LEWISTON, Maine --- Round one of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) Championship goes to the Colby College football team.
The Mules spoiled Bates' Homecoming by stopping quarterback Trevor Smith for a 3-yard gain at the Colby 5-yard line on fourth down, a yard short of the first down with just three seconds left in the game. The Mules held on downs for a wild finish to a 10-6 NESCAC win over the Bobcats at Garcelon Field.
Colby moved to 3-3 with the win, while Bates fell to 1-5. The Mules will play at Tufts University next Saturday at noon.
Colby led 3-0 at halftime after a 21-yard field goal by David Bendit midway through the second quarter. The Mules then tacked on a touchdown late in the third quarter on Spencer Gopaul's 41-yard touchdown reception off a screen pass from quarterback Nick Kmetz. Bendit booted what turned out to be a very important extra point.
A fourth-quarter interception by Colby's Derrick Beasley, who returned the ball 36 yards, appeared to dash Bates' hopes for a comeback. But two plays later, suddenly the momentum turned back toward Bates, and the Bobcats were able to close the gap with 5:10 left in the fourth quarter. Bates defensive end Tyler Kuehl got hold of a tipped pass and returned it 71 yards before he was brought down by Kmetz at the Colby 1-yard line, setting up Jared Jammal's 1-yard scoring plunge. Gavin Segall-Abrams' extra-point attempt caromed off the left upright and away, however, leaving the Bobcats four points behind at 10-6.
Colby earned two first downs on its ensuing possession, taking 3:20 off the clock until Connor Sullivan punted into the Bates end zone for a touchback, giving Bates the ball at its own 20 with 1:46 left to play.
Bates quickly faced 4th and 5 at its own 25, but Smith scrambled nine yards for the first down. Two straight incompletions brought up 3rd and 10, and Smith hit Evan Tierney over the middle for a 26-yard gain to the Colby 40. Smith hurried the offense up the field for a quick snap and a 6-yard completion to John Squires. Colby called timeout with 41 seconds left and Bates in Colby territory at the 34.
On 2nd and 4, Smith threw a long slant to a heavily covered Squires near the left pylon, and a Mules defensive back was called for pass interference, moving Bates inside the Colby 15 with the seconds ticking down. Smith rolled right and completed a pass to Tierney, who fell out of bounds at the Colby 8. Smith spiked the ball to stop the clock, then on 3rd and 4 his pass over the middle intended for Brian Gallagher sailed through the end zone. In what became the final play of the game, Smith scrambled for extra time and appeared prepared to throw to a target in the end zone. Smith wound up scrambling across the line of scrimmage, but shy of the first down marker, handing the ball over to Colby with three seconds left on the clock.
On Bates' possession prior to Beasley's pickoff, the Bobcats marched into red zone territory, but the drive sputtered once they got there. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Katon hit Squires for a 40-yard completion down the right sideline, and he was pushed out of bounds at the Colby 29. A nine-yard rush by Teddy Downs and a two-yarder by Jammal gave Bates a first down at the Colby 18. But Katon was caught for a four-yard loss by Lester Batiste, then hurried into an incompletion to Downs. On 3rd and 14 at the Colby 22, Katon nearly connected with rookie Kevin Davis near the left pylon, but Beasley was there to break up the pass before Davis could establish control of the ball. Ryan Veillette then sacked Katon on fourth down to end Bates' scoring chance.
Kmetz completed 17 of 26 passes for 197 yards, while Patrick Burns pulled down five receptions for 100 yards. Connor Walsh had four catches for 42 yards and also threw a 37-yard completion to Burns. Connor Tidgwell rushed 13 times for a game-high 35 yards.
Tom Duffy led Colby with 10 tackles (has team-best 58 this season), and Veillette had two of the Mules' five quarterback sacks in the game. Mellett, Batiste, Veillette, and Philip Amato all had seven tackles for the winners. Ryan Murphy added six tackles and a fumble recovery, while Beasley had his team-best third interception of the season.
Bates plays at Bowdoin next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in the second game of the CBB Championship. The Mules then close out the season at home against Bowdoin on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 12:30 p.m.
Colby 10, Bates 6
Colby............... 0 3 7 0 - 10 Record: (3-3,3-3)
Bates College....... 0 0 0 6 - 6 Record: (1-5,1-5)
2nd 07:56 COLFB10 - David Bendit 21 yd field goal, 4-2 2:04, COLFB10 3 - BAT 0
3rd 01:49 COLFB10 - Spencer Gopaul 41 yd pass from Nick Kmetz (David Bendit kick), 4-54 1:28, COLFB10 10 - BAT 0
4th 05:10 BAT - J. Jammal 1 yd run (Segall-Abrams kick failed), 1-1 0:00, COLFB10 10 - BAT 6
FIRST DOWNS................... 14 11
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 40-68 44-82
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 234 118
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 27-18-1 21-10-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 67-302 65-200
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 3-16 4-15
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 2-25 3-45
Interception Returns-Yards.... 1-36 1-71
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 8-37.2 8-37.8
Fumbles-Lost.................. 3-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards............... 6-53 4-30
Possession Time............... 32:35 27:25
Third-Down Conversions........ 7 of 16 5 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 1 1 of 4
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 1-2 0-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 5-41 5-23
RUSHING: Colby-Conor Tidgwell 13-35; Connor Walsh 8-21; Spencer Gopaul 4-9;
Patrick Burns 1-5; Nick Kmetz 14-minus 2. Bates College-T. Downs 7-32; T. Smith
19-16; J. Jammal 6-15; P. George 6-15; R. Curit 1-7; E. Tierney 3-5; R. Katon
PASSING: Colby-Nick Kmetz 17-26-1-197; Connor Walsh 1-1-0-37. Bates College-T.
Smith 8-15-0-72; R. Katon 2-6-1-46.
RECEIVING: Colby-Patrick Burns 5-100; Connor Walsh 4-42; Conor Tidgwell 4-20;
Spencer Gopaul 2-43; Andrew Graham 2-16; Spencer Merwin 1-13. Bates College-J.
Squires 5-69; E. Tierney 2-32; T. Downs 2-6; R. Larsen 1-11.
INTERCEPTIONS: Colby-Derrick Beasley 1-36. Bates College-T. Kuehl 1-71.
FUMBLES: Colby-Connor Walsh 2-1; Nick Kmetz 1-0. Bates College-T. Downs 1-1; B.