Football preview: Jumbos (1-2) visit Bobcats (0-3) for Back to Bates Weekend

Tyler Bridge and the Bates offense looks to get going Saturday when the Bobcats welcome Tufts to town for Back to Bates Weekend. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football team welcomes Tufts University to Garcelon Field this Saturday at 1pm for "Back to Bates" weekend.

The Bobcats and Jumbos have played some close contests in recent years, with the Jumbos prevailing in five of the last nine games between the two squads. Saturday's game may be a defensive struggle, with Tufts averaging 12.7 points per game and Bates averaging 8.3 points per game so far this year. The Jumbos are second in the NESCAC in passing (232.7 yards per game) but rank second-to-last in the conference in rushing (96.7 yards per game). 

It has been an up and down start to 2019 for Tufts. The up was their 14-8 season-opening win against Trinity College at home three weeks ago. The Jumbos defeated the Bantams for the first time since 2007 and handed the three-time defending NESCAC champions their first opening-day loss since 1995. The down was a road trip to Williams College in week two, which resulted in a 44-8 loss to the Ephs. Then the Jumbos fell at home to undefeated Amherst last week in a tight 26-16 contest. 

Meanwhile, the Bobcats are trying to get healthy and are hungry for their first win of the Malik Hall era.


THE PARTICULARS:

What: Bates (0-3) vs. Tufts (1-2)

When: Saturday, Oct. 5, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field (Lewiston, Maine)

Live Coverage: Video | Stats

All-Time Series: Tufts leads 62-17-3

Previous Meeting: Tufts 47, Bates 14 (Sept. 29, 2018 in Somerville, Mass.)


TUFTS LAST WEEK:

Senior quarterback Ollie Eberth threw a pair of touchdown passes as visiting Amherst College held off Tufts University, 26-16, in a NESCAC football game Saturday at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field.

The undefeated Mammoths (3-0) entered what would turn out to be a wild fourth quarter with a 17-3 lead, including a 34-yard touchdown pass from Ebert to senior wide receiver James O'Regan in the second quarter.

The teams would combine for three touchdown passes of 60 yards or longer in the fourth, including two by Tufts (1-2) that got them back in the game.

Early in the final quarter, Jumbo graduate Frank Roche caught a pass over the middle from senior quarterback Jacob Carroll that looked like a good first down gain for the Jumbos. However, it turned into more as Roche fell on his defender and never touched the ground. He bounced up and raced 64 yards for a score that pulled Tufts within 17-9.

However, when Amherst took possession, just four plays into their drive Eberth zipped a pass to sophomore Daniel Dolan who won a one-on-one battle with his defender and went 70 yards for a touchdown. That put the Mammoths up 24-9 at 12:33 of the fourth. Tufts had costly penalty on a third and nine play prior to the touchdown, which gave the Mammoths a first down when they would have had to punt.

Incredibly, on the first play of the ensuing Jumbo drive, Carroll threw long to junior Brendan Dolan for a 75-yard touchdown that got Tufts within 24-16 with 12:22 still remaining in regulation.

In all, the three long touchdown passes came within six plays of each other and 2:22 of clock time.

Tufts would give Amherst the final two points of the game when the snap on a punt deep in their own territory went over freshman punter Patrick Walsh's head and through the back of the end zone for a safety at 9:32 of the fourth.

A pair of interceptions by Amherst senior Avery Safford aided the visitors in a major way. He picked off a pass in the end zone with just 40 seconds remaining in the first half that allowed the Mammoths to go into halftime with a 14-0 lead. His interception in the middle of the field with just four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter deflated the Jumbos' hopes. Senior John Bullard intercepted another Tufts pass with a minute remaining in regulation to seal the deal.

BATES LAST WEEK:

Senior Matt Golden and junior Jaason Lopez both scored rushing touchdowns in the Bates football team's 48-12 loss at undefeated Wesleyan Saturday afternoon. 

The Cardinals' defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) and held the Bobcats to 117 yards of offense with 53 through the air and 64 on the ground as they improved to 3-0. Following the loss, Bates dropped to 0-3.

