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Colgate kicks off football season tonight at Stanford

Staff and wire reports
Posted 9/2/22

The Colgate football team begins the 2022 campaign tonight with a west coast road trip.

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Colgate kicks off football season tonight at Stanford

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HAMILTON — The Colgate football team begins the 2022 campaign tonight with a west coast road trip.

After a second-place finish in the Patriot League last season, Colgate looks to keep the momentum going at 8 tonight by visiting Power Five and Pac-12 foe Stanford.

With 24 new student-athletes on the roster, and some new faces on the coaching staff, the Raiders are ready for the fresh start that comes with a new season.

OFFENSE

Colgate returns seven starters on offense, including senior wide receiver Garrett Oakey, who enters his fifth year with the Raiders. Oakey is 19 receptions away from reaching the program’s top 10 in receptions. Oakey has led the Raiders in receptions for the past three seasons.

“Our receiving room is really unique,” Colgate coach Stan Dakosty said. “Garrett Oakey is a gritty kid, plays tough, a really good athlete, but he’ll make plays.

“A couple of underclassmen are working their way up the depth chart, and we have freshmen who came in this year that will have an impact this season in the receiving room as well.”

An experienced veteran of the offensive line, A.J. DeSantis was the sole Raider to be named Preseason All-League honors. DeSantis helped the Raiders have the second most rushing yards (1,732) in the league last season.  

“We lost five o-linemen to graduation, but we really like our offensive line.”

After quite the finish to his first year, quarterback Michael Brescia looks to gain on the momentum he finished last season with. Brescia was named the 2021 Patriot League Rookie of the Year after finishing second in the league in rushing touchdowns (9), third in total touchdowns (11), and third in rushing yards (568). Brescia was named a team captain along with senior linebacker J.C. Gaughan on Monday.

“The way we’ve always been as a program the last decade or so is our quarterbacks have been effective in the run game. Michael Brescia has always had a great arm. It’s just a matter of him making all the throws and letting him be the complete quarterback.”

DEFENSE

Though the Raiders might have lost a few starters to graduation, the future is still bright for the Raiders’ defense. With the return of five defensive starters, the opportunities have arrived for current players on the roster.

“Our defensive line is probably our most talented position. If everyone is healthy, we have a pretty deep room there,” the coach said.

Junior K2 Dickens was a breakout star on the defensive line for the Raiders last season, being named to the 2021 Patriot League Second Team Defense. 

“Owen Goss can play five positions for us,” said Dakosty. “We have him at corner boundary to start the season, but he played safety last year. He has a high ceiling and the mentality and confidence to keep going after it no matter what.”

Goss recorded 28 solo tackles, eight assists, and one solo tackle for a loss of two yards for the Raiders last season.  

SPECIAL TEAMS

Sophomore placekicker Spencer Biscoe and sophomore punter Shelby Pruett lead the special teams unit for the Raiders. Biscoe made five-of-six field goal attempts last season, while Pruett had 55 punts for 1,976 yards.

Colgate’s squad features 23 seniors, 26 juniors, 19 sophomores, and 23 freshmen this season.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Cardinal look to get off to a good start after losing the final seven games last season on the way to a 3-9 record that was the worst season on The Farm since a one-win season in 2006 the year before Jim Harbaugh arrived to turn thing around. Colgate gets a rare opportunity against a Power Five team.

KEY MATCHUP

The trenches. The Cardinal should have a decided advantage on the lines against a lower-level school after struggling there last season. LT Walter Rouse anchors an offensive line that returns all five starters, while DT Tobin Phillips anchors a defensive line that needs to rebuild after losing several key players. Stanford has five offensive linemen with a combined 101 starts heading into the season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Colgate: QB Michael Brescia. Brescia was the 2021 Patriot League Rookie of the Year last season. He started five games, passing for 614 yards and two TDs, and rushing for 567 yards and nine scores.

Stanford: QB Tanner McKee. McKee set a Stanford freshman record last year, accounting for 19 combined TD passes and runs. He completed 65.4% of his passes for 2,327 yards and 15 TDs in nine starts.

FACTS & FIGURES

Stanford plays its first FCS opponent since Sept. 15, 2018, against UC Davis. ... The last 38 games for the Cardinal have been against either Power Five or ranked teams since that game against the Aggies in 2018. ... Stanford returns players who produced 92% of the team’s yards passing last season, 86.8% of the yards receiving and all starts on the offensive line. ... Colgate has lost its last nine games against FBS teams since beating Buffalo 38-15 on Sept. 13, 2003.

SCHEDULE OUTLOOK

The Raiders stay on the road for two more games after the showdown with Stanford, returning home for the Patriot League opener against Holy Cross on Homecoming and Hall of Honor Weekend, Sept. 24.

In-state rival Cornell, makes the trip to Hamilton before the Raiders make a quick trip to Army on Oct. 15. Colgate returns home two more times this season with the last home game being highlighted by Senior Day on Nov. 5. The Raiders finish the season on the road, closing out the regular season at Fordham on Nov. 19.

“We’re excited to start off with a power five team and then another FBS team midway through. We have league opponents early on. It’s always a challenge here. We never shy away from a challenge from a scheduling standpoint. Our guys know what is at stake when you put on a Colgate helmet,” the coach said.

“We’re on the hunt to get back to what we want to be. It’s an exciting thing to be around a bunch of guys that are rallying around that one goal and working hard to get it done.”

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