teams along the way this season with its offense.

Believe me, I understand how blowouts happen in the playoffs and aren't a true indication of the relative strengths of teams. Sometimes, once a team gets an advantage, it just mushrooms. UNH at Montana last year is a good example.
So all in all, some kind words from a UNH fan who has been following their team all season. I continue to be impressed with that club, and look forward to seeing what else they can do in these playoffs.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

And That's Why They're #1

I'm heartbroken at the loss, but still thoroughly impressed by the performance put on by Ricky Santos and David Ball. Truly outstanding. And to think they're together for another year!

I wish the outcome were different, or that a play here or there went the other way (particularly that tipped ball interception when we were driving to score in the first half), but that's the way this game goes. UNH looks VERY capable of outscoring anyone on their way to a national title. Good luck with that Wildcats.

My meager attempt at reviewing the keys to the game for Colgate:

On defense:

1. Keep that Colgate offense on the field! - not nearly enough in the first half. We were put out of our game early.
2. Keep our coverage honest. - we did most of the time. There was some pressure on Santos, we just couldn't tackle him. We also got beat by some very talented recievers.
3. Tackle at the first hit. - this game could have been a lot closer if we brought down UNH players when we first got their hands on them.
4. Convert big plays into points. We've not been great at this lately and UNH does not turn the ball over much. Nepa, Bean or Williams scoring 6 points is a huge lift to this team. - we got some key turnovers which is unlike UNH, but we really didn't make them a difference maker; especially when we give the ball right back.
5. Stay in the game mentally. UNH can put points up early and often. We can't get down on ourselves if we find ourselves down by 14 points in the first quarter. Our offense has shown the capability of coming back. - I was very impressed that we did not pack it in at the half and instead put up 21 points. That says great things about the continued success of Colgate football.
6. Have fun. This defense plays great with nothing to lose. -well, we had nothing to lose but the game, and we did. Still, a trip to the playoffs beats sitting home any day of the week!

On offense:

1. Like it needs saying: Limit turnovers. We do that and we've improved out chances of winning 1000%. - Turnovers again killed us at some key moments. UNH scoring 14 right before the half completely changed what we needed to do in the second half.
2. Establish Jordan Scott between the tackles. He is proving good enough to break 7 and 10 yards or more type runs every time he touches the ball. - Scott looked good for most of the day, and boy am I excited to see him grow over the next three years.
3. Avoid the home run ball. Too often we look for the big score in double coverage because our receivers are so talented; but against this crew, they will give you the 80 yards passing in exchange for a pick and seven points by their offense. - We tried this a few times too many in my opinion, and the UNH defensive backs did a great job of covering and closing, not to mention tipping and intercepting!
4. Time of possession. We will need the ball for 35 minutes or more to have a chance to win this one. - Didn't matter. UNH can score 14 points in 11 seconds.
5. Go back to the playmakers even if they make mistakes. We've done a good job of having confidence in our skill players even after they fumble or throw a bad pass. This crew has got it done all season long after bad plays, and they are the ones that are going to have any chance of winning this one. - no real comment here.
6. Just like the defense, go out there and have fun. No one gives us a chance, so you've got nothing to lose. This game was in many ways a mirror of our season: what could have been without turnovers and missed tackles. Still, see the other comment above. This was a great treat for the seniors and some wonderful postseason experience for our very young skill players.
Well, there you have it. The season ends today, but Colgate should feel proud. We went from 1-2 to the playoffs; we look pretty good for next year. Thanks for the great memories Colgate seniors and everyone rest up, get healthy and have a wonderful well deserved couple of weeks off before off season training begins.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Two Different Points of View

I found this very funny. Here is the Sports Network Headline for the Patriot League awards:

Colgate dominates All-Patriot League teams

And now here is the headline from the The Morning Call, a Lehigh Valley paper:

Hawks, Leopards dominate Patriot League football team

All three teams had 11 players on the post season teams. So how can any one dominate? Very interesting...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

More UNH/Colgate Stories

Some more press:

Colgate boasts strong defense, run attack

UNH faces tough Colgate in playoff Round 1

Some UNH Feedback

A poster on the Any Given Saturday website shot me a line to give me some insight into the scouting report I did. It is all good stuff to know about this team, so I thought I'd paste some of his comments here for us all to read:

I read your blog and one thing I have to add is that the passing numbers against UNH are swollen with garbage time scores. For example, this past Saturday when UNH went up 59-28, they put reserves in on defense. Maine kept the first string offense on the field and scored TDs. Don't get me wrong, they still scored 28 points, but the 47 wasn't a true indication of the defense's ability. When the game was on the line coming out of halftime after Maine scored a TD to end the 1st half (big Mo), the UNH defense stopped Maine while the offense scored four unanswered TDs. There were similar garbage time scores by Northeastern, Dartmouth, Towson and I believe Villanova.

Also, if you examine the TOP during UNH games, you'll notice that often UNH loses the TOP by significant time. Look at the Towson and Villanova games for example. UNH often scores quickly and puts the defense right back out on the field. 35 minutes of possession is a good goal but it always isn't enough.

UNH often plays a single RB and floods WRs down field. And our TE Jon Williams looks more like a WR than TE -- I'm constantly mixing him up with Aaron Brown (#86 WR) because their numbers are nearly the same (84 & 86) and their bodies appear the same (both 6'3" and not too much difference in weight). Usually if Santos has reasonable time, he will find someone with so many targets available. A good pass rush by Colgate is imperative. Maine had one Saturday, but Santos just scrambled for over 100 yards when he didn't have time for routes to develop. At halftime, UNH either made adjustments on line blocking or Maine adjusted, because he started to get more time. They also had a couple of perfect calls -- for example, WR screen to Ball when Maine was blitzing big time.

I don't think UNH will have significant advantages in athleticism or speed over Colgate. Ball is not a speed burner, but he's not a lumbering slug either. LeVan, Boyle, Williams and Brown all have decent speed. At RB, you missed Chris Ward but he didn't play vs. Maine and I don't know if he's out this week. He's not a speed guy either. That's a dimension missing on UNH. Redshirt Freshman Kaysonne Anderson was supposed to be that element but he blew out his knee in preseason.

Are there any prolific passing attacks in the Patriot? If not, you guys will be facing a very different offense on Saturday. And most likely UNH will have put in at least one new play for Colgate.

Scoring early will definitely help Colgate. A runback like W&M executed against UNH would also help you guys immensely. You really have to avoid getting down quickly as UNH likes to come out and drop quick scores on you and force you out of your game plan.

I'm looking forward to a good game because I know you're more skilled than the average AGS poster gives you credit for. And I know you'll be disciplined as well as smart.

Looks like a little snow (2") tomorrow in Durham, but so far the line for 4-9" is farther inland.
I think we've seen a prolific passing attach in Lehigh, but the results of that game show us what we need to do on Saturday.

Colgate and Lehigh in the Playoffs

This piece of information just caught my eye:

With Saturday's game against UNH, this will mark the seventh playoff appearance and 11th playoff game for Colgate. Both of those figures tie Lehigh for the most in the Patriot League. We can only hope to get that 12th game and take the lead!

Also on Saturday, Lafayette will claim the third spot to itself with a second appearance and equal Fordham's number with a second game.

