No. 13 Colgate opens season with home loss to Villanova

Local Sports

HAMILTON, N.Y. (COGLATE ATHLETICS) – Colgate showed second-half signs of life but a big second quarter from Villanova proved too much to overcome in a 34-14 setback here Saturday.

The Wildcats scored 27 points in the second quarter, helped by a pair of Raider turnovers that the visitors turned into TDs. Villanova capped the period with scoring drives of 91 and 61 yards to lead 27-0 at halftime.

Colgate, which began the game ranked 13th nationally but with four new starters on offense and six on defense, finally found its footing in the third quarter. The Raiders put together a 12-play, 68-yard drive that culminated with Nick Draught scoring his first collegiate TD on a 10-yard strike from Grant Breneman.

Then the Raiders drove 77 yards in eight plays to pull within 27-14 with still 13:26 showing on the fourth-quarter clock. Breneman carried it over from the 1-yard line on fourth and goal.

But Villanova iced the game with a 10-play, 78-yard march that ate 4:40 off the clock. Danny Smith completed the drive with a 9-yard QB keeper midway through the final period.

Bottom Line
• Villanova 34, No. 13 Colgate 14

From the Sources
• Colgate head coach Dan Hunt: (On the game) “We played like an inexperienced team, and we can’t afford to do that. But the good thing is a lot of kids got a lot of experience today, which is ultimately the first goal for a team like this. Get them on the field and get them playing, and hopefully we improve next week.

“Our goal, win or lose, is to improve and we’ll hopefully improve next week. We’ve got a great opportunity to go out to Air Force and get going.

“Today certainly was not the performance we were looking for but if I know my guys, we’re going to have a great practice Monday and get back after it.”

• Colgate quarterback Grant Breneman: (On the game) “It was my fault; we left the defense out there for too long in the first half. When we finally got our feet under us and we were trying to make a charge, they were gassed. We can’t expect them to hold up that long when we’re leaving out there in the first half.

“But we’re going to get better from this and just keep moving forward.”

Stats of the Game
• Garrett Oakey led the Raiders with 69 receiving yards on five catches, and Nick Gill caught four for 28. Nick Draught hauled in three receptions for 43 yards and the TD.
• Those three starting wide receivers entered the game with zero collegiate catches.
• Malik Twyman led Colgate with six receptions (41 yards) and also carried eight times for 47 yards. Included was a spectacular 38-yard scamper that set the Raiders up for their second TD.
• Abu Daramy-Swaray posted 11 tackles for a career high.
• Ten Raiders made their collegiate starting debuts: C Sam Diehl, WRs Nick Draught, Nick Gill and Garrett Oakey, LBs Hayden Howren, Blane Briggs and Jared Petrichick, and DBs Aidan Gaertner, Marques Bruce and Collin Heard.
• Colgate handed the punting reins to Barney Amor and the junior came through with flying colors. Amor punted six times for a 50.2-yard average, including a long of 60.
• William Gruber was solid on kickoff returns, averaging 21.8 on five runbacks in his debut.
• Nick Wheeler made four tackles, including a 7-yard sack in the second quarter. The sack bumped Wheeler’s career total to 24½, tying him with Jeff King (1979-80) for third in program history.
• Kelly Robinson (1979-81) with 28½ sacks and Pat Afriyie (2014-17) with 26½ are the only Raiders ahead of Wheeler.
• Villanova’s Jaquan Amos recovered the Colgate fumble and then had a 29-yard interception return for touchdown to spark the second-quarter Wildcat blitz.
• Justin Covington rushed for 134 yards and quarterback Danny Smith accounted for 242 total yards for the Wildcats.
• Villanova increased its series lead over Colgate to 5-1. This was the first meeting since 2008.

Gate Grab Bag
• Not only was today’s game the season opener, but it was the first in all of college football’s 150th anniversary season. CBS Sports Network handled the telecast.
• Attendance inside Crown Field at Andy Kerr Stadium was 4,519.
• Fred ’50 and Marilyn Dunlap participated in the opening coin toss just prior to kickoff.
• Colgate unveiled its new football videoboard to rave reviews.
• The new Daktronics board measured 50 feet wide by 30 feet tall, integrating scoreboard, videoboard and advertising technology all in one.
• The upgraded version stands just shy of five times larger than the previous videoboard, which was installed in 2006.

Up Next
• Colgate visits Air Force for a Saturday afternoon tilt in Colorado Springs.
• The Raiders and Falcons are meeting for the second time in six seasons. Air Force prevailed 38-13 in Colgate’s 2013 season opener.
• The game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Mountain time and streams live on ESPN3. Catch the Colgate play-by-play from Eric Malanoski and Jeff Bishop on 94 WKXZ-FM (

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