LEWISTON, Maine -- If the Bates football team is to win a fifth consecutive CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) football title this season, it will begin against Colby this Saturday at Garcelon Field.
The game will mark the CBB series debuts of both teams' head coaches, Bates head coach Malik Hall and Colby head coach Jack Cosgrove, the longtime University of Maine head coach who once coached against Hall the player and his UMass Minutemen.
But this game is decidedly not about Cosgrove, the CBB or even Colby for the Bobcats. They simply want a win.
"Where we are, we can't worry about the great game plan I'm sure Coach Cosgrove is going to put together," said Hall on this week's Bates Bobcast podcast. "We can't make this about the CBB. This has to be about the culture we're playing against, and ourselves. Colby happens to be the team [this] week."
Bates seemed to take a step backward two weeks ago in its 44-13 loss to Wesleyan, but followed that with by far the best offensive performance of the season last week at Middlebury, a 35-34 thriller of a loss that featured five touchdown drives for the Bobcats, as well as 177 yards in both the passing and rushing columns.
The game pits the least-penalized team in the NESCAC (Colby, with 3.2 penalties for 30.0 yards per game) against the most-penalized club (Bates, with 5.8 for 54.7 yards per game). Colby averages 18.8 first downs per game, seventh in the league, while Bates is at the bottom with 11.2 per game.
Colby and Bates are ninth and 10th in the NESCAC in total offense, though Colby is a good margin ahead of Bates with 288.8 per game to Bates' 203.3. Both teams are rushing for a league-low 2.5 yards per carry, but both teams have been relatively strong in time of possession in spite of their records: Colby ranks second in the league at 32:39 per game, while Bates is sixth (29:24).
What: Colby (1-5) at Bates (0-6)
When: Saturday, Oct. 27, 1 p.m.
Where: Garcelon Field (Lewiston, Maine)
All-Time Series: Colby leads 66-47-6
Previous Meeting: Bates 27, Colby 24 (Oct. 28, 2017 in Waterville, Maine)
COLBY LAST WEEK:
Walter Thilley kicked a 34-yard field goal with 13.3 seconds remaining and Cosgrove won his first football game as head coach at Colby in the Mules' 23-21 win over Hamilton on Saturday at Colby.
Colby's defense was strong all day and helped set up the game-winning drive by stopping Hamilton at its own 42-yard line. A 30-yard punt by Hamilton's Billy Wagner put the ball at the Colby 28-yard line.
Aidan McCleary caught two balls on the day and both were huge catches on the final drive, taking Colby to the Hamilton 22.
The Mules gained five more yards to the 17-yard line to set up Thilley for the field goal. Thilley was 3-for-3 on field goals, and first-year puter Moises Celaya averaged 43.3 yards per punt.
Hamilton had leads of 7-0, 14-10, and 21-17. The Continentals went ahead first on Sam Bowen's 40-yard interception return when he stepped in front of a receiver and went down the right sidelines for the score. Colby (1-5) bounced back on a highlight-reel catch by Bernie Sander on a 16-yard scoring pass from quarterback Matt Hersch.
Hersch had a terrific day for the Mules, completing 27-of-38 passes for 288 yards and the one touchdown. Andrew DeFranco had four catches for 74 yards, while Rory Glavin had four for 45 yards.
Don Vivian, coming off an injury, led the Mules with seven tackles and one pass break-up. Marcus Bullard, also back from injury, added six stops. Asher Inman and CJ Hassan both had three pass break-ups.
Gray threw for 125 yards and ran for 50 yards on just seven carries for Hamilton. David Kagan added seven rushes for 54 yards and Joe Park had 50 yards on 11 carries.
BATES LAST WEEK
The Bates football team rallied from 22 points down but fell one point short in a 35-34 loss at Middlebury Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore quarterback Brendan Costa ran for a season-high 111 yards and threw for a season-high 177 yards, recording a career-high three passing touchdowns, all in the second half.
The Bates offense recorded a season-high 354 total yards and the Bobcats' 34 points are the most they've scored in one game since 2014.
The Panther lead stood at 21-6 with 6:05 remaining in the second quarter.