Colgate Rakes in Some Post Season Honors

The Patriot League just released their post season honors, with Colgate making a big splash. Dick Biddle brings home his third Coach of the Year honors, Jordan Scott is no surprise as Rookie of the Year, and interestingly enough, Jared Nepa brings home the Defensive Player of the Year honors over Buchannon candidate Maurice Bennett of Lafayette!
Mike Saraceno also gets the nod as the first team quarterback and Chris Williams and Geoff Bean bring home first team defensive honors.
The second team was also chock full of Colgate players: Jordan Scott, DeWayne Long, Jeremy Wurst, Jake Sulvoski, Jeff Galletly, Chris Petrone, and Cody Williams. Three out of our four defensive lineman were named - not too shabby.
Indeed, nothing was too shabby for a 'rebuilding' year. With more than one of these selections coming back next year (and in two cases, more than that), things will look bright heading into 2006.
My one, minor quabble: Jordan Scott is good enough for second team running back, puts up the most rushing yards in the league in only eight starts, and we only get one offensive lineman on both the first and second teams? Seems to me you can't have it both ways: Either Scott got his yards because of a stellar offensive line, or Scott got his yards because he was the best running back in the league. Silva's got him beat on all purpose yards which include special teams, and Rath has got more touchdowns, but in terms of offensive output, I think Scott has got them beat. I understand the reasoning for Silva and Rath, so I'm not really arguing; just a fan who sees things differently. If Scott's not good enough for first team with those numbers, than we should have some more offensive lineman in there.
Regardless, congratulations to all Patriot League student-athletes receiving honors. Well done!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Scouting Report: UNH Defense

Hopefully you have had the night to digest the monumental task that awaits the Colgate defense on Saturday. It will not be easy.

Today, it's time to look at what the Colgate offense will be going up against when the Wildcats play 'D'. Thankfully, while it's proved to be good enough this year so far, it is not at the same level as their offense.

Defensive Line

Derek Stank is the senior tackle that anchors this line. He's had five and half sacks and tackles for a loss this year. Brent Barbato at defensive end has had a nice season with some big plays to his credit, like four sacks and two fumbles recovered. He is actually a former teammate of Colgate defensive tackle Pat Nolan - both going to Exeter Area High School in New Hampshire.


New Hampshire gives up a little over 143 yards per game on the ground. Redshirt freshman Matt Parent has had a great coming out season and has teamed up with senior E.J. Dewitt to anchor the linebacking corps.


This secondary gave up about 1,000 more yards in the air than Colgate this season and had 21 touchdowns scored on them. Both are some of the highest numbers in the country.

On the flip side though, Corey Graham has three interceptions to his credit as well as 81 tackles from his cornerback position. Baron Flenory at strong safety matches Graham's interception output and adds three sacks to go with his 72 tackles. One telling stat, though, is that free safety Jeff Pammer actually leads all of the Wildcats in tackles with 107 and the next closest tackler is fellow defensive back Graham with his 81. Almost 20% of all tackles made this year have been by this duo.

Whenever your secondary are your leading tacklers, there has to be something there to exploit with the run.

Colgate Matchup

You might have already noticed the first temptation that is there: exploit the secondary in the air. They are giving up yardage, touchdowns and points. I think that is a siren song and a recipe for disaster for Colgate. A high speed passing game benefits the type of tempo that New Hampshire wants. They play the gamble of trying to outscore you, and by the 10-1 record and slew of blowouts on the books, they are quite good at it.

Another reason to avoid the pass first mentality is the turnover ratio; whether by fortune or skill, the Wildcats have excelled in this area. In fact, their one loss to William and Mary earlier this year could partly be attributed to the turnovers going the other way (along with special team play). With Saraceno's history, one has to imagine the Wildcats will be focused on Jordan Scott and will almost dare Saraceno to beat them in the air.

It may sound crazy, but we have to do exactly what they will be trying to prevent us from doing: establish the running game and take up chunks of clock on every possesion. Winning the field possession battle is not as important a factor for us. UNH can often move the ball at will. It will be more important to limit the amount of time they can have to put points on the board.

We have to go with Scott early and often, and looking at this team on paper, we might just have some success with that. As always, the play of our receivers will be the key to keeping the Wildcats honest. If Saraceno can stay patient and take the routes UNH gives him as opposed to looking for the home run ball, we too might be able to move the ball very effectively against this defense and put up a fair share of points.

Offensive Keys to the Game

1. Like it needs saying: Limit turnovers. We do that and we've improved out chances of winning 1000%.
2. Establish Jordan Scott between the tackles. He is proving good enough to break 7 and 10 yards or more type runs every time he touches the ball.
3. Avoid the home run ball. Too often we look for the big score in double coverage because our receivers are so talented; but against this crew, they will give you the 80 yards passing in exchange for a pick and seven points by their offense.
4. Time of possession. We will need the ball for 35 minutes or more to have a chance to win this one.
5. Go back to the playmakers even if they make mistakes. We've done a good job of having confidence in our skill players even after they fumble or throw a bad pass. This crew has got it done all season long after bad plays, and they are the ones that are going to have any chance of winning this one.
6. Just like the defense, go out there and have fun. No one gives us a chance, so you've got nothing to lose.

Tomorrow's installment: Special Teams.

(By the way, if one could find some defensive player pictures, I'd use them. The UNH website is all Santos and Ball!)

Monday, November 21, 2005

UNH/Colgate stories

Here is the piece that Lennie mentioned in the Union Leader.

UNH Notebook: High noon start suits Wildcats

The Portsmouth Herald has a piece too.

Wildcats will host Colgate in first round on Saturday

Breaking News: Fordham Looking for a New Coach

Ed Foley resigned.

Time to rebuild in the Bronx. Next question: what about Georgetown?

Biddle Named a Robinson Finalist

Biddles' at it again.

The Sportsnetwork's Coach of the Year Award, The Eddie Robinson Award, has said that Dick Biddle is a finalist for the award - again. He placed 3rd in 2003.

Please, Colgate: give this man whatever he wants to stay at Colgate (not that I think he's leaving). He's still young. Let's get another 10 years from this legend in the making and have him cement Colgate as a I-AA football power (if we're not there already).

Scouting Report: UNH offense

Instead of lumping it all in one pre-game scouting report, this is the playoffs, so we get to really dig into it and take an in depth look at our opponents from the Granite State. Today's look: the high powered and often unstoppable Wildcat offense that ranks in the top 10 of all I-AA.


Sophomore Ricky Santos is the real deal. Sometimes, if all is quiet in Durham, you can actually hear another record being broken. Nothing in the UNH record books will remain untouched by the time Santos leaves - in two years!

Looking first at the hard stats, he has a quarterback rating of 171. He's averaging 295 yards per game, thrown for 33 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions and completes over 70% of his passes. Ouch.

Even more so, this is a guy that as a freshman stepped up when injuries hit the Wildcats and led UNH to the playoffs with victories over teams like Delaware, I-A Rutgers, and Georgia Southern down in Georgia. He is not the weak link in any chain.

Running Backs

In this offense where the pass gets all the press, New Hampshire still manages to run the ball for more than 160 yards per game. There is no true feature back but rather the yards are gotten mostly by committee. The standout is John McCoy, who gets about 65 yards per game on an impressive 4.9 average yards per carry. He's helped out by Santos, who usually scrambles for 20 plus yards a game and usually does it in situations where he can score. Santos actually leads the team in rushing touchdowns.

The supporting cast is Robert Simpson with some bigger runs to his name and Matt O'Brien, a freshman who has seen some time as of late.


Junior David Ball is without a doubt the main target for the extremly efficient Santos, and he doesn't let Ricky down. Ball has 1190 yards receiving to his credit this season, averaging 5 catches a game for over 108 yards per game. He's scored 18 times this year; that's over a touchdown and a half per game folks!

In addition to Ball's prowess, much like Lehigh there is a whole armada of recievers that Santos can throw to. Aaron Brown, Keith LeVan and Jonathan Williams at his tight end spot all see action on the field. For a good example, against Northeastern Santos threw for five touchdowns, all to different receivers.

