Football preview: Seniors have a date with history as Bowdoin visits Saturday

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football team's Class of 2018 has the rare opportunity of becoming the first football players in college history to win four consecutive CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) titles outright today at historic Garcelon Field. A Bates win would also represent the Bobcats' seventh straight victory against the Polar Bears.

Both teams have had their struggles in 2017, and both are coming off of their best results of the year: a 27-24 win at Colby for Bates, and a 21-10 home loss to Wesleyan for Bowdoin.

What: Bowdoin (0-7) at Bates (1-6)
When: Saturday, Nov. 4, 12:30 p.m.
Where: Garcelon Field (Lewiston, Maine)
Live Coverage: Video (NSN) | Stats
 All-Time Series: Bowdoin leads 66-46-7
Previous Meeting: Bates 24, Bowdoin 7 (Nov. 5, 2016 in Brunswick, Maine)

Bates Last Week:

Brendan Costa led the Bates football team to a 27-24 victory at Colby Saturday afternoon, putting the Bobcats halfway to capturing a fourth consecutive CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) title with their first win of the season.

Costa rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, and put the Bobcats ahead for good with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Brian Daly with 10:41 left. The rookie sensation lifted his average to 101.7 rushing yards per game, second-highest in the NESCAC. Costa also completed 11 of 20 passes for 136 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

Bates rushed for a season-high 308 yards rushing and totaled 444 yards of offense, and limited Colby to 279 yards. Bates established season-bests in third-down efficiency (9 of 20, 45%) and first downs (23, including 19 by rushing).

The Bobcats never trailed in the game and took a 7-0 lead on a 30-yard scoring run by Costa with 6:15 left in the opening quarter.

The Mules bounced right back thanks to some Bates penalties, and Mule quarterback Jack O'Brien hit Mark Snyder on a 5-yard scoring pass to the left side of the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.

Bates junior Joe Frake jumped a route and picked off O'Brien at the Bates 19, and the Bobcats went 81 yards to go up 17-10 with just 20 seconds left in the third quarter. Mickoy Nichol's 4-yard scoring run to the left side scored the points, but Costa had the big plays on the drive with runs of 35 and 22 yards.

But Colby tied the game for the third time at 17-17 on O'Brien's 30-yard run with 11:18 to play, out of a 4th-and-1 situation.

Bates went ahead for good and quieted Colby's Family Homecoming Weekend crowd with a touchdown just 39 seconds after the Mules' touchdown. The Bobcats got a 16-yard run from senior captain Frank Williams on the first play. Costa then found a wide-open Daly, running straight up the middle, for a 52-yard scoring pass for a 24-17 margin.

Bowdoin Last Week:

Mike Breuler caught three touchdown passes as Wesleyan (5-2) held off Bowdoin 21-10 on Saturday afternoon at Whittier Field.

Bowdoin controlled most of the opening quarter and cashed in on a 31-yard field goal from Andrew Sisti to take a 3-0 lead with 3:01 remaining in the period. Wesleyan answered with an eight-play, 60-yard drive, capped by a 10-yard pass from Mark Piccirillo to Breueler.

After a Bowdoin three-and-out, the Cardinals marched 76 yards in 12 plays, scoring on another Piccirillo strike to Breuler over the middle from 20 yards to increase the lead to 14-3.

After a scoreless third quarter, Wesleyan made it 21-3 on the opening play of the fourth as Breuler hauled in a back-shoulder catch from Piccirillo to end a six-play, 60-yard drive.

Bowdoin didn't go away, however, stopping Wesleyan on a fourth down deep in their own territory later in the period and then scoring on an 85-yard pass from Griff Stalcup to Nick Vailas -- the fourth longest pass in school history -- to cut the lead to 21-10 with 4:36 to go.

The Polar Bears had a late bid to cut further into the Cardinal lead, but a late drive stalled inside the Wesleyan 10 with under a minute to play.

The Cardinals totaled 389 yards of offense as Piccirillo passed for 259 and also rushed for 54 for Wesleyan. Stalcup posted a career-high 317 yards passing on 26-47 attempts.

Vailas caught eight passes for a career-high 167 yards, upping his career receptions total to 102. Bowdoin was led by eight tackles from Francis Rose while Nat Deacon had a pair of sacks.

Bates' and Bowdoin's Last Meeting:

Bates' chances of winning a third consecutive Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) outright title appeared pretty dim late in the third quarter at Bowdoin's Whittier Field on Nov. 5, 2016.

With 18 minutes left in the game, the Bobcats trailed 7-3, starting quarterback Sandy Plashkes was out with an injury, and first-year backup QB Matt Golden had fumbled the ball away for a second time.

But the Bobcats flipped a switch in the fourth quarter, with Golden running wild for 104 yards in the final period alone.

Golden and the Bobcats scored 21 unanswered points to win 24-7; it was the first time since 1931 that Bates defeated both Bowdoin and Colby for three straight season. Bates also claimed at least a share of the CBB title for a sixth straight seasons, dating to 2011.

Golden's 35-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Ross gave Bates its first lead at 10-7 with 14:10 left in the fourth. Frank Williams ran untouched up the sideline for a 36-yard touchdown five minutes later, and Golden's 65-yard TD capped the scoring with 6:52 left in the game, giving Bates three long touchdowns in a span of 7:18.

Meanwhile the Bobcat defense forced the Bowdoin offense into three turnovers in the fourth quarter.

Bates (3-4) defeated Bowdoin (0-7) for the sixth straight year and narrowed one of college football's oldest series to 66-46-7 in the Polar Bears' favor.

Golden netted 126 rushing yards on 14 carries, and Peter Boyer added a career-high 83 yards on 17 carries. The Bobcats rushed for a season-high 337 yards, including 168 in the fourth quarter.