WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College and Middlebury College football teams could best describe their rivalry over the past five years as crazy.
The craziness will continue when the Mules (0-1 overall) have their home opener against he Panthers at 1 p.m. Saturday at Seaverns Field at Harold Alfond Stadium. There is free admission to the game and the contest is Webcast at www.firstteambroadcasting.com. Colby is back at home for a 1 p.m. game with Wesleyan University as part of Family Homecoming Weekend next Saturday.
The home team has won every game over the past five seasons between Colby and the Panthers. Middlebury took a 41-0 win at home in 2007, but the Mules bounced back for a 24-19 win in the first-ever game at the new Harold Alfond Stadium in 2008. The 2009 season switched the scene to Middlebury and the Panthers once again rolled to an easy victory at 45-0. In one of the better games over the past 10 years for Colby, the Mules took a 38-27 win against the Panthers at home in 2010. However, Middlebury once again put up 40 points or more in a 41-15 win in Vermont last year.
The Mules started the season with a 41-7 loss at Williams College last Saturday, while Middlebury opened at home with a 42-18 win over Bowdoin College.
First-year linebacker Ryan Ruiz led all Colby tacklers with eight stops against Williams. Derrick Beasley, a 2010 All-NESCAC selection, added seven stops and teammate Jason Buco had an interception and five tackles.
Colby is led by senior co-captains Phil Amato and John Gilboy. Amato also had five tackles in the game against Williams, while Gilboy is the starting right guard for first-year head coach Jonathan Michaeles.
Middlebury quarterback McCallum Foote was the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week after tossing five touchdown passes and finishing with 285 yards of passing. Zach Driscoll was Foote's favorite target a year ago after he led the Panthers and the league in receiving yards per game (87.1). Meanwhile, tight end Billy Chapman had team-bests for receiving yards (635) and receptions per game (7.12). Brendan Rankowitz finished with seven catches for 77 yards a week ago.
The Panthers also have talent in the backfield, with senior Remi Ashkar running the ball behind a veteran offensive line. He carried the ball 19 times for 79 yards against Bowdoin and led the NESCAC a year ago in scoring (11 touchdowns).
Panther linebacker John Wiet had 10 total tackles, including one sack, in the win against the Polar Bears. Wiet, a senior captain, had 33 tackles a year in just four games after missing the final four contests with an injury.
Middlebury has been a solid team over the past six years, supporting a 31-17 record during that time. The Panthers started last season off at 1-3 before bouncing back for a 4-4 record.