Colgate shut down by Air Force in 38-13 loss

A relentless running attack and a stifled star quarterback

spelled doom for Colgate against Air Force on Saturday.

Preseason Patriot League offensive player of the year Gavin

McCarney was held to 143 yards passing in a 38-13 season-opening

loss to the Falcons and had to watch from the sidelines as Air

Force racked up 409 yards rushing.

”They wore us down, particularly on defense, because they were

getting a lot of people in on offense,” Colgate coach Dick Biddle

said. ”We knew we had to bring our `A’ game, and I thought our

kids played well. Our defense struggled a little bit, but they’re a

very good team.”

McCarney, who accounted for a school-record 3,778 yards of total

offense last season, put the Raiders ahead 7-0 with a first-quarter

touchdown pass to tight end Kevin O’Connell, but Colgate could not

maintain the momentum.

”I think if we had thrown the ball a little bit more, we could

have made it a better game,” Biddle said. ”They made some big

plays in the passing game. Our quarterback is a good player and can

make plays, but they took him out (of the game).

”We got some runs from our tailbacks, but not the long runs

like we normally get out of our quarterback.”

Air Force scored 38 unanswered points despite losing starting

quarterback Kale Pearson late in the second half to a knee injury

and steamrolled a tired and overmatched Raiders defense.

Broam Hart and Jon Lee each went over 100 yards and scored twice

for the Falcons, with Lee finishing with 130 yards and Hart adding

101. They were the first Air Force tandem to eclipse the 100-yard

mark since 2009.

Backup quarterback Jaleel Awini was solid in relief of Pearson

as Air Force improved to 7-0 in openers under coach Troy


John Wilkins added a late TD for the Raiders. He finished with

90 yards rushing.

Colgate finished with 300 total yards against a Falcons defense

featuring a revamped linebacker corps. The Raiders are 1-6 against

FBS opponents under Biddle.

The experience, Biddle believes, will help his squad prepare for

the remainder of the season.

”I was proud of our football team to come all the way out here

and play in a hostile environment against a Division I team,”

Biddle said. ”I think it will help us down the road, and I think

we’ll have a pretty good football team.”

After scoring on the opening drive, Colgate was eyeing another

possible surprise win by a school from the Football Championships

Subdivision this weekend, following North Dakota State’s stunning

24-21 victory over Kansas State on Friday.

That’s when Hart went to work, scoring twice on short runs. Lee

added a 9-yard TD with 1:48 remaining before halftime, extending

the Falcons’ lead to 21-7.

Just before Lee’s score, Air Force was dealt a blow when Pearson

took a helmet to his right leg from Raiders linebacker Kris Kent

while scrambling for a first down.

Pearson, who won the starting job in camp, initially got up,

only to fall to the turf. He was helped off the field by the

trainers and examined on the sideline. With his knee wrapped in

ice, Pearson was carted into the locker room. He finished 5 of 8

for 46 yards and rushed for 15 more.

Pressed into duty, Awini led the Falcons on three straight

scoring drives in the second half to put the game away. He was 2 of

3 through the air for 26 yards as the Falcons moved to 18-0

all-time against teams from the FCS.