Oct. 11, 2003
PRINCETON, N.J. - Colgate senior Jamaal Branch rushed 31 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Colgate football team to a 30-3 win over Princeton Saturday in front of 14,096 at Princeton Stadium. The Tigers forced four turnovers, but could manage only a 25-yard field goal by Elliot Bishop on the scoreboard.
Colgate improves to 6-0 overall, while Princeton falls to 0-4 for the first time in program history. The Tigers were outgained 421-231, including 271-108 on the ground. Branden Benson led the team with 60 yards on 10 carries, while B.J. Szymanski had six receptions for 54 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Alan Borelli had a career-high 13 tackles, while Nick Brown had eight tackles. Justin Stull had seven tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass defensed. Princeton moved the ball on its opening drive, and nearly scored a touchdown on a deep pass to B.J. Szymanski. The ball got caught up in the wind, and Szymanski turned one way and then the other before getting his hands on the ball. He wasn't able to hold on, and Princeton would eventually turn the ball over on downs when a short pass to Jon Veach was tackled short of the first down.
Colgate went 70 yards on its first drive to open a 7-0 lead. The Raiders needed 10 plays, including an impressive diving grab by Gerald to convert on third-and-long. After a sack by Alan Borelli brought Colgate back to the 14-yard line for second-and-goal, Colgate quarterback Chris Brown read a blitz by Dave Splithoff and found Gerald in the slot for a quick pass. Gerald did the rest, spinning inside and sprinting into the end zone.
Colgate's second touchdown drive was significantly easier. Princeton's first play from scrimmage on its ensuing drive was a run by Jon Veach. The junior tailback was hit hard by Ryan Disch and fumbled the ball. Ryan Miller jumped on the ball, giving Colgate possession on the Princeton 24-yard line.
One play later, Branch was celebrating his 10th touchdown of the season. He made cut through a number of Princeton defenders and found the left side of the end zone for the score.
The Princeton defense settled down, and began to dominate. Colgate's next possession would end in a punt, and then the three after it would all end with Princeton turnovers. After coming into the game with just one takeaway in its first three games, the Princeton defense got an interception from Justin Stull, an interception from Sam Snyder and then a fumble recovery from Stull on a play that he started by stripping the ball from Brown. The last of the three turnovers gave Princeton the ball in Colgate territory, its best starting position of any of the three drives.
The Tigers would convert on none of them. The first two ended in punts, and the final one ended when a slant pass by Verbit hit off the helmet of Kevin Manning and was intercepted by Antrell Tyson. Colgate was much more careful on its next drive, moving the ball 67 yards in 10 plays to take a 20-0 lead. The Raiders converted on a fourth-and-2 on a pass to Branch. He would finish the drive one play later, taking the sweep over the right side of the line and going untouched into the end zone.
A fourth turnover in the first half would finally yield points for the Tigers. A career-long 56-yard punt for Princeton was misplayed by Gerald, and freshman coverage specialist J.J. Artis would recover the fumble inside the Colgate red zone, and sophomore Elliot Bishop would hit Princeton's first field goal of the season, a 25-yarder, to close the scoring in the half.
Colgate took the opening drive of the second half and moved it to the Princeton 22-yard line, where Lane Schwarzberg hit a 39-yard field goal, a career long for the Colgate junior. There wouldn't be any more scoring in the quarter, as the Tigers' longest drive would be ended when Disch intercepted a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Matt Spack. That concluded a drive that took Princeton into the Colgate half of the field.
Branch put the game out of reach by ending a 7-play, 57-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown run. It was Branch's third touchdown of the game, matching a career high he set earlier in the season against Dartmouth.
The Tigers, who will play their remaining six games against Ivy League competition, will travel to Providence next weekend to take on the Brown Bears. Last year, Princeton jumped out to a 16-0 lead and then held off a late Brown rally to earn a hard-fought 16-14 victory at Princeton Stadium.