Patriot League Game of the Week: #10 Richmond at #21 Colgate

#10 Richmond at #21 Colgate – Sept. 9th 1 PM, Andy Kerr Stadium Hamilton, NY

Live Stream: Patriot League Network

Colgate will try to make it 2 for 2 against ranked opponents to start the 2017 season as the 10th ranked Richmond Spiders head to Central New York for a highly anticipated out of conference battle between the Patriot League and the Colonial Athletic Association. The Raiders had an extra week to get ready for Richmond since they started their season a week early (August 26th) against Cal Poly. The Spiders were also scheduled to have a bye last week but their game against highly ranked Sam Houston State was postponed until Friday September 1st due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. In addition to being pushed back 6 days, the game was moved to Baylor’s football stadium in Waco. Richmond got down big early to the Bearkats but made a furious second half comeback. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough as the Spiders lost to SHSU 48-34 in a game that featured video game like stats. In defeat Richmond racked up 652 total yards. Leading the way was star QB Kyle Lauletta and his school record 546 passing yards.

These two met as ranked teams last year when Richmond escaped at home with a 38-31 win. The Spiders controlled the action for much of the game but had to withstand a spirited Colgate comeback. Richmond racked up 465 yards in the win. Current Spider QB Kyle Lauletta accounted for 307 of those yards through the air.  The Spider defense limited the Colgate “O” to 12 first downs and 251 total yards. The Raiders really struggled establishing a pass game (57 yards) against the Spider secondary.

Colgate will need to get the offense going this Saturday if they want to pull the off the upset at home. Sophomore quarterback Carmine Scarfone did just enough (8-15 94 yards 1 INT) to lead Colgate in their 20-14 win over Cal Poly. With an unproven group of receivers and an inexperienced QB, the Colgate coaching staff has their work cut out trying to figure out how to get better production from the passing attack. The Spiders defense has been shaky against the pass dating back to last season so there should some opportunities for Scarfone and company to find their rhythm. Raider running backs James Hollond and Alex Mathews (combined for 169 yards and 2 TDs against Cal Poly) will need to have success early in the game to open up some opportunities for Scarfone to make plays downfield. Richmond will likely sellout against the run at the start of the game and dare the sophomore quarterback to beat them with his arm.

Richmond’s multi-dimensional offense will test the highly touted Colgate defense in a way Cal Poly’s triple option couldn’t. The Raiders defense is built to shut down the run and for the most part they did just that against the Mustangs. Duplicating that feat this week figures to be much more difficult. While Lauletta gets much of the attention, he has a tremendous backfield mate in preseason All-CAA RB Deontez Thompson. The lethal backfield combination of Lauletta and Thompson makes the Spider’s offense one of the very best in FCS. Richmond also has a plethora of talented wide receivers. Cotrelle Simpson (7 rec 204 yards 1 TD) and Dejon Brissett (9 rec 172 yards 1 TD) are coming off monster performances against Sam Houston State. There’s no doubt the Colgate secondary that features 2 (Tony Castillo & Abdu Daramy-Swaray) preseason All-Patriot League cornerbacks will be severely tested on Saturday. The usually stout Raider rush defense will also find life much more difficult without the services of Pat Afriyie. The All-American rush end is expected to miss a few weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain at the end of the Cal Poly game.

Colgate will enter this game with a ton of confidence after their victory over then nationally ranked Cal Poly two weeks ago. Richmond on the other hand heads to beautiful Hamilton, NY rather cranky following their hard fought opening season loss to an elite Sam Houston State team. Colgate always plays tough at home but the Spiders are good enough to negate much of the Andy Kerr advantage.

Until the Raiders prove they have balance on offense it’s hard to see them keeping up with the explosive Spiders. Not having Afriyie is a huge setback for the Raider defense. Coach Hunt and his staff will have their cut out trying to figure out the best way to limit the damage caused by the All-American’s absence.

Prediction: Richmond 41 Colgate 16

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