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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: November 13, 2009
WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College football team will have plenty to play for when the Mules head to Brunswick on Saturday for rivalry day against Bowdoin College at 12:30 p.m.
The Mules will look to win the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) title outright for the first time since 2005. Colby already has clinched at least a tie for the title after taking a win over Bates two weeks ago. The three teams last tied for the title in 1995. The Mules also have a chance to clinch a winning record at 5-3 with a victory Saturday.
Colby and Bowdoin will meet for the 121st time Saturday in the third-longest rivalry in Division III football. Only Williams/Amherst (124th meeting Saturday) and Albion/Kalamazoo (123rd meeting) have played more games. The Polar Bears hold a 65-46-9 edge in the series dating back to 1892 (the teams did not play from 1943-45 because of World War II).
Colby sophomore quarterback Nick Kmetz earned the Gold Helmet Award from the Boston Gridiron Club and was the New England Small College Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 273 yards and four touchdowns in the Mules' 34-31 win at home against Tufts University last Saturday. All four of the touchdowns thrown by Kmetz came from 26 yards or more. He ranks third in the NESCAC in total offense (230.4) and fourth in passing yards average (202.1).
Patrick Burns is ninth in the NESCAC in receiving yards (62.7 per game) for the Mules and is averaging 17.6 yards per catch. He also has team-bests of 25 catches for 439 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Hellinger also is a major threat with 22 catches for 295 yards and four touchdowns.
Dan Prunier has run the ball well recently and has 244 rushing yards on 69 carries and four touchdowns. Kmetz is second in rushing with 198 yards.
Colby safety Chris Copeland ranks fifth in the NESCAC in tackles (9.7 per game) and heads into his final game with 68 stops on the year to go along with two interceptions. Tom Duffy has 48 tackles from his middle linebacker spot, Brian Mellett is third with 36 stops, and Lamont Henry has 34. Casey Sullivan is fifth in tackles with 29 and leads the Mules with 6.5 tackles for loss.
Colby ranks third in the conference in total defense (296.4 yards allowed per game) and third in rushing defense (66.4). Bowdoin, meanwhile, is third in the league in scoring offense (28.4) and second in total offense (412.3). Bowdoin's defense has been inconsistent, ranking last in the league in points allowed at 28 per contest.
The question heading into the game is the extent of an injury to Bowdoin senior quarterback Oliver Kell, who was hurt and left the game for good as the Polar Bears fell at Bates College last Saturday by a 28-24 score. Kell, who has had success against the Mules over the past three years, ranks second in the league in passing yards (298.1 per game), second in total offense (320.1), and first in passing efficiency (136.5).
Bowdoin used R.J. Shea at quarterback after Kell was injured and he went 10-for-23 for 97 yards and a pair of interceptions. The Polar Bears have arguably the most explosive player in the league in sophomore wide receiver Pat Noone, who leads the conference in receptions per game (9.43, 66 total), receiving yards (126.4), and all-purpose yards (187.7). Bowdoin also can run the ball with Nick Tom, third in the league in rushing yards per game at 54.5.
Colby seniors Roger Bel, Stephen Carroll, Copeland, Michael Cuqua, Matt Fait, Henry, Brian Leighton, Connor McKenna, Prunier, Matt Quinlan, Carl Richards, Ben Robinson, Peter Scheve, and Sullivan all play their final games Saturday.