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Football preview: Bobcats seek third straight win in finale at Hamilton

Ivan Reese lunges for a touchdown against Hamilton on in last year's 31-10 Bates victory in Lewiston. (File photo by Daryn Slover for Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College football team's senior class of players established a significant program milestone with last week's 31-0 victory over Bowdoin; they and their teammates can further burnish their collective legacy in a number of ways in Saturday's season finale at Hamilton. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for noon at Baron von Steuben Field in Clinton, N.Y.

The Bobcats' (2-5) class of 2016 became the first since 1900 to claim three outright CBB titles over their four years. A win at Hamilton would give this year's seniors a 16-16 aggregate record since 2012, which would match the Class of 2015 as the program's winningest class since 1983.

Another significant point of pride Bates will find as motivation is the teams' series record. Last year's victory over Hamilton in Lewiston pulled Bates ahead of Hamilton in the all-time series for the first time since 1992, at 19-18. It is the only NESCAC opponent against whom Bates enjoys an all-time advantage, and something well worth preserving.

A win would also:

  • Allow Bates to finish the season on a three-game win streak for the third time in four years;
  • Give Bates a four-game winning streak against Hamilton;
  • Give Bates 11 wins in its past 13 meetings with Hamilton.

Recent history weighs heavily on the Bobcats' side, but the Continentals cannot be taken lightly. In 2011, for instance, the Continentals spoiled a would-be .500 season, dropping the Bobcats to 3-5 with a 28-15 victory.

Hamilton broke Division III's longest losing streak at 25 games two weeks ago with a 20-17 win at Williams. The Continentals have played competitively in other weeks as well, with one-score losses to Middlebury, Colby, Wesleyan and Tufts.

The Particulars:

What: Bates College (2-5) at Hamilton College (1-6)

When: Saturday, November 14, 12 p.m.

Where: Baron von Steuben Field | Clinton, New York

Live Coverage: Live Stats Video

Twitter: @BatesSports | Facebook: Bates College Athletics

All-Time Series: Bates leads 19-18

Last Meeting: Bates 31, Hamilton 10 (Lewiston, Maine | Nov. 8, 2014)

Facts & Figures:

  • Bates junior linebacker Mark Upton (Winthrop, Mass.) is second in the NESCAC with 58 tackles (30 solo); cornerback Brandon Williams (Gardner, Mass.) is tied for 10th with 51 (38 solo).
  • Hamilton's Matt Glebus and Cade Larabee are tied for seventh in the league in tackles with 51 apiece, while Alex Mitko is tied with Williams for 10th with 51.
  • Hamilton receiver Charles Ensley has 33 receptions for 642 yards and six touchdowns this season; his touchdown total and his 91.7 receiving yards per game both rank second in the NESCAC.
  • Bates senior wideout Mark Riley (Needham, Mass.) is tied for fourth in the league in catches per game (5.4) and sixth in receiving yards per game (67.9).
  • Bates sophomore kicker Grant DeWald (Duxbury, Mass.) is fourth among league kickers with 30 points scored, and second in extra-point accuracy (15 for 16; 94%). DeWald is 5-for-7 on field goal attempts, while Hamilton's Zach Altneu and Erik Fyrer are a combined 1-for-6 on three-pointers.
  • Bates first-year punter Justin Foley (Lynnfield, Mass.) has landed 21 of his 48 punts this season inside the opponent's 20-yard line, four more than any other punter in the league.
  • Brandon Williams is tied for the NESCAC lead in interceptions (5); junior Trevor Lyons (Hamilton, Mass.) is tied for fourth (4).

Hamilton Last Week:

Hamilton held an eight-point lead late in the second quarter before host Middlebury rallied on its way to a 21-16 win Saturday.

Middlebury (5-2) scored twice in a span of 3:34 over the second and third quarters to take the lead for good. The Continentals gained just 47 yards on their final seven drives, with the Panthers intercepting three Hamilton passes.

Second-quarter touchdowns by Jason Nastovski and Charles Ensley on consecutive possessions gave Hamilton a 14-6 lead before Middlebury staged its comeback. The Continentals closed to within 21-16 by blocking a Panther punt for a fourth-quarter safety.

Matthew Minno scored all three touchdowns for Middlebury, catching scoring passes of 70, 10 and 20 yards from Matt Milano.

Hamilton's LaShawn Ware led all rushers with 77 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Cole Freeman threw for 196 yards, completing 13 of 31 attempts.

Bates Last Week:

With an emphatic 31-0 victory over Bowdoin on Saturday at Garcelon Field, Bates won the CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) title outright for the second straight year and the third time in four years. It was the Bobcats' first time repeating as outright CBB champion since 1967. Bates has also won at least a share of CBB bragging rights for five years in a row and in six of the past seven. 

Senior quarterback Patrick Dugan (Westford, Mass.) rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown and passed for 114 yards and a score to lead the Bobcat offense, with Riley catching five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Dugan posted the most rushing yards by a Bates player since Patrick George rushed for 144 against Hamilton in 2012.

Bates' defense pressured and roughed up Bowdoin quarterback Noah Nelson all game long, totaling three sacks and limiting him to 21 completions on 54 pass attempts, with two interceptions. Bowdoin's running game was stuffed to a net of minus-6 yards on 14 attempts in the game.

Trevor Lyons returned his fourth interception of the season for 50 yards and a touchdown, his second pick-six in as many weeks, to open up a 24-0 lead in the third quarter.

Bates outgained Bowdoin 380-174, possessed the ball for 38:11 to Bowdoin's 21:49 and won the turnover battle 3-0.

Bates' and Hamilton's Last Meeting: 

The Bates College football team completed its third straight season at .500 or better for the first time since 1979 on Nov. 8, 2014, rolling past Hamilton 31-10 at chilly Garcelon Field.

The Bobcats totaled 281 rushing yards, including 197 in the second half, while holding the Continentals to 26 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Bates outgained Hamilton 357-192 overall. Both teams struggled with turnovers, with Hamilton giving the ball away five times, including four interceptions, and Bates turning the ball over four times, including three fumbles lost.

Hamilton finished winless for the second year in a row, with its 20th straight setback overall.

Hamilton quarterback Colin Pastorella was harassed throughout the game, sacked four times, hurried nine times (six times by Ben Coulibaly), and picked off four times. Pastorella finished the day with 12 completions on 34 attempts for 166 yards and a touchdown, including a handful of big gains which kept the Continentals within shouting distance of the lead until well into the second half.

Four Bates backs rushed for 55 yards or more on the day, led by Frank Williams' 70 yards on 10 carries. Williams also had a 35-yard reception. Shaun Carroll ran 14 times for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Ivan Reese picked up 57 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, and Tyler Janssen toted the ball 15 times for 55 yards.

Quarterback Matt Cannone completed 7 of 15 passes for 76 yards, hitting Mark Riley five times for 45 yards.

Mark Upton completed his sophomore season with 11 tackles, a sack, two pass breakups and his first career touchdown, a 34-yard fumble recovery return in the first quarter that opened up a 14-0 Bates lead. Ryan Newson forced that fumble and was second on the team with eight tackles, and Lyons had two interceptions.