LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football team can win a third consecutive outright Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) series title for the first time since 1900 this Saturday at Bowdoin's Whittier Field. And with Bates (2-4) having defeated Bowdoin (0-6) in each of the rivals' past five meetings, the Bobcats stand as the favorites to make program history.
The host Polar Bears are wading through a season they'd like to forget, ranking last in the NESCAC in both total offense (215.0 yards per game) and total defense (466.3) while being outscored by an average margin of 35.8-12.7. Bates ranks ninth in the league in total offense (244.3) and sixth in total defense (344.2) and is being outscored by an overall average of 23.7-13.3.
What: Bates College at Bowdoin College
When: Saturday, Nov. 5, 12:30 p.m.
Where: Whittier Field | Brunswick, Maine
Live Coverage: Video
All-Time Series: Bowdoin leads 66-45-7
Last Meeting: Bates 31, Bowdoin 0 (Lewiston, Maine | Nov. 7, 2015)
Bowdoin Last Week:
Host Wesleyan scored 22 points in the second half to pull away from Bowdoin in a 39-10 victory on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals improved to 5-1 on the season while the Polar Bears dropped to 0-6.
Bowdoin took the early lead on a 30-yard Andrew Sisti field goal that capped an eight-play, 69-yard drive that was highlighted by a 67-yard run by Nate Richam.
The Cardinals answered with a pair of long scoring drives late in the first quarter and early in the second, scoring on a Mark Piccirillo touchdown pass to Mike Breuler and an Ike Fuchs 21-yard field goal to lead 10-3.
Wesleyan took advantage of a short field late in the second quarter and scored on a Breuler two-yard run to make it 17-3 with 1:38 left in the half.
Bowdoin mounted a six-play, 72-yard touchdown drive to respond before halftime as Tim Drakeley found Bryan Porter on consecutive plays, a 48-yard toss and then a 12-yard scoring strike to make it 17-10 at intermission.
Wesleyan took command in the second half, however, scoring 22 unanswered points to put the contest out of reach, including a pair of touchdown runs by Devon Carrillo.
Richam finished with 99 yards on 14 carries to lead the Polar Bear offense while Drakeley went 9-19 for 158 yards passing. Joe Gowetski finished with a game-high 13 tackles for Bowdoin.
Bates Last Week:
The CBB series got started on the right foot Saturday afternoon for Bates in a 21-19 victory over Colby at Garcelon Field.
Peter Boyer rushed for a career-high 73 yards and tallied a touchdown to lead the Bobcat offense. Meanwhile Frank Williams scored a pair of touchdowns of his own, one receiving and one rushing.
In rainy conditions, the Bobcats (2-4) jumped out to an early 21-3 lead and held on for dear life in the second half when the Mules (2-4) refused to go away.
The Mules' John Baron kicked a 43-yard field goal to put Colby up 3-0 with 8:21 left in the first quarter.
From the Colby 24, Williams caught a pass by his shoelaces and scampered to paydirt, giving the Bobcats a 7-3 lead with 4:00 left in the first quarter. They never trailed after that and even added to their advantage before halftime.
The first play of the second quarter set the Bobcats up nicely when Baron's punt only traveled 17 yards, giving Bates 1st and 10 at the Colby 46.
Plashkes immediately hit Williams for an 11-yard gain, and on 3rd and four at the Colby 29 he connected with Marcus Ross for a 25-yard gain all the way down to the Colby 4-yard line.
The Bobcats' first two rushes after that got them down to the one and Williams plunged into the end zone with 11:40 left in the half for his second touchdown of the day and his fifth of the season.
On their next drive, Colby the ball all the way down to the Bobcat 20-yard line before Trevor Lyons blocked Baron's field goal attempt.
The Bobcats took over with 8:55 left in the first half and proceeded to go on an extended drive of their own. Facing 1st and goal at the 11, Boyer ran the ball three straight times to get the ball down to the one yard line.
Head coach Mark Harriman decided to go for it and Boyer rewarded the decision with his first touchdown of the season and the second of his career. The Boyer one-yard plunge made the score 21-3 in favor of the Bobcats after DeWald made the extra point.
Up 21-3 at halftime, the Bobcats survived a furious rally from the Mules.
Colby brought in Christian Sparacio to play quarterback and he turned out to be the right man for the job. The Mules only threw for 53 yards in the first half but Sparacio entered the contest to start the third quarter and promptly threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
Late in the third, Sparacio connected with Alex Kramer for a 21-yard gain and followed that up with an 18-yard completion to Sebastian Ferrell, advancing the ball to the Bobcat 24. One play later, Sparacio hooked up with Ferrell for a 26-yard score with 1:07 left in the third quarter. Ferrell caught eight passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon.
In the fourth, Ferrell caught a pass for 11 yards to move the Mules to the Bates' 34. After Jack Maritz came up with a huge sack, Sparacio responded by finding Braden Wilson for a gain of 21 yards down to the Bobcat 19. Three plays later, Baron nailed a 36-yard field goal to cut the Bobcat lead to 21-13 with 8:58 to go in the game.
The Bates offense stalled on their next drive and Colby started matriculating the ball down the field yet again after a punt from Justin Foley went into the end zone for a touchback.
Facing third and six on their own 24, the Mules got yet another big play from Ferrell, who made a leaping catch for a 23-yard gain and a first down.
After a couple more passes moved the ball into Bates territory, Ferrell got loose for a 36-yard reception down to the Bobcats' five-yard line. After a pass interference call put the ball at the two, Sparacio connected with Ferrell again, this time on a two-yard crossing route for a touchdown, narrowing the gap to 21-19.
But the Mules' two-point conversion attempt was no good when Maritz jumped up and tipped the pass near the line of scrimmage.
The Bobcats went three-and-out on their next drive, giving the Mules a chance to complete their comeback.
Taking over in Bates territory at the 48-yard line with 1:25 to go, Colby managed to pick up one first down on a 3rd and 7 when Ferrell caught a nine-yard pass from Sparacio.
Three more yards got Colby to the Bates 33. But on 4th and 7, too far away for a field goal try, Sparacio and the Mules decided to go for the home run strike.
But Lyons, preserving the victory for Bates, knocked down the deep ball attempt.
The Bobcats sacked Colby's quarterbacks five times on the afternoon in a very close contest. The Mules had 15 first downs and the Bobcats recorded 14 first downs. The Bobcats (278 yards) actually got outgained in total offense by Colby (308 yards). But the Mules did all their damage through the air as the Bobcats held them to 0 rushing yards.
Last Bates/Bowdoin Meeting:
With an emphatic 31-0 victory over Bowdoin on Nov. 7, 2015 at Garcelon Field, Bates won the CBB 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' senior class becomes the only one in the modern era, and the first since 1900, to win three CBB titles outright. 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.
Quarterback Patrick Dugan rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown and passed for 114 yards and a score to lead the Bobcat offense, with Mark 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 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.
Bates outgained Bowdoin 380-174, possessed the ball for 38:11 to Bowdoin's 21:49 and won the turnover battle 3-0.
The victory represented Bates' first shutout win since 2002, and its first against Bowdoin since 1989.