Football preview: Bowdoin visits CBB title-hungry Bates at Garcelon

Ben Coulibaly (1) goes airborne to tackle Bowdoin's Greg Thompson on a kickoff return during Bates' 17-10 win over the Polar Bears in 2013. (File photo by Sarah Crosby/Bates College)

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LEWISTON, Maine -- With Saturday's 10-9 win at Colby now in its back pocket, the Bates football team turns its attention to a goal that has eluded the program since 1967: to win a second consecutive outright CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) series title. Only a win in the Bobcats' final home game, this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Bowdoin, would do the trick.

The Bobcats have defeated the Polar Bears in each of the past four seasons, and in five of the past six. Another victory would tie as Bates' longest win streak against Bowdoin, matching the Mark Harriman-led five-year run from 1999 to 2003.

As it stands, the Bobcats have won at least a share of the past four CBB series, as well as outright CBB bragging rights in two of the past three seasons, 2012 and 2014. Bates has beaten Bowdoin in four straight years.

Both the Bobcats and Polar Bears enter the contest with 1-5 records and inclusion in a four-way tie for seventh place in the NESCAC with Colby and Hamilton. Both teams' already-vanquished foes represent the other team's Week 8 opponent -- Bowdoin defeated Hamilton 30-20 on Oct. 17.

The Particulars:

What: Bates College (1-5) vs. Bowdoin College (1-5)

When: Saturday, November 7, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field | Lewiston, Maine

Live Coverage: Live Stats Video

Twitter: @BatesSports | Facebook: Bates College Athletics

All-Time Series: Bowdoin leads 66-44-7

Last Meeting: Bates 10, Bowdoin 7 (Brunswick, Maine | Nov. 1, 2014)

Facts & Figures:

  • Bates is tied for fourth in the league in average turnover differential, at an even 0.00, while Bowdoin is ninth in that category, at -0.50 takeaways per game.
  • Bates is third in the NESCAC in rushing offense (175.3 yards per game) and 10th in passing offense (130.0); Bowdoin is third in passing (241.8) and 10th in rushing (57.2).
  • In team pass efficiency rating, however, Bowdoin is only eighth (107.0), less than a point ahead of ninth-place Bates (106.3).
  • Bowdoin has allowed 209.5 rushing yards per game, the highest figure in the conference by a 54.2-yards-per-game margin over the nearest team (Williams).
  • Both teams have clear No. 1 receivers: Bates senior Mark Riley (Needham, Mass.) is fifth in the NESCAC with 33 catches for 382 yards and one touchdown; Bowdoin sophomore Nick Vailas has 34 catches for 403 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Junior linebacker Mark Upton (Winthrop, Mass.) ranks third in the NESCAC in tackles per game (8.8); the 2014 First Team All-NESCAC pick notched his first two sacks of the season at Colby on Saturday. Junior linebacker Sam Francis (Newburyport, Mass.) is ninth in the league in tackles (7.7).
  • Bowdoin senior Branden Morin leads the conference in tackles per game (9.3), while first-year linebacker Philippe Archambault is fourth in that category (8.8).
  • Bates junior cornerback Brandon Williams (Gardner, Mass.) retained his NESCAC lead in interceptions (5) despite going pick-less on Saturday at Colby.

Bowdoin Last Week:

Wesleyan totaled 429 yards of offense and Zac Cuzner had three interceptions to lead the Cardinals in a 20-14 win at Bowdoin on Saturday at Whittier Field. Wesleyan improved to 4-2 while Bowdoin dropped to 1-5.

Wesleyan totaled 429 yards of offense, including 187 rushing. Jaylen Berry was the Cardinals' top rusher with 96 yards. 

Andrew Tichy carried the ball 21 times for 75 yards to pace the Bowdoin offense. First-year quarterback Noah Nelson completed 16 of 36 but was sacked five times on the day. Bryan Porter was the top target, catching six passes for 72 yards and a score. Philippe Archambault had 14 tackles for Bowdoin.

Bates Last Week:

Bates put on a dominating defensive performance and used outstanding play on special teams to defeat Colby 10-9 in Waterville.

Junior Trevor Lyons (Hamilton, Mass.) returned an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter to put the Bobcats ahead for good as they won at Colby for the first time since 1999. 

Special teams swung the game for the Bobcats. Sophomore defensive lineman Collin Richardson (Kensington, N.H.) blocked an extra point after Colby scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Sophomore kicker Grant DeWald (Duxbury, Mass.) kicked a 26-yard field goal to tie the game in the third quarter, then added what would be the game-winning extra point minutes later.

Bates won in spite of behind held to 168 total yards of offense, the lowest figure of the season by 130 yards.

First-year punter Justin Foley (Lynnfield, Mass.) earned NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance. His nine punts averaged 38.3 yards, with seven of them pinning Colby inside the 20-yard line. Two of Foley's landed inside the 5 and another pinned Colby at the 3 after a penalty. His long punt of the game went 52 yards and bounced out of bounds at the Mules' 11.

Upton had nine tackles (eight solo) with two solo sacks for a total loss of 20 yards, while Francis also had nine stops.

Bates' and Bowdoin's Last Meeting:

Grant DeWald made a 25-yard field goal with 1:14 to play for the final margin of victory, as the Bates defeated Bowdoin 10-7 to win the outright CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) title for the second time in three years, and the 10th time ever, on Nov. 1, 2014.

Bates defeated Bowdoin for the fourth straight year and claimed at least a share of the CBB title for the third consecutive season. 

Both offenses struggled on a rainy, muddy and cold day at Bowdoin's Whittier Field, combining for 27 first downs and 537 yards. Neither team could score until Shaun Carroll's (Clinton, Maine) 3-yard touchdown run with 1:58 left in the third quarter. Bowdoin evened the game on a 3-yard run by Tyler Grant with 8:36 left to go in the fourth quarter, but DeWald's first career field goal made the difference seven minutes later.

Carroll rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries to lead the Bobcat offense. Mark Riley caught seven passes for 69 yards while Matt Cannone threw for 98 yards and ran for 31.