Bates fumbled on its next play from scrimmage, leaving Middlebury the ball on the 11-yard line. The Panthers capitalized three plays later when Drew Jacobs extended his arm forward for a three-yard rushing touchdown at the 4:42 mark.
Down 28-6, Bates refused to back down.
The Bobcats responded quickly with a one-yard touchdown run from Christian Sanfilippo after a big 44-yard rush by Costa on the ensuing drive. The score cut the Panther lead to 28-13 at the break.
Bates took advantage of a Middlebury turnover early in the fourth quarter when Costa found Jackson Hayes wide open down the middle for a 49-yard touchdown pass. The drive was set up by an interception by Joe Frake at the Middlebury 49-yard line.
Middlebury answered with an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by a seven-yard rush up the middle by Jacobs into the end zone. The Panthers now held a 35-20 advantage with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Bates answered with a 75-yard drive of its own, as Costa found Marcus Ross from 17 yards out, making it a 35-27 contest late in the third quarter. Ross made a spectacular catch in traffic for his first touchdown of the season and the fifth of his career.
The Bobcats scored on their third-straight possession when Costa found Sanfilippo for a five-yard score midway through the fourth quarter. Sanfilippo has scored in four straight games and has five total touchdowns on the season. Bates elected to kick the extra point and found themselves trailing 35-34 with 8:20 remaining.
The teams punted on each of the next five possessions, with Bates having one last chance when it took over on its own 20 with 2:20 remaining. The Bobcats moved to their own 41-yard line, before Clay Hunt picked off a pass near midfield and sealed the Panther victory.
Jernigan finished the day 17-26 for 266 yards with three touchdown passes and one interception, while rushing for 47 yards on 20 carries.
Hayes caught three passes for 63 yards and a touchdown, while Lopez gained 53 yards on 19 carries. David Campbell made nine tackles to lead the Bates defense. Jon Lindgren and Chase Fulton each had eight, with Fulton recording a sack.
BATES' AND COLBY'S LAST MEETING
Brendan Costa led Bates to a 27-24 victory at Colby on Oct. 28, 2017, 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. Costa 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 tied the game at 10-10 on Baron's 31-yard field goal with 9:32 left in the third quarter. Colby running back Jake Schwern caught a 45-yard pass from O'Brien on the drive.
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. The Mules were in a 4th-and-1 situation at the Bobcat 30 when O'Brien ran left and made a nice cutback to find open room.
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 Frank Williams on the first play. Costa then found a wide-open Daly up the middle for a 52-yard scoring pass for a 24-17 margin.
The Bobcats took a 27-17 lead after an 18-yard field goal by Grant DeWald with 5:31 to play.
Schwern almost singlehandedly kept the Mules in contention, blocking a punt and racing 28 yards to the Bobcat 3-yard line with the return, then punching it in from two yards out.
BATES' PROBABLE STARTERS:
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 23 Jaason Lopez
DE 95 Tyler Harrington
NT 99 Ramon Ruiz
DT 94 Walter Washington
LB 36 Michael Bulman
LB 8 Chase Fulton
LB 24 Conner Suraci
LB 16 David Campbell
CB 22 Devin Clyburn
SS 6 Jon Lindgren
FS 4 Anthony Costa
CB 20 Joe Frake
P/K 2 Justin Foley
COLBY'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
LT 54 Shane Normandeau
LG 75 Brandon Troisi
C 66 Ty Mahar
RG 72 Brandon Leibman
RT 79 Chris Shaffrey
TE 8 Ethan Smith
WR 1 Jibri Woods
WR 4 Andrew DeFranco
WR 82 Matt Richman
QB 3 Matt Hersch
RB 32 Jake Schwern
DE 17 Carson Katen
DT 53 David O'Donnell
DT 99 Patrick Sopko
DE 92 Nick Wilcox
LB 22 Marcus Bullard
LB 55 Will Terzi
LB 45 Sebastien Philemon
CB 25 CJ Hassan
CB 2 Asher Inman
S 21 Don Vivian
S 11 Will Caffey
K 36 Walter Thilley
P 12 Moises Celaya