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Syracuse football opponent preview: Colgate Raiders Q&A

We start asking questions about the Orange’s upcoming opponent.

NCAA Football: Colgate at Navy Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s week one! The Syracuse Orange actually play a game (on Friday), so we might as well start talking about it and their opponent, the Colgate Raiders.

Below, Ryan Dowgin (who you can follow on Twitter) stops by to tell us everything we need to know about about ‘Gate, HOODOO and more. Ryan’s a former Raiders football player and runs Colgate Football Memorabilia Collection — pretty much the web’s only Colgate football blog.

Does Syracuse matter to Colgate fans anymore? Or do you guys have more immediate fish to fry when it comes to sports?

Syracuse still matters, but not in the same way as the old days. The Colgate-Syracuse football game used to be the biggest sporting event of the year at Colgate, but now it’s just a chance to make some headlines and knock off a local FBS team. The more immediate fish to fry are the other Patriot League schools because winning all of those games guarantees a trip to the FCS playoffs.

The Raiders come into the season ranked. What are expectations like for 2016?

Expectations are high for 2016. The 2015 team ran the table in the Patriot League and made it to the Quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. There were some key players that graudated, but overall most of the starters from 2015 are back. The expectation every year is to win the Patriot League and then make some noise in the playoffs and I think we are set up to do that again.

What do you think of Jake Melville's Walter Payton award chances this season?

He’s got a great shot, but it all depends on staying healthy (insert picture of me knocking on wood). For Syracuse fans who do not know, Jake is the latest in our long line of dual-threat QBs. He went 193/351 for 2,552 yards, 11 TD, and two INTs while rushing 186 times for 1,073 yards and 11 TDs. If he puts up similar or better numbers this year while leading us to the playoffs then he will be in the conversation for sure.

Syracuse obviously changed its system on both sides of the ball this offseason. What have you heard about Dino Babers's changes up to now?

I have not heard much about him to be honest. I do know that some of the hires he made will be familiar names to Colgate fans. JB Gerald is your new Director of High School Relations and was a big part of the 2003 Raiders team that went to the 1-AA national championship game. Nick Monroe is your new secondary coach and spent six years coaching at Colgate winning two league titles in 2005 and 2008.

If you could pick one Syracuse player (either side of the ball) that presents the biggest problem for 'Gate, who would it be?

I’ll go with Dontae Strickland. He is a great athlete and it looks like he is going to play a big part in your offense this year. He went to the same high school that I did (South Brunswick, N.J.) so a no-brainer to pick him as a Syracuse player to watch.

By the end of Friday's game, which Colgate player (or players) will Orange fans know plenty well?

I’ll go with one player on each side of the ball. On offense you will probably be seeing a lot of no. 22 James Holland running the ball. In 2015 he carried the ball 158 times for 732 yards and 16 TDs. He raised his game playoffs last year by scoring seven TDs in three games, including all four TDs in a 27-20 win over New Hampshire. On the defensive side, be on the lookout for #37 Pat Afriyie at linebacker. He is constantly in the opposition’s backfield and had 9.5 sacks and 17.5 TFL last season.

The Orange beat Colgate in a landslide by _____.

The only team that can beat Colgate is Colgate. Syracuse will win in a landslide if Colgate makes too many mistakes (penalties, turnovers, etc.).

Colgate keeps it close or even pulls the upset by _____.

Winning the turnover battle, controlling the clock, and being in sync on offense, defense, and special teams. In 2010, Colgate had the ball for about 45 minutes and kept it to a two-score game at halftime. If they can repeat that effort then anything can happen in the second half.

Prediction time: What happens in this one, and how does it all go down?

I think Colgate will keep it close, especially If Syracuse has not worked out all of the kinks from installing new schemes. I’m just hoping for a close game in the fourth quarter with Colgate hitting a field goal to win it as time expires. If you’d like to get predictions from other Colgate fans or talk about the team in general then I suggest visiting If you’d like to see some Colgate football history on display (as well as some Syracuse football history by default) then visit


Thanks again to Ryan for taking the time out to answer these questions. Like he said, if you want to know more about Colgate, would highly recommend College Football Memorabilia Collection.