Offensive Line

The hogs up front run like this from left to right: senior David Sundberg, junior Tucker Peterson, sophomore Nick Couturier, junior Tim Schwab and junior Will Yarborough. The first thing you'll notice is there is only one senior in the bunch, so they are a bit young. But you can stop right there. They've only given up 20 sacks this season and judging by Santos's productivity, they're doing a spectacular job.

Colgate Matchup

The best thing Colgate has got going for itself in this one defensively is its offense. More to come on the UNH defense later, but Colgate's style of play does not usually lend itself to getting into a shootout. We average over 35 minutes per game in time of possession. New Hampshire is closer to 26 minutes per game. If we can keep that ratio or even get it up to over 60% of the game, our defense doesn't have to perform as much because they are not on the field!

But ultimately, Santos and crew will get the ball, and they will be very efficient at moving it. The biggest threat is Santos himself. The Colgate defensive line is a quick one, but we will need more sacks and hurries than we usually see to delay the deep threats as much as possible. We will probably see a lot of nickel coverage from the Raiders, and I would not be surprised to see UNH try and exploit freshman Sam Breslin with some of their talented receivers. Breslin has been solid all year, but this will be his first time on the big stage of the playoffs and that's who I'd attack first.

Ball deserves our best coverage every down, and most likely double coverage at times. It will be up to the remaining members of our secondary and linebackers to pick up the 'committee' and tackle them at our first shot. I think we've got two huge assets in Jared Nepa who has proven to be a very capable linebacker in coverage and Tom Cassano who has given us flexiblity in coverages from his end position.

I like our chances to have a good game against the run but our approach must treat this team as a balanced one; not as one that will pass first. I think UNH will be quite happy to take what we give them, so we might be trying to stop the run in nickel coverages and stop the pass with eight in the box.

Defensive Keys to the Game

1. Keep that Colgate offense on the field!
2. Keep our coverage honest.
3. Tackle at the first hit.
4. Convert big plays into points. We've not been great at this lately and UNH does not turn the ball over much. Nepa, Bean or Williams scoring 6 points is a huge lift to this team.
5. Stay in the game mentally. UNH can put points up early and often. We can't get down on ourselves if we find ourselves down by 14 points in the first quarter. Our offense has shown the capability of coming back.
6. Have fun. This defense plays great with nothing to lose.

Tomorrow's installment: The Wildcat Defense.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Final Regular Season AGS Top 25

Here it is, my final poll for the regular season.

1. New Hampshire (1)
2. Appalachian St (4)
3. Hampton (3)
4. Brown (6)
5. Richmond (8)
6. Northern Iowa (9)
7. Georgia Southern (10)
8. Furman (11)
9. Texas State (12)
10. Cal Poly (13)
11. Southern Illinois (14)
12. Montana (2)
13. Eastern Illinois (16)
14. Eastern Washington (19)
15. Nicholls St (20)
16. Youngstown St (21)
17. Grambling (20)
18. Coastal Carolina (5)
19. Colgate (23)
20. Lafayette (25)
21. Lehigh (6)
22. Illinois St (22)
23. Massachusetts (15)
24. North Dakota St (18)
25. Montana St. (NR)

Most Significant Win: Lafayette
Most Significant Loss: Montana

New Hampshire it is

Well Colgate fans, we've got good news and bad news. The good news is, we're in the playoffs and on ESPN2 nationally! The bad news: we face the number 1 team in the land, UNH. More to come on the match up later, but I think we'll do just fine. I'm not predicting a win or anything at this point, but we'll represent ourselves pretty well I think.

The huge thing we've got going for us is lack of pressure. Both Colgate (and Lafayette - huge contratulations are in order for them) have nothing to lose in these games. Just go out and play. Both teams probably thought last Friday was most likely their last practice of the season. Now these seniors on both teams get a HUGE bonus game and get to let it all hang out one more time. You couldn't ask for more.

One thing I want Raider (and Leopard) fans to realize though is that facing the #1 and #2 seeds respectively does not make us #15 and #16. The NCAA only seeds teams 1-4 and then matchs up games regionally. We'd be playing UNH if they were seeded fourth or first.
A lot to digest and be happy for indeed. More to come on UNH and what we've got to look forward to, as well as some post season honors and accolades to dole out. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Thank you dearest Lafayette!

On to the playoffs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Party time in Hamilton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


As I write this, Lafayette is down nine points to Lehigh, but regardless, today's win means Colgate wins its third Patriot League Championship in the last four years. AWESOME. This is coming from a team picked to finish third and started the year 1-2. Great season Colgate!

We'll see how Lehigh/Lafayette ends, and we'll pray for some help with the playoffs, but even if we're sitting home next Saturday, it's been a great season.

More to come after some finals...

But, I think Jordan Scott just made a huge case for himself to be 1st team Patriot League tailback and possibly even Offensive Player of the Year. He's got the rookie award hands down. Jared Nepa's got a shot at Defensive Player of the Year and Biddle? He might just be Coach of the Year himself.

Fingers crossed until Sunday afternoon!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Georgetown Scouting Report

My apologies. This is not meant to be a slight against the Hoyas or make it seem like it is 'in the bag". I was called away today and have not really had a chance to do a full report. This will be a short and sweet version since it's late, and I still have stuff to do!


The Georgetown offense has frankly struggled this season, and while they haven't experienced the quarterback troubles Bucknell has, they are basically in the same boat. Oddly enough, they also run a similar option offense.

If you look at some of the league statistics, the Hoyas are last in scoring (10.9 points per game), sixth in passing (107 yards per game), last in turnovers (.90 turnover margin), sixth in rushing offense (125.9 yards per game) and last in total offense at almost 140 yards less per game than Colgate (232.9 vs. 361.7). The tale of the tape doesn't look pretty for the Georgetown offense.

Nick Cangelosi is the quarterback and main offensive threat. He puts up about 30 yards on the ground and 100 yards in the air each game. The main running threat is Marcus Slayton, a freshman rushing for a little less than 70 yards per game. After that, there really isn't much to speak of.

Just like Bucknell last week, the main job of the Colgate defense will be to stop the run and force the Hoyas to pass; something they either choose not to do or have not had much success doing. If the defense can hold the Hoyas in the first quarter and the Raider offense can get some points on the board, we will most likely have a field day in shutting down their attack. This teams has shown some ability in coming back from behind, but if we can tee off on predictable situations, there will be a lot of three and outs.

The danger for our defense will be to leave our brains back in Hamilton. Unlikely given the magnitude of this game (Patriot League title and possible playoffs on the line; last game for seniors) however it is still possible. This is one of those matchups that the longer Georgetown stays in it, the more confident they are they can win. We barely escaped in 2003 with a 'W', so I won't rest easy until the whole 60 minutes are done in this one.


Thankfully for the Hoyas, the defense hasn't had the same type of woes the offense has. It's a fairly respectable crew that does pretty well against the run (middle of the pack in the Patriot League) and, believe it or not, actually gives up less passing yards per game than Lafayette or Colgate! You could take the sarcastic view and state that teams haven't need to pass against the Hoyas, but in reality, I don't think this defensive group is a bunch of pushovers. Even in last year's shutout, the burden of blame fell on the lack of Georgetown offense, not defensive performance.

Again, no slight to Georgetown meant here, but this side of the ball really comes down to which Colgate offense decides to show up. Is it the offense from the first half of Bucknell or the 4th quarter? If we turn the ball over and are ineffective on 'O', that's bad news for Colgate because this defense will be able to stop us from time to time. If we play solid Colgate football, we will have a big day.

