The annual meeting between Bates and Bowdoin, the 10th-oldest rivalry in college football, always means a great deal to both teams. But this Saturday's game, set to kick off at 12:30 at Whittier Field in Brunswick, means a little bit more than usual to Bates.
If Bates wins, it will be the third time in four years the Bobcats have vanquished the Polar Bears, and it will clinch Bates' first outright CBB title since 2002. A win would also guarantee the Bobcats their first .500 or better season since 1999 and keep sustain the drive for their first winning season since 1981.
Bates Last Week
An unforgiving defense and the quick feet of Shawn Doherty took the Bates football team a long way on Homecoming Saturday. Bates outgained Colby 288-14 on the ground and 412-151 overall en route to a 31-6 win at Garcelon Field, spoiling the return of Bates alum Jonathan Michaeles '92, who is in his first year as Colby’s head coach.
Doherty ran for a 45-yard touchdown in the third quarter, then turned a screen pass from Trevor Smith into a 50-yard touchdown seven minutes later, opening up a 24-0 lead with 12:50 left in the fourth quarter.
Bates controlled possession for over 10 minutes in both the second and fourth quarters, helping to preserve a 10-0 lead going into halftime and cutting down Colby’s chances for a comeback late in the game. The Mules were unable to score until 6:48 remained in the fourth quarter, when Justin Ciero hit Indigo Dow for a 5-yard passing touchdown.
Smith carried the ball a career-high 30 times for a net of 93 yards and one touchdown. He also completed 10 of 14 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, though he was sacked four times and fumbled the ball away three times.
Ciero completed 18 of 40 passes with two interceptions and a touchdown. He was also sacked four times, and he fumbled the ball away twice. Dow led all receivers with five catches for 69 yards and a score.
The first half, and the beginning of the second half, were riddled with turnovers and penalties on both sides. Fifteen penalties were charged altogether in the first half, accounting for 156 yards. In the end, Bates was penalized 13 times for 142 yards, and Colby was flagged 10 times for 92 yards. There were also eight fumbles in the game, five by the Bobcats.
Gilbert Brown had a team-high eight tackles and also broke up two passes to lead an excellent defensive effort by the Bobcats. John Durkin had three tackles for a loss among his six takedowns. Gaither added five tackles with a fumble recovery, a batted pass and three quarterback hurries. Andrew Kukesh made his fourth interception of the season.
Bowdoin Last Week
Trailing 14-0 after 10:50 of play in the first quarter, Wesleyan went on to score 34 unanswered point to pull away from visiting Bowdoin and post a 34-14 victory. Wesleyan is now assured of its first winning record in 10 years.
Wesleyan took the lead for good with 44 seconds left before halftime, on LaDarius Drew's a 21-yard run that put Wesleyan ahead, 17-14.
Bowdoin built its 14-0 lead by scoring on its opening two drives of the day, the first a methodical 82-yard march on 14 plays that consumed 5:39. The TD came on a play-action pass from three yards out. After forcing Wesleyan to go three-and-out for the second straight series, Bowdoin again marched to the end zone, this time on just five plays covering 71 yards. The big play was a 62-yard connection over the middle from Thomas Romero to Matt Perlow. A four-yard run made it 14-0 with 4:10 left in the first period. At that point, Bowdoin had a 138-7 edge in total offense. Wesleyan then outgained its visitor 447-216 over the remaining 49:10 to come away a winner. Wesleyan generated 454 yards of offense while Bowdoin had 354.
Last Year's Meeting
Bates held Bowdoin’s offense scoreless and to just 168 total yards in a dominating 24-2 win over the Polar Bears on Nov. 5, 2011 at Garcelon Field. The win was Bates’ second over Bowdoin in a span of three years, and gave the Bobcats their third win for the first time since the 2002 season, meanwhile snapping a three-game skid.
Bowdoin went on to defeat Colby in Week 8, effectively splitting CBB bragging rights among all three teams, each with a 1-1 head-to-head record against one another.
Bowdoin scored its lone two points on a defensive PAT runback by Beau Breton, after the Polar Bears blocked Bates’ extra-point kick attempt in the first quarter.
Patrick George ran for three touchdowns for Bates, while Trevor Smith shook off a second-quarter injury to run for a game-high 77 yards and completed 11 of 20 passes for 146 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to John Squires '12 in the first quarter. Squires finished with five catches for 92 yards and the score. Bates rushed for 194 yards.
Bates’ unexpected defensive hero was Gilbert Brown, who saw his first-ever extended action on Bates' defense and made the most of it, tallying six tackles, including four for a loss and both of the Bobcats’ quarterback sacks, to go along with an interception. Kevin Helm '12 tied with Bowdoin’s Griffin Cardew for a game-high 13 tackles.
The Bobcats picked off Bowdoin quarterback Mac Caputi four times — one each by Kyle Starr, Kukesh, Brown and Will Taft '12. Caputi threw the ball 30 times with 11 completions for 105 yards. Pat Noone caught four passes for 51 yards and also rushed for 24 yards. Zach Donnarumma rushed for a team-high 45 yards on 21 carries.