Game 545: Colgate pastes Fordham, 38-12
Hamilton, NY – “Pastes” – what better way can we describe the result of our Game 545 as the Colgate Red Raiders enjoyed a 24-0 lead into the third period. Frosh QB Grant Breneman tossed three TD passes over an inept, downtrodden Fordham Rams team to take their third win of the 2017 season, 38-12.
Much anticipation, but…
When Collegefootballfan.com scheduled game 545 to follow the Clemson at Syracuse game the night before, we looked at this contest with greater anticipation expecting a competitive game between two Patriot League contenders. We saw Friday night initially as window dressing figuring we’re seeing the defending national champs on the road to another potential CFP season, leaving SU in their wake tattered and torn. We expected to see these two FCS teams clash with probably one loss each at the most. The winner, we figured, would gain the upper hand on the other to go after the Patriot League title and a playoff berth. That vision dissipated over the first five weeks of the season as both came up short game after game.
However, though the game turned out to be between two unexpectedly struggling teams, Colgate’s Andrew Kerr Stadium loomed for many years as a destination to be visited. For 51 years ago as a kid, I attended my first college football game ever. Busloads of kids in our area traveled down from among the local schools to see Colgate play Princeton on a beautiful fall afternoon. I’ll never forget it. The Red Raiders won that day over the Tigers, 7-0. I still have visions of the Tigers’ Marching Band with straw hats, orange tiger-skin blazers, and tiger tails on the ends of slide trombones leading the way. Unlike today, however, their band actually marched while they performed. Years later, I realized that the Colgate star running back that day was Marv Hubbard. He went on to play FB for the AFL’s Oakland Raiders with whom he played in something fairly new called the Super Bowl. It took us until Game 545 to finally get here.
After trading punts to start, Colgate stopped Chase Edmonds on fourth down to take over from their 38. ‘Gate dominated after that. QB Grant Breneman led them downfield culminating in a three-yard TD pass to WR Tre Caine. On their next possession, Breneman connected with Owen Buscaglia for 34 yards to the six. He finished off the drive with a six-yard TD pass to the left side to the end zone to TE Nick Martinsen.
From that point on into late in Q2, the teams exchanged punts. Colgate mounted a drive to the Fordham 17, but a sack of Breneman gave possession to the Rams with less than a minute to play. Two plays into the drive, Medlock was picked by LB Dillon Delulis. As time expired, Chris Puzzi booted a 40-yard FG to close out the first half score at 17-0 in favor of the Raiders.
New found College football friends
For halftime, I did something different. I headed back out into the parking lot for a beer with three new friends. The silver lining to watching what turned out to be a non-competitive game on the field was meeting up with three great guys met in the parking lot before the game. My new, instant Guest Game Analysts (GGAs) presented me with lots of insight for today’s game. Bruce, Sam, and Ray. These season ticket holders who I happened to park right next to, had already started tailgating long before I arrived from Syracuse for Game 545.
After I finished making several phone calls to a few fans and family to talk about Friday night’s game they all saw on TV, Bruce, Sam, and Ray invited me over for some grilling, snacks, hospitality, and some Ommegang Beer brewed in Cooperstown, NY. Always good to try the good local beers wherever we go. We told “tales around the tailgate” and shared some good stories, football history, and some laughs. Sam and Bruce, a Colgate grad, talked about the days when Colgate’s primary rivals were teams like Princeton, Rutgers, and Army. I’d attended some of those same games over the years. Ray grew up in Bergen County, NJ and commuted to Fordham in The Bronx to study there. He and I shared some history about Fordham b-ball when “Digger” Phelps and Charlie Yelverton put the Rams on the basketball map in the late 60’s before Digger left for Notre Dame. Sam mentioned that they had brought along their extra fourth ticket for today’s game and invited me to sit with them at their 50-yard line seats with a great view.
