LEWISTON, Maine -- Colby College running back Jake Schwern ran for three touchdowns and carried the ball 40 times for 226 yards to lead the Mules past the Bates football team by a score of 21-6 Saturday afternoon in snowy conditions on Garcelon Field.
The Mules (2-5) recorded 306 total yards, with Schwern generating nearly 74% of their offense. Sophomore Liam Spillane (Byfield, Mass.) paced the Bobcats (0-7) by carrying the ball 15 times for a career-high 114 yards. Bates tallied 236 yards of total offense, losing sophomore quarterback Brendan Costa (Westport, Mass.) late in the first half due to injury. First-year Jack Bryant (Falmouth, Maine) took over and passed for 45 yards.
Before his injury, Costa ran eight times for 34 yards and a touchdown. He completed a pair of passes for 13 yards.
Both offenses focused on the ground game due to the weather conditions. Colby quarterback Matt Hersch completed 7-13 passes for 70 yards, with Schwern doing the heavy lifting all day.
The Mules took the lead for good on their opening drive of the game. Facing third and six at their own 34, the Mules moved the chains when Hersch connected with Ethan Smith for a 14-yard gain. Schwern rushed for eight yards to the Bates 44. Then he took it to the house on the next play, racing through a huge hole off left tackle and outracing the Bates defense to the end zone, putting the Mules up 7-0 after the extra point with 12:45 remaining in the first quarter.
The teams traded punts on the next two possessions before the Bobcats answered with some strong running of their own. Spillane broke through the Mules' defense with runs of 25 and 23 yards respectively to get the ball to the Colby 19. On the next play, Costa took the snap, read the defense, and raced to the near pylon through a big hole on the left side of the line for his second rushing touchdown of the season.
But the Bobcats did not convert the extra point after a fumbled snap so Colby maintained a 7-6 lead with 5:51 left in the first quarter.
The Mules rode Schwern on their next drive, handing it off to him eight times, including on a 4th and goal at the one-yard line. Schwern punched it in to extend the Colby lead to 14-6 after the extra point.
Colby recovered the ensuing kickoff after it bounced off a Bates player. But the Bobcat defense answered, with sophomore Shane Collins (Stoneham, Mass.) ripping the ball away from Colby running back David Smith. First-year Michael Bulman (Hanover, Mass.) pounced on it at the Bates 34 for his second fumble recovery of the season.
The Bates offense went three-and-out and Colby struck again on its next drive. Starting at their own 45, the Mules converted a first down on 3rd and 11 when Hersch found David Smith for 14 yards. On a 3rd and 12 at the Bates 44, Hersch answered the bell with an 18-yard pass to Ethan Smith. The Bates defense failed to get off the field on third down for a third straight time on the drive when Hersch found Schwern for a nine-yard gain on a third and eight from the Bates 24. Schwern got the handoff on the next play and took it to the Bobcat one. Then he ran it in for his third touchdown of the half, putting Colby up 21-6 with 6:20 left in the second quarter after the extra point.
Starting on their own 23, the Bobcats found a lot of success on offense on their next drive. Costa found first-year Jackson Hayes (San Marino, Calif.) for eight yards and Costa followed that up with a four-yard run for a first down. Spillane ran for six, Costa ran for seven and Spillane busted through the line for 15 yards to move the ball to the Colby 37. Facing 3rd and 3 at the Colby 30, the Bobcats converted the first down thanks to another Spillane run, this one for five yards to the Colby 25. The Bobcats continued to move the sticks when Costa connected with first-year Christian Olivieri (Hull, Mass.) for five yards on fourth and four, advancing the ball to the Colby 14-yard line.
But Costa got sacked by Colby's Sean Godin for a loss of 10 on the next play from scrimmage. Then Costa attempted a pass on second down and got hit hard, causing the pass to fall incomplete. And unfortunately for Bates, Costa suffered an injury on the play, causing him to miss the remainder of the game.
After Hayes ran the ball to the Colby 16-yard line, the Bobcats attempted a field goal and Colby's Patrick Sopko blocked it.
The Bobcats trailed 21-6 at halftime and neither team scored in the second half, although Bates did put together an impressive drive on its second possession of the third quarter. Starting at their own 20, the Bobcats moved the ball deep into Colby territory, thanks to some more strong running from Spillane and a key third down conversion when Bryant connected with junior Kody Greenhalgh (Warwick, R.I.) for eight yards to the Colby 38. But on 4th and 4 from the Colby 14, Godin sacked Bryant to end the drive.
Junior Jon Lindgren (Plainville, Conn.) led all players with 12 tackles while Don Vivian paced the Mules with nine stops. Senior Walter Washington (Rockland, N.Y.) had another big day on defense for Bates, tallying seven tackles, including two tackles for loss. Sophomore David Campbell (Marblehead, Mass.) recorded six tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss.
The Mules converted 7 of 14 third downs while Bates only converted 5 of 13 third downs. Colby held the ball for 13 more minutes than the Bobcats.
Bates looks to bounce back next Saturday night when the Bobcats visit Bowdoin for a 5:30pm kick.