Football Preview: Bobcats look to beat Ephs for a fourth straight year

Josh Freedland '15 snared the interception that clinched Bates' 14-10 win last season at Williams. The Ephs visit Garcelon Field this Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (File photo by Mike Bradley/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football team saw one winning streak against an annual opponent come to an end on Saturday, but will try to sustain a second one this Saturday, when the Bobcats host Williams College in their home opener at Garcelon Field.

Bates has turned a formerly lopsided rivalry on its head in winning its past three meetings against Williams, after falling in 22 of the previous 23. The Bobcats are 0-2 entering Week 3 for the first time since 2009, thanks a four-game run against Tufts that concluded with Saturday's 42-24 loss to the Jumbos.

The Ephs (1-1) are trying to find their identity, with a 36-0 win over Bowdoin followed by a 38-0 loss to Williams to consider thus far.

The Particulars:

What: Williams College at Bates College

When: Saturday, October 4, 1 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field | Lewiston, Maine

Live Stats: Bates Portal | Video: Northeast Sports Network (Bates portal) 

Twitter: @BatesSports | Facebook: Bates College Athletics

All-Time Series: Williams leads 22-4

Last Meeting: Bates 14, Williams 10 (Williamstown, Mass. | Oct. 3, 2013)

Bates Facts & Figures:

Bates has defeated Williams in each of the last three years, after previously earning only one victory over the Ephs in the teams' first 23 meetings. The Bobcats won 35-26 in 2011 at Williams, then won 33-6 in Lewiston in 2012. Last season the Bobcats returned to Williamstown and posted a 14-10 win on Weston Field. Bates' first victory over the Ephs was a 10-7 triumph in 2003.

Bates junior wide receiver Mark Riley (Needham, Mass.) averages a lofty 8.5 catches and 103.0 receiving yards per game, sharing the NESCAC lead in the former category and leading the latter category by himself. Riley also ranks ninth in all-purpose yards per game (103.0).

Over the past decade of Bates football, Riley's performance ties for the team's seventh-most receptions in a game, ties for first place in touchdown catches in a game and represents the fourth-highest receiving yardage total in a game. Senior quarterback Matt Cannone's (Windham, N.H.) three touchdown passes also ties as the most by a Bobcat since 2005.

Senior punter David Kurey (West Chester, Pa.) punted five times for an average of 43.6 yards per punt at Tufts. Kurey, the NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 1, leads the NESCAC with a 42.8-yard average on 14 punts this season. Williams punter Joe Mallock is right behind him with a 42.3-yard average on nine kicks.

Senior defensive back Ryan Newson (Stanhope, N.J.) chalked up his second consecutive double-digit tackle game against Tufts, with a career-high 12 takedowns (6 solo), including two from behind the line of scrimmage. Newson is tied for second in the NESCAC in both tackles (22) and interceptions (2).

Rookie slotbacks Mickoy Nichol (Dennis Port, Mass.) and Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.) both made an impact on Saturday's game at Tufts, after seeing little to no action in Week 1. Nichol ran for 31 yards on eight carries, and also caught three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Williams gained a team-high 37 yards rushing on three carries.

Senior Lani Eversage (Fairfield, Iowa) staked his claim as the fastest defensive lineman in the conference when he returned a kickoff 80 yards to the Tufts 5-yard line, reminding everyone that he was listed at slotback at the start of his Bates career. It was the longest kickoff return in the past 10 years for a Bobcat, by a margin of 33 yards. Eversage also had a solo tackle and a pass breakup in the game.

Junior defensive end Tucker Oniskey (Reading, Mass.) missed the Amherst game but was a major factor in Week 2 at Tufts, with six tackles (2 solo) and a sack.

Bates Last Saturday:

Zack Trause returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and a punt 49 yards for a score just 2:02 apart to spur Tufts to a 42-24 victory over Bates on Homecoming Day in Somerville, Mass., on Saturday.

Bates dropped to 0-2 and saw its four-year run of victories over the Jumbos come to an end. The Jumbos, who ended the nation's longest losing streak at 31 games with a 24-17 win against Hamilton the previous week, reached 2-0 for the first time since 2008. 

Tufts accumulated 405 yards of total offense, with senior QB Jack Doll completing 29 of 39 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Berey caught 14 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Jack Cooleen had two touchdown receptions. Chance Brady rushed 19 times for 98 yards. Trause added a touchdown run to his two return scores.

Bates was led by junior wide receiver Mark Riley, who had a career day with nine receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Senior QB Matt Cannone completed 16 of 22 passes for career highs of 182 yards and three touchdowns.

In an entertaining, back-and-forth game, the visiting Bobcats had taken a 24-23 lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass by Cannone to Riley with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter. That ended a nine-play, 71-yard drive that included a 27-yard run by first-year Frank Williams. 

Trause then took the ensuing kickoff at his own 18-yard line and dashed 82 yards for a touchdown to give the hosts a 29-24 advantage with 1:06 left in the third. Two minutes later, near the start of the fourth quarter, Trause struck again with a 49-yard punt return for a touchdown, and the Jumbos never looked back.

Williams Last Saturday:

Allowing 466 yards of total offense, including 321 on the ground, the Ephs fell to Trinity College by a score of 38-0 last Saturday on Farley-Lamb Field.

The game was especially disappointing for Williams, since the Ephs were coming off an energizing shutout victory in the home opener against Bowdoin. 

The Bantams had eight rushers with over 20 yards, led by Chudi Iregbulem, who finished the game with 83 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns. QB Henry Foye finished the game 11-17 for 145 yards and one touchdown. 

Alex Scyocurka led the Ephs in rushing, registering 36 yards on 11 carries, and Austin Lommen completed 15 of his 28 passes for 85 yards and an interception. Adam Regensburg led the receiving corps with 22 yards on three catches, and James O'Grady led the Ephs on defense with eight tackles, including one for a loss.

The Last Meeting:

Bates scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter for the second straight week and defeated Williams for the third straight year on Oct. 3, 2013, winning on the Ephs' home Weston Field by a 14-10 score. The Bobcats rose to 2-1 on the year while Williams fell to 0-3.

Senior Ryan Curit capped a 14-play, 66-yard drive with his two-yard touchdown jaunt with 10:42 left in the game, and the Bobcats held on to the lead with the help of two interceptions down the stretch, by junior linebackers Adam Cuomo and Josh Freedland.

Williams scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter, including Joe Mallock's 46-yard field goal with three seconds left, for a 10-7 lead. 

Curit led Bates' ground game with 77 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Shawn Doherty carried 11 times for 71 yards, while Cannone compiled 20 keepers for 59 yards and a touchdown. Cannone also completed 3 of 6 passes for 33 yards.