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Football Preview: Bobcats clash with evenly matched Cardinals

Bates College (0-3) at Wesleyan University (2-1)
Oct. 13, 2007, 1 p.m.

Andrus Field in Middletown, Conn.

The game can be heard free via Teamline and also viewed via Wesleyan's webcast. Please click here for details on how to see/hear the game.

Quarterback Brandon Colon '08 and the Bobcats face fellow senior QB Zach Librizzi and the Cardinals at Wesleyan.

The Cardinals are on a two-game win streak and are poised to enter into the upper-half of the NESCAC standings with a home win over Bates.  After beating Colby last week with a score of 23-14 and squeaking out a 10-9 win on the road against Hamilton the previous week, the Cardinals will now, in their third home game of the season, try to match their total number of wins from last year. With 11 returning starters and 33 returning letterman, Wesleyan wouldn't mind a repeat of last season's thrilling, 17-14 overtime win against the Bobcats at Garcelon Field.

The Bobcats, on the other hand, are primed for their first win of the season after a heartbreaking 31-26 loss against Williams last week in which the offense was moving the ball well as Brandon Colon threw for three touchdown passes in the game.  The Bates offense has really started to find its stride as of late as they have scored a combined 46 points in their previous two contests.

Bates has four wins against 21 losses over the history of Bates-Wesleyan football games, dating back to the teams’ first meeting in 1923.  The past two meeting between these teams have been extremely close games with Bates pulling out a 30-29 overtime win in 2005 and Wesleyan squeaking out last year's 17-14 overtime win in Lewiston.

Chris Helsel kicked a game-ending, 27-yard field goal in overtime to give the Cardinals a 17-14 victory over Bates College on Oct. 14, 2006 at Garcelon Field. Helsel had missed two fourth-quarter attempts, a 31-yarder with 5:20 left and a 25-yarder that was blocked by Anthony Begon with 3:25 left in regulation.

Wesleyan outgained Bates 334 yards to 203, as wide receivers Ryan Walsh and Danny Granatell each amassed over 100 yards of receiving. Zach Librizzi completed 17 of 43 passes for 228 yards, and scored a go-ahead touchdown with a 1-yard plunge to give Wesleyan a 14-7 lead going into halftime.

Bates' Shawki White picked off a Zach Canter pass in the first quarter and streaked down the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown return to give Bates a 7-0 lead. QB Brandon Colon (16-for-39, 145 yards, 1 INT) evened the game with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

Jamie Walker (Needham, Mass.) rushed 21 times for a game-high 73 yards. Librizzi rushed 22 times for 51 yards, while Phil Banks rushed 15 times for 14 yards, including a 2-yard score that tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. 

The season before, playing at Trinity College due to flooding at Andrus Field, 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.

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 the kicker Helsel, but it fell incomplete, ending the game.

Wesleyan's Shea Dwyer scored the first TD of his career on a three-yard misdirection sweep to the left at 4:30 of the first quarter to give homestanding Wesleyan a 6-0 lead (the extra point was blocked) and added two more TDs by game's end to lead the Cardinals to a 23-14 victory over the Colby Mules.

Bates began the game last weekend on fire as they scored 20 straight unanswered points and took a 20-7 lead into halftime.  But Williams, after a hard-fought three-overtime loss to Trinity last week, came roaring back to take a 25-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.  Not to be outdone, the Bobcats came right back and took the lead once again after a 27-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Tom Beaton with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter.  However, a 51-yard touchdown connection from Pat Lucey to Nick Caro with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter would be the game's final scoring play as the Ephs held on for a 31-26 victory. 

Bates sophomore Kyle McAllister recorded 10 tackles in the game, including 1.5 tackles for lost yardage and a 21-yard interception return, while senior Todd Wilcox made a team-high 11 tackles. The sophomore receiving tandem of Matt Gregg and Beaton caught a combined six passes from Colon (14-for-29, 172 yards, 3 TD) for a total of 96 yards and two touchdowns, including a touchdown connection in the fourth quarter that gave the lead back to the Bobcats.

2007 Bates Schedule/Results
9/22     AMHERST       L, 0-24

9/29     TUFTS *           L, 20-35

10/6     @ Williams     L, 26-31

10/13   @ Wesleyan   1 p.m.

10/20   MIDDLEBURY   1 p.m.

10/27   @ Colby           1 p.m.

11/3     BOWDOIN **     12:30 p.m.

11/10   @ Hamilton   12 p.m.

* Parents & Family Weekend

** Homecoming Weekend


Scoring: Bates 15.3 ppg/Wesleyan 14.3 ppg

Opposition Scoring: Bates 30.0 ppg/Wesleyan 15.7 ppg

Rushing Offense: Bates 64.0 ypg/Wesleyan 80.7 ypg

Passing Offense: Bates 167.3 ypg/Wesleyan 256.7 ypg

Total Offense: Bates 231.3 ypg/Wesleyan 337.3 ypg

Rushing Defense: Bates 196.0 ppg/Wesleyan 143.0 ypg

Pass Defense: Bates 196.3 ypg/Wesleyan 179.7 ypg

Total Defense: Bates 392.3 ypg/Wesleyan 322.7 ypg

Turnover Margin: Bates 0.0/Wesleyan 0.0

Hamilton (0-3) at Bowdoin (1-2), 12 p.m.: Continentals traveled to Trinity last weekend, only to be followed by their longest road trip of the season this week. Bowdoin has lost two straight after upsetting Williams in Week 1.

Amherst (2-1) at Colby (0-3), 1 p.m.: Mules put 14 points on the scoreboard after opening with consecutive shutout losses, but couldn't upend Wesleyan. Amherst's league title hopes took a 19-16 hit at home vs. Middlebury.

Williams (1-2) at Middlebury (3-0), 1:30 p.m.: Hoping to win out the remainder of their schedule, the defending league champion Ephs would like nothing better than to deal the Panthers their first loss.

Trinity (3-0) at Tufts (3-0), 1:30 p.m.: Two of the NESCAC's three remaining unbeaten teams square off at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field.