Wesleyan received the opening kick but was forced to punt after five plays. On Bates' first play of the game, first-year quarterback Liam Foley (Foxboro, Mass.) was pressured and hit while throwing and Chase Pratt picked off the ball at the Bates-19 yard line. Three plays later, David Estevez powered through at the goal line from two yards out to give Wesleyan a 7-0 advantage with 10:51 on the clock.

Four drives later, the home team extended its lead when Estevez found a wide-open hole on the left side to run in from 13 yards out. Bates punted on its next drive as Wesleyan held a 14-0 advantage after the first.

On the very first play of the second quarter, Wesleyan receiver Matthew Simco beat his defender and quarterback Aston Scott found him in the center of the field as he hauled in a 31-yard touchdown. The Bobcats were forced to punt again and Wesleyan took over at its own-23. Eight plays later, kicker Mason Von Jess connected from 34 yards out to extend the lead to 24-0 with 6:32 remaining in the half.

After another Bobcat punt, Wesleyan scored three plays later when Scott found wide receiver Joe Scancarella in roughly the same spot as Simco earlier in the quarter, as Scancarella leaped up and hauled in a 32-yard touchdown with a cornerback all over him. Wesleyan took a 34-0 lead into halftime. 

Bates came out strong to start the second half and a 21-yard run by Lopez (Marblehead, Mass.) got the visitors to the Wesleyan-1. Two plays later, Lopez scored on a draw up the middle, but the extra-point was blocked by Ben Thaw.

The Cardinals responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive as running back Glenn Smith capped it off with a 10-yard rush, breaking tackles along the way. After back-to-back punts, Julian Ross intercepted a pass to conclude the third quarter. Wesleyan did not capitalize on the turnover but scored on its next drive when Smith rushed to the right, broke one tackle, and went 47 yards for a score. Smith's second TD of the game put Wesleyan ahead 48-6 with 10:30 remaining.

In the closing minutes, Golden (New Bedford, Mass.) scored on a three-yard rush but once again, the extra point was blocked as the Cardinals took over and knelt the ball.

BATES' AND TUFTS' LAST MEETING:

The Bates football team surprised Tufts' homecoming crowd by taking a 14-10 halftime lead, but the host Jumbos rolled over the Bobcats with 37 unanswered points in the second half for a 47-14 victory on Saturday, September 29, 2018.

Tufts quarterback Ryan McDonald led the Jumbos past the Bobcats for the second year in a row, throwing for 207 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 161 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, as Tufts outgained Bates 545 yards to 198.

Bates' defense played a strong first half but could not sustain the effort, while the offense struggled for all but two consecutive scoring drives in the second quarter.

Bates quarterback Brendan Costa (Westport, Mass.) completed 16-of-30 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown, and led the Bobcats in rushing with 30 yards on 19 carries. Wide receiver Kody Greenhalgh (Warwick, R.I.) caught six passes for 77 yards, including a spectacular touchdown grab, while Jackson Hayes (San Marino, Calif.) caught three passes for 47 yards.

A pass break-up by Devin Clyburn (New York, N.Y.) helped Bates force a punt on Tufts' first possession, and the defense stuffed the Jumbos from a 1st and goal from the 6-yard line situation on their following drive, holding them to a 25-yard field goal.

McDonald scrambled out of being thrown for a loss to pick up a 40-yard gain to set up Mike Pedrini's 9-yard touchdown run through a big hole in the line two plays later for a 10-0 Tufts lead with 1:21 left in the first quarter.

Bates was stopped for three-and-outs on its next three possessions while the defense held the Jumbos in check, and with 5:35 left in the second quarter a sack by Walter Washington (Rockland, N.Y.) on 4th and 9 returned the ball to the Bates offense at their own 30. Costa rushed for 15 yards to start the drive, then hit Hayes for back-to-back gains of 33 and nine yards, bringing Bates to the Tufts 23. Now in rhythm, Costa found Greenhalgh open for nine more yards on a slant route. Costa then handed off to Christian Sanfilippo (Gloucester, Mass.), who bounced between linemen Yanni Falaras (North Andover, Mass.) and Dan Marino (Marblehead, Mass.) for a 5-yard touchdown run, closing the gap to 10-7 with 3:19 left in the half.

