The Bates College football team (0-2) travels to the Hoosac Valley to battle the (1-1) Ephs of Williams College. The Bobcats are coming off a 15-7 loss in the rain to the Tufts Jumbos, while the Ephs had a late lead slip away in a 26-21 loss to Trinity.
The Bobcats are looking to improve upon an offense that was unable to score a touchdown last week against the Jumbos. The Bobcats showed signs of promise in moving the ball, especially on the ground, where they totaled 133 rushing yards, the team’s highest total in almost two years. Meanwhile the Bobcats look to keep up their stout pass defense for a third consecutive week.
Williams will seek to bounce back after a difficult loss last week, in which Trinity recovered an onside kick and capitalized with the winning score. The Ephs have inflicted come-from-behind wins on Bates in recent years, so the Bobcats will look to avenge those with a win on Saturday.
The Ephs will look to keep up a stout run game led by Ryan Lupo, who currently leads the NESCAC with 186 yards through two games. The Ephs also look to keep up a solid scoring offense that is averaging a very respectable 22 points per game.
The Ephs are currently ranked sixth in the NESCAC while being the second most efficient defense against the pass. The Ephs are currently allowing 190 yards of offense per game.
The Bobcats are hoping to carry over the effective rushing attack they found against Tufts last week into this week’s contest against Williams. Last week the Bobcats gained 133 yards on the ground, led by “Wildcat” quarterback Tom Beaton and senior tailback Judd Smith, who combined for 100 yards on 15 carries, for an average of 6.6 yards per carry. Likewise the Bobcats are looking to boost an pass offense that amassed 148 yards through the air on 14 completions last week. Seniors Matt Gregg and Sean Wirth accounted for all of sophomore quarterback Ryan Katon’s completions in Week 2.
While submitting an overall solid performance last week, the Bobcat defense again has ways to improve, in particular by not allowing a momentum changing plays that seemed to take the wind out of their sails last week. The Bobcats are currently last in the conference in rush defense at 178 yards a game and looks to reduce this number. Meanwhile they are currently ranked a robust second in the conference in pass defense, thanks in part to a backfield led by captain Kyle McAllister and rising standout cornerback Cam Evans.
The Bobcats also want to take care of the football this week against the Ephs to maintain their lead in the NESCAC in average turnover margin (+2.00). If the Bobcats can take care of the football this weekend and slow down Williams’ rushing attack, they may have what it takes to bring home the “W” this week.