Leopards Shut Out on Senior Day
EASTON, Pa. -- In a battle of first-place teams, Colgate used a strong running game to possess the ball for 11 minutes while managing three scores in the third quarter in a 27-0 win over Lafayette on Senior Day at Fisher Stadium.
Lafayette (3-7, 3-2) now turns its attention to the 153rd playing of College Football's Most-Played Rivalry, slated for 12:30 p.m. one week from today in Bethlehem. The outcome of the game will help determine the Patriot League champion, as Colgate (6-4, 4-1) and Lehigh (4-6, 4-1) are tied for first place. Lehigh holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with Colgate via a 41-38 win over the Raiders on Oct. 7.
On Saturday in Easton, the Leopards' defense stood tall for the majority of the afternoon, holding the Raiders to 258 yards (166 rushing, 92 passing) while stopping them on two fourth-down attempts. Phillip Parham, who entered the day second in the nation with six interceptions, picked off his seventh pass of the season to make him the first Lafayette player since Mike Joseph '88 with seven interceptions in a single campaign (1987).
Parham's interception came early in the second quarter after a scoreless first quarter that saw the teams combine for 54 yards of total offense.
In the second quarter after a Leopard punt, Colgate ripped off the longest play of the game, a 33-yard pass from Grant Breneman to James Holland who ended the day with 19 carries for 96 yards. A 15-yard personal foul penalty was tacked on at the end of the play, moving Colgate to the Leopard 17-yard line. The Raiders scored on the next play, getting a solid block on the edge to spring Owen Rockett for a 17-yard score on the end around with 11:21 to play in the first half.
The Leopards picked up three first downs on the ensuing drive, including one on a targeting penalty that resulted in the ejection of Colgate's Alec Wisniewski, but the drive stalled and Lafayette was forced to punt with eight minutes left in the half.
The Raiders put together a lengthy drive that covered 80 yards on 12 plays, 10 of which were on the ground. The final play was a one-yard dive by Breneman to run the score to 14-0.
The end of the half featured a wild sequence after Leopard quarterback Sean O'Malley (29-of-48 for 195 yards) was intercepted with 43 seconds to play. The ball ricocheted off Rocco Palumbo's hands and into the arms of Tyler Castillo. Four plays later, the Leopards' Demetrius Breedlove nabbed the ball after Rob Hinchen forced a modified release out of Breneman's hand. Colgate led 14-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, another interception, this time by Colgate's Aidan Gartner put the momentum solidly on Colgate's side. Gartner returned the pick 63 yards before being run down by DeSean Brown. The Leopard defense did its job, surrendering only a 24-yard Chris Puzzi field goal.
On Lafayette's next drive, the Leopards looked as if they were going to get on the scoreboard, but Castillo blocked Jeffrey Kordenbrock's 40-yard field goal attempt. The visitors added their own field goal from 37 to lead 20-0 with 3:22 left in the quarter.
Colgate's Nick Ioanilli put away the game, picking off O'Malley's tipped pass and returning it 33 yards for the 27-0 lead.
The fourth quarter was highlighted by Ryan Barnett's strip sack and Breedlove's subsequent fumble recovery with 1:24 left in the game. Defensively on the day, Michael Root made a game-high 10 stops while Brandon Bryant chipped in with eight tackles.
O'Malley finished with 195 yards through the air. Nick Pearson and Palumbo had six catches apiece, accumulating 48 and 46 yards, respectively.
The Leopards are back in action on Saturday in the 153rd meeting of the Lafayette-Lehigh rivalry at Lehigh's Goodman Stadium. Kick-off is set for 12:30 p.m.