Midway through the third period ‘Gate took over again on downs, this time at the Ram’ 45. At the 14, Breneman completed to Caine in the end zone again on a 14-yard score to lead, 24-0. Surprisingly, after this drive, Colgate started to wake up. They retaliated with an 80-yard scoring drive as Medlock (16 for 32, 215 yards, one TD) tossed a 20-yard pass to WR Austin Longi. A two-point conversion failed and the Rams trailed 24-6.
Colgate took over and got back on track as well with a 75-yard scoring drive with TB Alex Mathews taking it over from one to give Colgate a 31-6 advantage early in the fourth. James Holland scored on a 17-yard run for Gate and Zach Davis finished a Fordham drive running it in from the 15. Final score of Game 545, Red Raiders 38, Rams 12. Instead of the exuberance displayed at the Carrier Dome the night before, the four of us got to walk across the field and check out the polymerized turf. We treated it gently.
Halfway mark of the regular season
The good news for Colgate (3-4, 1-1) is that they trail only Lehigh and Lafayette who are both 2-0 in the league. Problem is, the Raiders fell to Lehigh the week before, 41-38. Sam and Bruce said ‘Gate go hosed. A ref was even investigated, suspended for the season, and told that he would never officiate another Colgate game again. Never heard of anything like that. There was a different crew in town this week. We even met some of their friends after the game.
No Patriot team has a winning record this season. Each League member has four or five games left. It’s wide open for any team to win right now. We predict that whoever wins among them will be out quickly this year in the opening round. Colgate travels to Worcester, Mass next Saturday to play Holy Cross. The Rams head to the nation’s capital to play Georgetown. We at Collegefootballfan.com really step things up. We go to see new No. 2 Penn State host Michigan at 7:30 pm. PSU’s first of three before heading on to play at Ohio State and then at Michigan State.
Points After Tailgating
We looked forward to seeing a better played game figuring this was an even matchup coming into this season. Instead, injuries mounted, experience waned at some key positions, and Fordham lacked any energy. Luke Medlock stepped in a QB for Fordham in place of Grad student QB Kevin Anderson to start his first game ever despite this being his senior season. Last week, Anderson threw his 70th TD pass in a 14-10 loss to Lafayette, but a leg injury in that game forced him to the bench against the Raiders.
On top of that, we anticipated Fordham RB Chase Edmonds with his sights set on Adrian Peterson’s FCS rushing mark at Georgia Southern. Not only was he ineffective (18 carries for 53 yards, 0 TDs), but he got pulled out of the game by young HC Andrew Breiner. Breiner, selected to take over after a successful stint as offensive coordinator for the Rams, is coaching in his second season after taking over for his former mentor Mike Moorhead who is now running James Franklin’s offense at Penn State.
This Fordham team played nothing like what we saw during four games the last three years. In Edmonds’ Freshman year, we saw them trounce lowly Rhode Island, defeat Bucknell in OT, and then fall to New Hampshire in the playoffs. We saw them get beat up by Navy in last season’s opener, but they still went on to an 8-3 record and the playoffs. Offensive line play lacked to protect Medlock or open holes for Edmonds. It was a letdown to see this program drop from the level it played at the last three years.
Not to take anything away from Colgate’s win. Their prime RB James Holland we learned had been struggling with hamstring issues. Though seen stretching on the sideline with the help of a trainer several times, he came through with flying colors rushing 22 times for 166 yards and a touchdown. True Freshman Grant Breneman started at QB for the Red Raiders. His name rang a bell for us. From Cedar Cliff HS in Mechanicsburg, PA, he is the younger brother of UMass TE Adam Breneman who we watched play against Hawaii and at Temple earlier this season.
Over the years, Colgate started us with the Princeton game. In the early 80s they ventured into Beaver Stadium when RB Curt Warner had a big day for PSU in a 54-10 win. We saw the Raiders fall to Rutgers in ’82 when they finished No. 9 in 1AA. We saw them again on a Thursday night in Princeton, and in 2008, Stony Brook invited us to watch the Sea Wolves host Colgate in a 42-28 win for the home team.