Fourth-quarter surge carries Bowdoin over Bates in football, 21-14
LEWISTON, Maine — Bowdoin College escaped an upset on Saturday at Garcelon Field, scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to erase a 14-0 deficit and defeat Bates College 21-14.
Matt Boyd’s 2-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds remaining put the Polar Bears (6-1) ahead for the first time, capping the comeback and maintaining Bowdoin’s shot at the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin championship, with a showdown against Colby next Saturday.
Bowdoin quarterback Ricky Leclerc threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns, completing 25 of 46 passes. Leclerc found Doug Johnson for a 6-yard touchdown with 14:56 to play, followed by a 5-yard score to tight end Jared Prichard with 4:23 to play.
Boyd carried the ball 32 times for 124 yards. Jeff Nolin caught nine passes for 135 yards for Bowdoin.
Bates (1-6) went ahead 14-0 in the second quarter, as quarterback Brandon Colon (Manchester, N.H.) scored from a yard out with 5:37 left. Junior tailback Jamie Walker (Needham, Mass.) added a 7-yard score less than four minutes later.
Junior safety Adam Kayce (South Easton, Mass.) picked off Leclerc’s pass intended for Nolin at the Bowdoin 39, and Kayce streaked down the sideline until Nolin brought him down. Three straight rushes by Walker took the Bobcats to the Bowdoin 1, and Colon’s plunge broke the scoreless tie.
Leclerc was intercepted again on Bowdoin’s next possession, as senior linebacker Dave Bodger dived and caught Leclerc’s offering at the Bowdoin 43. Again, Walker carried the load with four straight rushes for 21 yards, before a 15-yard connection from Colon to junior Dylan MacNamara (San Francisco) took Bates to the Bowdoin 7, setting up Walker’s touchdown.
Walker gained 118 yards on 26 carries before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter with an injury, with Bates at the Bowdoin 32 and threatening to expand its 14-7 lead.
The Bobcats turned to junior Eric Obeng (Wellesley, Mass.) as tailback, but Obeng (7 rushes, 24 yards), normally a defensive end and seeing his first action since Oct. 15, was visibly hobbled. A false start penalty helped to stall Bates at the Bowdoin 24, as Colon’s pass to tight end Ross Van Horn (Highland Park, N.J.) fell incomplete on fourth down, with 8:46 left to play.
Bowdoin took the ball over on downs and began a 16-play, 76-yard game-tying scoring drive, capped by two straight completions to Prichard.
After Jason Starrett’s kickoff return started Bates at its own 30, an offensive interference penalty was called against MacNamara, pushing the Bobcats back to their 15, at first down and 25. Two straight incompletions and a Shawki White (Danville, Ill.) rush for no gain brought on Tyler Schmelz (Monmouth Beach, N.J.) for a 28-yard punt.
Starting out at the Bates 34, Bowdoin needed six plays to reach the end zone. After White’s 20-yard kickoff return, Bates had 58 seconds to cover 67 yards needed to retie the game. But on third down at the Bowdoin 40, Polar Bears defensive lineman Dylan Brix sacked Colon and forced a fumble that Bowdoin recovered to ice the game.
Colon completed 20 of 32 passes for 172 yards, including 11 receptions by MacNamara for 107 yards.
Bodger collected 13 tackles to go with the interception to lead Bates’ defense. First-year Coleman Peeke (Exeter, N.H.), sophomore Ron DiGravio (Farmington, Maine) and Kayce added 10, nine and nine tackles, respectively. Terence Ryan’s (Milton, Mass.) sack increased his league-leading total to 8.5 on the season.
The Bobcats finish their 2005 season with a game at Hamilton College next Saturday at 12 p.m.
BOWDOIN 21, BATES 14
At Garcelon Field, Lewiston, Maine
Bowdoin 0 0 0 21 — 21
Bates 0 14 0 0 — 14
BATES — Brandon Colon 1-yard run (Tyler Schmelz kick), 5:37
BATES — Jamie Walker 7-yard run (Schmelz kick), 1:49
BOWDOIN — Doug Johnson 6-yard pass from Ricky Leclerc (Nolan McNair kick), 14:56
BOWDOIN — Jared Prichard 5-yard pass from Leclerc (McNair kick), 4:23
BOWDOIN — Matt Boyd 2-yard run (McNair kick), 0:58
A — 1,110