By John Painter
(Hamilton, NY – Oct. 20, 2012) Colgate set a school record with 707 yards of total offense here Saturday, and the Raiders needed every inch to finally subdue Georgetown 57-36.
Colgate improved to 2-0 in the Patriot League and 4-3 overall after winning its third game in a row. The Raiders passed for 377 yards and rushed for another 330 in breaking the previous total offense mark of 678, set against Lehigh back in 1997.
“I think our offense is very good,” Colgate head coach Dick Biddle said. “Our quarterback is good, our running back is good and our receivers are very underrated. And we’ve got a senior offensive line.
“You look at us today and the negatives were dumb penalties and extra points.”
Colgate was penalized 14 times for 143 yards, and the Raiders missed three extra-point kicks. But the defense held the Hoyas to just 60 yards rushing and 320 yards of total offense despite giving up the 36 points.
“We gave them a couple of touchdowns and the defense took some chances; but our offense, the way they are playing right now …,” Biddle said. “Our quarterback is as good as I have seen – ever. He is a Walter Payton candidate.”
McCarney on the Mark
Colgate’s quarterback, Gavin McCarney, passed for the 377 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for another 133 yards and two more scores. The junior has accounted for a combined 23 touchdowns (12 rushing, 11 passing) and 2,075 yards of total offense this season.
The Raiders held the ball for 41 minutes and 8 seconds, including more than 23 of the 30 minutes over the second and third quarters. Still, Georgetown refused to go away after trailing 37-14 at halftime.
The Hoyas (3-5, 0-2) began the second half with a pair of quick scores to cut Colgate’s lead to 37-29. The first touchdown was the third of the game from quarterback Kyle Nolan, who was making his collegiate debut, to wide receiver Kevin Macari and covered 62 yards.
It was the second time in the game Colgate’s secondary had just missed on an interception attempt that instead turned into six points for the Hoyas.
Then after a deflected interception – the first pick of a McCarney pass in 97 attempts dating to the end of the South Dakota game on Sept. 8 – Georgetown closed within one score. Macari rushed it in this time from 3 yards out and Nolan raced across with the two-point extra to close the gap to only eight points with still 11:54 left in the third quarter.
Colgate answered with a clutch and lengthy drive to push the advantage back to two scores. The Raiders marched 80 yards in a season high-tying 14 plays, culminating in tailback Jordan McCord carrying it over from 2 yards out. The PAT failed, but it was 43-29 with 4:56 left in the third quarter.
McCord’s Seventh 100-Plus
McCord finished with a game-high 154 rushing yards for his seventh 100-yard effort in as many games this season and 11th of his career. McCord led the Patriot League in rushing coming into the weekend and now is averaging 145.4 yards per game.
“That was a fun game,” said McCord, whose 2-yard run late in the game pushed Colgate past the total-yardage record. “It felt like we were down, but we got those defensive stops at the end.
“We had a lot of penalties, stuff that we usually don’t do. If we limit the penalties, the outcomes could be even bigger.”
Fourth-quarter interceptions by Anthony Orlando and Wendell Lewis helped ice the game for Colgate. The Raiders’ final two touchdowns were a McCarney pass to tight end C.J. Stempeck, and McCarney on a 30-yard scamper. Colgate’s passing connections to the tight ends was particularly impressive this day.
“C.J and I are really working hard to get involved and stay in the game,” said Kevin O’Connell, who caught two touchdowns Saturday to give the Colgate tight ends three for the day and six for the year. “Gavin’s looking for us so we keep catching and that’s our job.
“It’s awesome. I’m happy for C.J., he’s happy for me. It’s a joint thing and we are having fun. When you get 707 yards, it’s fun being out there.”
Colgate led only 17-14 midway in the second quarter before scoring three touchdowns in a 5:13 span.
McCarney pulled one of his patented slight of hands to push the Raiders back on top by 10 at 24-14. On first down at the Georgetown 41, McCarney drew back the handoff to McCord at the very last second and then broke through the line, sprinting untouched to the end zone.
Colgate then forced a pair of three-and-outs to set up the last two scores right before half.
The Raiders first covered 44 yards in just five plays, McCord finishing the drive from 10 yards out for his 10th touchdown of the season (the 11th came later). Then McCarney hit O’Connell from 12 yards out with 5.2 seconds left in the half to make it 37-14 at intermission.
For the first half, Colgate had 22 first downs and 472 yards of total offense. The balance also was impressive, with Colgate rushing for 223 yards and passing for 249.
“Props to the offensive line for giving me time to throw the ball around,” McCarney said. “When they make holes like they did today, it is easier for Jordan and me to do our jobs.”
The Raiders remain tied in the standings with Lafayette and Lehigh, whom they meet in successive weeks after first traveling to Bucknell next Saturday.
The previous Colgate total offense record of 678 was set Oct. 4, 1997, in a 61-28 home win over Lehigh.
EACHUS RETURNS: Former Raiders star tailback Nate Eachus took advantage of a bye week for his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and attended Saturday’s game.