Football Preview: Bobcats host Ephs in matchup of 1-1 teams

LEWISTON, Maine -- The NESCAC's only two 1-1 teams square off on Garcelon Field this Saturday at 1pm at Garcelon Field, as the Williams College Ephs visit the Bates College Bobcats.

The game can be followed online via Live Stats and Streaming Video, with the call from Garcelon provided by Al Harvie '65 and Jeff Sturgis '69.

Williams will be looking to avenge last year's 35-26 upset win for the Bobcats, as the Ephs try to re-establish themselves as a conference powerhouse. Bates has been defeated by Trinity fairly soundly and beaten Tufts convincingly

The Ephs were second only to Middlebury in passing offense last season, and were the clear leaders in average yardage per pass play (8.0). Both Bates and Williams resided among the top four teams in the league in rushing offense and rushing defense.

Through two games, Williams has continued to run and pass with equal frequency, but big gains through the air, particularly to senior wideout Darren Hartwell, have been their most effective weapon -- they are again atop the conference at 8.1 yards per passing play. Bates, meanwhile, has run the ball 108 times and passed only 32 times so far. Incredibly, thanks to last week's 64-rush, 309-yard opus at Tufts, the Bobcats have six players among the top 26 rushers in the NESCAC.

Bates Last Week

The Bobcats took advantage of five turnovers by Tufts and rushed for 309 yards, their most since beating Bowdoin in 2002, in a 31-23 win at Tufts last Saturday. The game featured a contrast in styles, as Tufts passed for 363 yards on 71 attempts, completing  40. Five Bates backs ran for 44 yards or more, led by senior quarterback Trevor Smith (Malvern, Pa.), who ran 24 keepers for a personal-best 88 yards with a touchdown.

Williams Last Week

Trinity overcame a 13-3 fourth quarter deficit with two touchdown passes from Ryan Burgess to A.J. Jones, to down Williams 17-13 last Saturday in Williamstown. Burgess and Jones teamed up for the two aerial scores in a 5-minute span. Adam Marske passed for 198 yards, 79 of them to Hartwell, but the Ephs were outgained 261-39 on the ground by the Bantams.

Bates' and Williams' Last Meeting

October 8, 2011 was a happy day indeed in Bobcat Nation, when Bates defeated Williams 35-26 at Weston Field in Williamstown, the Bobcats' second-ever win over the Ephs and the first since 2003.

The win put Bates at 2-1, the Bobcats' best start after three games since 1982, and Bates then appeared for the first time in the 24-year history of the New England Division III weekly top 10 rankings, at No. 9.

Williams, which went 8-0 the previous season, Aaron Kelton's first as the Ephs' head coach, including a 41-0 win at Bates in Week 3, dropped to 1-2 with its second straight loss.

Trevor Smith passed for two first-quarter touchdowns to John Squires '12 for a quick 14-0 lead that the Ephs could never surmount. Kyle Starr '13 ran an interception back 26 yards for a third touchdown after the Ephs had notched their first score.

Slotback Ryan Curit '14 had the biggest day of his career thus far, carrying the ball 11 times for 102 yards and a score, including a career-best 44-yard gain, and also catching three passes for 22 yards. Curit combined with Smith and Patrick George '13 to run the ball well for the Bobcats. George averaged 4.8 yards per carry, with 58 yards on 12 totes.

Smith finished with 33 rushing yards on 16 carries, and he completed 9 of 17 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. The then-junior QB hit Tom Finkenstaedt '12 for a 56-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give Bates a 27-14 lead, before Curit capped a 7-play, 84-yard next possession with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Kevin Helm '12 had an immense game at inside linebacker, with 16 tackles (12 solo), including 2.5 tackles for a total loss of 13 yards.