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Football Preview: Bates looks to beat Wesleyan a third straight time

Wesleyan University (1-2) at Bates College (0-3)
Oct. 14, 2006, 1 p.m.

Garcelon Field, Lewiston, Maine

OUTLOOK
The Cardinals have already improved on last year's win total with their 7-0 win over Hamilton two weeks ago. But perhaps more impressively, Wesleyan lost at Middlebury by only three points (10-7) in its season opener, and lost at Colby by only three points (24-21) last week. This will be their third road game out of four contests this season, and 19 starters from last year's overtime loss to Bates are return players.

Bates will have no trouble being hungry for a win. The Bobcats felt they let victory slip away two weeks ago at Tufts, and but for a disastrous eight-minute stretch they played well against league leader Williams last week. The Bobcats have been successful defending the run, allowing the opposition just 2.1 yards per carry, but need to better establish their own running game (1.9 per carry).

THE SERIES
Bates has four wins against 20 losses over the history of Bates-Wesleyan football games, dating back to the teams’ first meeting in 1923. Bates has won the past two meetings with the Cardinals.

LAST MEETING

Jamie Walker's
touchdown run and a failed extra-point attempt by Wesleyan catapulted Bates to its first victory of the season, a 30-29 decision in overtime on Oct. 15, 2005.

Walker broke free and untouched for a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime, and Tyler Schmelz hit the point-after to give Bates (1-3) a 30-23 lead.

Wesleyan (0-4) answered with its own touchdown on a two-yard run by Phil Banks (21 rushes, 83 yards), but on the extra point attempt, the snap was fumbled by holder Doug Collins. Collins picked up the ball and tossed it into the end zone to kicker Chris Heisel, but it fell incomplete, ending the game.

The Cardinals had tied the game with a touchdown and extra point with nine seconds remaining in regulation, a 2-yard pass from Zach Librizzi to Blake Curry.

Bates came back from deficits of 13-0 and 16-6 to seize its first lead of the game, 23-16, on a 30-yard touchdown connection from Brandon Colon to wide receiver Dylan MacNamara.

It was the second touchdown of the day for MacNamara, who finished with seven receptions for 84 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Colon completed 16 of 32 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Walker finished with 100 yards on 19 carries for Bates.

A defensive play highlighted the first half for Bates. With 3:05 left in the second quarter, Terence Ryan sacked Librizzi, causing a fumble at the Wesleyan 12-yard line. Linebacker Dave Bodger recovered the ball and ran it into the end zone to put the Bobcats on the scoreboard.

Todd Wilcox spearheaded the defense with 13 tackles, including three sacks, and an interception. Ron DiGravio also had 13 tackles.

The game was played at Trinity College, due to Wesleyan's flooded home field.

The Cardinals proceeded to go 0-8, their first winless season since 1894.

WESLEYAN LAST TIME OUT
Colby kicker Brian Bachow kicked a 22-yard field goal with :26 left in the fourth quarter to break a 21-21 tie and propel Colby to a 24-21 victory at home vs. Wesleyan.

Wesleyan took the ensuing kickoff, which was returned 27 yards by senior Joe Pepe to the Wesleyan 46 and got a 23-yard completion from junior QB Zach Librizzi to grad student Matt Barnum to the Colby 31 with :06 to go.  With a timeout remaining, Librizzi threw a quick pass which was caught at the Colby 25 by sophomore Ryan Walsh with :02 left, setting up what could have been a game-tying 42-yard field goal, but Wesleyan was flagged for ineligible man downfield, forcing Librizzi to throw a final desperation pass which was intercepted in the end zone.

Librizzi connected on 18 of 39 attempts for 232 yards for Wesleyan.

BATES LAST TIME OUT
Bates lost its home opener 27-7 to Williams on Parents & Family Weekend. The Bobcats played an exciting first half, rolling up 228 yards of offense and taking a 7-3 lead into the intermission. But Williams, one week removed from erasing Trinity’s 31-game winning streak with a 41-16 victory, adjusted well in the second half, holding Bates without a first down and to just 19 yards of offense while pouring on 24 points in a span of less than eight minutes of the third quarter.

Bates freshman wide receiver Matt Gregg caught five passes from junior quarterback Brandon Colon (13-for-37, 200 yards) for 128 yards, including a 51-yard connection in the second quarter that took Bates to the Williams 1-yard line. Senior Jamie Walker (16 rushes, 38 yards) pounded it in for the score to put Bates ahead 7-3.

2006 Bates Schedule/Results
9/23     @ Amherst       L, 6-31

9/30     @ Tufts            L, 12-21

10/7     WILLIAMS*     1 p.m.

10/14   WESLEYAN   1 p.m.

10/21   @ Middlebury   1 p.m.

10/28   COLBY**           1 p.m.

11/4     @ Bowdoin      12:30 p.m.

11/11   HAMILTON   12 p.m.

