Owen Buscaglia nearing end of journey: Even after not playing one down as a freshman receiver at Colgate, Loyola graduate Owen Buscaglia (Class of 2015) said he never doubted his decision to play college football.

That remained true as a sophomore when he played in four games, all on special teams. Last season, Buscaglia (pictured above) played in all 11 games and made his first start at receiver. Not only did he finish with five catches for 76 yards, he was one of four Raiders to play on four special teams and led the unit in total snaps.

Now a senior, Buscaglia’s commitment has paid off as he is likely to be one of the team’s go-to receivers this season. Colgate, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, is seeking its first trip to the postseason since 2015.

“I knew my time would come, and I would be ready to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “At a place like Colgate, they bring you in and hope to develop you. You have to compete every day and never be complacent.”

According to Buscaglia, a Chicago native who attended St. Eugene on the city’s Northwest Side, playing for the Ramblers prepared him for the challenges he would encounter at Colgate. As a junior receiver at Loyola, he finished first on the team in receptions and yards while helping the Ramblers to second place in Class 8A.

“Not a lot people had the same high school experience I had,” he said. “Mentally, I was ready to go. I knew how to read coverages, run routes. I learned so much at Loyola. It wasn’t that big of a jump for me. The biggest difference was physically.

“But that’s college football.”

Buscaglia and the Raiders start the season Saturday at home against Holy Cross in a Patriot League conference game. Five Ramblers populate the two rosters, including Buscaglia’s Colgate teammate, sophomore offensive lineman Jack Badovinac (Class of 2017). Holy Cross features junior quarterback Emmett Clifford (Class of 2016), junior offensive lineman Daniel Kurkowski (Class of 2016) and sophomore offensive lineman John Brekke (Class of 2017).

One of Buscaglia’s best memories at Colgate so far has nothing do with Xs and Os of football.

“There were 21 players in my class, kids from Texas, New Jersey, Philadelphia, California, Nebraska,” he said. “I would say a highlight has been meeting people and becoming friends with guys from all over the country.”

After graduation, Buscaglia, an Environmental Geography major, said he plans to return to Chicago to pursue his professional career.

Emmett Clifford continues Loyola’s hold on Holy Cross quarterback position: Thanks to the graduation of Loyola alumnus Peter Pujals (Class of 2013) — the only four-time captain in the Holy Cross football program history and the career record-holder in starts — there was an opening for the starting job at quarterback.

After a healthy offseason competition, junior Emmett Clifford (Class of 2016) came out on top and was the team’s No. 1 quarterback the week of the season opener, according to Jennifer Toland, of the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Crusaders play Saturday at Colgate.

“It was nerve-wracking, but I had a blast,” Clifford said. “If you don’t love competing, then sports aren’t for you.”

The last time Clifford started he led Loyola to a 41-0 win over Marist in the Class 8A state final in 2015. That season, he threw for 2,548 yards and 33 TDs. In his first two seasons at Holy Cross, he threw 19 passes for 108 yards and one TD.

Clifford said he was fortunate to have Pujals as a mentor. Both Clifford and Pujals graduated from Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview.

“College football is hard,” Clifford said. “You can hear people talk about it, but you don’t know until you get there. There are things about that first camp no one is ready for. It was really cool to have Pete there to help me out. I always looked up to him. Now, I have an opportunity to be a leader.”

Photo credit: Colgate Athletic Communications