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Football Preview: Bates looks to start its own win streak vs. Tufts

Kevin Helm '12 makes one of his 12 tackles during Bates' season opener against Amherst at Garcelon Field. Bates' defense held the normally potent Amherst offense to just one short touchdown drive last Saturday.

LEWISTON, Maine -- On Saturday at 1 p.m., as part of Bates Parents & Family Weekend, the Bobcat football team hopes to create a win streak of its own in the venerable Bates-Tufts football rivalry, which dates back to 1875 and the first college football game in Maine.

Check Bates' page at First Team Broadcasting to tune in. Also follow along with the game via Live Stats.

Bates and Tufts' Last Meeting

After many close games and close calls over the years, Bates beat Tufts on Oct. 2, 2010, for the first time since 1985, by a 21-20 score in Somerville, Mass. The win snapped a 24-game streak of frustration against the Jumbos.

Gavin Segall-Abrams '11 capped off a monster fourth-quarter drive for Bates, in which the Bobcats moved 85 yards over 21 plays in nearly nine minutes of the game clock, with a 19-yard field goal for the winning three points with 3:14 left in the fourth quarter. Jared Jammal '11 rushed eight times in the drive for 29 big yards, out of his 11 carries in the game, including a crucial three-yard pickup for a first down on 4th-and-2.

Cam Evans '12 (Norwell, Mass.) picked off one of Tufts quarterback Anthony Fuccillo's 71 pass attempts on Tufts' ensuing possession. The Jumbos got the ball back one more time, starting at their own 11 with 1:19 left, but Myles Walker '11 intercepted Fucillo at the Bates 38 with 12 seconds left on the clock, sealing the historic victory.

Bates quarterback Ryan Katon '12 completed 17 of 33 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, both to John Squires '12 (Swampscott, Mass.), who hauled in nine passes for 149 yards in a career-best day. The Bates defense held Tufts to just 20 rushing yards, but the Jumbos passed for 341 yards. Fucillo completed 35 of 71 pass attempts for 341 yards and two touchdowns, but he was intercepted four times. Greg Stewart totaled 13 receptions for 126 yards.

Bates Last Week

Last Saturday in Lewiston, Kevin Ferber returned a Bates fumble 62 yards for a touchdown as time expired on the first half, changing the complexion of a game the Bobcats had controlled for the most part, and Amherst went on to win 20-7 in the season opener.

The score was tied at 7-7 and Bates had the ball at Amherst's 25 with one play left on the game clock in the second quarter. As quarterback Trevor Smith (Malvern, Pa.) rolled to his left, he was sacked from his blind side and stripped of the ball at the Amherst 30 by Mike Aldo. Ferber was there to scoop up the ball and outrun the only Bobcat who had a chance of catching him, Bates junior running back Patrick George (Gloucester, Mass.), up the right sideline for the go-ahead touchdown. Amherst went into intermission with a 14-7 lead, despite a 12-4 Bates advantage in first downs, a 19:07 to 10:53 edge in time of possession and a 183-113 edge in total offense.

Amherst added a pair of field goals by Matt Rawson to its lead in the second half, a 38-yarder in the third quarter and a 42-yarder in the fourth quarter. The Lord Jeffs ran the ball 33 times for 150 yards in the second half to salt away the clock, while Bates was forced to punt five times and turned the ball over on three other possessions in the second half.

For Bates, Smith completed 24 of 41 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown -- a 6-yard scoring connection with sophomore Kevin Davis (North Andover, Mass.), Davis's first collegiate score. But Smith was also sacked six times and picked off twice.

John Squires totaled seven catches for 89 yards to lead all receivers, while George gained 63 yards on the ground, including 50 in the first half. After rushing for 43 yards on 22 carries in the first half, Bates' running game dwindled to produce just five yards in the second half on 14 carries.

Cam Evans had two timely interceptions for Bates in addition to 10 tackles, while sophomore Andrew Kukesh (Exeter, N.H.) had a game-high 13 tackles (9 solo) and senior Kevin Helm added 12 more (9 solo). Junior Kyle Starr (Concord, N.H.) also had an interception to go with five solo tackles. Bates held Amherst to just 83 yards passing in the game.

Tufts Last Week

Last week in Clinton, N.Y., Hamilton's Jordan Eck threw for two touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the Continentals to a 24-16 win over Tufts. The Continentals won their season opener for the first time since 1992, and defeated Tufts for the first time in their past 10 meetings, dating back to 1991. Eck finished 29 of 33 for 260 yards with no interceptions and three touchdowns.

Tufts senior QB Johnny Lindquist threw for 215 yards and a touchdown and ran for 46 yards for the Jumbos. Lindquist completed 19 passes on 32 attempts, and didn't throw an interception. Sophomore Ryan Pollock carried the ball 20 times for 70 yards and one score. Sophomore Pat Nee had a team-high five receptions, and junior Dylan Haas led all players with 82 yards receiving.

Tufts senior J.T. Rinciari was credited with 11 tackles, and senior Zack Skarzynski added eight.