Special Teams

I can't see this area being a big part of this game, but I sure could be wrong. This one shouldn't be decided by field goals, and we've cooled off a bit in the return game. Maybe we'll have some nice returns, but all in all, just don't turn the ball over and we'll be fine.

The Skinny

Just win baby. Colgate players have to know what is on the line here. Regardless of playoffs, this group has to be fired up about this one. A win means this group of seniors has won three of Colgate's five Patriot League championships. Simply amazing. There are plenty of 'no-namers' doing it in this group, but that accomplishment would have to put them in the company of some of Colgate's best classes ever.

We play Colgate football and don't turn the ball over, and it will be a fine day for a Raider win, and in turn some scoreboard watching up in Bethlehem.

As always, LET'S GO 'GATE!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Prognosticating the Patriot: Week 12

Anyone else want to rewind the season a little bit? I cannot believe that we've gone 12 full weeks already and the college careers end here for the seniors of at least five and probably six Patriot League teams. We've had our share of exciting games and interesting turns of events. There will be time in the post season to dole out awards and cite moments; for now though, we all get to relish at least one more Saturday in the fall spent with our favorite gridiron crew. Win or lose, enjoy!

Colgate at Georgetown

Nothing would erase the sting of last week's embarrassing Hoya loss to Davidson of the Pioneer league faster than a huge upset of Colgate. The Raiders continue to keep pace at the top of the standings with Lehigh and Lafayette, yet did it in anything but impressive fashion last weekend.

It's been an interesting season for the Hoyas, yet probably filled with more disappointment than pride. This could have been a great year for Georgetown to land in the middle of the Patriot League pack and a Colgate win would put them at .500 in the league; not too shabby given the Hoyas history. But a 2-4 record will place them just north of Bucknell. There has to be some significant level of frustration building down in D.C. Will this be the last game for more than just the Hoya seniors? An upset win just might save some jobs.

For Colgate, the mission is much clearer: just win. Win and share a part of the league title for their fifth in 10 years and three in the past four. Win and hope for a Lafayette victory (see below) and find out where you're traveling on Sunday. Finally, win because this group of seniors flat out knows how to - and Colgate has never lost to Georgetown.

Given last week's Colgate performance, one cannot bank on the paper match up that puts the Raiders as a clear favorite. However, given last week's Hoyas performance in combination with the overall season totals, one has to wonder just how exactly Georgetown is going to score against Colgate. Facing the Bucknell option before the Georgetown version certainly helps get Colgate ready. Mike Saraceno at quarterback is still nursing his non-throwing shoulder, so look for freshman tailback Jordan Scott to continue to be the main focus of this offense. He needs just 98 yards to be the first freshman in Colgate history to run for over 1,000 yards. I think he does it - and then some. If Colgate can avoid the turnovers that have defined this season so far, it won't be a close one.

Predicted outcome: Colgate 28 Georgetown 7

Lafayette at Lehigh

Every year the Most Played Rivalry in College Football is a big deal. Just like the 140th meeting, the 141st is even bigger than normal. Patriot League title and I-AA playoff hopes are on the line. As much as these two schools love to rail on each other, the added dimension of this game with so much on the line is very much appreciated by both.

This year's incarnation has a bit of the deja vu smell to me. Looking at this battle on paper, Lehigh's got the guns and a good defense. Lafayette's got a great defense but is not putting up a lot of points in general. Lehigh is highly ranked and favored over the Leopards. Sound eerily familiar?

The first very important point to note in this match up is location. For Lafayette fans, in this match up it means everything. Away from Fisher field, the Leopards haven't been able to get a win at Lehigh since Chicago's "Look Away" snatched the top spot from Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" on the Billboard pop charts in 1989.

The Lehigh plan is simple: continue to play Lehigh football. There's really very little chance that Lafayette can outscore the Mountain Hawks in a shoot out. If Lehigh can up the 30+ plus per game they are averaging, they will be playoff bound. The deja vu is, that is exactly what they had to do last year, and couldn't.

Now certainly you have to like Lehigh's chances in here. They have to be the favorite. They've got a young and exciting quarterback in Sedale Threatt, solid Eric Rath in the backfield, and four or five guys that can catch the ball on any given down. The defense, while not dominating, certainly isn't a slouch squad. They can step up and make big plays and can win some games with turnovers.

Lehigh seems to be hitting on all cylinders under Threatt and the seniors certainly remember last year's disappointment in Easton. Using my logical brain, it would be correct to pick them in this one.

But in the intangibles stirring around in the back of my head, I've got a slight Lafayette tingle building. Where should I start? To begin with, Lehigh was the preseason favorite this year. Let's all pause and remember past preseason favorites... Lehigh and Colgate in 2002 - Fordham autobid champ... Colgate in 2004... Lafayette autobid/champ. I can't remember 2003's preseason favorite, but I know it wasn't Colgate. Preseason favorites don't seem to actual win this league often, do they?

I follow that thought with the actual matchup on the field. Lafayette has got the best defense in this league - and one of the better squads in the land. No matter what offense they've gone up against, they've done a very good job. They have been in every game this year. Put that defense up against Lehigh's super offense, and that's where the biggest battle will be... unless of course you consider Time of Possession to actually be a defensive battle. Lafayette hasn't put up Colgate numbers is this area, but they do run a similar offense as the Raiders. If they avoid the same mistake as the Raiders of having a shootout against Lehigh, that opens up a lot of possibilities.

One of the final pieces of the Lafayette victory puzzle is the red zone. The Leopards have given up the fewest touchdowns within the red zone. Lehigh is of course putting up the most. Classic battle here.

So my rational brain says, it's at Goodman, Lehigh's rolling, Lafayette hasn't had much offense... the reasons could go on and on. But somewhere, probably sitting to the left of Homer who is surely helping write this prediction, is sitting that damn adage about defense. You know the one I'm talking about - the one about championships?

The victory will ultimately come down to who can limit turnovers and who can capitalize on the other teams mistakes. It's a classic battle of top offense vs. top defense. And Homer is telling that adage is really starting to fidget. What the hell! Let's go with it. Defense wins championships! Give me five, Homer! Woo-hoo!

Predicted outcome: Lafayette 21 Lehigh 17

Holy Cross at Bucknell

What started out as so promising a season for the Crusaders has taken a noticeable dip in the past three weeks. Three losses in a row, two of which came at the hands of league leaders Colgate and Lafayette, have clouded the apparent strides that were made in Gilmore's second season. However, a win against pretty much hapless Bucknell is still a very big deal. It makes Holy Cross a winning team; something that has only happened once in the past twelve years. It sends this senior crew out on a high note and perhaps serves as the foundation of good things to come.

As for Bucknell (sorry Bison fans), they pretty much have to be hoping for this dismal season to end already. It has been a trying one to go through for sure, and it will take a lot of work this offseason to get the Bison back to the level of the 2004 team. One hopes they can bounce back from this enormous setback.

The game is most definitely Holy Cross's to lose. It will take a performance of the magnitude of Colgate's first half against the Bison in order for this game to be close. If Holy Cross gets ahead by more than a score (and I expect they will), Bucknell just simply cannot pass the pall with any effectiveness. Unless the Crusaders gift wrap an upset, this one's over shortly after the half - if not before.

Predicted outcome: Holy Cross 32 Bucknell 10

Albany at Fordham

Fordham's Patriot League season is the only one that is already wrapped up. Owners of a 2-4 league record (2-8 overall), the Rams won't occupy the basement. But that won't make this season any better. A win over 'mid-major' Albany, currently 4-6, would finish the Fordham season with three wins out of the last four; a major improvement from the first seven and probably enough to save Ed Foley from an early exit. However, Albany is certainly not going to roll over for the Rams. This should be a ball game folks.

