Bobcats make it four in a row over Williams with 19-12 win at Garcelon

Tyler Janssen runs for a 7-yard touchdown to open the scoring in Bates' 19-12 win over Williams on Oct. 4, 2014. (Russ Dillingham)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior Matt Cannone threw for 161 yards and a touchdown and ran for another, while junior Mark Riley caught seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown to lead Bates College to a 19-12 win over Williams College Saturday at Garcelon Field in Bates' home opener.

It is the Bobcats' (1-2) fourth straight victory over the Ephs (1-2), after Williams had won 22 of the first 23 meetings between the NESCAC rivals.

Cannone completed 12 of 19 passes, seven of them going to Riley (Needham, Mass.), the conference's leader in receptions and yardage entering the game. 

Sophomore James Semmonella (Orange, Conn.) rushed 16 times for 56 yards, leading seven Bates backs who combined for 119 rushing yards. The Bobcats had 15 first downs to Williams' 12, possessed the ball for 33:19 to Williams' 26:41 and outgained the Ephs 281-246.

Williams quarterback Austin Lommen completed 22 of 35 passes for 206 yards, but he was picked off twice by Bates senior safety Ryan Newson (Fairhope, N.J.), Newson's third and fourth interceptions through three games. Alex Scyorcurka rushed for 44 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, as Williams was held to 39 net rushing yards on 23 attempts, a 1.7-yard average. Williams receiver Colin Brown caught eight passes for 96 yards.

Bates sophomore Trevor Lyons (Hamilton, Mass.) blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt by Joe Mallock with 10:13 to go in the fourth. The ball was recovered by Newson and returned it to the Bates 15, initiating Bates' game-winning 14-play, 85-yard drive.

On 3rd and 15 from the Bates 46, Riley got open over the middle and Cannone led him with a bomb, allowing Riley to make the catch in stride. He was caught from behind with a touchdown-saving tackle at the 2 by Graeme Black. The Ephs stood up the Bates offense on back-to-back plays before Cannone plunged into the end zone to make it 19-12. Bates' second failed point-after attempt of the game kept the score there.

A 35-yard kickoff return by Connor Harris set up the Ephs at the Williams 40, and Williams had 2:17 left in the game to try to tie the game or move ahead. Lommen hit Steven Kiesel for 5 yards for a first down at midfield, and the Ephs advanced to the Bates 34 on a 12-yard pass to Lewis Hayes. But Lommen incompletions on third and fourth downs stalled the drive on the Bates 31, allowing Bates to run out the rest of the clock.

Bates mounted an impressive 17-play, 75-yard scoring drive on its second possession of the game, culminating in sophomore Tyler Janssen's (Glastonbury, Conn.) 7-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. A pair of 13-yard strikes from Cannone to Riley accounted for two first downs, as well as a 2-yard run by Cannone on 3rd and 1 from the Williams 23. An offsides penalty on a 4th-and-1 from the 12 called on Williams gave Bates a 1st-and-goal from the 7, setting up Janssen's first career touchdown. The point-after kick by first-year Drew Korn (Stow, Mass.) was deflected at the line of scrimmage.

Williams was buoyed by some big passing plays, including a 40-yard connection from Lommen to Kiesel that preceded the Ephs' game-tying score in the first quarter. Lommen scrambled for 11 yards on 3rd-and-5 for a first down at the Bates 14, then found Hayes open near the sideline at the 6. Scyocurka ran the ball in from the 6, tying the game at 6-6, to cap a 9-play, 84-yard drive. The score remained at 6-6 after a muffed snap on the point-after attempt.

On the third play of Bates' ensuing drive, Williams' Jack Ryan pounced on a muffed pitch from Cannone to junior Shaun Carroll (Clinton, Maine), giving the Ephs the ball back at the Bates 28. Lommen immediately found Brown for a 27-yard connection to the Bates 1, and two plays later Scyocurka had his and the Ephs' second touchdown in less than two minutes. Mallock's point-after attempt sailed wide, keeping the score 12-6 in Williams' favor.

As the second quarter drew near a close, the teams traded turnovers. Cannone fumbled the ball away to Mike Flynn with 1:52 left in the half, but the Ephs gave the ball back on their first play, a bomb by Lommen that was intercepted by Newson. A 21-yard return and a subsequent 10-yard penalty against Bates on the return gave the Bobcats the Ball at their own 25 with 1:43 remaining in the half. A superb fade pass from Cannone to Riley along the left sideline brought Bates into Williams territory, and a 13-yard jaunt by first-year Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.) took the Bobcats into the red zone. From the Williams 18, Cannone threw to Riley near the right pylon, and the junior wideout outleaped his defender and landed inbounds for the game-tying touchdown with 24.1 seconds on the clock. Korn's kick was good, giving Bates a 13-12 lead that carried into the fourth quarter.

Cannone suffered an injury of some extent late in the second half, and was seen limping on teh sideline as he was relieved by junior Patrick Dugan (Westford, Mass.) for the third quarter. Bates' offense stalled in the quarter, accumulating -9 yards for the period. Williams possessed the ball for nearly 10 minutes of the third but never made it past the Bobcats' 38-yard line thanks to a voracious defense. Both teams were 0-3 on third-down conversions in the third quarter, and Williams managed 54 yards of offense.

A Mallock punt opened the fourth quarter. The kick appeared to be shanked, but it skittered improbably down the left sideline for about 20 yards all the way to the Bates 2. Cannone returned to the field to lead the Bates offense, and an 11-yard run by Frank Williams gave Bates an important first down at its 16. Soon after, senior David Kurey (West Chester, Pa.) punted the ball out of bounds at the Williams 42.

The Ephs took over, and Lommen rolled to his right before lofting a pass to Brown in stride for a 34-yard gain. A 4-yard pass to Brown advanced Williams to the Bates 21, but a 5-yard penalty set the Ephs back to the 26. On 3rd and 12, Lommen was pressured by senior Pat Gilligan (Acton, Mass.) and threw incomplete to Brown, making the Ephs settle for Mallocks' 43-yard field goal attempt.

Brown led Williams receivers with 8 catches for 96 yards, while Kiesel had six catches for 68. Etienne Aduya led the Ephs' defense with 11 tackles, seven solo and two for a loss. James O'Grady had 10 tackles.

Bates sophomore linebacker Mark Upton (Winthrop, Mass.) led all players with 12 tackles, five solo and two for a loss. Newson had 11 tackles, his third double-digit effort in as many games this year, to go with his two interceptions and a half-sack. Lyons was another standout, with six tackles, three pass breakups and the blocked kick.

Prior to the opening kickoff, John Durkin '15 was remembered with a moment of silence as the team, the Durkin family and President Clayton Spencer gathered on the field. The game was the first held at Garcelon since the former Bobcat starting linebacker's death in March.

Bates remains at home next Saturday at 1pm to face Wesleyan University.