Football preview: Tufts (1-1) visits Bates (0-2), with both teams looking to bounce back

Sophomore Jon Lindgren has been busy and productive returning punts and starting at free safety for the Bates football team. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Tufts visits Bates this Saturday in a rematch of the first intercollegiate football game ever played in Maine, a 1-0 Tufts victory in Lewiston in 1875.

Bates defeated Tufts four years in a row between 2010 and 2013, but the Jumbos' program has turned around since then. They went 6-2 in 2015, then finished second in the NESCAC in 2016 with a 7-1 record, including a 12-7 win over the Bobcats, which extended Tufts' win streak against Bates to three games.

The Jumbos seek to rebound from Saturday's overtime loss at Wesleyan, in which the Jumbos lost a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats look to get back on their feet again, after a lopsided loss against NESCAC champion Trinity last week.


What: Tufts (1-1) at Bates (0-2)

When: Saturday, Sept. 30, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field (Lewiston, Maine)

Live Coverage: Video (NSN) | Stats

All-Time Series: Tufts leads 60-17-3

Previous Meeting: Tufts 12, Bates 7 (Oct. 1, 2016 in Somerville, Mass.)

Bates Last Week:

Trinity steamrolled Bates for 31 points in the first quarter and only increased its lead from there, for a 51-0 victory over the Bobcats in their home opener Saturday at Garcelon Field.

Trinity opened the game with an 11-play, 55-yard drive culminating in a 22-yard field goal. On Bates' third play from scrimmage, from the Bobcat 15-yard line, quarterback Sandy Plashkes was hit as he threw a pass into the hands of Trinity's Dominique Seagears, who ran untouched into the end zone for a 10-0 lead just four minutes into the game, and the rout was on. Trinity outgained Bates 423 yards to 174, balanced between 245 yards passing and 178 rushing.

Trinity quarterback Sonny Puzzo finished the game with four touchdown passes and 192 yards, completing 12 of 18 attempts. Max Chipouras gained 86 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes.

Bates cornerback Coy Candelario had a game- and career-high 12 tackles in the contest, including nine solo stops. Sophomore down safety Conner Suraci added a career-high nine tackles.

Peter Boyer rushed 15 times for 46 yards for the Bobcats, while Kyle Flaherty gained 43 yards on seven carries. Quarterback Matt Golden netted 33 yards on 14 carries and completed 4-of-8 passes for 33 yards. Tyler Baum, making his first career start at slotback due to the injury of captain Frank Williams, caught three passes for 32 yards.

Tufts Last Week:

Host Wesleyan scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game, including a touchdown with six seconds on the clock, and then won it in overtime to stun Tufts, 24-17.

Tufts led 17-3 after junior Jack Dolan returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown with 13:26 remaining in regulation. The Jumbos had dominated defensively up to that point, keeping the Cardinals out of the end zone and forcing three turnovers.

However, led by junior QB Mark Piccirillo, the Cardinals stormed back. They went 69 yards in nine plays to pull within 17-10 at 10:09 of the fourth. The Cardinals took the ball over again with 1:39 to go in regulation. Wesleyan converted two fourth-and-longs, before Piccirillo threw a 24-yard touchdown pass that tied the game 17-17 with six seconds on the clock.

The Cardinals took the ball first in OT and scored on their second play as Piccirillo found Mike Breuler over the middle from 14 yards out for a 24-17 advantage. On Tufts' possession, Wesleyan senior linebacker Shayne Kaminski intercepted a Ryan McDonald pass on third down to end the game.

The Jumbos ran for 211 yards as McDonald gained 122 on 17 carries (7.2 average) and junior Dom Borelli had 98 yards on 25 totes. McDonald completed 14 of 23 passes for 155 yards. Sophomore linebacker Greg Holt led Tufts with 16 tackles.

Bates' and Tufts' Last Meeting:

Mark Upton tallied a career-high 17 tackles but Tufts scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to edge Bates 12-7 on Oct. 1, 2016 in Somerville, Mass.

In rainy conditions at Ellis Oval, both teams kept the ball on the ground, with Bates rushing for 188 yards and Tufts accumulating 206 rushing yards. Meanwhile the Bobcats only completed one pass for 30 yards and the Jumbos didn't do much more through the air, completing seven passes for 44 yards. The teams punted a combined 23 times on the day.

The Jumbos began their eventual game-winning drive with 12:26 remaining in the contest. They fumbled in the red zone, but McDonald was able to recover three yards behind the line of scrimmage to keep the drive alive. He took advantage of the second chance, running 15 yards for the score, giving the Jumbos a 12-7 lead.

Tufts recorded 15 first downs on the day while Bates only netted nine. Third down was an issue for the Bobcats, as they finished 3-for-20 on third down conversion attempts.

Nichol led Bates in rushing with nine carries for 51 yards. Boyer toughed out 45 yards on 15 carries.

Brady carried the ball 32 times for 140 yards while McDonald came off the bench to play quarterback and netted 11 carries for 75 yards, including the game-winning score.

Coach to Cure MD

Bates head coach Mark Harriman and his staff are among more than 500 colleges joining forces today to support the Coach to Cure MD program. The coaches are wearing patches on their sleeves today to raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

With us today for the opening coin toss is Patrick Denger of Biddeford, Maine. Patrick, 23, was diagnosed with DMD at age 5. Patrick graduated from the University of New England in 2017 with a degree in psychology. Since his diagnosis, Patrick has been involved in Duchenne Advocacy and participated in legislative conferences meeting with his Members of Congress and staff in Washington, D.C.

To donates $10 to Coach to Cure M.D., text the word "CURE" to 50555. You can also visit to make a donation.