Colgate, Lehigh, Fordham Earn Key Victories in Saturday's Patriot League Football Action

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Fordham's Ian Williams had six tackles, two interceptions and blocked a final field goal attempt in Fordham's 23-21 win over Bucknell on Saturday.
Fordham's Ian Williams had six tackles, two interceptions and blocked a final field goal attempt in Fordham's 23-21 win over Bucknell on Saturday.

Nov. 9, 2013

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Facing must-win situations, Colgate and Lehigh came through on Saturday and each remains in control of its fate for the 2013 Patriot League Football title and automatic FCS playoff berth.

The Raiders (4-6, 3-1 Patriot League) took a 28-10 lead at halftime and made key plays on defense in the fourth quarter to hang on for a 28-24 win at Lafayette (3-6, 3-1). Earlier in the day, No. 19/21 Lehigh (7-2, 2-1) got a huge performance from freshman quarterback Nick Shafnisky to take down Holy Cross (3-8, 1-3) by a 34-20 final in Bethlehem.

Colgate hosts Lehigh on Saturday, with the Raiders going in search of their second straight Patriot League title and automatic berth to the FCS playoffs. If the Mountain Hawks win, the Nov. 23 season finale pitting Lafayette at Lehigh would be a matchup for the outright Patriot League title.

Outside of the race for the League title, No. 6/7 Fordham (10-0) remained perfect in dramatic fashion when it blocked a last-second field goal attempt to hold on for a 23-21 win at home against Bucknell (4-5). The Rams join top-ranked North Dakota State as the only undefeated teams in the nation, and Fordham gets to 10 victories for the first time since 2002.

In addition to the huge Lehigh-Colgate game, next week features Fordham heading to Lafayette as it tries to maintain its perfect season.

Recaps, box scores and a synopsis from each of Saturday's contests are included below.

Colgate 28 at Lafayette 24
Box Score
*Colgate made a pair of key defensive stands to hold on for a 28-24 win at Lafayette on Saturday.
*The Raiders stuffed a 4th-and-1 play at their 30 with eight minutes to play, and forced Lafayette to turn it over on downs in plus territory with under a minute left.
*With the win, Colgate will play for the Patriot League title and FCS automatic playoff bid next week at home against Lehigh.
*Colgate did all its scoring in the first half, taking a 28-10 lead at the break.
*The Raiders had four short rushing touchdowns in the half, with three by Demetrius Russell
*Lafayette cut the gap to 28-24 in the third quarter on a pair of touchdown passes from Drew Reed to Ross Scheuerman.
*Colgate stopped Lafayette from scoring on three possessions in the fourth quarter.
*The Raiders ran for 197 yards and the four scores, with Russell going for 92 yards on the ground and quarterback Gavin McCarney totaling 88.
*McCarney also completed 14-of-19 passes for 149 yards in the game.
*Kris Kent led the Raiders with nine tackles, while Austin Dier had two sacks.
*Colgate beat Lafayette for the second year in a row, and became the first road team to win the matchup since a victory in Easton in 2007.
*The Raiders went a perfect 3-0 on the road in Patriot League play, and finished 4-2 on the road this season (4-1 vs. FCS). *Reed completed 19-of-25 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns for the Leopards.
*Scheuerman ran for 56 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 91 yards and two scores.
*Mike Boles paced the Lafayette defense with 13 tackles, while Matt Smalley had nine tackles and an interception.
*Lafayette can still claim at least a share of the Patriot League title with a win over Lehigh on Nov. 23, and take the title outright with a win if Lehigh beats Colgate next Saturday.

No. 19/21 Lehigh 34, Holy Cross 20
Box Score
*Freshman quarterback Nick Shafnisky led No. 19/21 Lehigh to three straight touchdowns on the way to a 34-20 win over Holy Cross.
*Shafnisky had a five-yard run and 19-yard pass to Keith Sherman in the final minutes of the first half to give Lehigh a 27-13 edge at the break.
*Shafnisky also tossed an 11-yard pass to Sherman in the fourh quarter to give Lehigh a 34-13 edge on the way to the win.
*The freshman went 11-of-12 for 136 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 55 yards and a score in his first significant action.
*Sherman carried 20 times for 166 yards and a score and caught the pair of touchdown passes.
*Tyler Ward led the Lehigh defense with 10 tackles, while Nigel Muhammad had six tackles, a sack and an interception.
*Lehigh beat Holy Cross for the fourth consecutive meeting.
*The Mountain Hawks are in control of their own destiny for the Patriot League outright title.
*Holy Cross dropped its fourth consecutive game in Patriot League play, despite scoring at least 20 points in each contest.
*Peter Pujals completed 30-of-42 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown, while Gabe Guild ran for 60 yards and two scores.
*Three receivers had at least seven catches, with Mike Fess totaling eight receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown.
*Fess is up to 202 receptions, becoming the seventh player in Patriot League history to go over 200 in a career.

at No. 6/7 Fordham 23, Bucknell 21
Box Score
*Ian Williams and Jordan Chapman rose up to block a 37-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game to preserve a 23-21 win for No. 6/7 Fordham over Bucknell.
*The Rams rallied from a 21-17 fourth-quarter deficit with a pair of field goals by Michael Marando.
*Fordham fumbled while trying to run out the clock to set up Bucknell's attempt to win the game in the final seconds.
*The Rams improve to 10-0 for the first time, and reach 10 wins in a season for the first time since 2002.
*Fordham had only seven combined wins in the past two years.
*Fordham joins top-ranked North Dakota State as the only undefeated teams left in the FCS.
*Williams and Chapman also combined for 12 tackles and three interceptions in the game.
*The Rams lost quarterback Mike Nebrich to an injury after he connected with Carlton Koonce for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
*Peter Maetzold came off the bench to complete 21-of-35 passes for 318 yards and a touchdown to Sam Ajala, who caught six passses for 123 yards.
*Koonce ran for 84 yards, and caught four passes for 35 yards and the score.
*Fordham completed a 6-0 record at home, tying the 1987 squad for the most victories at Jack Coffey Field.
*Brandon Wesley threw for 225 yards and a touchdown and ran for 53 yards and a score for the Bison.
*Bucknell came back from a 17-7 deficit to take a 21-17 lead in the third quarter behind a touchdown pass and touchdown reception by Josh Brake.
*Evan Byers had 14 tackles and four tackles for loss for the Bison.
*Byers has at least 12 tackles in each of the last five games.
*Bucknell's defense had nine tackles for loss and forced five turnovers in the game.
*Bucknell saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.