Patriot League play begins with Colgate-Holy Cross

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(STATS) - After splitting six games against Ivy League teams last weekend, the Patriot League has a few more contests this Saturday against elite academic schools.

First up on the day's schedule, however, will be the first conference matchup of the season between a Colgate program seeking its first victory of the year and a Holy Cross team that has won three of its previous four league openers.

The Raiders have had even greater success in kicking off their conference schedule in recent years, winning three straight openers and six of their last seven. They also beat the Crusaders 20-17 at home last season and rallied to win 28-24 at Holy Cross in 2013.

Colgate, which lost its first two games to Navy and New Hampshire, nearly gave the Patriot four wins against the Ivy last weekend before Yale rallied and made good on a two-point conversion on its final TD to hand the Raiders a heartbreaking 29-28 loss.

"It's tough when you play the teams we've opened with," Colgate coach Dan Hunt said. It's tough to say 'Hey, you're right there' when you're 0-3. All we can be is 1-0 next week. We would've had to put this game behind us whether we won or lost, so we're gonna put it behind us and move on to Holy Cross and try to get going in league play."

After this contest, the Raiders won't resume conference play until visiting the nation's capital Oct. 17 to take on Georgetown.

Holy Cross leads the all-time series 40-32-2, including a 16-13 advantage in Patriot League matchups - though the Crusaders have gone 5-13 against Colgate since 1997.

"Colgate is our first Patriot League opponent and our home opener," Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore said in a release. "This is a very important game, and we expect it to be very competitive until the end."



Lehigh, Fordham and Bucknell provided the Patriot League its .500 mark versus the Ivy. While the Mountain Hawks rolled past Penn 42-21 and the Rams cruised against Columbia 44-24, the Bison played things a bit closer and scored their winning touchdown in the final two minutes for a 19-14 victory over Cornell. The losses came from Colgate (29-28 against Yale), Lafayette (40-7 against Princeton) and Georgetown (31-10 against Dartmouth). Two more matchups with the Ivy come this weekend when Georgetown visits Columbia and Lehigh heads to Princeton. The Hoyas also get yet another Ivy matchup next week against Harvard.



Six of the Patriot League's seven teams have a junior starting at quarterback, including Lehigh's Nick Shafnisky, who ranks ninth nationally with 335.7 yards of total offense per game. Fordham's junior signal-caller, Kevin Anderson, has thrown for over 300 yards twice in three games and has a 167.6 rating, which ranks eighth in the FCS. Another standout is Holy Cross quarterback Peter Pujals, who surpassed 5,000 passing yards and 6,000 all-purpose yards in his career during the Crusaders' loss to Towson.



Fordham quarterback Kevin Anderson was named the Patriot League's Offensive Player of the Week after going 22 of 30 for 330 yards and five touchdowns - one shy of tying a school record - and also running 20 times for 70 yards in a 44-24 win over Columbia last Saturday. Lehigh defensive back Brian Githens earned defensive honors with 11 tackles and an interception in a 42-21 win over Penn.



After scoring the final 16 points to lock down its 44-24 win over Columbia, Fordham has now gone 42 consecutive games without back-to-back losses - a streak that began at the beginning of the 2012 season. The Rams, who opened with a win over Army West Point, are also one of only three FCS schools to beat two FBS programs in the last three seasons. The others are four-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State and Bethune-Cookman.



Fordham's Chase Edmonds and Bucknell's C.J. Williams could be on their way to challenging the Patriot League record for career 100-yard rushing games - though they both have a way to go. Edmonds, a sophomore, posted the 12th 100-yard game of his young career last weekend, while Williams, a junior, had his 11th. The conference record for 100-yard games is 29 by Colgate's Jordan Scott (2005-08). Edmonds is also the active leader in the FCS with 127.2 rushing yards per game in his career.



Bucknell gets a break this weekend and some much deserved rest for its defense. The Bison allowed Cornell to amass only 240 total yards last weekend and put an exclamation point on the victory with a safety on the final play. The team is surrendering 249.3 yards per game, which ranks fifth in the FCS, and are ninth with 13.3 points allowed per game.



During its homecoming game against Colgate this weekend, Holy Cross will honor Bob Fouracre, who spent 45 years broadcasting the school's football and basketball games through last season. Fouracre was the voice behind Crusaders football beginning in 1970 and started calling basketball games in 1989.



Georgetown's home game against Columbia this weekend opens a 10-year series for the schools, who will play for the Lou Little Trophy named in honor of the coach who led both programs. Little went 41-12-3 with the Hoyas beginning in 1924 before winning 110 games at Columbia from 1930-1956. A few notable players Little coached are Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman and Beat novelist Jack Kerouac, who broke his leg playing at Columbia in 1940 and quit the game afterward.


THIS WEEK'S MATCHUPS (All Times Eastern)=

COLGATE (0-3) at HOLY CROSS (1-1), Noon.

Monmouth (1-2) at No. 16 FORDHAM (2-1), 1 p.m.

GEORGETOWN (1-2) at Columbia (0-1), 1 p.m.

LEHIGH (2-1) at Princeton (1-0), 5 p.m.

LAFAYETTE (2-1) at Wagner (0-2), 6 p.m.