Colgate Kicks Last-Second Field Goal, Claims 27-24 Win Over Football Team
Despite a spectacular effort from Princeton tailback Jordan Culbreath,
the Colgate football team used a 33-yard field goal from Jacob Stein
with two seconds remaining to pull out a 27-24 home victory over
Princeton at Andy Kerr Stadium. Princeton will now play its final six
games in the Ivy League, where it shares first place with fellow 1-0
teams Brown and Penn.
"I think we got better during the game today, but we just didn't make the key plays on offense or defense late in the game to win it," head coach Roger Hughes said after Princeton fell to 2-2. "Give Colgate credit; that's a good football team. We showed good resilience when Colgate took the lead, and we're just going to have to keep getting better."
The game was a back-and-forth thriller that saw Colgate hold four different leads and Princeton hold three. The Tigers eliminated an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a six-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to Billy Mitchell, who came into the game with one career touchdown reception. A two-yard crossing pass to Will Thanheiser on the two-point conversion evened the score with 9:23 remaining.
Colgate took over and moved into Princeton territory, but a botched handoff on fourth down gave Princeton the ball with 4:42 remaining. A first-down run by Brian Anderson, who used his legs to keep the Colgate defense off balance throughout the game, gave Princeton a first down at midfield. Two short runs and an incompletion forced a punt, which was nearly downed at the 1 but was ruled a touchback. Colgate quarterback Greg Sullivan finished a brilliant day of his own with completions of 14, 21 and 10 yards on a drive that went 64 yards on seven plays in 1:08. That allowed Stein to kick the game-winning 33-yarder with two seconds left.
Culbreath, in a head-to-head showdown against NCAA rushing leader Jordan Scott, ran 18 times for 153 yards and a touchdown; it was a career high for the Tiger junior in rushing yards and the first time an opponent ran for more than 150 yards against Colgate in 17 games. Culbreath also scored on a 15-yard touchdown run, making him the first Princeton player to score touchdowns in four straight games since Jon Veach did it in 2003. Anderson added 77 yards rushing, including an impressive 24-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in the first half; the Princeton tri-captain ended the run by driving a trio of Colgate defenders over the final three yards and into the end zone.
Anderson completed six of 14 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown against an aggressive Colgate defense. He had a 42-yard completion to Will Thanheiser on the tying drive in the fourth quarter; he was hit on the pass and the ball floated high and short of the target, but Thanheiser did a nice job noticing it first and running to the open field for the grab. Thanheiser ended the day with three catches for 85 yards, but no other Princeton player had more than one catch.
The defense was led by Wilson Cates and Steven Cody, both of whom had 10 tackles. Cody, who has recorded four consecutive double-digit tackle games to open his career, added an 11-yard sack late in the first half that kept Colgate from potentially taking a double-digit lead. Junior Scott Britton and senior Pete Ploszek both made eight tackles apiece, while Collin McCarthy recorded seven. The defense also held Jordan Scott to 116 yards, 87 fewer than his season average. It was Sullivan who really hurt the Tigers; he completed 17 of 20 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown and rushed 17 times for 70 yards, mostly by using a tricky play-action fake to Scott and following one of the towering Colgate offensive linemen.
Princeton kicker Connor Louden opened the game by connecting on a career-long 40-yard field goal, but he suffered a minor injury on the play. He attempted an extra point but couldn't get much on it and had it blocked, so Ben Bologna came in to replace him and made the extra point late in the first half.
Princeton, which committed only 10 penalties in the first three games combined, committed nine for 92 yards against Colgate.
"I thought we lost a little bit of poise today," Hughes said. "A couple of personal fouls, an offsides call late in the game, we'll have to fix that before the next game."
Princeton's next game will be Saturday, Oct. 18, against Brown (1 p.m., Powers Field at Princeton Stadium). Both teams are 1-0 in the league, as is Penn; the five other teams all have at least one league loss. The final six games of the season will be league contests, and four will be at Princeton Stadium.