SUNY Albany is an ambitious mid-major. They have scheduled three A-10 teams this year, losing all three by a combined score of 107-14, and Fordham. If I'm a Great Dane, I'm licking my chops in this one. They have to be motivated to get that out of conference win against an autobid conference and Fordham is their last, and probably best, shot.

I don't know if it's league loyalties or great insight, but I think the Rams will prevail in a very tight contest. That third win will mean a lot for this group and it's senior day in the Bronx. I won't be shocked with an Albany win, but I will be shocked if Fordham, if not winning, is not in this one until the very end.

Predicted outcome: Fordham 21 Albany 18

Last week's record: 2-2. Season record: 31-21. I'm sitting at 59.6% right now, so I would love to be right with all four here and get over that 60% mark without rounding!

I Missed This Colgate Connection

This week's opponent has the benefit of a Colgate football player in their strength program: Matt Domenyancic. Matt was an Air Force transfer back in the mid 90's and was a big part of the turn around under Biddle. Looks like he is a SWAT officer in Fairfax county and helps out the Hoya strength program. I can't say I'm surprised to see Matt is a SWAT officer and that he's pursuing strength and conditioning. Perfect fit for what I remember of him. Here's the Hoya write up for those that don't want to click the link:

Matt works as a police officer in Fairfax County, where he is a member of the SWAT team. Before coming to D.C., he was a police officer in Connecticut and assistant strength and conditioning coach under Steve Plisk at Yale for four years. Matt graduated from Colgate University where he played linebacker and was named Defensive MVP of the first Patriot League team to receive a bid to the national I-AA playoffs. For the Patriot League Champion Red Raiders, Matt was the league's leading tackler, named First Team All-League, earned Honorable Mention All-America honors, and had a scholarship endowment for a Colgate football player dedicated in his honor.

Prior to his time at Colgate, Matt attended the United States Air Force Academy for two years and was a member of the football and powerlifting teams. He was the state of Colorado's powerlifting champion in 220 pound class and set three state records and went on to be nationally ranked and placed in the top five in collegiate nationals. Matt started both ways at fullback and linebacker for Center High School in Monaca, PA, receiving numerous awards for both offense and defense during that time including being Defensive MVP of the Three Rivers Conference, and picked for the Fabulous 22 by Pittsburgh Post Gazette at fullback. Matt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Colgate University and a Masters of Science in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven. He is USAWF Club coach certified and has peer reviewed articles for the NSCA.

The Hoyas got themselves a good one there. Just don't coach them too well Matt!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Our Newest Favorite Teams

I've never felt good about our at-large chances for the playoffs, so I thought Colgate fans might want a breakdown of who we should be looking at to trip up on Saturday to better our chances. Here it goes:

1. Lafayette

No brainer here. We want the Leopards to 'shock' the Mountain Hawks and gift wrap us the autobid (with a Georgetown win of course - I'm not ready to take that to the bank yet based on this season). It would be a nice gesture for Lafayette to do so, because our loss last year to Bucknell is what opened up the autobid to them. If we would have won that game, it would have been a three way tie for first and the autobid most likely would have went to Lehigh. I wouldn't mind sharing the Patriot League title with Lafayette, so how about it Pards?

2. Montana

What? They're in the playoffs no matter what. BUT, a loss to Eastern Washington gives them the autobid and puts the Griz into the at large poll, knocking us on notch further down the list.

3. Sam Houston State and McNeese State (tie)

Sam Houston State plays Texas State, a team very much in the hunt for an at-large berth or even an autobid with a Nichols State loss. A loss puts them at 8-3. McNeese faces off against Nichols State who is in the drivers seat for the Southland autobid. A McNeese win might put them on the at-large table, but coupled with a Nichols loss, gives them the autobid. Personally, I think we want to see a Texas State win with a McNeese State win. Autobid goes to Texas State who is an at large now, and McNeese is probably a weaker at large case than we are.

4. North Dakota State

The Bison play Southern Illinois, who lost their autobid chances last weekend to Northern Iowa. A loss by the Salukis puts them at 7-4 and outside the playoffs looking in. NDSU is a not playoff eligible yet, so a win by them has no effect on us.

5. William and Mary

The Tribe faces off against hot hot hot Richmond, who still has a shot at the A-10 autobid with some help and is sure to be a lock as an at-large with a win. This is the oldest rivalry of the south, so anything can happen. William and Mary looked good early in the season, and a win by them doesn't get them in the playoffs.

6. Idaho State

We'd love to see Idaho State take Cal Poly out of the at large picture. We get in over a four loss Stang team.

7. Massachusetts

I won't mention a UMass loss as helping us, because honestly, I don't think it does. Sure, UMass losing would be one more four loss team as compared to our three losses, and we would own a win over them. But we want UMass to be the huge feather in our cap come Selection Sunday. That would be the marquee win for us and somehting that some other bubble teams might not have. So go Minutemen - roll over Hofstra.

So that's how I see it. We've got 8 teams to root for on Saturday, starting with Colgate and going on down this list. Anyone I missed?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My AGS Top 25

1. New Hampshire (1)
2. Montana (2)
3. Hampton (3)
4. Appalachian St (5)
5. Coastal Carolina (7)
6. Brown (8)
7. Lehigh (9)
8. Richmond (10)
9. Northern Iowa (11)
10. Georgia Southern (12)
11. Furman (13)
12. Texas St (14)
13. Cal Poly (15)
14. Southern Illinois (4)
15. Massachusetts (6)
16. Eastern Illinois (16)
17. Grambling (20)
18. North Dakota St (21)
19. Eastern Washington (23)
20. Nicholls St (24)
21. Youngstown St (25)
22. Illinois St (NR)
23. Colgate (NR)
24. Princeton (NR)
25. Lafayette (NR)

Most Significant Win: Northern Iowa
Most Significant Loss: Montana St

I felt pretty good with 1-20. The last five teams were tough. There is a logjam of 6-5 teams out there that are probably very good teams but its just been a crazy year. Colgate, Princeton and Lafayette all only have 3 losses. While the win for Colgate wasn't impressive, they have beaten the Tigers and the Leopards, so I can't go ranking them behind those two. We'll see how others feel...


I would have posted something on this sooner, but frankly, I struggled for what exactly to say. I thought I had seen the ugliest football Colgate has played in a long time when I left the field after the Central Connecticut game. Turns out I was wrong. We had, in my opinion, an uglier half still left to play.

The first half of the Bucknell game was bad. Really bad. Let me get it out of the way to say our defense played great. The let up three points and shut down Bucknell pretty much all day. I also give credit to the offense for not packing it in after a tough three quarters.

We are, however, truly fortunate to have left that game with a 'W' given the play of our offense. The most frustrating thing is that I see flashes of brilliance on this offense, usually sandwiched between turnovers and ineffectiveness. It seems like since the third quarter of Lehigh, the sharpness just hasn't been there.

If we were going to make a case for an 8-3 at large bid to the playoffs, we just blew it with that one. We need to hope for a Lafayette win on Saturday; but more importantly, we need to come to play against Georgetown, or we could be leaving D.C. very disappointed.

With that off my chest, I sincerely would like to thank this year's seniors for a great run at Andy Kerr. It's been great to watch you all.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Possible Football Recruit

The name Pat Simonds came across my email with this article. Pat is a high school senior from Sydney, New York that is playing wide receiver in the state quarterfinals this weekend. Pat has 39 catches, 782 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Here's the quote of interest:

Opposing coaches aren’t the only eyes on Simonds, a three-sport standout at
Sidney. Division I college football coaches have expressed interest, and Simonds
said football is likely his game of choice in college.

