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Football Preview: Pivotal game for Bobcats and Jumbos on Back to Bates Weekend

Junior linebacker Ben Coulibaly made 10 tackles, including four for lost yardage, in Bates' season opener against Amherst on Sept. 29, 2015. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Tufts University beat the Bates College football team in a shootout last season, ending the Bobcats' run of four straight wins against the Jumbos. The teams wound up tying each other for fifth place in the final NESCAC standings with identical 4-4 records. Tufts enters the game 1-0 after a 28-25 win at Hamilton, the Continentals' 21st consecutive loss, while Bates fell 37-14 to defending league champion Amherst. 

This Saturday's game is a rematch of the first college football game ever played in Maine, a 1-0 Tufts win in 1875.

The Particulars:

What: Tufts (1-0) at Bates (0-1)

When: Saturday, October 3, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field | Lewiston, Maine

Follow the Game Live: Stats Video

All-Time Series: Tufts leads 58-17-3

Last Meeting:

Senior Zack Trause returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and a punt 49 yards for a score just 2:02 apart in the late third and early fourth quarters, as Tufts went from trailing 24-23 to winning 42-24 over Bates on Homecoming Day at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field on Sept. 27, 2014.

The Jumbos, who had ended the nation's longest losing streak at 31 games with a 24-17 win against Hamilton the week before, rose to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. 

Tufts accumulated 405 yards of total offense, with senior QB Jack Doll completing 29 of 39 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Berey caught 14 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Jack Cooleen had two touchdown receptions. Chance Brady rushed 19 times for 98 yards. Trause added a touchdown run to his two return scores.

Bates was led by wide receiver Mark Riley, who had a career day with nine receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Cannone completed 16 of 22 passes for career highs of 182 yards and three touchdowns, the most touchdown passes by a Bates quarterback since 2005.

In an entertaining, back-and-forth game, the visiting Bobcats had taken a 24-23 lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass by Cannone to Riley with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter. That ended a nine-play, 71-yard drive that included a 27-yard run by Frank Williams. Williams led Bates with 37 rushing yards on just three carries.

Trause took the ensuing kickoff at his own 18-yard line and dashed 82 yards for a touchdown to give the hosts a 29-24 advantage with 1:06 left in the third.

That led into a dominant fourth quarter by the Jumbos. The Tufts defense pushed Bates back 16 yards on their next drive, forcing a punt from the six. Trause caught it at the 49 and returned it all the way for a 35-24 Tufts lead with 14:02 on the clock.

On the Bobcats' first play from scrimmage on the next series, Tufts' Tucker Mathers forced a fumble and Tommy Meade recovered at the Bates 23. Four plays later, Doll threw three yards to Colleen for a 42-24 Tufts advantage at 12:33 of the fourth.

The Bobcats on defense were led by 12 tackles from Ryan Newson. Trevor Lyons finished with 11. Tucker Oniskey had a sack for the Bobcats in his first game of the season.

Tufts Last Week

Junior Willie Holmquist booted a 28-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Tufts Football team to a 24-21 season-opening victory at Hamilton College last Saturday. It was Tufts' first road win since 2009 at Bates.

Junior Chance Brady rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Jumbos, who gained 169 yards on the ground and 386 total. Holmquist, who missed last season with an injury, returned to action by kicking three field goals, including the game-winner. Holmquist was named NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

The Jumbos had to withstand a furious comeback by the host Continentals. Junior QB Chase Rosenberg threw three touchdown passes in the second half as Hamilton erased a 21-0 halftime deficit. Rosenberg completed 14 of 23 passes for 301 yards in the game.

Hamilton outgained Tufts 353-217 in the air, while the Jumbos outrushed the Continentals 169-42. Junior quarterback Alex Snyder completed 13 of 23 passes for 188 yards, including six for 53 yards to Mike Rando. Freshman Dominic Borelli gained 110 yards rushing and receiving combined.

Bates Last Week

Amherst shrugged off an early 80-yard touchdown run by Bates slotback Shaun Carroll and rolled to a 37-14 victory in both teams' season opener last Saturday at Garcelon Field.

Sophomore quarterback Reece Foy completed 22 of 33 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown for Amherst, with 10 of his completions and 125 of his yards going to Devin Boehm. Kenny Adinkra rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries as the Lord Jeffs totaled 556 yards of offense, including 345 in the first half.

Carroll finished with 107 yards on 13 carries for Bates and junior Ivan Reese ran for 49 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Senior quarterback Patrick Dugan completed 11 of 16 passes for 117 yards, with Mark Riley catching seven balls for 87 yards.

Amherst amassed 17 first downs in the first half to Bates' four en route to a 28-7 halftime lead. The Lord Jeffs finished with 28 first downs to Bates' 14.

Halftime Fetes

On this Back to Bates Weekend, the Bates Department of Athletics will take halftime of Saturday's game to honor the 33 Bobcat student-athletes who earned All-America honors in their sports in the 2014-15 academic year, as well as the members of the Class of 2015 who won year-end awards from the department last spring. Bates Athletics will also present three Senior Citations, the department's highest honor, to three members of the class: Sean Enos, Matthew Gagne and Graham Safford. Their plaques will hang in the lobby of Alumni Gymnasium.

Bates Football Supports Safe Voices

The Bates football program is partnering with reMasc to spread the word that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Please stop by the reMasc booth at Saturday's game for more information. The Bates community stands in solidarity with survivors of domestic violence. Purple ties are being sold at today's game and all of the proceeds will go to Safe Voices, a local organization that supports survivors of domestic violence.