With the first month of the season in the books it’s safe to say that nationally ranked Colgate is the team to beat as league play really gets going. Thanks to a quirk in scheduling, the Raiders will be halfway to back-2-back Patriot League Championships with a win over Bucknell today. The leaves haven’t even reached their peak in Hamilton yet! Meanwhile, the other the five Patriot League teams in action this week are in dire need of a victory just to keep hope of a winning season alive.
#22 Colgate (4-0, 2-0) at Bucknell (1-4, 1-0) 12 P.M. Christy Matthewson Stadium Lewisburg, PA
Live Streaming: Patriot League Network
The Pick: Colgate will look to continue their dominance over Bucknell this century (15-2) when the two Patriot League foes due battle in Central Pennsylvania. Both teams enter this game off emotional wins. Colgate’s 23-0 victory over William & Mary gave the Raiders a second (New Hampshire) CAA scalp this year. That’s a regular season feat no other Patriot League program can claim. Meanwhile, the Bison head home after taking down Holy Cross in Worcester. Bucknell’s offense was sparked by the recent switch to sophomore Logan Bitikofer (19-29 193 yards 1 TD 1 INT) at quarterback. That spark will need to turn into a full on inferno if the Bison’s offense is going to put up points against Colgate’s top ranked defense (5 ppg allowed). The Raiders defense is more than capable of making an inexperienced QB’s life miserable. The Bison will put up a good fight at home but are outmanned in nearly all aspects. This is shaping up to be Colgate’s best team since 2003.
Colgate 27 Bucknell 13
Holy Cross (1-4, 0-2) at New Hampshire (0-4)12 P.M. Wildcat Stadium Durham, NH
Live Streaming: NBCSports.com/Boston
The Pick: This is a desperation game for both teams as the calendar turns to October. New Hampshire entered the season with a Top 10 ranking but a blowout loss to arch-rival Maine in the opener started a 4 week spiral. Preseason All-CAA QB Trevor Knight was injured the lopsided loss to the Black Bears. Without one of the top quarterbacks in FCS the Wildcat offense has struggled (8 ppg) mightily. Holy Cross also knows a thing or two about a bogged down “O” (18 ppg) this season. Outside of strong second halves against Yale and Colgate the Crusaders have been unable to establish much of a passing or rushing attack (2.6 ypc last week against Bucknell). Geoff Wade is expected to get the start this week but don’t be surprised if Emmitt Clifford sees time if the offense continues to struggle. This is hard game to get a read on given how poorly both teams have played to start the year. There is one key intangible that does favor New Hampshire. The Wildcats should have plenty of motivation to avenge last year’s blowout loss in Worcester. Plus, they’re at home.
New Hampshire 30 Holy Cross 14
Georgetown (1-4) at Fordham (0-4) 1 P.M. Jack Coffey Field Bronx, NY
Live Streaming: Patriot League Network
The Pick: Georgetown heads to the “Big Apple” to take on Fordham in the Patriot League opener for both teams. Fordham is coming off a much needed bye following 4 straight double digit losses to start the 2018 campaign. First year coach Joe Conlin must find a combination along the offensive line that can protect the quarterback and open up some holes for the Rams talented RB’s. The Fordham ground attack has been among the worst in FCS (13 ypg) through the first four games. After showing promise against Central Connecticut State, QB Tim DeMorat is expected to get his second straight start. In keeping with the common theme this weekend, Georgetown needs to find a way to generate points. They put up 39 in the season opener but have been stuck in neutral, boarding on reverse, since (7.5 ppg). QB Gunther Johnson (188 ypg 5 TD 3 INT) has been serviceable. It’s the continued lack of production from the running back (Jackson Saffold 146 yards total) position that holds the offense back. For all their struggles, Fordham has a roster with littered with really talented players. That alone should get them some league wins.
Fordham 24 Georgetown 10
Lehigh (1-3) at Princeton (3-0) 1 P.M. Princeton Stadium Princeton, NJ
Live Streaming: ESPN+
The Pick: Lehigh is another team that needed last week’s early season bye. After a solid week one win over Saint Francis it was 3 straight ugly Saturdays for the Mountain Hawks. The offense (15 ppg) has failed to gain traction despite having the QB-RB duo of Brad Mayes (160 ypg) and Dominic Bragalone (86 ypg). Both players have seen a significant decrease in their production this year relative to their career averages. Their struggles can largely be contributed to an offensive line that has been mostly a revolving door due to a rash of nagging injuries. As a result, there’s been little to no continuity within the unit through the first four games. Princeton on the other hand has had no such troubles on offense to start the year (48.7 ppg). The Tiger “O” gets its mojo from QB John Lovett. The dynamic signal caller is averaging 214 ypg passing and 97.7 ypg rushing (leads the team). Lovett has accounted for 14 TDs (9 passing, 5 rushing) in 3 games! If Lehigh wants to avoid another disappointing non-conference outcome they must get the offense going. If the “O” can’t sustain drives the defense will tire like it did against Penn. Odds are the Mountain Hawks keep it interesting for a while before the Tigers pull away in the second half.
Princeton 45 Lehigh 28