Colgate 45

(12-0, 7-0 Patriot)

Holy Cross 38

(1-11, 1-6 Patriot)

12:30 PM ET, November 22, 2003

Fitton Field, Worcester, MA

1 2 3 4 T
COLG 10 21 0 1445
HC 7 10 21 038

Colgate 45, Holy Cross 38

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 victory.

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.