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Football preview: Bobcats look to beat Wesleyan for the first time since 2005

Patrick Dugan scrambles away from Wesleyan's defense in Bates' 24-10 loss to Wesleyan on Oct. 11, 2014. (File Photo by Sarah Crosby/Bates College)

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

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football program looks to pick up its first win of the season this Saturday as the Bobcats visit Wesleyan University for a 1:00 p.m. kick. 

Wesleyan is off to a 2-1 start after edging Colby 24-21 last week. Meanwhile Bates is 0-3 but could easily be 2-1 as they dropped their last two games to Williams and Tufts by a combined three points. 

The Bobcats are looking to beat Wesleyan for the first time since 2005.

The Particulars:

What: Bates (0-3) at Wesleyan (2-1)

When: Saturday, October 17, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Corwin Stadium | Middletown, Conn.

Follow the Game Live: Stats Video

All-Time Series: Wesleyan leads 29-4.

Coach Harriman's Key to Victory: 

"We can't turn the ball over in the red zone. If you look at the last two weeks we've taken points off the board both weeks through turnovers in the red zone. We don't want turnovers at all but certainly in situations where we have an opportunity to put points on the board, we need to make sure we're doing a great job with that."  

Bates Facts & Figures

-- Junior cornerback Brandon Williams (Gardner, Mass.) had career highs of nine tackles and two interceptions, to go with one pass breakup last week against Williams. Williams' two picks put him in a tie for second in the conference for interceptions on the season. He earned Male Bobcat of the Week honors.

-- Sophomore slotback Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.) rushed 10 times for 54 yards and a touchdown and finished with 124 all-purpose yards against the Ephs. Williams is currently 4th in the NESCAC with 117 all-purpose yards per game. 

--Junior defensive back Trevor Lyons (Hamilton, Mass.) returned two punts for 35 yards, in addition to seven solo tackles and a forced fumble against Williams.

--Senior wide receiver Mark Riley (Needham, Mass.) has 15 catches on the year, accounting for more than half of the Bobcats' 23 total receptions this season. 

Wesleyan Last Week

Junior Devon Carrillo caught a 35-yard touchdown pass to give Wesleyan a narrow 24-21 win over Colby College last Saturday. Carrillo finished with 102 receiving yards on the afternoon and 54 rushing yards. Wesleyan fell behind early by a score of 3-0 but rallied thanks to a couple of nice runs by Carrillo out of the "wildcat" formation. Sophomore Jaylen Berry punched it in from one-yard out to put Wesleyan up 7-3 after one quarter.

Colby grabbed the lead back on a pick-six in the second quarter. Wesleyan Gernald Hawkins tried to force a pass into coverage while pinned deep in his own territory. Colby's Patrick Yale grabbed the throw out of the air and only had to return it one yard for the touchdown. Colby missed the extra point so their lead stood at 9-7.

Wesleyan kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to take a 10-9 lead.

Neither team scored in the third quarter. 

With 11:30 to go in the game, Carrillo ran it in from nine yards out to extend the Wesleyan lead to 17-9.

But Colby rallied as Jabari Hurdle-Price, who finished with more than 200 rushing yards on the afternoon, punched it in from one-yard out. The two-point conversion failed so Wesleyan hung on to their 17-15 lead. 

Hurdle-Price wasn't done. After a Wesleyan three-and-out, he scampered 65 yards for the go-ahead score. The two-point conversion failed again but all of a sudden Colby led 21-17 with 4:09 to go in the game.

But Hawkins and Carrillo wouldn't let Wesleyan lose as Hawkins used his legs (a 31-yard run) and his arm (the game-winning toss to Carrillo) to put the Cardinals ahead for good. 

Bates Last Week

The Bates football team lost in a nailbiter for the second week in a row last Saturday, falling 16-14 at Williams as the host Ephs defeated the Bobcats for the first time in five meetings.

Williams completed the game's first scoring drive with 4:01 left in the first quarter, going 75 yards on eight plays with Connor Harris scoring from two yards out. Bobby Webster's point-after kick failed, leaving the lead at 6-0.

Bates answered early in the second quarter with a 10-play, 67-yard drive capped by Ivan Reese's 1-yard trot up the middle, and Grant DeWald's extra point was good, giving Bates its first and only lead at 7-6 with 9:35 to go in the half. The drive was sustained by Dugan's 33-yard toss to Mark Rileyon 3rd and 7, and Reese took care of the final 12 yards on four carries.

Williams responded by driving 82 yards to the doorstep of another touchdown, but on 3rd and goal at the 1, Bates junior Trevor Lyons forced a fumble in the backfield and senior Tucker Oniskey (Reading, Mass.) recovered. Bates' offense picked up two first downs before its drive stalled at its own 22.

Williams then regained the momentum, marching the ball back 61 yards in 10 plays in just 73 seconds of game time. Darrias Sime caught a 3-yard pass to the right for the go-ahead touchdown and a 13-7 lead 26 seconds before halftime.

No scoring occurred for either team in the third quarter; Bates' only two possessions in the period ended in a punt and a lost fumble, which prematurely ended a drive that featured a 33-yard option-pass completion from senior slotback Mike Decina (Hopkinton, Mass.) to Riley.

