COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colgate’s foray into the world of FBS football got off to a flying start here Saturday.
The Raiders scored early but not often enough and dropped a 38-13 decision to Air Force of the Mountain West Conference before 32,095 in the season opener for both teams.
Colgate marched 86 yards in 13 plays on its very first drive, with Gavin McCarney lofting a pass to Kevin O’Connell for a 15-yard touchdown and 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. The Raiders held that margin into the second period before the host Falcons began to turn the tables.
Air Force scored three second-quarter touchdowns and added two more more after the break – all on the ground while piling up 409 rushing yards.
That number topped the 315 Albany compiled last season against Colgate, as well as the 377 by Furman in 2010 and the 386 by Villanova to end the 2008 season among the more recent statistical outcomes.
Air Force finished with 481 yards of total offense to Colgate’s 300. The Raiders were able to control the ball for nearly 33 minutes to 27 for th3e host Falcons.
McCarney finished with modest numbers, completing 14-of-27 passes for 143 yards passing and also rushing 10 times for 35 yards. Sophomore John Wilkins made his first start at tailback and gained 90 yards on 23 tries. He scored his first career touchdown with a 1-yard plunge in the final minute.
Senior Dan Cason caught six passes for 60 yards and O’Connell added five for 60 and his TD to lead the receivers.
Defensively, Colgate’s top tackler was Kris Kent with 10 and Jake Kern and Vinny Russo with eight apiece. Starting defensive tackle Victor Steffen posted the game’s only sack for a loss of 18 yards.
Colgate plays its home opener next Saturday in a 6 p.m. kickoff against Albany (0-1). Time Warner Cable Sports is televising the game live from Andy Kerr Stadium, and online viewers can watch it via the Patriot League Network.
Colgate Practicing Twice Every Other Day as Camp Biddle Rolls On
HAMILTON – The dreaded doubles.
Colgate on Friday reached the halfway point of its scheduled eight two-a-day football practices – or “doubles” as head coach Dick Biddle likes to call them. The first double-practice date was Aug. 10 and the last is Aug. 24, which makes for quite a brutal two-week stretch.
Oh, and every other day consists of single afternoon practices. No days off at Camp Biddle.
“When they first get here it’s all football, but they get tired of it and by now it’s, ‘Geez, when am I going to go to school?’ said Biddle, who enters his 18th season as Raiders head coach. “They like the single days better than the doubles. The kids are tired and they’ve got their camp legs, but they are fighting through it.”
Colgate opens its 2013 playing season Aug. 31 with a trip to Air Force. The Raiders aren’t focusing specifically on the Falcons just yet, but those days are fast approaching.
“In camp as a player and a coach, there comes a point where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Biddle said. “You’re getting close to game week and stuff’s kind of repetitive, but they’ve really attacked it and are working hard. It’s a good group and they’re enjoying it.”
Senior Mike Watts and junior Brendan Walsh are interior linemen who have grown familiar facing off against one another during this daily grind. Watts knows it helps to get the really hard work in before classes start.
“There aren’t really any distractions, so everyone just heads back to their dorm room and sleeps or rests up between practices,” Watts said. “It’s just eat-sleep-football.”
Does Watts have a preference regarding single days or doubles?
“Doubles or singles – there are good and bad with each,” said the Summit, N.J., product. “With doubles, you get a little more down-time in between. Singles are a little rougher, although it’s full intensity every time.
“Everyone’s just trying to get better. It’s just another practice to us.”
Walsh is working on his technique at a new position. Colgate’s starting center for all 12 games last season, the Waldwick, N.J., native is working right now at the guard position to provide Biddle with as much flexibility up front as possible.
“We’re trying to get them to play every position,” Biddle said. “We’ve moved a couple of defensive linemen over to get some depth and we now have six or seven guys who we can rotate around. In 2003 when we won 15 games, we only had six offensive linemen.
“That’s a position where we’re developing some depth.”
Settling the Depth Chart
Walsh is taking the new assignment in stride.
“It’s been an adjustment for me learning how to pull and all that, but I’m starting to pick it up and I’m getting better every day,” he said. “We’re definitely coming together.
“We have about six guys we are really working in, and every guy knows where he’s going to be and what he’s going to do. It’s just a matter of the depth chart getting settled.”
Walsh also recognizes Camp Biddle’s benefit for the incoming first-year players. Colgate for the first time welcomed 15 scholarship freshmen.
“They get to focus on everything they need to do,” Walsh said. “A lot of the freshmen get to learn the offense before they have to get into the books, so it’s very good for them. It works out pretty well.”
