Football preview: Bates (0-5) vs. Middlebury (3-2), Episode 62

Joe Frake had a game-high 12 tackles in Bates' home loss to Middlebury on Oct. 21, 2017. Frake and the Bobcats will take on the Panthers in Middlebury on Oct. 20, 2018. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

The Bates football team will look to rebound from last Saturday's loss to Wesleyan and build momentum for the second half of the 2018 season this Saturday at Middlebury, in the 62nd gridiron meeting between the Bobcats and Panthers.

The host Panthers' (3-2) season got off to a rockier start than in other recent years, including a 52-21 drubbing at Wesleyan in the opener and a 21-0 loss at home to Amherst on Oct. 6. But their victory at previously undefeated Williams on Saturday suggests they've found their footing.

Middlebury has been known for its aerial attack for more than a decade, but that has noticeably changed this year, as they average more rushing yards (183.2) than passing (178.2), and rank sixth in the NESCAC in both categories.


THE PARTICULARS:

What: Bates (0-5) at Middlebury (3-2)

When: Saturday, Oct. 20, 1 p.m.

Where: Alumni Stadium (Middlebury, Vt.)

Live Coverage: Video | Stats

All-Time Series: Middlebury leads 44-14-3

Previous Meeting: Middlebury 43, Bates 14 (Oct. 21, 2017 in Lewiston, Maine)


MIDDLEBURY LAST WEEK:

Middlebury scored all of its points in the first half and defeated previously unbeaten Williams 21-10 in Williamstown last Saturday, in the Panthers' biggest win of the season to date.

Middlebury took a 7-0 lead after driving 87 yards on 13 plays in a span of 4:17. Quarterback Will Jernigan had an 18-yard rush and found Conrado Banky for 15 yards setting up the touchdown.

The Panthers scored again on their next possession when Jernigan connected with Banky on an eight-yard scoring strike at 12:31 of the second quarter.

Williams got on the board with a 29-yard field goal from Andrew Schreibstein with 10:20 remaining in the second quarter.

Middlebury scored on its third straight possession, taking a 21-3 lead with 7:00 remaining in the half. A 36-yard rush by Charlie Ferguson and a 31-yard connection from Jernigan to running back Peter Scibilia set up the two-yard keeper by Jernigan.

Williams scored on its first possession of the second half on a one-yard touchdown run from Bobby Maimaron, completing a 12-play, 80-yard drive at the 8:05 mark of the third quarter.

Middlebury outgained Williams 440-331 and held a 37:31 to 22:29 advantage in time of possession.

Scibilia earned his second 100-plus yard rushing game of the season, gaining 143 yards on 29 carries, while catching three passes for 35 yards. Jernigan finished with 256 yards of total offense, going 18-31 for 162 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while rushing 27 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.

BATES LAST WEEK

Wesleyan quarterback Mark Piccirillo threw for three touchdowns and ran for one as well to lead the Wesleyan University Cardinals past the Bates football team by a final score of 44-13 Saturday afternoon at Garcelon Field.

The Cardinals (3-2) outscored the Bobcats (0-5) 23-0 in the third quarter to pull away for the victory. They outgained Bates in total offense on the day by a count of 429-157.

Highlights for the Bobcats included two fumble recoveries: one from first-year Jose Calleja on a punt and the other on a strip sack from senior captain Tyler Harrington that sophomore Ramon Ruiz picked up and returned 68 yards for a touchdown. Senior captain Joe Frake paced Bates with 10 tackles.

Sophomore Brendan Costa completed 11 of 24 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. He threw one interception but that was on a "Hail Mary" at the end of the game. Costa ran the ball 11 times for 26 yards. Senior Marcus Ross caught three passes for 26 yards, senior Kevin Claflin added a 17-yard reception and sophomore Christian Sanfilippo caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Costa.

Piccirillo completed 10 of 15 passes for 185 yards. He was Wesleyan's leading rusher as well, carrying the ball 12 times for 85 yards.

