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Football Preview: Bobcats look to beat Ephs for a fifth straight year

Mark Upton wraps up Williams back Jean Luc Etienne in Bates' 19-12 win over Williams on Oct. 4, 2014. (File Photo/Russ Dillingham)

Click here for our pre-game interview with head coach Mark Harriman.

LEWISTON, Maine - The Bates football program lost 22 of their first 23 games to Williams College.

But starting in 2011, the Bobcats flipped the script on the Ephs. They've won four in a row over Williams on the gridiron, including a 19-12 win last season at Garcelon Field. This year they hit the road as they look to win their fifth consecutive game against the Ephs on Saturday. The game kicks off at 1:00 p.m. in Williamstown, Massachusetts. 

For the second straight season, the Bobcats are off to an 0-2 start. Last year they were able to get things turned around as they finished the year with a 4-4 record, their third consecutive season finishing with a .500 or better mark. This contest is the Ephs' first home game of 2015 after splitting a pair on the road against Bowdoin (a 27-7 win) and Trinity (a 24-0 loss) to start the year.  

The Particulars:

What: Bates (0-2) @ Williams (1-1)

When: Saturday, October 10, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Weston Field | Williamstown, Mass.

Follow the Game Live: Stats Video

All-Time Series: Williams leads 22-5.

Coach Harriman's Key to Victory: 

"We need to take the next step as a team from the standpoint of playing the entire game. There were times on Saturday that I felt that we didn't play to our potential. We've got to maintain the consistency that we've shown at times throughtout the whole 60 minutes. Offensively we've got to get away from putting ourselves in long yardage situations with penalties. If you look at the past two weeks we've had some untimely penalties that have put us in long yardage situations. And when you're a triple option team, getting off schedule is not the easiest thing to overcome. So if we can do that I think we'll be in good shape."      

Bates Facts & Figures

-Sophomore slotback Frank Williams is second in the NESCAC with 227 all-purpose yards through two games. He rushed for a career-high 71 yards against Tufts last Saturday.

-Sophomore linebacker/defensive back Andrew Jenkelunas is tied for second in the NESCAC in tackles per game with 10 in each of the Bobcats' first two contests.

-Senior quarterback Patrick Dugan threw his first career touchdown pass against Tufts and is currently completing 60.6% of his passes, the fourth highest completion percentage in the NESCAC. 

-During Bates' current four-game winning streak against Williams, the Bobcats have won by scores of 35-26 at Williams in 2011, 33-6 at home in 2012, 14-10 at Williams in 2013 and 19-12 at home last year. 

Williams Last Week

The Ephs were shutout by Trinity last Saturday as they fell by a final score of 24-0. The Bantams tallied 313 total yards whiled holding the Ephs to only 176 total yards in the game.

Trinity scored a touchdown in the first quarter on a touchdown pass to Bryan Vieira from quarterback Sonny Puzzo. They tallied another score on a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown by Darrien Myers in the second quarter. 

Down 14-0, Williams drove the ball inside the Trinity five yard line but turned it over on downs. Another scoring opportunity came after sophomore linebacker Michael Berry recovered a fumble. Once again inside the Trinity five, the Ephs turned the ball over on an interception in the endzone by Paul McCarthy. 

Trinity added a field goal in the third quarter and another touchdown in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Ephs.

Connor Harris led Williams with 50 rushing yards on 10 carries. Darrias Sime caught five passes for 34 yards and Alex Way caught three passes for 34 yards. 

Williams turned the ball over twice in the loss while Trinity only turned it over once.

Bates Last Week

Tufts University rallied for 17 unanswered points in the second half to overcome a 14-0 halftime deficit and deal the Bates College football team a heartbreaking 17-16 loss on Saturday at Garcelon Field, before a Back to Bates Weekend crowd of over 2,000.

Bates fumbled five times, losing two of them, most crucially on a 4th and goal at the Tufts 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, trailing 17-16 with 6:25 remaining, when Bates opted to try for the go-ahead touchdown rather than a go-ahead field goal.

Defense largely dominated in the game. Tufts converted 1 of 14 third downs and Bates 3 of 16. The Bobcats averaged 3.8 yards per play, while Tufts averaged 4.9 despite the four long passing plays to Jack Cooleen.

