Mike London Leads William & Mary Into Non-Conference Showdown vs. Colgate

For the second time this season, Colgate will meet a Colonial Athletic Association foe — and William & Mary will look to make it two consecutive losses to the CAA on Saturday night at Zable Stadium.

Who: Colgate (0-2) at William & Mary (1-1) 

When: Saturday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m. ET 

Where: Zable Stadium; Williamsburg, Virginia 

Watch: LIVE on FloFootball

In this 150th season of college football, a meeting between two programs steeped in history is fitting. Colgate, which first played in 1890, won a national championship in 1932 and helped shape the game’s identity in the pre-World War II era. 

In more modern times, Colgate’s produced playoff teams, Walter Payton Award winners, and been the recent pace-setter for the Patriot League. 

William & Mary football kicked off in 1893, and in that time established one of the longest-running rivalries in the sport (the annual Capital Cup with Richmond) and became an incubator for standout coaches. 

The immediate future of these two historic programs pits them head-to-head in a non-conference showdown Saturday night at Zable Stadium. Both seek to rebound from Week 2 losses at FBS opponents. For Colgate, it’s the second meeting with a Colonial Athletic Association team this season: The Raiders lost a Week 1 rout to Villanova, 34-14. 

Quarterbacking Quandary

First-year William & Mary head coach Mike London is taking his time getting the Tribe right for CAA competition. A key piece in that strategy is finding a quarterback. 

Week 1 against Lafayette, Kilton Anderson, Hollis Mathis and Ted Hefter all lined up under center to operate the Tribe’s new-look offense. The freshman Mathis was a standout in the opener, rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown. 

Against Virginia, however, Mathis was held to 27 yards rushing and went 0-of-4 passing. 

“They did some things that minimized his ability to escape and create,” London said. “The thing about him, being a competitor…he was here the next day looking at tape.

“I believe this can be a positive experience for him,” London added. “Him getting better is going to make our whole football team better.” 

Hefter and Anderson again took snaps, with Anderson seeing more of the workload. 

While the backdrop of William & Mary’s quarterback rotation has been two low-output passing performances, too much can’t be taken from the Virginia game. The Cavaliers look like the class of the ACC Coastal early on. 

Still, offensive coordinator Brennan Marion’s sped-up offensive approach will need to establish a consistent balance of pass to complement the multifaceted run. This may be the week to do it: Colgate surrendered 14.6 yards per completion and three touchdowns Week 0 to Villanova. 

Shut 'Em Down

The scoreboard wasn’t in William & Mary’s favor last Friday at Virginia, but the trip to Charlottesville was hardly all bad – especially as a barometer for the Tribe’s prospects against FCS opponents. 

“Coming out of a game like that, when you play an FBS opponent, you want to glean some positives,” London said. “I was pleased we were able to garner four turnovers: three interceptions and a fumble recovery. One of the interceptions led to a touchdown. Scoring on defense was important.” 

Coming into the 2019 season, William & Mary’s defense looked like a strength; in particular, the Tribe’s secondary. Isaiah Laster is an All-CAA performer, and the Virginia game showed the group’s depth. 

Corey Parker made an interception and broke up a pass; so, too, did Miles Hayes. Freshman Latrelle Smith made five tackles, one for loss. The linebacker corps showed up, as well. Arman Jones made the pick-six – making it back-to-back seasons with an interception returned for touchdown for Jones. 

Colgate surrendered a pick-six in Week 0, part of a 27-point, second-quarter deluge. Although that’s a tough ask for any defense in back-to-back weeks, William & Mary can use its prowess against the pass to set the tone Saturday. 

The Raiders come in from a loss at Air Force in which they were held to just 86 yards through the air, and a 4.8 yards per attempt average. 

Get Off The Blocks

William & Mary has experienced both a dominant win and lopsided loss on the young season. While the Tribe’s 30-17 defeat of Lafayette and 52-17 loss at Virginia otherwise lack similarities, a noteworthy one is that William & Mary went without scoring a first-half touchdown in either. 

The defense kept Lafayette at bay in Week 1, leaving the window open for a 24-point, third-quarter onslaught. Kick-starting the offense before intermission, however, will mark an important step forward in the team’s progression ahead of conference play. 

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