Minutemen Fall To Colgate, 19-7
Nov 29, 2003
By JOHN KEKIS
HAMILTON, N.Y. - Chris Brown brushed off the wind-driven snow and hit J.B. Gerald for touchdown passes of 13 and 30 yards Saturday to lift Colgate to a 19-7 victory UMass in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
The sixth-ranked Raiders (13-0), Patriot League champions, overcame a driving snow that pelted Andy Kerr Stadium throughout the first half and extended their winning streak to 19 games. They will play either Montana or Western Illinois in the next round.
The Minutemen (10-3), champions of the Atlantic 10, took a 7-0 lead with 6:43 remaining in the first quarter but couldn't overcome three lost fumbles and an interception.
With Colgate's Jamaal Branch, the nation's leading rusher, rendered ineffective by the slippery conditions - he ran 25 times for 59 yards, 109 below his average - Brown picked up the slack. He was 17-for-37 for 209 yards in outplaying Jeff Krohn of UMass, who passed for 28 touchdowns during the regular season.
Colgate held UMass to 299 yards of total offense. Krohn, who was 12-for-36 for 199 yards, was 17-5 in two years as the starter after transferring from Arizona State. Two of those losses came against North Carolina State and Kansas State of Division I-A.
The Raiders, who won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, finally broke through once they had the wind at their backs in the second quarter.
After the Minutemen drove to the Colgate 25, the Raiders took over on downs
and Branch fumbled on the first play. Although Mike Haynes recovered for UMass,
the Minutemen were forced to attempt a field goal when their ensuing drive
stalled at the 5 and Michael Torres' 22-yard field goal attempt sailed way
Two plays later, Brown completed a 45-yard pass down the left side to Luke Graham to stun the Minutemen. Then, facing a fourth-and-16 from the UMass 30, Shannon James was called for pass interference on Graham, and the Raiders had a crucial first down.
After an incompletion, Brown hit Gerald over the middle for a touchdown and Lane Schwarzberg's extra-point tied it at 7 with 9:44 left in the half.
The Minutemen failed to gain a first down on their next possession, and when punter Christian Koegel dropped the snap, he was tackled by Mike Chrystie and Colgate had a first-and-goal at the 6. Branch scored on a 2-yard run, his 26th TD of the season, to give Colgate a 13-7 lead.
The Minutemen elected to kick off in the second half to take advantage of the wind and drove to the Colgate 13 on their second possession. But Krohn threw three straight incompletions and the Raiders took over on downs.
Early in the fourth, Josh Wurst recovered a fumble by tight end Mike Douglas at the UMass 30 after a 10-yard reception, and Brown hit Gerald on the next play for a 30-yard touchdown to secure the victory.
UMass closes out the 2003 campaign with a 10-3 (8-1 Atlantic 10), winning a share of the A-10 title, setting a regular season win mark, posting the most conference victories in school history, the most wins at home and their sixth NCAA Playoff appearance.