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Football Preview: Polar Bears visit for Homecoming, home finale

Homecoming Saturday's game against Bowdoin will be the final appearance at Garcelon Field for seniors like slotback Shawn Doherty (pictured). File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

LEWISTON, Maine — The Bates football team looks to defeat Bowdoin for the third consecutive season as the Bobcats host the Polar Bears on Homecoming Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on Garcelon Field, in the final home game for Bates' Class of 2014. 

The Particulars

What: Bates College vs. Bowdoin College

When: Saturday, Nov. 2, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field | Lewiston, Maine

Live Stats: Bates Portal | Video: Bates Webcast

Twitter: @BatesSports | Facebook: Bates College Athletics

All-Time Series: Bowdoin leads 66-42-7

Last Meeting: Bates 14, Bowdoin 6 (Brunswick, Maine | Nov. 3, 2012) 

Bates Facts & Figures 

  • Starting at inside linebacker rather than free safety, senior Andrew Kukesh totaled a game-high 10 tackles (nine solo), including two for a loss against Colby. He ranks fourth in the NESCAC with 10.0 tackles per game and has amassed at least eight tackles in each game this year.
  • Sophomore defensive end Tucker Oniskey recorded his first career solo sack vs. the Mules to go with four tackles, two pass breakups, and a quarterback hurry. He registered a half sack against Tufts on Sept. 28. Oniskey leads the NESCAC in pass break-ups, with eight, and is tied for the league lead in forced fumbles (2).
  • Junior linebacker Gilbert Brown made his second interception of 2013 and the sixth of his career against the Mules. He also notched five solo tackles (two for loss) in the game.
  • Junior defensive back Ryan Newson made his second straight start at free safety and came up with nine tackles, all solo, including one for a loss. Newson is tied for seventh in the NESCAC in tackles for loss, with 7.5 to his credit.
  • In the second quarter against Colby, junior linebacker Pat Gilligan came up with his first career sack.
  • Bates ranks second in the NESCAC in rushing offense with 218.8 yards per game on the ground. The team has rushed for 230 or more yards in four games this season.
  • Senior running back Ryan Curit stands fourth in the conference in rushing (74.2 yards per game) and eighth in all-purpose yards (92.0 yards per game). Last Saturday, he compiled a game-high 120 all-purpose yards on a career-high 82 receiving yards and 38 rushing yards.
  • Senior slotback Shawn Doherty leads the NESCAC in all-purpose yards with 150.2 yards per game and ranks eighth in the league with 65.7 rushing yards per game. Against Colby, he posted 107 all-purpose yards.
  • Last Saturday, first-year quarterback Nick LaSpada set career highs for completions (14), attempts (23), and passing yards (176). He completed passes of 41 (career long) and 35 yards to Curit on the team's scoring drive.
  • Junior David Kurey ranks third in the NESCAC in punting with 38.4 yards per punt.
  • Against the Mules, senior kicker Charlie Donahue hit a season-long 31-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Bates Last Saturday

A stingy Colby defense kept the Bates football team out of the end zone all day, leading the host Mules to a 21-3 win in the opening game of the CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) series on Oct. 26 in Waterville, Maine.

The Bobcats (2-4) suffered their third straight loss, while Colby improved to 3-3 overall. The Mules visit Bowdoin in two weeks and will win their first outright CBB title since 2005 with a victory.

The NESCAC's leading rushing offense going into the game, Bates was held to a season-low 88 rushing yards on 46 attempts. Bates' offensive attack was the most balanced it has been all season, with LaSpada and junior signal-caller Matt Cannone combining for 192 yards in the air out of 30 attempts. Colby picked off three Bates passes in the game.

Curit had 82 yards receiving on three catches and led the ground game with 38 yards rushing. LaSpada threw for 176 yards.

Senior Andrew Kukesh (Exeter, N.H.) played inside linebacker, his second straight week out of his normal free safety position, and had a game-high 10 tackles, including two for loss, for the Bobcats. Junior safety Ryan Newson (Stanhope, N.J.) was credited with nine tackles, all solo stops. Junior Steven Hild (West Hartford, Conn.) had five stops, and junior Gilbert Brown (Gloucester, Mass.) had one interception and five tackles. Sophomore defensive end Tucker Oniskey (Reading, Mass.) tallied four tackles, including a sack, to go with two pass break-ups and one quarterback hurry.

Bowdoin Last Saturday

LaDarius Drew rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns to lead Wesleyan to a 34-14 win over Bowdoin on Oct. 26 at Whittier Field in Brunswick, Maine.

The Cardinals, who scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to pull away late, improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1993, while the Polar Bears drop to 2-4 on the year.

Wesleyan totaled 383 yards of offense on the afternoon as Drew spearheaded a rushing attack that accumulated 206 yards on the ground. Bowdoin was led by tailback Tyler Grant, who racked up 119 yards rushing in his first career 100-yard performance.

Jesse Warren finished 12-14 for 126 yards passing for Wesleyan. Josh Hurwitz had 87 yards receiving on five catches. Mac Caputi went 13-27 for 117 yards through the air for Bowdoin. Greg Thompson and Daniel Barone each had four receptions for the Polar Bears.

Defensively, Brian Glazewski made 10 tackles and forced a fumble for the hosts. Joey Cleary had eight stops, including 2.5 for a loss. Wesleyan was led by Nik Powers and Myers Beaird, who had five tackles apiece. Bowdoin turned the ball over three times compared to one for Wesleyan.

Last Year's Meeting

Bates football claimed its first outright Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) championship since 2002, and rose to 4-3 for the first time since 1982, with a 14-6 victory over Bowdoin on Nov. 3, 2012 at Whittier Field in Brunswick.

The win guaranteed the Bobcats (4-3) their first season with a record of .500 or better since they went 4-4 in 1999. The win was also the third in the past four years against the rival Polar Bears, and the first time the Bobcats have won in Brunswick since 2002.

Bates gained 160 yards on the ground, led by slotback Mac Jackson, whose 22-yard pickup highlighted a 6-carry, 61-yard day. Patrick George ran for 40 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Quarterback Trevor Smith completed 11 of 18 passes for 100 yards. Nine of his completions went to wide receiver Kevin Davis, whose career-high catch total resulted in 87 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive end Matt Gaither racked up a career-high nine tackles (8 solo), including Bates' lone quarterback sack and three tackles for a loss, as Bates held its opponent to six points for the second straight week (following the previous Saturday's 31-6 win over Colby). Linebacker

Josh Chronopoulos and fellow linebacker John Durkin tied for the team lead with 11 tackles apiece. Kukesh picked off his fifth interception of the season.

The Bobcats earned a 21-15 edge in first downs in the game, including a 12-5 advantage in rushing first downs.