Football Game Notes for Saturday: Bates vs. Bowdoin
Bowdoin College (5-1) vs. Bates College (1-5)
Saturday, November 5, 2005, 12:30 p.m.
Garcelon Field — Lewiston, Maine
Saturday’s contest marks the 108th football game between Bowdoin and Bates. The in-state rivalry is the 10th longest in Division III, dating back to 1889. Bowdoin has won 61 of the games to Bates’ 39. There have been seven ties.
Bates gained 174 yards of total offense and had four turnovers in a 21-0 road loss against the Polar Bears. Two second-half fumbles ended Bobcat drives in Bowdoin territory, and the Polar Bears scored two touchdowns on drives that began after picking off Bates passes. Brandon Colon ’08 passed for 124 yards and Ron DiGravio ’08 rushed for 43 yards to lead the offense. Kevin Madden ’05 added 13 tackles from his linebacker spot.
Passing Knowledge of Each Other
Not only are senior Bowdoin quarterback Ricky Leclerc and sophomore Bates quarterback Brandon Colon each from Manchester, N.H., but both played a year of post-graduate football at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass. Both players had excellent seasons at the school, reports head coach Michael Atkins. “They both did very well academically, and the school is proud of their accomplishments,” he says.
In 2001, Leclerc averaged nearly four touchdown passes per game in a wide-open offense featuring, among others, Dallas Baker, now a three-year starter for the University of Florida, and current Bates junior Dylan MacNamara, who played three seasons at NMH.
In 2003, Colon was involved in more of a West Coast-style offense, Atkins says, with shorter passes to the likes of Jeff Pratt, now at Trinity College, and Scott McIntire, now at Sacred Heart University. Colon played through the whole season with a high ankle sprain.
Plan of Attack
Bates will likely try to exploit a Bowdoin rush defense that has allowed 214 yards on the ground per game. The last time the two teams played in Lewiston, in 2003, Bobcat running back Jamie Walker gained 162 yards on a school-record 45 carries in a 20-17 Bates win.
In last year’s Bates-Bowdoin game, the Bobcat defense held the Polar Bears to 96 yards passing, with quarterback Ricky Leclerc posting a 6-for-14 performance. This season, Leclerc is the second-ranked passer in the NESCAC and leads a Bowdoin passing attack that averages 176.2 yards per game. Versus Wesleyan last week, Leclerc completed five touchdown passes and was named NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week. Bates allows an average of 190 passing yards per game, eighth in the conference.
Bowdoin wide receiver Jeff Nolin leads the NESCAC in receiving yards (567), receiving touchdowns (6) and yards per catch (22.7). In the Wesleyan victory, Nolin caught three touchdowns passes, tying the school game mark.
Bates defensive end Terence Ryan leads the NESCAC with 7.5 sacks this season. The Bates junior is coming off a three-sack performance last week against Colby. Ryan leads a trio of Bobcats among the NESCAC sack leaders. Linebacker Todd Wilcox and defensive end Anthony Begon are tied for fourth in the conference with four sacks each.
Yours, Mine, Ours
The Bates offense has turned the ball over only nine times this season, the best mark in the NESCAC. Meanwhile, the Polar Bear defense has intercepted 10 passes and recovered 11 fumbles against 11 offensive turnovers for a +11 turnover margin.
Bates middle linebacker Dave Bodger ’06 leads the NESCAC in solo tackles with 38, and his total per-game average of 10.3 tackles is fourth in the conference. The Lewiston native entered last weekend with the 22nd-best solo tackles per game average nationally in Division III.