Football preview: Bates visits Bowdoin under the lights Saturday night

Chase Fulton, Jon Lindgren and the Bates football team look for their eighth consecutive win against rival Bowdoin this Saturday, Nov. 3. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football team plays at Bowdoin's renovated Whittier Field Saturday at 5:30pm, and the Bobcats will be in search of their first win this season, but their eighth in a row against the also winless Polar Bears.

It is believed to be the first of the old rivals' 121 gridiron meetings to be played at nighttime. Bates will also host Bowdoin under the lights at Garcelon Field in next year's game.

Bates will look to redouble its efforts on defending the run, and re-establish some of the offensive success the Bobcats enjoyed in a 35-34 loss at Middlebury two weeks ago.

"On every level of our team, I think we're trying to reel in trust, reel in culture, and at the same time trying to win a game, and I think combining all three of them makes it extremely hard to win," said Bates head coach Malik Hall on this week's Bates Bobcast podcast. "And it's hard to win as it is. When you add all those outside or internal elements, I think the mundane seems bigger."


THE PARTICULARS:
What: Bates (0-7) at Bowdoin (0-7)
When: Saturday, Nov. 3, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Whittier Field (Brunswick, Maine)
Live Coverage: Video | Stats
 All-Time Series: Bowdoin leads 66-47-7
Previous Meeting: Bates 24, Bowdoin 7 (Nov. 5, 2016 in Brunswick, Maine)


BATES LAST WEEK

Colby running back Jake Schwern ran for three touchdowns and carried the ball 40 times for 226 yards to lead the Mules past Bates 21-6 last 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 paced the Bobcats by carrying the ball 15 times for a career-high 114 yards. Bates tallied 236 yards of total offense, losing sophomore quarterback Brendan Costa late in the first half due to injury. First-year Jack Bryant 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.

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 Kody Greenhalgh for eight yards to the Colby 38. But on 4th and 4 from the Colby 14, Godin sacked Bryant to end the drive.

BOWDOIN LAST WEEK

Wesleyan suffocated the Bowdoin offense en route to a 24-0 win on Saturday afternoon.

The Cardinals improve to 4-3 this season while the Polar Bears fall to 0-7.

After the teams traded possessions to open the game, Wesleyan mounted a 16-play, 74-yard drive, covering 8:24 to take a 7-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Glenn Smith.

The Cardinals doubled their lead early in the second quarter as Mark Piccirillo found Joe Scancarella for a 23-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0 at halftime.
Wesleyan added a 25-yard field goal from Patrick Wolff and a 10-yard touchdown reception by Hallvard Lundev in the second half to seal the win.

In rainy and windy conditions, Wesleyan quarterback Mark Piccirillo tossed for 158 yards and rushed for 70 while Glenn Smith accumulated 105 yards on the ground for the Cardinals.

Bowdoin could only muster 100 yards of offense for the game. Bowdoin gained just 20 yards on the ground in the loss.

BATES AND BOWDOIN'S LAST MEETING

Bates football team rushed for 345 yards, including 171 by quarterback Brendan Costa, to defeat Bowdoin for the seventh straight season 24-17 on Nov. 4, 2017 at Garcelon Field, in the 120th clash between the old Maine rivals.

Bates ran the ball all day, with Costa attempting only five passes and completing one. First-year slotback Jaason Lopez totaled 79 yards and a touchdown on six carries and senior captain Frank Williams added 63 yards on eight carries. Bates averaged 6.7 yards per carry on the day.

On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore free safety Jon Lindgren was all over the field for the Bobcats, finishing with 16 tackles (11 solo) and six pass breakups. Lindgren also blocked a 40-yard field-goal attempt by Andrew Sisti on the opening series of the game. Senior linebacker Max Breschi also came up big on defense for Bates with 11 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Noah Nelson completed 34 of 55 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns for the Polar Bears. Nelson connected with Gregory Olson nine times for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Nick Vailas caught 11 passes for 74 yards and Bryan Porter added eight receptions for 87 yards. Bowdoin was held to a net of 31 yards rushing on 26 attempts, a total depressed by Bates' season-high five sacks.

Liam Dougherty led the Bowdoin defense with 11 tackles.

Bowdoin possessed the ball for all but 14 seconds of the first quarter, but still was outscored 7-3. Fourteen seconds after Bowdoin put up the first score of the game, a 22-yard field goal by Sisti with 4:42 to go in the first, Costa put the hosts ahead for good with a 70-yard touchdown run -- his second 70-yarder this season, after a similar running score against Tufts on Sept. 30.

The play began a run of 17 unanswered points for Bates that carried into the third quarter. The Bobcats led 10-3 at the half despite running only 19 plays to Bowdoin's 44 and possessing the ball for only 8:20 out of 30 minutes of game time.

Needing a touchdown to tie the game or move ahead, Bowdoin went for it on 4th and 3 at the Bates 34, but Nelson's pass sailed over Porter's head, returning the ball to Bates.

But consecutive penalties put the Bobcats in a 4th and 22, and the Polar Bears took over at the Bowdoin 43 with 2:00 left in the game.

From the 50, Nelson hit Vailas for 5 yards and a first down. Then a defensive holding call against Bates put the Polar Bears at the Bates 35. With time running out, Nelson tried a deep pass toward the end zone but cornerback Devin Clyburn leaped and came down with his first career interception, allowing Bates to end the game with two knees taken by Costa.

Bowdoin possessed the ball for over 36 minutes of game time and collected 21 first downs, five more than Bates. But the Polar Bears were held to one third-down conversion on 10 attempts, while Bates converted 10 of 21.