Football ready for CBB opener against Bates

Contact: William Sodoma
Date: October 27, 2011
Athletics Preview Photos

Henry Nelson (Dustin Satloff photo)

WATERVILLE, Maine ---- The Colby College football team will have the motivation of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) title and hopefully a big Family Homecoming Weekend crowd this Saturday when the Mules takes on rival Bates College on Seaverns Field at Harold Alfond Stadium at 1 p.m.

The meeting between the two teams marks the first CBB game of the season. Bowdoin College will play at Bates on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 12:30 p.m. and then the Polar Bears will play host to Colby in the season finale on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 12:30 p.m. The game against Bates will be Webcast at

The Mules have won or shared the CBB title in 15 of the past 23 seasons, but Colby has not won an outright championship since 2005. Bates last won a CBB title in 2002. The three teams shared the title in 2009.

Colby (1-4 overall) comes into the game after heading all the way to New York for a 13-7 victory against Hamilton College last Saturday. The Mules’ defense held Hamilton to just four yards rushing, had seven sacks, three interceptions, and three fumble recoveries.

Colby junior defensive end Ryan Veillette was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. He tied a team-high with 10 tackles, had a fumble recovery, and finished with 2.5 sacks. Veillette and defensive back Shayne Begin combined on a key sack as Hamilton reached as far as the Colby 33-yard line in the closing minutes.

First-year linebacker Henry Nelson has given a big boost to the defense and now leads the Mules in tackles with 35. He tied with Veillette for the high on Saturday with 10 stops.

The Mules also received some fine performances on defense from other players. Lester Batiste had seven tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Derrick Beasley, a second team All-NESCAC selection last year, had one of the three interceptions along with Christian Romano and Begin. Beasley ranks second on the team in tackles with 34 and Brian Mellett is third at 33.

Colby quarterback Nick Kmetz had scoring strikes to Nick Joseph and Michael Lahiff in the victory over Hamilton. He is fifth in the NESCAC in total offense and sixth in passing yardage (171.2).

Connor Walsh has a team-high 28 catches for 232 yards, while tight end Spenser Merwin has 13 catches for 234 yards (team-high 18.0 per catch). Rob Turner also has 13 catches on the season and Joseph showed his speed on a 52-yard scoring catch against Hamilton.

Bates is 2-3 overall and has been in every game this season. The Bobcats had a big 35-26 road win at Williams College and a 28-9 home win over Tufts University. Bates has fallen to Amherst (20-7), Wesleyan (21-14), and Middlebury (49-43).

The Bobcats lost to Middlebury last weekend despite piling up more than 500 yards of total offense. Bates quarterback Trevor Smith was 20-for-29 for 281 yards and two touchdowns. He ranks second in the NESCAC in total offense (219.0) and fourth in passing yardage per game (200.0).

Smith has a fine target in wide receiver John Squires, who had 11 catches for 174 yards last Saturday. He ranks fourth in the NESCAC in receiving yards per game (90.8).
Despite the aerial attack, Bates also had a huge game on the ground against Middlebury. The Bobcats rushed for 256 yards and received solid days out of running backs Teddy Downs (10 rushes, 94 yards) and Ryan Curit (15 rushes, 77 yards).

Bobcat linebacker Kevin Helm led the Bates defense with 14 stops against Middlebury and ranks second in the NESCAC in total tackles with 59.

This game could be exciting if you enjoy passing. Both teams have struggled in pass defense, with Bates ranking ninth in the NESCAC and Colby last at 10th. However, both teams have played solidly against the rush and are in the top five (Bates third, Colby fifth).

Bates ranks third in the conference in offense at 361.8 yards per contest, while the Mules are seventh at 288.4. The Bobcats are scoring 25.4 points per game to rank fourth in the league and Colby is eighth at 13.2.

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