SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- The Bates football team jumped out to second-half leads of 28-10 and 31-16 and rushed for 309 yards in a 31-23 victory at Tufts University's Ellis Oval/Zimman Field on Saturday, the Bobcats' third straight win over the Jumbos.
While Bates (1-1) outrushed Tufts 309-7 -- the Bobcats' most yards on the ground since amassing 339 on Nov. 2, 2002 against Bowdoin -- the Jumbos (0-2) turned to the air a team-record 71 times, with John Dodds completing 40 of 70 tosses for 363 yards. Dodds was picked off three times by the Bobcats, including one by senior Joe Dell'Erario (Weston, Mass.) that was returned 60 yards up the sideline for a touchdown to put Bates ahead 21-3 in the second quarter.
Five Bates backs ran for 44 yards or more, led by senior quarterback Trevor Smith (Malvern, Pa.), who ran 24 keepers for a net of 88 yards, a personal record, with a touchdown. Smith threw 16 passes and completed eight of them for 78 yards. He was intercepted once and sacked three times.
Senior Patrick George (Gloucester, Mass.; 14 carries, 64 yards, 1 TD), senior Teddy Downs (South Boston, Mass.; 7 carries, 48 yards), sophomore Mac Jackson (Hood River, Ore.; 7 carries, 45 yards) and junior Ryan Curit (South Portland, Maine; 6 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD) combined for 201 more rushing yards on 34 carries.
Bates took the opening kickoff after Tufts won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Bobcats wasted little time, driving 71 yards in three minutes and 49 seconds to take a 7-0 lead on a Trevor Smith seven-yard touchdown run. Smith was one of four different Bobcats to carry the ball on the drive.
Tufts was unsuccessful moving the ball on the ensuing possession, and following a Marty Finnegan punt Bates took over at its own 39. Twelve rushes and a pass play later, George blasted in from the 2 for the score and a 14-0 Bobcat advantage.
Tufts answered on the next drive with a 40-yard field goal from Connor McDavitt 18 seconds into the second quarter. The three-pointer was the first of McDavitt's college career.
Bates again drove the length of the field on its next possession until Smith's pass to the end zone was picked off by Jumbo Vincent Lee.
Tufts returned the turnover on the next possession, as Zack Trause fumbled after making a pass reception from Dodds. Tufts forced a three and out on the ensuing possession and regained the ball following a punt on its own 23. The Jumbos drove to the Bates 47, but Dodds was intercepted by senior Dell'Erario, who returned the pick 60 yards for a 21-3 Bobcat lead at 4:21 of the second quarter.
Tufts answered with a 71-yard drive late in the half as Marcel Pitre drove in from the one with 47 seconds on the clock, making it 21-10. The key play on the drive was a 16-yard completion from Dodds to Finnegan on third and 5 from the Tufts 45.
Tufts was unable to move the ball on its first possession following the second-half kickoff, and Bates took advantage of the short field with a five-play, 43-yard drive to go up 28-10 in just 1:25. Curit scored from the 2.
Tufts rallied in the fourth, getting on the board again on a second Pitre 1-yard run to pull within 28-16, but the two-point conversion pass failed.
A 26-yard field goal by junior Charlie Donahue (Plymouth, N.H.) on the following Bobcat possession, his second in as many games, gave Bates a 31-16 lead with 5:32 remaining in the fourth.
After an exchange of fumbles, Tufts took the ball at the Bates 33. Pitre scored his third touchdown of the game with 1:32 left in the game to bring the Jumbos within 31-23, but the onside kickoff was recovered by Bates, and the Bobcats ran out the clock on four running plays.
Tufts senior Dylan Haas finished with 12 receptions for 99 yards.
Bates had a slight edge in total offense, piling up 387 total yards to 370 for the Jumbos. Senior linebacker Josh Chronopoulos (Tyngsboro, Mass.) led Bates with a career-high 11 tackles and forced a fumble. Dell'Erario added seven tackles, and sophomore Gilbert Brown (Gloucester, Mass.) added six tackles and another big play, a strip sack of Dodds
Bates will host Williams in Lewiston on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1pm at Garcelon Field, as part of Parents & Family Weekend.