The Colgate Raiders traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado to face Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Mountain West Conference foe Air Force on August 31. After dropping the 2019 campaign’s home opener, the Raiders were looking to get back to .500 against a tough opponent out west.
Before meeting Colgate, Air Force was 23-0 against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents; Colgate could not stop that streak. The trend continued for Air Force, whose vaunted rushing attack gashed the Colgate defense for 423 yards leading the charge in a 48-7 win over Colgate.
“When you play them, you know what they’re going to do and you know what you’re going to see. We probably weren’t as assignment-sound as we were supposed to be. We played Army last year, so it’s not like we hadn’t seen it at all. But we couldn’t stop them on the inside or out. Combine that with putting our defense on the field too much and that’s probably the expected result,” head coach Dan Hunt said.
The game had some positive takeaways, though. Senior wide receiver Nick Gill, who played his first season at Amherst before transferring to Colgate, caught a 13-yard pass for his first collegiate touchdown. Gill’s parents both attended Colgate University and Gill’s father Brad Gill played for the Raiders in 1982 and 1983.
“It was nice to have everything come full circle and a great feeling to score my first college touchdown,” Gill said. “I’ve worked really hard, put the time in with the quarterbacks in spring and summer. I’m happy it paid off. I knew there were going to be growing pains, learning a whole new offense and playing behind great receivers. But I learned from them and was able to take some of the things they taught me and work it into my craft every day.”
Air Force scored 35 points in the first half and built the lead up to 48-0 before junior quarterback Grant Breneman and Gill connected with nine seconds left in the third quarter to end the shutout. The Raider touchdown also put an end to the Falcons shutout streak of FCS opponents heading into the game.
“It’s a great story and I’m happy for [Gill]. It was good to get that one drive and finish in the end zone; get something positive out of this. That receiver group, it’s still only their second game and we’ll keep getting better there,” Hunt said.
The Raiders are a team trying to find their identity for the season after losing 25 seniors from 2018’s Patriot League championship squad. After housing the best scoring defense in the country a season ago, the Raiders defense now needs the veterans to provide a steady presence and the young guys to step-up.
“We are a pretty young football team and we played like it. Air Force beat us in every facet,” Hunt said.
After giving up 662 rushing yards in two games, the Raiders desperately need to come together as a squad to reach the lofty expectations set for them in the preseason by polls, fans and themselves.
The Raiders will visit William & Mary next Saturday, September 14 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Last year, Colgate shutout the Tribe in a 23-0 win.