Talk about following in some footsteps.
Colgate’s Dan Hunt matched his mentor Dick Biddle here Saturday when the Raiders outlasted Lehigh 49–42 to clinch the Patriot League championship. Hunt and Biddle both captured Patriot League titles for Colgate in just their second seasons as head coach.
Demetrius Russell and Jake Melville turned in career-high rushing performances as Colgate chalked up a season-high 316 yards on the ground. Melville carried for 124 yards in the first half on his way to 132 and two touchdowns, while Russell compiled 95 of his 141 after intermission and also scored twice.
Colgate finished the game 3-of-3 on fourth-down conversions, with touchdowns on all three plays.
Melville scored the game’s first TD on a fourth-and-9 scamper that went 28 yards to pay dirt. The junior quarterback struck again in the second quarter, converting a fourth-and-1 into a 13-yard touchdown that made it 21–14. And then Russell turned the trick in the third period as he took a fourth-and-1 handoff and bolted 9 yards for the score that made it 35–28.
Colgate scored first, and Colgate scored last. In between, the Raiders never trailed but also never led by more than seven points — 7–0, 7–7, 14–7, 14–14 … all the way to 49–42.
As fate would have it amid the offensive fireworks, a pair of Colgate defensive goal-line stands proved to be the difference.
Colgate kept Lehigh out of the end zone on the opening drive of the second half. A 16-play march that lasted 7:32 and came up empty when Alex Campbell tackled Mountain Hawks quarterback Nick Shafnisky for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-4 from the Colgate 6.
That kept the score knotted at 28–28.
Then, with the game on the line and Colgate leading 49–42, the Raiders stood tall on first-and-goal from their own 5. Three Shafnisky pass attempts fell incomplete, and then, on fourth down, a furious rush forced a dump-off pass to fullback Mackenzie Crawford.
Pat Afriyie was on the spot for the immediate take down back at the 11-yard line, and Colgate had Title No. 8 in its back pocket.
The first of Biddle’s seven conference championships came in 1997, and now Hunt has placed himself firmly on that same path of excellence.