Nov. 24, 2012
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Colgate's prolific offense sputtered and the Raiders were knocked out of the NCAA Division I Football Championship with a 31-20 first-round loss at Wagner on Saturday at Hameline Field.
Patriot League champion Colgate, which had won seven consecutive games, has it season come to an end with an 8-4 record. Wagner, the champion of the Northeast Conference, improves to 9-3 with its ninth straight win and will visit No. 2 Eastern Washington in a second-round game next week.
Colgate came into the game in the top five nationally in total, scoring and rushing offense, but could never get on track thanks in large part to five turnovers. The Raiders scored only two offensive touchdowns, while quarterback Gavin McCarney and running back Jordan McCord finished well below their usual production. McCarney lost three fumbles and had two interceptions in the game.
McCarney threw an interception on Colgate's first drive that led to an early lead for Wagner on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Nick Doscher to Anthony Carrington with 11:19 to play in the first quarter. It stayed that way until Dominique Williams scored on a 10-yard rush to put Wagner up 14-0 with 13:17 left in the second quarter. Colgate responded with its best drive of the day, with McCarney running in from four yards out to cut the gap to 14-7 with 8:25 left in the second quarter. Wagner came back with a 13-yard touchdown run by Doscher for a 21-7 lead with 5:01 to go until the half.
Colgate got right back into it late in the first half, when a blocked punt by Vince Myers was recovered in the end zone by Demetrius Russell with 1:13 to go in the period to cut the deficit to 21-14. But Wagner managed to drive down for a 46-yard field goal as time expired to re-gain the momentum and take a 24-14 lead at the break.
Turnovers continued to play a role in the third quarter as McCarney lost a pair of fumbles, one with the Raiders driving in Wagner territory. Colgate again drove to Wagner territory later in the period, but McCarney was picked off on fourth down as the drive stalled. Wagner made the Raiders pay with a 13-play, 74-yard drive to go ahead 31-14 on a six-yard pass from Doscher to David Crawford with 9:15 to play in the game. Colgate came back with a four-yard touchdown run by McCord to get within 31-20 with 5:54 to play. The Raiders initially recovered the ensuing onsides kick, but were called for illegal touching on a replay review and Wagner ran out the rest of the clock to secure the victory.
McCarney completed 13-of-22 passes for 119 yards and the two interceptions while rushing 19 times for 97 yards and a score. McCord carried 13 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, his only game below 100 yards on the ground this season. Colgate gained 177 yards on the ground and 296 overall, both well below its averages coming into the game. The Raiders had six fumbles, with three recovered by Wagner. The Raiders allowed Wagner to run for 245 yards in the game. Patrick Friel led the Colgate defense with 14 tackles, while Mike Yeager had nine stops.
Colgate was in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and lost its first-round contest for a third straight visit since going all the way to the national title game in 2003. The defeat snapped a two-year run of wins for the Patriot League after Lehigh beat Northern Iowa in the first round in 2010 and Towson in the second round in 2011.