Backup quarterback Ryan Hagfeldt replaced McDonald on Tufts' next drive, and with the Jumbos at midfield, Bates safety Anthony Costa (West Springfield, Mass.) broke in front of the intended receiver and picked off Hagfeldt's pass over the middle at the Bates 35, returning the ball 34 yards to the Tufts 31.

Bates quickly faced a 3rd and 8 at the Tufts 29. On play-action, Brendan Costa dropped back and lofted over the middle to the back of the end zone, where Greenhalgh fought off his defender before making an all-out dive to catch the ball as he fell out of the back of the end zone. After a dramatic second or two, the touchdown was signalled, and Justin Foley's (Lynnfield, Mass.) extra point gave the Bobcats a 14-10 lead with 1:28 to go in the half. Despite a 14-6 disadvantage in first downs at intermission, Bates surprised Tufts' homecoming crowd by owning the halftime lead. Tufts outgained Bates 221-148 in total offense in the half.

But the second half was all Tufts, as the hosts outscored Bates 30-0 while outgaining the visitors 324-50. The Jumbos drove 59 yards for a 34-yard field goal by Matt Alswanger on their opening drive of the half, then added touchdowns on their next four drives while taking the ball over near midfield on the last three of those possessions.

BATES' PROBABLE STARTERS:

MULTIPLE OFFENSE

LT 70 Matt Flanagan Sr. 6-6 313
LG 65 Josh Gendron Jr. 6-1 265
C  64 Jack O'Brien Sr. 6-1 249
RG 71 Nick Florio So. 5-11 270
RT 75 Julien Nicolas Jr. 6-3 288
TE 85 Isaiah Saunders Jr. 6-4 218
WR 1 Jackson Hayes So. 5-9 147
WR 88 Parker Smith Jr. 6-2 206
QB 8 Liam Foley Fy. 5-10 189
FB 15 Matt Golden Sr. 5-11 219
RB 5 Liam Spillane Jr. 6-1 217

3-4 DEFENSE

DE 49 Nolan Potter So. 6-2 227
NT 99 Ramon Ruiz Jr. 5-9 262
DE 44 Tim Simplicio So. 6-1 225
OLB 36 Mike Bulman So. 5-11 195
ILB 37 Peter Daley Sr. 6-0 211
ILB 53 Spencer Adams So. 5-11 216
OLB 33 Liam Greene Jr. 6-2 212
CB 21 Owen Straley So. 5-6 158
SS 6 Jon Lindgren Sr. 5-10 182
FS 18 Connor Hunt Jr. 5-11 178
CB 22 Devin Clyburn Jr. 6-0 202

SPECIALISTS

K 86 Simon Redfern So. 6-1 194
P 28 Tyler Bridge Fy. 6-3 209

TUFTS' PROBABLE STARTERS:

OFFENSE

QB 12 Jacob Carroll Sr. 6-2 195
RB 5 Mike Pedrini Jr. 5-11 205
WR 3 OJ Armstrong Jr. 5-9 155
WR 6 Frank Roche Gr. 6-2 190
WR 81 Brendan Dolan Jr. 5-11 180
TE 85 Jack Donohue Sr. 6-5 230
LT 57 Khalif Jeter Jr. 6-4 270
LG 67 Nick Kranjac Jr. 6-2 270
C 53 Mark Mulvaney Jr. 6-2 250
RG 75 Dylan Daisey Jr. 6-1 265
RT 52 Ciaran Hourhian So. 6-3 255
PK 49 Matt Alswanger Jr. 5-10 170

4-3 DEFENSE

DE 96 Kevin Quisumbing Sr. 6-4 240
DT 95 Tom Baker Sr. 6-4 255
DT 97 Conor Chepenik Sr. 6-2 260
DE 9 Jovan Nenadovic So. 6-3 220
LB 55 Stephen Timmins Sr. 6-1 220
LB 54 Greg Holt Sr. 5-10 210
LB 20 Tylor Scales Sr. 5-11 205
CB 1 Brandyn Jones So. 5-9 165
SS 15 Robert Jones Sr. 6-1 195
FS 24 Michael Mughetto Jr. 6-1 185
CB 2 Miles Shipp Sr. 6-1 195
P 98 Patrick Walsh Fy. 6-2 200