WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) -- Jamaal Branch scored three times,
including an 87-yard game-winning touchdown run, as Colgate
outlasted Holy Cross 45-38 on Saturday for Colgate's 18th straight
Branch's record-shattering performance, in which he rushed for
280 yards, was needed for Colgate (12-0, 7-0 Patriot League) to
win. Colgate has an automatic berth in the NCAA Division I-AA
playoffs that begin next Saturday.
Colgate's Chris Brown threw three touchdown passes in the first
half. Robert Hannah recovered a fumble at midfield to set up
Brown's third touchdown pass, a 12-yard-pass to John Frieser, to
give Colgate a 31-17 lead at halftime.
But Holy Cross (1-11, 1-6) shocked Colgate with three touchdowns
in the third quarter, and held Colgate scoreless in that period.
John O'Neill of Holy Cross had two touchdown passes, the first a
33-yard pass to Sean Gruber with 6:45 left in the third, and a
3-yard pass to Edward Lobb with 4:53 in the third, to tie it 31-31.
Steve Selva then gave Holy Cross a 38-31 lead on a 1-yard
touchdown run with just under two minutes left in the third.
Branch then rescued Colgate with two fourth-period touchdowns,
scoring on a 24-yard run to tie it 38-38 with 13:47 left in the
game. Ryan McManaway of Holy Cross then punted to the Colgate 13,
setting the stage for Branch to run 87 yards for the winning
touchdown with 11:24 left.
Branch rushed for a total of 2,026 yards for the season,
breaking the Patriot League single-season rushing record. He also
broke the league record for touchdowns in a season with 25.