Syracuse, Michigan State and Maryland have shown interest, said Simonds, who’s also considering Colgate, Lehigh and James Madison. Although the last three have lower-profile Division I football teams, Simonds said he might choose that path in exchange for the possibility more playing time.

I know who I'd like to win that recruiting battle.

Bucknell Scouting Report

I can't believe we're here already. Senior day. The last home game of the 2005 football season. Anyone else a bit melancholy over the looming finish line to this race for the Patriot League Title?

The final game on tap this year is our friends from Lewisburg, Bucknell. There are two facts that I bet everyone in Raiderland is well aware of: Bucknell isn't doing so hot this year with a 1-8 record, and Bucknell spanked our behinds last year to the tune of 42-7. So putting aside the records for a second, there is plenty to get fired up about in this contest. Add to it the fact that if Colgate wants to keep any outside 8-3 at-large playoff hopes alive, they need to have dominating performances in these final two games.

Let's see what's in store.


About three games into the season, a proposal to change the Bucknell nickname from Bison to Wounded had some serious support. The Bison have had to contend with three quarterbacks going down, a starting fullback as well as a host of injuries here and there to other starters. It has not been pretty.

The lone bright spot, and what should be the main focus of our defense, has been the play of cornerback turned quarterback Dante Ross. Ross was a standout on the defensive side of the ball before multiple injuries forced the coaching staff to look for the best talent they could find to run their spread option style offense. Ross responded in outstanding fashion with a record breaking performance against Marist. He hasn't been able to have that kind of game again, but has been able to have a few hundred yard rushing games and remains the major threat of this offense.

Ross's help comes in the form of Josh DeStefano at the fullback position and Kenny Davis and Peter Kaufman in the slotback positions. DeStefano is averaging a little over 30 yards per game behind Ross's 74. The rest of the offensive production is spread out among four other players.

In the air, freshman Daniel Zvara has emerged as the main target for Ross, averaging about 27 yards per game. He's followed by DeStefano out of the backfield. After that, it is slim pickings.

Short of some new face arising out of obscurity, the offensive hopes lie solely with Dante Ross. He should not be taken lightly, as a one man show was basically what routed Colgate last year. That said, Ross does not have as good of an offensive supporting cast that Wilson had last year. Colgate's main focus should be on shutting Ross down and making other players beat us. If we can do that, our defense could have a big day here. We just need to come with solid tackling and not get caught overpursuing.


The defense was the strength of this team coming in to the season, and while some of those faces still remain, they have not been as successful as we all thought they could be. One only has to imagine what the lack of offensive production means to this defense, but in sheer numbers alone, this team has given up 265 points so far this season. That's almost 30 points a game. You will not win many contests with that statistic.

Still, it is mostly an upperclass defense, especially when defending the run. Sean Conover is still a force to contend with and may even see some time on the other side of the ball as a tight end. The youth exists in the defensive backfield and will need to be exploited by Colgate to open up the running lanes for Jordan Scott.

Colgate's game plan should be one we are all accustomed too: pound it out and throw when we need to. We need to win the time of possession battle, burn their defensive backs and get carries of the 6 and 8 yard variety; not the 2 or 3 yard type.

Special Teams

Here too, it is Dante Ross that needs to be contained. He is a very good return man, but he might have lost some of his effectiveness now that he is rushing for 20 plus carries a game. I don't think we'll go so far as to kick away from him, but containing him will be important.

On our side of the ball, the biggest thing will be to limit mistakes. Any type of momentum changer that can put or keep Bucknell in this one should be avoided.

The Skinny

On paper, this is a mismatch. That is precisely what has me a bit on edge. Colgate needs to come out with full guns blazing and put the Bison away early and with force. This is actually a really good test for this team. We've had two big games in a row now and the end is in sight. The team controls its destiny of winning the title and giving itself a shot at the playoffs. There should be no slacking off. If anything, there should be some fire and hunger in the seniors to avenge last years loss and to go out with a bang at Andy Kerr.

Selfishly, I'd like to see this one wrapped up shortly after the half so we can see some back ups like Anthony Fucillo see some time or David Morgan get some catches. Particularly on defense, some game experience for players like Nick Sabo at defensive tackle and all of our young linebackers would be a huge bonus. First things first though: we've got to score some points and keep Dante Ross from having an impact on this game.

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!

Women's Basketball Recruit

Elize Bronzo picks Colgate.

She's a 6-2 player from White Plains, NY who choose Colgate over BU, Penn and Columbia. Another example of scholarships bringing dividends my friends.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Prognosticating the Patriot: Week 11

The view from the top of the league is... well... crowded! We got Lehigh, we got Colgate and we have Lafayette all claiming a piece of the league pie right now. That number should decrease by at least one before the final two weeks of the season are over. What an exciting race it's been!

For this week, Colgate finally has the 'spotlight' off of them for a change and instead, it is the Leopards of Lafayette that will be the in the 'big' game for the second week in a row. There is still an outside shot for an at-large playoff berth for a few teams, so there should be more than one fired up team taking the field on Saturday and making a case for post-season play.

Bucknell at Colgate

Payback is just one of the things that must be on the minds of the Colgate Raiders after last year's embarrassing 42-7 loss in Lewisburg that effectively ended the Raiders 2004 playoff hopes. After losing to Lehigh, Colgate must now pin their playoff hopes on an 8-3 record and perhaps a Lafayette victory over Lehigh to end the season. Either way, a fifth Patriot League title in ten years is on the line for the Raiders no matter what playoff destiny awaits. There is plenty to play for here.

For the Bison, this 1-8 season probably can't come to a close soon enough. Games were close early in the season, but as the injuries kept piling up the scores were a bit more lopsided. There is still some fight left in this team as the past two weeks were close ones that could have ultimately gone Bucknell's way.

The Bison and their option offense can always present some problems on the right day, no matter how banged up they are. Colgate will need solid defense without breakdowns and ball control offense will be needed to negate the athleticism of Dante Ross when he's on the offensive side of the ball. Bucknell will need more than a few breaks to keep this game competitive. If previous games this year are any indication of what could be in store here, Colgate should put up more than 30 points and hold Bucknell to under three scores.

Predicted outcome: Colgate 41 Bucknell 17

Lafayette at Holy Cross

This is the do or die game of the week in the Patriot League. The Leopards now find themselves needing to win out in order to lay claim to the Patriot League title (or at least a piece of it). Holy Cross needs this win to keep any league title hopes alive, but more importantly to solidify the gains that have been made to the program so far. A win here would firmly cement the Crusaders place in the top part of the league and assure them of a winning season: something that has happened only once since 1992.

The Crusaders hopes lie squarely on the shoulders of senior running back Steve Silva. With last week's loss to Holy Cross, we all were able to witness what can happen without him in the lineup. A Silva lineup is a much more potent weapon for Holy Cross than anything else they've got this year. Holy Cross has also had its fair share of big games so far this year so the experience there could be a factor.

Lafayette found some offensive spark last week on the wings of quarterback Brad Maurer's best passing game ever. Timely turnovers however proved to be costly and fans have been lamenting some of the conservative play calling to end the game. The Leopard defense, one of the most solid units in the nation, will face another stiff test in the senior led Holy Cross offense.

This game ultimately comes down to the ability of Lafayette to score points. Their defense will most likely limit Holy Cross to three touchdowns or less. Can Maurer, Hurt, Stanford and Ort put up more?

This may be a bit of an upset call, but at Fitton, for their senior day, I think Holy Cross can limit the Leopards to 20 points or less. They just need to score more. Silva might not be able to get them all on the ground, but he's also a threat catching and returning. I think he's going to go out with a bang.