Williams started the fourth quarter with the ball on Bates' 19, thanks to a 25-yard completion from Lommen to Pomella for 25 yards on a 3rd and 7. The Ephs edged ahead to the 14 before taking a two-possession lead, at 16-7, on a 31-yard field goal by Webster.

After a Bobcat fumble early in the quarter, Bates' defense forced a three-and-out by the Ephs, and Lyons ran back a 50-yard punt by Webster 31 yards to set up the Bobcats at the Williams 34. 

A rocky offensive series, featuring a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and two Bates fumbles that the Bobcats were able to recover, ended successfully, as Frank Williams ran it in from 2 yards out to close the gap to 16-14.

Bates' defense held again and forced a Williams punt, giving the Bobcat offense the ball at its own 17 with 3:26 left in the game. With the clock ticking away, Bates converted four first downs -- a 15-yard Nichol run, a 6-yard Williams run, an 8-yard Reese run and a 9-yard Dugan run on 3rd and 8 from the Williams 39. But an unsportsmanlike conduct call moved Bates back 15 yards for a 4th and 25 at the Williams 45, and Dugan was sacked by Jack Ryan on the game's final meaningful play, with 16 seconds remaining.

Last Meeting: 

Wesleyan starting quarterback Jesse Warren passed for 262 yards and backup quarterback Devon Carrillo ran for a game-high 92 yards to lead the Cardinals to a 24-10 win over Bates last year at Garcelon Field.

Bates had its most successful offensive drive on the first possession of the game, driving 69 yards on 14 plays to the Wesleyan 6-yard line, where Drew Korn (Stow, Mass.) booted a 23-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 9:19 left in the opening quarter.

Wesleyan drove into Bates territory on five straight scoreless possessions to start the game, finally breaking through with 13.5 seconds left in the half, when Kyle Gibson finished off a 10-play, 62-yard drive with a 1-yard push into the end zone, giving Wesleyan a 7-3 lead at halftime.

The Cardinals advanced to the Bates 28 on their first possession before missing a 43-yard field goal attempt. A strip-sack by Nik Powers, recovered by Alex Sakhno, set up Wesleyan at the Bates 35, but Bates forced the Cardinals to turn the ball over on downs. Wesleyan kicker Ike Fuchs missed from 34 yards on Wesleyan's third possession, and the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs again at the Bates 23 on their fourth possession.

The Cardinals received the kickoff that opened the second half and Carrillo rumbled 49 yards to the Bates 36 to start things off. A 14-yard rush by Warren on 3rd and 14 kept the drive ailve and the Cardinals reached the Bates 13 before lining up for a 30-yard field goal attempt. The snap was bobbled and holder Peter George abandoned the kick and completed a pass to Ben Kurtz, who was stuffed four yards behind the line of scrimmage by Bates linebacker Pat Gilligan (Acton, Mass.).

Wesleyan subsequently forced Bates into a three-and-out, however, and took the ball over at the Bates 47. After Bates linebacker Mark Upton (Winthrop, Mass.) sacked Warren for a 12-yard loss to start the series, Warren hit an open Kurtz over the middle to convert a 3rd and 17. Carillo, who was switched with Warren in and out of the game mid-series, then ran for 16 yards to the Bates 18, and four plays later Lou Stevens ran in from the 5. Fuchs' point-after made it 14-3.

Wesleyan then held Bates to another three-and-out, then took over at their own 34 and began a 56-yard scoring drive with 4:00 left in the quarter. Bates' offense was limited to six plays and no first downs in the quarter.

Warren's consecutive completions to Neil O'Connor for 6 and 5 yards took Wesleyan to the Bates 10 to start the fourth quarter, and from there Fuchs kicked a 27-yard field goal for a 17-3 lead.

Bates again got nothing going on its subsequent possession, but the Bobcat defense forced a Wesleyan turnover to regain possession at the Wesleyan 16. Warren hit Kurtz for a 5-yard gain, but Josh Freedland (Marblehead, Mass.) forced a fumble, recovered by Adam Cuomo (Plymouth, Mass.).

Bates quarterback Patrick Dugan (Westford, Mass.), starting in place of the injured Matt Cannone (Windham, N.H.), rushed for a 12-yard gain on first down, reaching the Wesleyan 4, the spot moved up to the 2 on a late-hit penalty. Dugan kept the ball again for a 2-yard rushing touchdown, and Korn's point-after closed the gap to 17-10 with over 11 minutes left to play.

The Bobcat defense forced another fumble, as Upton jarred the ball loose from Carrillo at the 50-yard line, and Freedland recovering the ball at the Bates 48.

With 9:25 left in the game, the capacity crowd sensed a change in momentum. But on 3rd and 8 at the 50, Bates called timeout with the play clock about to expire, then saw Mitch Godfrey sack Dugan for a 6-yard loss, forcing the Bobcats to punt. 

Wesleyan punted the ball back to Bates, but on 2nd and 10 from the Bobcat 25, a pitch to Tyler Janssen (Glastonbury, Conn.) was mishandled, and Wesleyan's Justin Sanchez recovered at the Bates 20. The Cardinal offense capitalized immediately, with Warren finding Jay Fabien open by the left sideline and Fabien weaving through the Bates backfield into the end zone. With 4:34 left in the game, Wesleyan suddenly led by two touchdowns at 24-10, and Bates' hopes for an upset were dashed for good.