Football Game Preview: Hamiton College Continentals (3-4) at Bates College Bobcats (1-6)
|Kyle McAllister and the Bates defense would like to force a few turnovers against Hamilton, as they did in the Bobcats' win over Colby.|
November 8, 2008 -- 12 p.m.
Watch and listen to the game live on BatesCast.com! Al Harvie '65 and Ryan Horvath '10 will have the call live at Garcelon Field.
Entering this week’s season finale, following a disappointing 55-14 loss to Bowdoin, the Bobcats host the 2-5 Hamilton Continentals. Bates hasn’t lost to Hamilton since the 2003 season, and the Bobcats hope to regain regroup after allowing 595 yards of total offense to Bowdoin.
In the midst of the offensive deluge, sophomore linebacker Myles Walker recorded a game high 11 tackles — the second time this season Walker has recorded double digits in tackles. Leading the way for the offense was junior QB/WR Tom Beaton. Beaton accounted for nearly 40% of Bates’ total offense, including a perfect 3 for 3 passing. He also led the Bobcats in rushing, accruing 31 yards and a score on six carries — good for 5.2 yards per tote. Senior wide receiver Mark Flaherty also had a standout performance for the Bobcats, catching three balls for 35 yards and recording his second touchdown of the year by means of a 25-yard pass from first-year quarterback Ryan Katon.
Hamilton, too, is coming off a heart-wrenching loss, a 31-28 decision to the Middlebury Panthers. A field goal with 11 seconds remaining gave Middlebury, who was without starting QB Donald McKillop, its only lead of the game and a victory in the “Old Rocking Chair Classic.” The Continentals held an eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter of the contest, orchestrated by freshman quarterback Jordan Eck, only to see the Panthers score 18 fourth-quarter points and seal the win. Eck’s arm accounted for 21 of Hamilton’s 28 points, completing 21 passes for 209 yards and three scores, all to different wide receivers. Eck will look to replicate his performance against Middlebury to stop the Bobcats from making it five straight.
BATES’ KEYS TO THE GAME
Throughout the season the Bobcats have shown signs of success in many different aspects of their game, whether it be offensively or defensively, through the air or on the ground. Sustaining success on the game’s different phases consistently has been the challenge. In order to close the season on the right note they will need to put both offense and defense together. The offense will need to display the prowess they did against Williams in order to control the Continentals’ fourth-ranked defense. The defense, meanwhile, looks to harken back to their 10-turnover performance against Colby, in order to contain Hamilton and their seventh-ranked offense.
Stop the Run, Force Mistakes
The key to disrupting a talented young offense like Hamilton can be to expose their inexperience. The Continental offense predominately relies on the passing game, with roughly a 70-30 split in favor of passing plays. By taking away the NESCAC’s fourth-rated rusher, sophomore Mark Snickerberger, the Bobcats can force the young Eck to beat them.
Player to Watch: Junior defensive back Kyle McAllister, coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him lead the NESCAC in interceptions, hopes to make a clear statement for All-NESCAC honors as he enters the week eighth in the conference in tackles per game with 8 and with two NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week honors already.
HAMILTON’S KEYS TO THE GAME
When coming off a last-second loss, the initial reaction can often be to dejection and lost confidence, particularly for a young team like Hamilton. First-year gunslinger Jordan Eck will need to exhibit resilience as he attempts to guide his team to bounce back. Eck accounts for over 50% of the Hamilton total offense (154 yards per game), ranking eighth in this category in the conference. The young passer’s favorite target is sophomore wide receiver Scott Kleinklaus, who hauls in 5.8 passes for 56.7 yards per game, third and eighth, respectively, in the NESCAC. Bates’ defense will have their hands full with this duo and it will be up to senior captain linebacker Coleman Peeke, the 10th-ranked tackler in the conference, to muster up some key third-down stops against this No. 2-rated third-down offense.
As was evident at Bowdoin, the means to disrupting a pass-heavy offense like Bates’ is pressure. Hamilton boasts the second-rated pass rush in the conference, with 18 sacks this year. Pressure forces ill-advised decisions which could be instrumental for the Hamilton, considering that junior defensive back John Lawrence, who leads the NESCAC with six interceptions, will be prowling around the defensive backfield. The Bates offensive line has fared well against most teams’ pass rushes this year, allowing the opponent to get to Katon twice a game.
Player to Watch: Senior linebacker Trevor Pedrick ranks fourth in the conference in tackles per game with 8.9.
AROUND THE NESCAC
Williams (5-2) at Amherst (5-2): “The Biggest Little Game in America” pits league-leading rusher Brian Morrissey and the Ephs against their fierce rival in the Lord Jeffs.
Trinity (7-0) at Wesleyan (1-6): Although Trinity has already secured the outright NESCAC title, senior quarterback Eric McGrath looks to preserve the Bantams’ undefeated season against the in-state rival Cardinals.
Tufts (4-3) at Middlebury (4-3): Sophomore quarterback Donald McKillop is 84 yards shy of breaking Sean Keenan of Williams’ all-time NESCAC record for passing yards in a season, set in 1999.
Bowdoin (3-4) at Colby (3-4): All-purpose quarterback Oliver Kell and the Polar Bears seek their third straight CBB title against the Mules.