* Parents & Family Weekend

** Homecoming Weekend

WESLEYAN PROBABLE STARTERS

Cardinals Offense
OT #65 Andrew Erlagen

OG #71 Brett Valentine

C #68 Bobby Rosenthal

OG #77 Steve Cohen

OT #70 Corey Baker

TE #23 Garth Mitchell

QB #12 Zach Librizzi

FB #40  Teray Tucker

TB #20 Phil Banks

WR #9 Mark Noonan

WR #19 Matt Barnum

Cardinals Defense
DE #63 Tom Addonizio

NG  #99 John Harding

DE  #89 Brian Smithson

OLB  #43 Pete Overman

ILB  #5 Quincy Francis

ILB  #45  Tim O'Callaghan

OLB  #50  Brian Mahr

CB  #24  Andrew Fiola

CB  #3 Joe Pepe

FS  #2 Jeff McLaren

SS  #11 Brian Valerio

Cardinals Specialists
K #28 Chris Helsel

P #14 AJ Taucher

BATES PROBABLE STARTERS

BOBCATS OFFENSE
QB #14 Brandon Colon

RB  #39 Jamie Walker

FB  #37 Adam Poplaski

TE  #82 Ross Van Horn

LT  #54 Ryan Wimberly

LG  #72 Matt Lopez

C  #58 John MacKenzie

RG  #67 Brian Machunski   

RT #64 Chris Ward

WR  #11 Dylan MacNamara

WR  #12 Dave Philbrook


BOBCATS DEFENSE
DE  #90 Terence Ryan  

DT  #94 Eric Obeng     

DT  #95 Chris Robinson

DE  #43 Anthony Begon

ILB   #57 Todd Wilcox  

ILB  #51 Graham Raymond

OLB  #32 Ron DiGravio

ROV  #40 Coleman Peeke

CB  #1 Shawki White

FS  #2 Adam Kayce

CB  #9 Kevin Reyes

BOBCATS SPECIALISTS

K #21 Zach Demma/#7 Andrew Johnson

LS #51 Graham Raymond

P #52 Chris Hertz/#17 Tom Beaton

WESLEYAN STATISTICAL LEADERS

PASSING
Zach Librizzi (49-for-107/628 yds/5 INT/0 TD)

RUSHING
Phil Banks (42 att./128 yds./2 TD)

Zach Librizzi (23 att./24 yds./0 TD)

RECEIVING
Mark Noonan (18 rec./240 yds./0 TD)

Ryan Walsh (12 rec./190 yds./0 TD)

Matt Barnum (11 rec./146 yds./0 TD)

SPECIAL TEAMS
Chris Helsel (0-0 FG/5-5 PAT)

AJ Taucher (19 punts/38.0 avg.)

Matt Barnum (7 PR/3.9 avg.)

Joe Pepe (5 KR/12.8 avg.)

BATES STATISTICAL LEADERS

PASSING
Brandon Colon (40-for-97/478 yds./6 INT/1 TD)

RUSHING

Jamie Walker (58 att./151 yds./2 TD)

Greg Thornton (14 att./56 yds./0 TD)

RECEIVING

Dylan MacNamara (17 rec./119 yds./0 TD)

Matt Gregg (13 rec./239 yds./0 TD)

Ross Van Horn (6 rec./67 yds./0 TD)

SPECIAL TEAMS
Zach Demma (2-2 FG/0-2 PAT)

Chris Hertz (15 punts/28.9 avg.)

Tom Beaton (6 punts/30.0 avg.)

Jason Starrett (7 KR/18.4 avg.)

WESLEYAN VS. BATES STATISTICAL COMPARISON

Scoring: Wesleyan 11.7 avg./Bates 8.3 avg

Opp. Scoring: Wesleyan 11.3 avg./Bates 26.3 avg.

First Downs: Wesleyan 41/Bates 32

Rushing Offense: Wesleyan 53.7 ypg/Bates 53.3 ypg

Passing Offense: Wesleyan 220.3 ypg/Bates 161.3 ypg

Total Offense: Wesleyan 274.0 yards per game/Bates 214.7 ypg

Rushing Defense: Wesleyan 109.7 ypg/Bates 75.3 ypg

Passing Defense: Wesleyan 193.7 ypg/Bates 222.0 ypg

Total Defense: Wesleyan 303.3 ypg/Bates 297.3 ypg

THIS WEEK IN THE NESCAC
Bowdoin at Hamilton, 12 p.m.

Colby at Amherst, 1 p.m.

Wesleyan at Bates, 1 p.m.

Middlebury at Williams, 1:30 p.m.

Tufts at Trinity, 1:30 p.m.

Honored Players Face Off

Matt Gregg won NESCAC Rookie of the Week honors last week, after following his seven-catch, 99-yard performance against Tufts with a five-catch, 128-yard game against Williams. Those two games each represent the top performances by a rookie receiver in Mark Harriman’s eight-plus-year tenure as head coach at Bates. On the other side of the field, Wesleyan senior defensive back Joe Pepe won NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week. Pepe made nine tackles, seven of which were solo, forced a fumble, intercepted a pass in the end zone and broke up a pass at Colby. Pepe also scored a rushing touchdown and returned four kickoffs for 63 yards.

Librizzi Piles Up the Yardage

Through three games, Wesleyan junior quarterback Zach Librizzi leads the NESCAC in passing average, with 209.3 yards per game, and total offense, with 217.3 yards per game. Yet Librizzi has no touchdown passes thus far with five interceptions, and his completion percentage is at 45.8 (49-for-107). Librizzi’s primary target, junior Mark Noonan, is second in the league with 6.00 receptions for 80.0 yards per game.

Sack Race

Bates defensive end Terence Ryan is less than a year removed from tying the NESCAC record for sacks in a season, with 10.5. But we’re only three-eighths of the way through the 2006 season and that record has nearly fallen by the wayside already. Middlebury senior Kevin Ryan, who recorded only 1.0 sacks in 2005, has already racked up 9.5 to set a Panthers record.

Last Thought

The three teams that have defeated Bates thus far – Amherst, Tufts and Williams – are a combined 8-1 entering today’s games. The Cardinals’ opponents, Middlebury, Hamilton and Colby, are a combined 4-5.