Predicted outcome: Holy Cross 21 Lafayette 18

Davidson at Georgetown

The Hoyas took their beatings last week in their trip to Goodman Stadium, but still have a chance to finish this season with a winning record. They have owned Davidson for the past few years and I think have made some improvements this year. I can't see this being the time that the Wildcats win one, especially in D.C.

Predicted outcome: Georgetown 24 Davidson 7

Lehigh at Fordham

Lehigh's in the driver seat now and has one last road trip to make to the Bronx. By all means this game should give Mountain Hawk fans more than a little bit of concern as it has 'stumble' written all over it. Can Lehigh stay focused one more week before the 141st meeting?

Fordham is 2-7 but riding a two game winning streak. They've got a solid running back and an athletic quarterback. The defense is underappreciated but still playing with some heart. On paper, they should be outmatched and outgunned.

Sedale Threatt at quarterback, Eric Rath at tailback and a host of receivers could have a field day if they are hitting on all cylinders. The Lehigh team is full of power and defense. Will that team show up?

I think Fordham will make some Engineers sweat and some Mountain Hawks cringe, but ultimately Lehigh will win this one in the second half. Look for Lehigh to be tied or even down at the break, but come out swinging and put the Rams away with some quick scores.

Predicted outcome: Lehigh 35 Fordham 17

Last week's record: 3-0. Season record 29-19. Bonus notes: Predicted Colgate/Lafayette 18-14 Raiders to actual 18-15 Raider win. Predicted Lehigh/Georgetown 45-18 Lehigh to actual 46-14 Lehigh win. Not too shabby!

New Poll

Seems to me that we are in need of a new poll. This one's about the playoffs. Please vote!

The results on Jordan Scott are pretty impressive. 59% of you that voted think he is the tailback of the future for the Raiders. 30% of you are still holding out for more results while 11% of you think no.

I'm curious what those 11% are thinking! I think Jordan's all but got Patriot League Rookie of the Year wrapped up. I also think he's a strong candidate for all Patriot League. I think Steve Silva will get the first team. The real question will be will he get the second team nod over James Prydatko from Fordham? The senior Prydatko is currently ranked 17th in the nation with 948 yards rushing and a 4.8 yards per carry average. He's played in all 9 games also scored 5 touchdowns.

By comparision the freshman Scott is ranked 36th in the nation. He has run for 799 yards in only 7 games with an average of 3.8 yards per carry and 6 touchdowns.

Here's how I see it breaking down: The case for Prydatko is built on overall totals and the sentimental pick for a senior over a freshman. The case for Scott is that in six starts he's put up 5 100 yard games and is doing it for a potential league championship team.

My personal biased opinion? Prydatko has been hot/cold. Five of his games have been 71 yards or less rushing games. He's only had one touchdown in those same games. His four other games have been for 143 yards or more. His four other touchdowns are in those games. Scott's been much more consistent.

Maybe it will come down to who those voting would rather want starting for their team? Again biased, but I think Prydatko's been a workhorse with some flash but Scott has been solid with a huge upside and the potential to win games for you. Homer and I would take Scott in a heartbeat.

He's got two more games (fingers crossed for maybe more) to prove his case. I think he just might do it.

Now the real interesting question to ponder is: who's getting first team quarterback? Does Borda still own that? Saraceno will have more yards by the time the season is done but probably a lower rating. Kaloma Cardwell got the all league nod after an injury last year. Will it be two in a row for the Mountain Hawks? We shall see.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Some Colgate/Lafayette Stories

In case you haven't come across these yet:

The Morning Call

The Express Times

Another Express Times Article

Saturday, November 05, 2005

My AGS Top 25

1. New Hampshire (2)
2. Montana (5)
3. Hampton (4)
4. Southern Illinois (6)
5. Appalachian St. (3)
6. Massachuesetts (8)
7. Coastal Carolina (9)
8. Brown (10)
9. Lehigh (11)
10. Richmond (12)
11. Northern Iowa (14)
12. Georgia Southern (15)
13. Furman (1)
14. Texas State (17)
15. Cal Poly (20)
16. Eastern Illinois (22)
17. Montana State (23)
18. Western Kentucky (7)
19. Towson (NR)
20. Grambling (NR)
21. North Dakota State (NR)
22. William & Mary (13)
23. Eastern Washington (16)
24. Nichols State (NR)
25. Youngstown State (18)

Biggest Win: Southern Illinois
Biggest Loss: Furman

The Streak Continues

It was ugly, but I'll take it. By virtue of our 18-15 win over Lafayette, we're back in first place. We are also now HUGE Pard fans from here on out.

I thought this game would come down to turnovers and boy, were they a factor! It is frustrating as a fan, so we can all only imagine what it is like for the team.

The biggest bright spot in my mind was the fact that some of our biggest play makers will be back next year on offense. If they can have another off season and spring to go, I think they will be a great team next year. The second biggest bright spot is our schedule: we get Bucknell at home and Georgetown on the road to finish out the season. Our team should not lighten up in the least, but our chances of at least sharing the championship just took a few huges steps forward.

The downside: turnovers, giving up the big defensive play and not being able to capitalize on Lafayette's errors. Frankly, we're very lucky with this win. A few timely catches and a little help from the refs certainly gave us an extra boost when needed.

Recognition must go to the Leopard defense for giving us all we could handle. That is quite a crew in Easton. Maurer also brought his 'A' game and should be proud of his effort. Good luck from here on out Lafayette.

I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone who was actually at the game.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Lafayette Scouting Report

So it goes once more. The Raiders have to pick themselves up from a tough loss and get right back into it against Lafayette. A win here continues the hope that Colgate can claim a portion of the Patriot League title, and with some help secure an autobid to the NCAA playoffs. It will not be easy, but we can only control what we've got, and that's three Patriot League games.

When talking Colgate/Lafayette, the first thing that probably comes to mind is "The Streak". Colgate has not lost to Lafayette under the tutelage of Dick Biddle. Now we all know streaks are a funny thing and can take on lives of their own, so in some shape or fashion you can be sure it is in the minds of both teams this weekend. This Leopard squad would love to stay on top of the league and do it by being the first team since 1995 to beat the Raiders.

Let's see what's on tap.


The Pard offense has had its fair share of troubles this season. Yes, they have won six games including a Richmond game growing in importance every week, but it has been on the backs of the Lafayette defense. They are averaging about 21 points per game but those stats are helped by 40 over Marist, 33 over Bucknell and 27 over Fordham. It seems like they are scoring just enough to win in most games. Their fans probably have a few more grey hairs than when the season started.

There are probably no real surprises about the reason for the offensive troubles: the offensive line, which was a strength last year, saw some upheaval in the offseason. Throw in some turnover problems (sound familiar Colgate?) and Lafayette has even resorted to platooning quarterbacks in order to try and make something happen. When they don't turn the ball over, they're in much better shape than when they do.

Statistically speaking, the Leopards are ranking 65th in total offense. In terms of personnel, junior Brad Maurer should be the starter at quarterback, but if he falters senior Pat Davis could very easily see some time. Maurer presents more of a running threat than Davis, however Davis could be a better passer. Our defense will have to adjust accordingly to whoever is the signal caller.

Jonathan Hurt takes over the reigns for graduated Joe McCourt at tailback. Hurt is their main threat in the backfield, with Anthony D'Urso behind him. Lafayette plays its offense much like Colgate, so establishing the running game will be a top priority.

Two senior receivers, Joe Ort and Brandon Stanford, are the main targets for Mauer/Davis. One to keep an eye on is freshman Shaun Adair. Adair has the potential to be one of the better receivers in this league.

