Football loses home finale despite stellar special teams

By Greg Stevenson

Senior Writer

A record-setting performance on special teams by Josh Eden ’12 was not enough for the Bison football team to overcome a powerful rushing attack from the Colgate Raiders on Saturday. The Bison fell 31-7 in their final home game of the 2010 campaign. The defeat dropped the Orange and Blue to 1-9 overall and 1-3 in the Patriot League.

“Josh is a great athlete and can do many things,” head coach Joe Susan said. “Josh has great timing and is relentless in his ability to penetrate and elevate.”

On three separate occasions, Eden responded to touchdown runs by Colgate’s Nate Eachus with a blocked extra point, limiting the Raiders to six points on each scoring possession. Eden now has eight blocked kicks on the season, including five in the last two games.

Eachus carried the ball 160 yards for Colgate (his ninth game over 100 yards this season) on 20 carries and three touchdowns, including the opening score of the contest just six minutes in.

“We knew Eachus would get his yardage,” Susan said. “He is one of the most physical runners we will face. The combination of Eachus and [Colgate quarterback Greg] Sullivan as runners gives Colgate a two-back attack that enables them to balance carries and makes them very difficult to defend.”

A quick three-and-out and punt by the Bison on the first series of the game gave the Raiders possession near midfield. Seven plays later, Eachus eluded Orange and Blue defenders for a 38-yard touchdown, giving the Raiders an early 6-0 advantage. The deficit remained at six as Eden rejected Colgate kicker Evan Colborne’s extra point try, his first block of the day.

It took just two minutes after their first touchdown for Colgate to extend their advantage to 13. Bison quarterback Brandon Wesley ’14 made just one mistake in the contest, but it turned out to be a costly one. Colgate’s Nat Bellamy returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown, extending the Colgate lead.

Eachus scored twice more in the contest, on a one-yard run right before halftime and again with one minute remaining in the third quarter, which proved to be the knockout blow for the Bison. The deficit reached 31 before the Orange and Blue found the endzone with two minutes left in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 31-7.

“It was a difficult day offensively as there were times when we drove the ball, then combined sacks or negative yardage plays to put ourselves in unmanageable third down situations,” Susan said. “We were inconsistent in our execution, hence our ineffectiveness in finishing drives.”

The Bison head into their final weekend of the season in need of another victory to close out a tough season. The Orange and Blue will be on the road against their bitter rival, the Holy Cross Crusaders, in their 2010 finale. Last season, the Bison upset the Patriot League Champion Crusaders in the final game of the regular season and hope that this year’s game is just as favorable.

“The final against Holy Cross will be a springboard into our off-season,” Susan said. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

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