With the Bobcats trailing 14-6 at halftime, the Cardinals used the big play to secure the win. On Wesleyan's second possession of the third quarter, Piccirillo rushed 34 yards to the Bates 23. The Bobcat defense held, though, and Patrick Wolff drilled a 42-yard field goal to make the score 17-6.

The Bobcats went three-and-out on their next drive and David Estevez returned the punt 10 yards to the Bates 45. Facing 2nd and 6, Piccirillo connected with Simco for 24 yards to the Bates 17. Two plays later, Highsmith caught a pass at the near pylon from Piccirillo and dove in for the touchdown, his second of the day.

Down 24-6 with 7:13 left in the third quarter, the Bobcats took a risk on their next drive, going for it on 4th and 1 at their own 34. The Cardinal defense stuffed the Bates rushing attempt and took over on downs. On their first play from scrimmage, the Cardinals executed a perfect flea flicker, with Piccirillo receiving the pitch from his running back and firing the ball down the middle to the end zone, landing in the hands of Simco for a 34-yard touchdown.

BATES' AND MIDDLEBURY'S LAST MEETING

Middlebury quarterback Jared Lebowitz was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with an injury, but it didn't stop the Panthers in a 43-14 victory over Bates at Garcelon Field on Oct. 21, 2017.

Bates lost the turnover battle 3-0 and allowed over 500 yards of offense (530) for the third straight game.

On Middlebury's first series of the second quarter, facing 3rd and 14 from the Panther 11-yard line, Lebowitz scrambled 26 yards to the 37, where he was hit hard by safety Joe Frake. Both players were slow to get up, and Lebowitz remained out of the game the rest of the way, after completing 12 of 18 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.

Backup quarterback Jack Meservy came on and completed 13 of 22 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown as the second of four signal-callers to play for the Panthers. Ten Middlebury receivers caught passes in the game.

Colin Waters also saw action at quarterback for Middlebury, and fourth-string QB Will Jernigan got loose for a 55-yard touchdown run with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter for a 43-7 Middlebury lead.

Bates quarterback Brendan Costa completed 13 of 24 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also ran for 131 yards on 28 carries, giving him 301 rushing yards in two weeks.

Frake led Bates' defense with 12 tackles. Chase Fulton added nine tackles (6 solo).

BATES' PROBABLE STARTERS:

OFFENSE
LT 70 Matt Flanagan 
LG 68 Phil Simplicio 
C 64 Jack O'Brien 
RG 77 Yanni Falaras 
RT 74 Dan Marino 
TE 85 Isaiah Saunders 
WR 1 Kevin Claflin 
WR 26 Jackson Hayes 
WR 13 Marcus Ross 
QB 3 Brendan Costa 
RB 30 Zach Doyon 

DEFENSE
DE 97 Shane Collins 
NT 99 Ramon Ruiz 
DT 94 Walter Washington 
OLB 95 Tyler Harrington 
ILB 8 Chase Fulton 
ILB 37 Peter Daley 
OLB 33 Liam Greene 
CB 39 Art Churchwell
SS 6 Jon Lindgren 
FS 4 Anthony Costa
CB 20 Joe Frake

SPECIALIST
P/K 2 Justin Foley 

MIDDLEBURY'S PROBABLE STARTERS:

OFFENSE

TE 46 Frank Cosolito
LT 77 Andrew Rogan
LG 58 Ian Arthur
C 70 Connor Roche
RG 74 Parker Ferguson
RT 71 Kevin Woodring
WR 88 Connor Banky
WR 11 Maxim Bochman
WR 9 Jimmy Martinez
RB 36 Peter Scibilia
QB 12 Will Jernigan

DEFENSE

DE 41 Ian Blow
DT 50 Roman Trevino
DT 59 Martin Williams
DE 51 Charles Roselle
LB 38 Alexander Bailey
LB 44 Kevin Maxwell
LB 42 Clay Hunt
CB 6 Matthew Daniel
FS 4 Jonathan Hobart
SS 29 Gordon Pollock
CB 3 Bobby Ritter

SPECIALISTS
P 84 Maxwell Rye
K 99 Carter Massengill