Bates capitalized on two special teams blunders by Tufts for two of its scores. Late in the first quarter, Tufts punter Willie Holmquist fumbled a high snap and recovered for a 16-yard loss, giving Bates the ball at the Tufts 14. Four plays later, Bates sophomore slotback Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.) weaved through the line to put the Bobcats on top 7-0 with 1:28 left in the first quarter. Bates also scored a safety with 11:06 left in the fourth quarter when a snap to Holmquist sailed over his head and into the end zone, closing the gap to 17-16.

Bates took a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Bobcats began their drive on Tufts' 49 after a 14-yard punt. Williams rushed for eight yards to convert a 4th and 4 at the Tufts 28, but the Bobcats backed up again on the next play, recovering their own fumble behind the line of scrimmage. On 2nd and 21 at the Tufts 31, Bates senior quarterback Patrick Dugan (Westford, Mass.) hit sophomore slotback Mickoy Nichol (Dennis Port, Mass.) over the middle. Nichol broke a tackle with a spin move and weaved past another defender en route to the end zone for a 31-yard scoring play.

Late in the third, the Jumbos tied it up with a two-play scoring drive for 59 yards. Taking over at their own 41, the Jumbos advanced 32 yards on a Snyder pass to Mike Rando to the right side. From the Bates 27, Snyder, given plenty of time in the pocket, then found Cooleen open in the left corner of the end zone, tying the game 14-14.

Tufts set up its go-ahead field goal on the final play of the third quarter, when Snyder again found Cooleen open down the left sideline for 45 yards, before getting pushed out of bounds at the Bates 12. Tufts running back Chance Brady was thrown for a 5-yard loss, pushing the Jumbos back to the 17, but Holmquist's field goal attempt from 34 yards out dropped just over the crossbar for a 17-14 lead the Jumbos didn't relinquish.

Last Meeting: 

Matt Cannone threw for 161 yards and a touchdown and ran for another, while Mark Riley caught seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown to lead Bates College to a 19-12 win over Williams last year.

Cannone completed 12 of 19 passes, seven of them going to Riley, the conference's leader in receptions and yardage entering the game. 

James Semmonella rushed 16 times for 56 yards, leading seven Bates backs who combined for 119 rushing yards. The Bobcats had 15 first downs to Williams' 12, possessed the ball for 33:19 to Williams' 26:41 and outgained the Ephs 281-246.

Williams quarterback Austin Lommen completed 22 of 35 passes for 206 yards, but he was picked off twice by Bates safety Ryan NewsonNewson's third and fourth interceptions through three games. Alex Scyorcurka rushed for 44 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, as Williams was held to 39 net rushing yards on 23 attempts, a 1.7-yard average. Williams receiver Colin Brown caught eight passes for 96 yards.

Trevor Lyons blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt by Joe Mallock with 10:13 to go in the fourth. The ball was recovered by Newson and returned it to the Bates 15, initiating Bates' game-winning 14-play, 85-yard drive.

On 3rd and 15 from the Bates 46, Riley got open over the middle and Cannone led him with a bomb, allowing Riley to make the catch in stride. He was caught from behind with a touchdown-saving tackle at the 2 by Graeme Black. The Ephs stood up the Bates offense on back-to-back plays before Cannone plunged into the end zone to make it 19-12. Bates' second failed point-after attempt of the game kept the score there.

A 35-yard kickoff return by Connor Harris set up the Ephs at the Williams 40, and Williams had 2:17 left in the game to try to tie the game or move ahead. Lommen hit Steven Kiesel for 5 yards for a first down at midfield, and the Ephs advanced to the Bates 34 on a 12-yard pass to Lewis Hayes. But Lommen incompletions on third and fourth downs stalled the drive on the Bates 31, allowing Bates to run out the rest of the clock.

Bates linebacker Mark Upton led all players with 12 tackles, five solo and two for a loss. Newson had 11 tackles, his third double-digit effort in as many games this year, to go with his two interceptions and a half-sack. Lyons was another standout, with six tackles, three pass breakups and the blocked kick.