WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College football team was seconds away from taking a possible 16-7 halftime lead over Middlebury College when the unthinkable happened in the Panthers' 42-13 win over the Mules on Saturday at Harold Alfond Stadium.
The Panthers got a major break on special teams to end the first half. Colby's Henry Nelson (Reeding, Conn.) forced a fumble and Ryan Ruiz (Hyde Park, Mass.) recovered on the Middlebury 18-yard line with 54 seconds remaining. Three plays later, Colby kicker David Bendit (Emmaus, Pa.), looking to put the Mules up 16-7 at halftime, had his kick blocked by Matt Crimmins (Mendham, N.J.). Joel Blockowicz (Potomac, Md.) scooped up the ball and ran 80 yards for the score and a 14-13 lead at halftime.
Zach Driscoll (Concord, Mass.) caught four touchdown passes and McCallum Foote (Newton, Mass.) threw for five touchdown passes for the second consecutive week as the Panthers scored 28 unanswered points in the second half .
Middlebury moves to 2-0 on the season heading into a big home game with Amherst College next Saturday at 1 p.m. Meanwhile, the Mules fell to 0-2 overall and will play host to Wesleyan University at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Mules gave Middlebury a game in the opening half, taking two leads in the contest before the Panthers took a 14-13 lead at halftime on the wild special teams play.
Driscoll caught three of his career-high four touchdowns in the second half to finish the game with 11 grabs for 128 yards. Brendan Rankowitz (Westport, Conn.) caught seven passes for 110 yards and one touchdown. Foote was 34-for-56 for 388 yards and had two interceptions to go with the five scoring passes.
Colby's defense did slow down the Middlebury running game, holding the Pantahers to just 2.1 yards per rush on 22 carries for 47 yards. Colby senior Spencer Gopaul (Washington, D.C.) had 18 carries for 78 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and Thomas Brewster (Fairfield, Conn.) added 25 yards on four carries.
Middlebury went up 21-13 on the opening drive of the second half as Foote threw nine straight passes on the drive, including a 36-yard toss to Rankowitz. Driscoll scored the touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Foote.
After a three-and-out by Colby, the Mules managed to stop Middlebury on one drive when cornerback Jason Buco (Methuen, Mass.) picked off his second pass of the game and was tackled at the Colby 4-yard line.
The Mules had another three-and-out and Middlebury took over on Colby's 38-yard line after a punt. After an incompletion, Foote had a 15-yard completion to Billy Chapman (Greenwich, Conn.) and then threw a 23-yard scoring strike to Driscoll on the next play.
Middlebury almost abandoned the running game again on the next drive, with just one run and 10 passes by Foote. His big gainer went 24 yards to Driscoll on a 3rd-and-10 play to give the Panthers the ball at the Colby 25. Six plays later, Driscoll caught his third touchdown of the quarter on a 3-yard pass play for a 35-13 margin.
The Mules went for it on 4th-and-2 at their own 40-yard line, but Middlebury's defense stood firm in holding Colby to a minus-1 yard run. The Panthers went 10 play over the 39 yards and Foote again tossed a 3-yard scoring pass, this time to Rankowitz for the final score.
The game was completely different in the opening half, with the Mules taking a 7-0 lead when Buco caught a 14-yard scoring pass from first-year Justin Ciero (Chappaqua, N.Y.) with just four minutes gone in the first quarter.
The Panthers tied the game at 7-7 with 2:53 to play in the first quarter when Foote tossed a 4-yard scoring pass to Driscoll. Colby's Derrick Beasley (Andover, Mass.) had caused a fumble the previous play with the Panthers on the 1-yard line, but Middlebury recovered on the Colby 4.
Gopaul had 29 rushing yards to help Colby go up 13-7 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ciero to Kyle Roth (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.). The Mules missed the extra point attempt when the snap was fumbled.
Tim Patricia (Los Angeles, Calif.) led Middlebury's defense with 11 tackles, while John Wiet (Morristown, N.J.) added eight stops.
Nelson had eight tackles, forced one fumble, and had one fumble recovery for the Mules. Phil Amato (North Pomfret, Vt.) added seven tackles.
Middlebury 42, Colby 13
Middlebury.......... 7 7 21 7 - 42
Colby............... 7 6 0 0 - 13
1st 11:00 CBC - J. Buco 14 yd pass from J. Ciero (D. Bendit kick)
02:53 MID - Zach Driscoll 4 yd pass from McCallum Foote (Jake Feury kick)
2nd 11:46 CBC - K. Roth 15 yd pass from J. Ciero (D. Bendit rush fumbled)
00:00 MID - Joel Blockowicz 84 yd blocked FG return (Jake Feury kick)
3rd 13:03 MID - Zach Driscoll 8 yd pass from McCallum Foote (Jake Feury kick)
09:04 MID - Zach Driscoll 23 yd pass from McCallum Foote (Jake Feury kick)
04:21 MID - Zach Driscoll 3 yd pass from McCallum Foote (Jake Feury kick)
4th 12:21 MID - B. Rankowitz 3 yd pass from McCallum Foote (Jake Feury kick)
FIRST DOWNS................... 26 14
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 22-47 43-131
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 388 100
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 57-34-2 27-12-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 79-435 70-231
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 4-26 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-46 6-119
Interception Returns-Yards.... 2-3 2-43
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 3-9.3 8-29.2
Fumbles-Lost.................. 4-2 2-0
Penalties-Yards............... 4-37 7-58
Possession Time............... 26:12 33:48
Third-Down Conversions........ 8 of 14 3 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 2 of 2 2 of 4
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 4-6 2-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-26 0-0
RUSHING: Middlebury-Remi Ashkar 10-27; Matt Rea 7-12; Ryan Hislop 4-10; TEAM
1-minus 2. Colby-S. Gopaul 18-78; J. Ciero 21-28; T. Brewster 4-25.
PASSING: Middlebury-McCallum Foote 34-56-2-388; Matt Milano 0-1-0-0. Colby-J.
RECEIVING: Middlebury-Zach Driscoll 11-128; B. Rankowitz 7-110; Billy Chapman
6-57; Remi Ashkar 4-40; Josh Amster 2-26; H. Goodkind 2-20; Matt Rea 1-10;
Daniel Finta 1-minus 3. Colby-I. Dow 3-45; S. Gopaul 3-4; J. Buco 2-26; K. Roth
2-16; M. Lahiff 2-9.
INTERCEPTIONS: Middlebury-B. Harasimowicz 1-5; Dan Pierce 1-minus 2. Colby-J.
FUMBLES: Middlebury-Zach Driscoll 1-0; B. Rankowitz 1-1; Remi Ashkar 1-0; Daniel
Finta 1-1. Colby-S. Gopaul 1-0; J. Ciero 1-0.