WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College football team's brutal schedule to start the season continues Saturday when the Mules play host to Wesleyan University a 1 p.m. at Seaverns Field at Harold Alfond Stadium.
The Mules (0-2) play the first four games (Williams, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Amherst) this season against teams currently with a combined 7-1 record. The final four games (Hamilton, Bates, Tufts, Bowdoin) are against teams currently with a 1-7 combined mark.
Colby sophomore defensive back Jason Buco has made an impact offensively and defensively in the first two games. He leads the NESCAC in interceptions (3) after picking off two passes last Saturday against Middlebury. Buco plays both ways and has three catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.
First-year linebacker Ryan Ruiz is making an impact already for Colby, leading the team in total tackles with 14. He is in a tie for the team lead in tackles for loss (2 tackles, -29 yards) and has one fumble recovery. Henry Nelson, a sophomore linebacker and the leading tackler as a first-year last season, is tied for second in total tackles (12), has two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.
Colby co-captain Phil Amato is tied with Nelson in total tackles with 12 and defensive back mate Derrick Beasley has 11 stops. Cody Anderson and Daniel Maddox both have nine tackles.
Senior running back Spencer Gopaul had his best game as a Mule last Saturday with 78 yards on 18 carries (4.3 yards per rush). First-year Thomas Brewster has rushed five times this year for 29 yards (5.8 per rush).
First-year quarterback Justin Ciero passed for two touchdowns in the first start of his collegiate career. Senior receiver Indigo Dow has five catches for 66 yards to lead Colby.
The Mules have a 7-3 record over Wesleyan in the past 10 years, but the Cardinals have won the game the past two seasons. The last four games in the rivalry have all been decided by one touchdown or less, including last year's 28-21 win by the Cardinals.
The running of sophomore running back Kyle Gibson has been a major key to Wesleyan's 2-0 start to the season. Gibson leads the NESCAC in rushing (344 yards, 50 carries) and has two touchdowns to go along with a fine 6.9-yards per carry average. The top three rushers in the NESCAC play for teams with a combined 6-0 record.
The Cardinals have been able to throw the ball with sophomore quarterback Jesse Warren, who ranks second in the NESCAC in pass efficiency (151.0) and has thrown for five scores. Sophomore wide receiver Jay Fabien has 11 catches for 122 yards and junior tight end Kevn Hughes has hauled in eight catches for 103 yards.
Wesleyan's rushing defense of 60.0 yards allowed per game is first in the NESCAC and the Cardinals rank third in total defense (221.5 yards per game). Cardinal senior Andy McKeon leads the conference in sacks with three, while Jake Siciliano is first on the team in tackles with 20. Jake Bussani is second to Buco in interceptions (2).
Cardinal kicker Sebastian Aguirre has booted all nine of his extra-point attempts and is 2-for-3 on field goal attempts. Meanwhile, quarterback Warren also handles Wesleyan's punting duties.