The Colgate defense will have to come to play this week. Lafayette presents a balanced offense with a mobile quarterback. Their Achilles heel has been turnovers, so any opportunity we have to make them put the ball on the ground needs to be exploited. If Colgate has a chance to get ahead, we might have a lot of success should the Leopards have to try and play catch up. If our heads are in the game and we play with intensity, we should be by far the best defense they've seen all year.

Personally, I love our match up here. Our secondary should do a good job limiting options for Maurer/Davis. If we can bottle up any scrambles by Maurer, they will need Hurt to carry the load on offense. I like our run defense most days, so this really plays into our hands. It's no gimme; but I like to think that our defense is a bit better than Georgetown or Columbia, both teams that limited the Leopards to two touchdowns or less.


The reason why the Leopards aren't 3-5 is due mostly to their defense. It is every bit as good as our own or better. Frankly, they don't give up a lot of points.

The heart of this outfit is without a doubt the linebackers. As a crew, they are probably the best the Patriot League has to offer. Buchanan candidate Maurice Bennett is a great run stopper and his line mates Blake Constanzo and Dion Witherspoon don't fall too far from the apple tree.

They get to concentrate on the run as much as they do because the corners are locked down most times by seniors Tye Murphy and Larry Johnson. Two juniors at the safety round out an upperclass defensive backfield that isn't giving up the big play too often.

The defensive line is a solid crew. Five seniors dominate the two deep, with two talented juniors in Marvin Snipes and Daniel Liseno as well as a sophomore Kyle Sprenkle getting the starting assignments.

Truth be told, a few weeks ago I was more nervous about this match up than I am today. We opened a huge can of offensive firepower last weekend in our loss to Lehigh and I don't think that is going to be bottled up for the rest of the season. Saraceno has proven to be a legitimate duel threat as he leads the league in passing in Patriot League games (2nd overall behind Borda) and is actually fifth in rushing. Jordan Scott seems to have stepped up his game since the Holy Cross win, and we have three outstanding receivers that will demand attention.

Our problem, like I need to spell it out, is turnovers. This defense is too good to think we will be able to march down the field at will. We can't give them any scores and we can't expect to win on Saturday with more than a turnover or two. Much like the Lafayette offense, I like our chances less if we have to play catch up and the Leopard defense can tee off against the pass. We're not that good in the air.

Special Teams

We made some mistakes here last weekend, and you can bet Lafayette will try and exploit something they see on tape. Head Coach Frank Tavani is one of the good ones; he will most likely have something up his sleeve for us.

We need to cover better than we did against Lehigh because Larry Johnson is a return threat, and ourselves make some better choices about when to field the ball. I can't falt our backs too much as they are just trying to make something happen - which they should. We just need to keep our heads on if things get, shall we say, 'exciting'?

The Skinny

With a 35-9-4 series lead and no losses since 1995, you have to like that background as a Colgate fan going into this one. However, that record and that streak, along with $1.49 will only get you a small cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts in Binghamton for the drive down to Easton. It's a new year, so you can throw that all out the window. At most, maybe it gives us a slight edge should some bounces go our way and the Leopards get behind early.

In reality, we need a complete game here. We don't need to try and match offenses blow for blow like we did against Lehigh. We should be able to tone that back a bit and not make some of the more risky play calls that turned the ball over. Our defensive play will be key here. If we can set the tone early, it might be a low scoring one much like last year until someone breaks something. I don't think Lafayette has come from behind to win this year (but I could be wrong), so it would be very nice to get on the board first and put the pressure on them to start.

My gut says Colgate's offense continues to shine and the defense, while not at the top of its game, plays well enough to keep our weapons on the field. My gut also say it will be close and the real key to this one is turnovers.

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!

Prognosticating the Patriot: Week 10

Lehigh regained control of their own destiny last weekend, with an impressive win on the road behind a new quarterback. The Mountain Hawks win, the first Patriot League win for an away team at Andy Kerr since Lehigh also did it in 2001, sets up a potential 141st Lehigh/Lafayette season finale for all the marbles again.

First things first though: there's still some football left to play, and there is a chance that some other teams haven't gotten that memo yet.

Colgate at Lafayette

It's been a long time since the Leopards have beaten the Raiders. So long in fact, that the Colgate freshman on the team were 8 years old. Yes, Dick Biddle has never lost to Lafayette.

That should hardly be a consolation to the Raiders though, as a few long time 'never haves' have happened. Lehigh puts up the most points ever at Andy Kerr. Colgate loses to a mid-major for the first time. Colgate loses to Dartmouth under Biddle for the first time. So putting the streak aside, what is actually on tap this Saturday?

For starters, Lafayette comes into the league without a loss but with the bulk of the league schedule still ahead of them. They've been winning on the virtue of their defense while their offense has not really been able to dominate an opponent. Colgate on the other hand has shown it can play solid defense most of the time and for an offense that started out anemic, has found some great weapons and has really started to snowball in recent weeks. However, the Raiders have their own problem that gives them an 5-3 record: turnovers.

There is a lot riding on this game for both teams, so the focus should be there. The key match up will likely be the Colgate defense stopping the Lafayette offense. If Colgate can hold the Leopards down like some other teams have been able to, the Raider offense should be able to score more than some previous opponents. If Lafayette can finally find some consistent ways to score, this game might just be the one to break the streak.

Call it Homer's doing, but I don't see Colgate's defense coming out flat two weeks in a row. This team is different and has bounced back from being down not once but twice. The Colgate offensive machine is hitting on all cylinders when it isn't turning the ball over. If those can be limited, I think the Colgate defense will come back from its vacation last week and keep the Raiders in the hunt for a league title.

Predicted outcome: Colgate 18 Lafayette 14

Georgetown at Lehigh

Georgetown had the week of to think about how in the world it is going to go into Goodman and take down the rolling mountain Hawks. It is a Herculean task to imagine, but no matter how much Lehigh should beat the Hoyas, the game is played for a reason.

Lehigh will have even more of a bounce to their step as they are now back in the driver's seat of their own destiny, plus they will have the fresh memories of the Holy Cross defeat to keep them focused on the task at hand. If I'm a Hoya fan (and we all know I am this week!), I don't like our chances.

With Threatt at quarterback now, the Lehigh offense looks like it may have that final dimension to push them over the edge of very good, to possibly great. A solid performance by all areas of their game will produce a solid victory for the Mountain Hawks. It will take more than one funny bounce to give this game to the Hoyas.

Predicted outcome: Lehigh 45 Georgetown 18

Bucknell at Fordham

In what is at first glance the least likely game to matter this weekend, upon further inspection there is a lot to take note of when the Bison meet the Rams in the Bronx. Fordham broke the winless streak taking down Holy Cross last weekend, and if there is to be any excitement this offseason about the future of Fordham football, they will need to start a streak of another kind: winning. If Fordham can win the next 2 out of 3 games, the bitter tastes of the early season losses will be tempered perhaps enough to allow head coach Ed Foley to keep some of the hounds at bay.

For Bucknell, it has been a different story: Injuries. This battered group will be looking for their second win of the year and their first Patriot League win. The reasons to watch this one for Bison fans will be to see what kind of individual performances might happen. There are some good players on this team. Perhaps they will find a way to put it all together in the end?

When it comes down to it, I like the Rams at home in this one. They might have the same 1-7 record as Bucknell, but they won last weekend. They're home. They are probably healthier. I'm thinking they're 2-7 on Sunday.

Predicted outcome: Fordham 20 Bucknell 10

Holy Cross idle

Last week's record: 1-2. Season record: 26-19.