The practice schedule continues to tip toward game week and the start of classes. The key for now is continuing to work on eliminating those “camp legs.”
“By the end of camp, Coach Biddle’s going to make sure that happens,” Watts said. “We just know to go 100 percent.”
Colgate practices again Saturday afternoon at 2:30.
Fred Dunlap Weekend: The 18th Annual Fred Dunlap Golf Classic takes place Saturday at Colgate’s Seven Oaks Golf Course.
The yearly barbecue dinner and golf outing hosted by the Raiders’ legendary head coach and athletics director sees Colgate football stars from near and far make their way back to Hamilton spend time with teammates and former coaches. Festivities begin with a Friday night barbecue, followed by Saturday morning golf and a Saturday evening awards dinner.
McCarney, Pavalko Named: USA College Football, under the guidance of the Metropolitan New York Football Writers Association, has selected its 25th Annual Pre-Season All-American Teams.
Included on this year’s first-team FCS listing are Raiders senior quarterback Gavin McCarney and junior fullback Ed Pavalko. Two more Colgate team members were named to honorable mention status: senior offensive lineman Andrew Scarmardo and junior defensive back Mike Armiento.
RAIDERS OPEN FALL FOOTBALL CAMP
Two-Hour Practice Gets 2013 Season Underway; First Day in Full Pads Friday
HAMILTON — The skies are always a little sunnier for the defending Patriot League champions, and Monday at Andy Kerr Stadium was no exception.
Colgate opened its 2013 fall football practice schedule with a two-hour workout on the Raiders’ home turf, completing the first of four acclimation days prior to initiating full pads and full contact Friday afternoon. Head coach Dick Biddle said he team appeared to be in solid shape.
“I was impressed with the physical condition that most of our players came back in, especially the upperclassmen,” Biddle said. “We had a number of players who stayed here over the summer and it really paid off. They were able to get through this first practice with very few mistakes.
“As far as picking up the fundamentals, they really know what’s going on and there were very few mental mistakes. We can put a lot in quickly and work on it; they have great capacity for picking things up.”
Colgate picked itself off the mat after a 1-3 start to last season by reeling off seven consecutive victories to sweep to Biddle’s seventh Patriot League title. This year, another difficult pre-conference schedule awaits with Air Force, Albany, New Hampshire, Yale, Cornell and Stony Brook in succession.
To meet this year’s challenge, Biddle says the Raiders must rely on several members of their first-ever scholarship recruiting class. He liked what he saw from the scholarship student-athletes and other team newcomers.
“For a first day, we put a lot of stuff in and put a lot of onus on the younger kids,” Biddle said. “Our older players really picked it up; they’re familiar with what we’re doing. But some of the first-year players looked pretty good and, for this year, a lot of those guys are going to play and be in the two-deep. It’s important right now that they get a lot of work and they’re going to get a lot of work.
“That’s what fall camp is about.”
Colgate also welcomed a pair of coaching newcomers in co-defensive coordinator Paul Shaffner and tight ends/H-back assistant coach Steve Casula. Shaffer is a former head coach in Divisions II and III who also spent 13 seasons as an assistant at Lafayette. Casula spent the last three years on the Western Michigan football staff. Another newcomer is Paul Helsel, Colgate’s new Director of Strength and Conditioning. Helsel earned his stripes in the Alabama football program and led Old Dominion’s strength effort the last six years.
“You can’t go doubles two days in a row,” said. “But what we normally do on our doubles is we go from 9 to 11 in the morning, and then practice in the evening around 6:30 so it gives the kids a long time off to recover. I like that schedule.”
Colgate Fall Football Camp Schedule
Aug. 5 — 2:30, no pads.
Aug. 6 — 2:30, no pads.
Aug. 7 — 2:30, uppers.
Aug. 8 — 2:30, uppers.
Aug. 9 — 2:30, first day of full pads.
Aug. 10 — 9 & 6:20.
Aug. 11 — 2:30.
Aug. 12 — 9 & 6:20.
Aug. 13 — 2:30.
Aug. 14 — 9 & 6:20.
Aug. 15 — 2:30.
Aug. 16 — 9 & 6:20.
Aug. 17 — 2:30.
Aug. 18 — 9 & 6:20.
Aug. 19 — 2:30.
Aug. 20 — 9 & 6:20.
Aug. 21 — 2:30.
Aug. 22 — 9 & 6:20.
Aug. 23 — 2:30.
Aug. 24 — 9 & 6.20, fall camp ends.