LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates football alumnus Jonathan Michaeles '92 returns to Garcelon Field for the first time as head coach of the Colby football team this Homecoming Saturday. The Mules (1-4) are coming off their first win of the season, a dramatic comeback against Hamilton, while the Bobcats (2-3) lost to an undefeated opponent for the second straight week last Saturday at Middlebury.
Colby has won 10 of the past 11 meetings between the teams, including the last three -- Bates' last victory in one of the longest standing series in college football occurred on Oct. 25, 2008, when the Mules committed 10 turnovers in a 31-21 Bates win.
But Bates has probably been the more impressive of the two rivals so far this season, in spite of its current two-game skid. Against common opponents, Bates is 1-2 and Colby is 0-3, the difference being their games against Williams -- the Ephs crushed the Mules in Week 1, 41-7, while Bates routed the Ephs 33-6 in Week 3.
The Bobcats lead the NESCAC, and rank third in all of Division III, in average turnover margin, at +2.20 per game.
Bates is fifth in the NESCAC in total offense (331.2 yards per game) and eighth in total defense (379.8), while the Mules are eighth in
The Mules have split their offensive play calls down the middle, with 165 rushing attempts and 164 passing attempts thus far. Bates, by comparison, has run far more often than it has passed: a 264 to 116 difference. Colby is second in the NESCAC in stopping the run thus far, allowing just 100.4 yards per game.
Michaeles, a former Bobcat wide receiver is the 40th head coach of Colby football, but only the sixth since 1967. He has been the interim director of football at Colby since December. In his eight years with Colby, Michaeles has served as the offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator, academic advisor, and strength and conditioning director.
Players to Watch
Kyle Starr, Bates CB: The NESCAC's leader in interceptions last season, Starr has a pickoff in each of the past two games and is second in the conference in passes defended, with seven. The physical cornerback already has 26 tackles (23 solo) and a forced fumble to his credit this season.
Jason Buco, Colby WR/DB: Only a sophomore, Buco is a two-way starter at wide receiver and cornerback for Colby. He tops the NESCAC in interceptions, with four, and is the Mules' leading receiver.
Bates Last Week
Middlebury improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1992 with a 38-23 win over Bates College football team on Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
Middlebury wide receiver Zach Driscoll finished the game with 15 catches for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns, becoming the school's all-time receptions leader.
Bates scored on its opening possession, driving 66 yards on 11 plays after a 29-yard kick-off return from Shawn Doherty. Trevor Smith had a 14-yard rush on the drive before scoring from seven yards out. Middlebury answered two possessions later with a 35-yard scoring strike from McCallum Foote to Driscoll.
The Panthers added to their lead midway through the second quarter with a nine-play, 84-yard drive ending in a two-yard connection from Foote to Harrison Goodkind. Foote found Driscoll twice for 38 yards on the drive, along with a 24-yard strike to Billy Chapman.
Bates came right back to tie the game at 14-14 when Smith hit Doherty from 14 yards out. A 17-yard connection with Harrison Murphy and a 21-yard rush from Patrick George were the key plays on the drive.
Middlebury answered the score on its next possession, with Foote finding Chapman from 11 yards out to make it a 21-14 game with 1:16 left in the first half.
Bates got in a final score before the half was over. Smith hit Murphy for a 20-yard pass, leading to a late 27-yard field goal from Charlie Donahue, closing the gap to 21-17 Middlebury at the intermission.
Bates climbed back into the game early in the fourth, with an interception by Andrew Kukesh that was returned 23 yards to the Middlebury 47. Six plays later, Smith found Doherty for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The Bates defense held, but the offense turned the ball over at the 10:13 mark of the fourth quarter.
Foote finished the day 36 of 50 for 436 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Smith went 16 of 32 for Bates, throwing for 151 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception. Doherty caught five passes for 50 yards with a pair of touchdowns, while George rushed for 82 yards on 17 carries, and Smith had 15 carries for 81 yards. Kukesh and Joe Dell'Erario each had 13 tackes in the game, followed by 12 from John Durkin.
The teams combined to run 169 plays in the game, with the Panthers earning 568 yards on 89 snaps and Bates gaining 370 yards on 80 plays. Middlebury held a 10:52 to 4:08 time of possession advantage in the fourth quarter, and neither team allowed a sack in the contest.
Both teams committed two turnovers, the first game this season in which Bates hasn't achieved a clear advantage in takeaways. The No. 3 team in Division III in interceptions per game heading into the game, at 2.75, got two more in the game, one by Kukesh and the other by Starr.
Colby Last Week
Michaeles will likely never forget his first win as a head coach after the Mules scored 19 straight points in the final 8:15 of the contest to pull out a 32-29 victory against Hamilton.
Justin Ciero threw for 260 yards, ran for 59 yards, threw three touchdown passes, and had one rushing score for the Mules. Buco caught four balls for 50 yards. Hamilton QB Jordan Eck had 225 yards passing, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Mules held running back James Stanell to 38 rushing yards on 19 carries, but he did have five catches for 56 yards.
Henry Nelson was all over the field for Colby with 17 total tackles from his middle linebacker spot.
Bates' and Colby's Last Meeting
Colby won 37-13 over Bates on Oct. 29, 2011 at Harold Alfond Stadium in Waterville, in what was probably Bates’ most disappointing performance of the season.
The Mules rose to 2-4, while Bates fell to 2-4 with its third straight loss. The teams ended up tying for the 2011 CBB title along with Bowdoin, due to Bowdoin’s loss to Bates and its win over Colby.
Colby senior Connor Walsh had a 64-yard catch for one touchdown, ran for another score, and threw for a third score. Walsh finished with four catches for 164 yards. Fellow senior Nick Kmetz also had a big game, completing 23 of his 30 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the Mules in rushing with 56 yards on 13 carries.
Colby's defense was a big factor, holding Bates to 12 points below its season scoring average. Henry Nelson had a team-high nine tackles and had the lone interception in the game.
Colby had a 25-14 margin in first downs and accumulated 490 yards of total offense to the Bobcats’ 259. The Mules also had a large advantage in time of possession (37:07 to 22:53).
Smith completed 18 passes to seven different Bates receivers for 174 yards and the two touchdowns to Squires. Tom Finkenstaedt '12 led Bates with four catches for 55 yards, while Ryan Curit '14 had five rushes for 39 yards along with four catches for 26 yards.