Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 41
 
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
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STRUTTING HIS STUFF: Princeton University junior receiver Trey Peacock struts into the end zone last Thursday evening on his fourth quarter touchdown reception against Colgate. Peacock had six catches for 83 yards on the night which ended on a down note for the Tigers as Colgate pulled out a 21-14 win.

With Receiver Peacock Showing True Colors, Princeton Football Nearly Upsets No. 23 Colgate

Bill Alden

Trey Peacock made 15 catches in the first three games this fall for the Princeton University football team but the Tiger coaches wanted more from him as the squad faced undefeated Colgate last Thursday evening.

“We actually sat Trey down during the week and said listen it is time for you to start showing the courage to become the player we think you can be,” said Princeton head coach Roger Hughes.

The junior wideout was receptive to the coaching staff’s admonition. “I am always ready to step up for a challenge like that,” said Peacock.

“I needed to relax; I was putting a lot of pressure on myself earlier. I just had to get back to playing for the love of the game and really just having a passion for the game.”

The 6’3, 210-pound native of Chandler, Ariz. produced a passionate effort for the Tigers against Colgate, making six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.

But Peacock’s evening ended in disappointment as he couldn’t gather in a ball on fourth down in the second overtime as the Tigers fell 21-14 to the No. 23 Raiders before 5,685 at Princeton Stadium and a national TV audience watching on ESPNU.

Although Peacock wasn’t happy with the final result, he was encouraged by the progress made by Tigers, who were coming off a 38-0 drubbing to Columbia five days earlier.

“The game didn’t go in our favor but I think our offense took a lot of steps in this game,” asserted Peacock, reflecting on the setback which left Princeton at 1-3 overall.

“We were moving the ball at will. I feel like we finally just came into our own and got some points on the board.”

The Tigers had a special motivation to shine in prime time with senior running back Jordan Culbreath hospitalized in Maryland and battling anemia.

“We were all driven by Jordan and by his presence,” said Peacock, fighting back tears.

“He isn’t on our team but he is here in our hearts and he is always going to be with us. We are all praying for him and we are all wishing that he gets better. We know that he was watching this game and it makes it that much tougher to lose. We all put No. 21 on our tape and our eye black; he is really with us.”

Head coach Hughes liked the heart his players displayed as they dealt with Culbreath’s situation.

“I think that weighed really heavily,” said Hughes, referring to Culbreath’s illness.

“I want to ask everyone to say thoughts and prayers for Jordan. He’s in a battle right now and any kind of support you can give him would be welcome. I thought our team did a great job of overcoming that and coming out focused to play. I just told them execute the play that is called, execute the defense that is called.”

The Tigers executed well most of the evening as they outgained Colgate 358 yards to 318.

“With all the adversity we had, I am so proud of how our kids played tonight,” asserted Hughes.

“If we could play like that, we have a chance to win every game. They are a good team, they were 5-0 and deserving of their ranking. We need to make stops when the game is on the line. But if we don’t have mistakes in the kicking game, that game doesn’t go to overtime. I told the kids don’t hang your heads. I am as upset as they are but we got a lot better tonight. With that kind of effort, we are going to have a chance to win every game.”

Hughes was particularly proud of Peacock’s effort. “Tonight, Trey answered the bell,” said Hughes, who also got a nice game from sophomore quarterback Tommy Wornham, who hit on 19-of-34 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns.

“We did some things to get him the ball. He came in and made the plays; that’s the type of thing we have to have from him all season long.”

The Tigers answered the bell early against Colgate, marching 78 yards on their first possession. The drive stalled on the Raider 19 and Ben Bologna came on to attempt a 36-yard field goal for the Tigers. The kick was blocked and the game remained scoreless.

Colgate got on the board first late in the second quarter when it methodically marched 64 yards. The drive culminated with a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Greg Sullivan to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers made a spirited response to the score as they got deep in Colgate territory, courtesy of some good running by Meko McCray and Akil Sharp. Princeton got to the Raider seven and Bologna attempted another field goal. The kick was blocked and Princeton went into halftime trailing 7-0.

Neither team scored in the the third quarter, setting up a dramatic finish. Early in the fourth quarter, Princeton took possession at its 34. A 26-yard pass from Wornham to Peacock got the Tigers into Colgate territory.

That combination finished the drive with aplomb as Wornham hit Peacock in stride over the middle on a post pattern for a 31-yard touchdown. Bologna converted the extra point and the teams were knotted at 7-7 with 9:45 remaining in regulation.

The Tigers stopped Colgate on a fourth down on the next possession and the teams exchanged punts necessitating overtime.

Princeton had the first possession of the extra session and made it count as Wornham hit Andrew Kerr with a 23-yard scoring strike to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead.

Displaying its bruising ground game, Colgate rammed the ball down the Tigers’ throat in its first possession of overtime. Running the ball five straight times, the Raiders evened the game at 14-14 on a two-yard touchdown run by Nate Eachus.

Colgate got the next possession and it stuck to the script, relying on its rushing attack. Going with nine consecutive running plays, Eachus broke through with another two-yard TD run as the Raiders went ahead 21-14.

Princeton got the ball back and went to the air in an attempt to stay alive in the contest. Colgate held the fort, forcing three straight Wornham incompletions to escape with the win.

Hughes was pleased with how his team dug deep in pushing Colgate to the brink of its first loss of the season.

“I think we got to show our character,” asserted Hughes. “I told them before the game to dig somewhere in your heart to a place you have never been, grab that out and leave it on the field tonight and that’s what they did.”

If Princeton can combine that character with some sharper execution, it could pose problems for its Ivy foes, starting with its game at Brown on October 17.

“I told the team listen, the No. 1 thing is to come off the field a better team than we were last week,” added Hughes, whose team is currently 0-1 in Ivy play.

“I think all of our guys did it; I think the guys are proud of their effort. They are hurting from the loss but they understand that if we straighten a few things out, we can be a very good team.”

Peacock, for his part, believes the Tigers can build on the effort against Colgate and end up with a very good season.

“We have a lot to be proud of with this game,” said Peacock. “They are a great football team. We were really able have our way offensively and the defense was playing extremely well. I think that is going to give us confidence going into Ivy League play. I just really feel like we are going to be able to do our thing.”

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