Football Preview: Bobcats open CBB play at Colby on Saturday

James Semmonella was one of many rookie revelations in Bates' 28-17 loss to Middlebury last Saturday. Semmonella gained 60 yards on six carries in his college debut. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

LEWISTON, Maine — Bates College football opens CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) play at Colby on Saturday at Harold Alfond Stadium in Waterville, Maine, seeking to defeat the Mules for the second time in as many seasons after an encouraging effort in a 28-17 loss to Middlebury last weekend. It will be the 115th meeting between the teams. 

The Particulars

What: Bates College at Colby College

When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Seaverns Field at Harold Alfond Stadium | Waterville, Maine

Live Stats: TBA | Video: Colby Webcast

Twitter: @BatesSports | Facebook: Bates College Athletics

All-Time Series: Colby leads, 65-43-6

Last Meeting: Bates 31, Colby 6 (Lewiston, Maine | Oct. 27, 2012) 

Bates Facts & Figures

  • The Bobcats rushed for 259 yards on 59 carries (4.4 yards per rush) against Middlebury marking the fourth time this season they have rushed for 230 or more yards in a game. Bates currently leads the NESCAC in rushing offense with 245.0 yards per game. They're ranked 28th in Division III in that category.
  • As a team, Bates threw for a season-high 129 yards versus the Panthers. Junior Matt Cannone completed 8 of 18 passes for 103 yards and also rushed for 80 yards and his third TD of the season. First-year Nick LaSpada connected on 2 of 4 passes for 26 yards including his first career passing TD on a second-quarter strike to junior WR Mike Tomaino — Tomaino's first career touchdown.
  • First-year running back Ivan Reese ran for 101 yards on 21 carries for an average of 4.8 yards per rush in his first collegiate start last weekend. He had totaled 41 rushing yards combined in his first four games. Fellow rookie James Semmonella picked up 60 rushing yards on six carries in his first appearance of the year.
  • Junior defensive back Ryan Newson intercepted his first career pass in the first quarter off a throw from Middlebury QB McCallum Foote. He also posted six tackles (one for loss) and two pass breakups in the game.
  • Filling in for injured starters, first-years Ben Coulibaly and Mark Upton each performed well, notching nine and seven tackles respectively — career highs for both players.
  • Junior David Kurey punted seven times for 320 yards (45.7 yards per punt) including a career-long 55-yard boot in the second quarter against Middlebury. He stands third in the NESCAC in punting (39.5 yards per punt).
  • In the Middlebury game, junior Mike Kelleher tallied 12 tackles — the third time this year he has reached double digit tackles in a game — and a career-high three pass breakups. He ranks eighth in the league in tackles (8.6 tackles per game).
  • Playing at outside linebacker, senior co-captain Andrew Kukesh made nine solo tackles including three for a loss vs. the Panthers. He ranks tied for second in the conference with 10.2 tackles per game.
Bates Last Saturday

Middlebury quarterback McCallum Foote threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns, and scrambled for a key third-down conversion to keep the Panthers' final scoring drive alive in the fourth quarter, in a 28-17 victory at injury-plagued Bates on Oct. 19 at Garcelon Field in Lewiston, Maine.

Bates took the lead three times in the first half, but Middlebury shut out the Bobcats in the second half, meanwhile scoring 14 unanswered points for the win.

Eight of Bates' starters from Weeks 1 and 2 were inactive for the game, but the Bobcats performed admirably, totaling 21 first downs to Middlebury's 25, gaining 388 yards to Middlebury's 417 and keeping the ball for 31:10 of the game clock. 

Foote, Middlebury's senior preseason All-America QB, completed 35 of 56 passes and was picked off once, by junior Ryan Newson in the first quarter. Five Middlebury receivers had five or more catches, led by Brendan Rankowitz (8-96) and William Sadik-Khan (8-56, 1 TD). Matt Rea rushed 11 times for 50 yards and a touchdown.

First-year running back Ivan Reese received his first collegiate start and rushed for 101 yards on 21 attempts. Fellow rookie James Semmonella, playing in his first collegiate game, gained 60 yards on six carries. The Bobcats' lone turnover in the game was an interception thrown on fourth down by junior Matt Cannone late in the fourth quarter.

Cannone completed 8 of 18 passes for 103 yards and rushed 19 times for 80 yards and a touchdown. First-year Nick LaSpada completed 2 of 4 passes, including a 6-yard touchdown to junior Mike Tomaino in the second quarter.

Junior cornerback Mike Kelleher led Bates in tackles with 12 (8 solo), to go with three pass breakups. Preseason All-American Andrew Kukesh, Bates' starting safety in every game of his career until today, played outside linebacker and made nine solo tackles, including three for a loss. First-year Ben Coulibaly, nominally a defensive back, also started at outside linebacker and came up with nine tackles (5 solo). Rookie Mark Upton also made his first start at linebacker and totaled seven solo tackles.

Colby Last Saturday

C.T. Harris compiled four sacks on the day and Justin Ciero had another strong effort against Hamilton as Colby took a 37-18 win on Oct. 19 at Steuben Field in Clinton, N.Y.
Harris, a defensive lineman, had a team-high 11 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. His four sacks on the day lost 35 yards for Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Ciero took care of business on the offensive side of the ball for Colby. The sophomore quarterback has now amassed 614 total yards and seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing) in his two career games against Hamilton. Ciero ran for 108 yards on 14 carries (7.7 per rush), including scoring runs of 4 and 14 yards. He also threw for 187 yards and had one scoring pass.

Luke Duncklee broke a Mules  record for receptions in a game with 12 for 117 yards and added four rushes for 41 yards. 

First-year running back Carl Lipani scored his first two collegiate touchdowns on scoring runs of 4 and 11 yards for the Mules. He posted 44 yards of rushing and added two catches for 21 yards.

Last Year's Meeting

An unforgiving defense and the quick feet of Shawn Doherty took the Bates football team a long way on Homecoming Saturday on Oct. 27, 2012 in Lewiston.

Bates outgained Colby 288-14 on the ground and 412-151 overall en route to a 31-6 win, spoiling the return of Bates alum Jonathan Michaeles, who was in his first year as Colby's head coach. The win was the first step to Bates' CBB championship in 2012.

Doherty ran for a 45-yard touchdown in the third quarter, then turned a screen pass from Trevor Smith into a 50-yard touchdown seven minutes later, opening up a 24-0 lead with 12:50 left in the fourth quarter.

With the win, Bates jumped out to its best six-game start since the Bobcats went 4-2 in 1982. It was the Bobcats' first win over their in-state rivals since 2008, and only their second in the past 12 years.

Bates controlled possession for over 10 minutes in both the second and fourth quarters, helping to preserve a 10-0 lead going into halftime and cutting down Colby's chances for a comeback late in the game. The Mules were unable to score until 6:48 remained in the fourth quarter, when Ciero hit Indigo Dow for a 5-yard passing touchdown.

Smith carried the ball a career-high 30 times for a net of 93 yards and one touchdown. He also completed 10 of 14 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, though he was sacked four times and fumbled the ball away three times.