Football Preview: Bobcats look to get on track at Middlebury
Bates College (0-4) at Middlebury College (3-1)
Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium – Middlebury, Vt.
October 21st, 2006 – 1 p.m.
The Panthers of Middlebury College look to get back on the winning track after a loss last weekend at the hands of conference leading Williams College, 40-9. The loss came after Middlebury opened the season with three straight wins. They defeated Wesleyan 10-7 to open the year, followed by a 23-0 shutout win in Waterville against Colby and a tight win against Amherst in week three, 7-3. Their solid defensive play has led the way thus far and a lot of the credit can be attributed to senior Defensive End, Kevin Ryan(Shelton, Conn.) and Junior Linebacker, Erik Hoodring(Cos Cob, Conn.). Ryan leads the NESCAC with a stunning 9.5 sacks through the first 4 games of the season. Woodring has also filled the stat sheet, tallying a league high 45 tackles. Offensively, senior running back Stefan Hrdina (West Redding, Conn.) steadies the Panthers with his 71.5 rushing yards per game, the third-best average in the NESCAC. Hrdina as he finished third in the conference last season in rushing. Quarterback Tiger Lyon (El Paso, Texas) returns as the starting signal caller for the Panthers this year and hopes to improve on a solid 2005 season in which he threw for 1,204 yards and 11 touchdowns. While his passing numbers to this point may not be as gaudy as last year, his three wins in the first four games of 2006 show that the quarterback’s play may be much better than the stats infer.
Dylan MacNamara ’07 had four catches for 47 yards in last year’s meeting between Bates and Middlebury.
The Wesleyan University Cardinals needed extra time to take down the Bobcats last weekend, nipping the good guys 17-14 in overtime. The loss dropped Bates to 0-4 on the year, the first time the Bobcats had failed to notch a victory in the first 4 games of the season since 2002. It’s worth noting, however, that 2002 was the year in which Bates won its last three games of the season and captured its last CBB title. A silver lining thus far for the Bobcats could be found in the statistical emergence of outside linebacker Ron DiGravio (Farmington, Maine). New to the position last season, DiGravio has shown that a little experience was all he needed to become a standout performer for the Bobcat defense. Presently, he is third on the team with 27 tackles. More striking is his 7.5 tackles for loss, a total that ties him for second in the category for NESCAC defenders. Senior free safety and tri-captain Adam Kayce (North Easton, Mass.) has also put up some impressive numbers. He leads the team with 33 tackles through four games, eighth best in the NESCAC. Offensively, the Bobcats look to expand on the success they have had in the red zone through the first half of the year. This season, Bates has scored four touchdowns and kicked two field goals in their six trips inside their opponent’s 20-yard line. That perfect percentage puts the Bobcats atop the conference in red zone efficiency.
2006 Bates Schedule/Results (0-4 NESCAC)
9/23 @ Amherst L, 6-31
9/30 @Tufts L, 12-21
10/7 WILLIAMS L, 7-27
10/14 WESLEYAN L, 14-17 (OT)
10/21 @Middlebury 1 p.m.
10/28 COLBY* 1 p.m.
11/4 @Bowdoin 12:30 p.m.
11/11 HAMILTON 12 p.m
2006 Middlebury Schedule/Results (3-1 NESCAC)
9/23 WESLEYAN W, 10-7
9/30 @Colby W, 23-0
10/7 AMHERST W, 7-3
10/14 @Williams L, 9-40
10/21 BATES 1 p.m.
10/28 @Trinity 12:30 p.m.
11/4 @Hamilton 12 p.m.
11/11 TUFTS 12:30 p.m.
Middlebury leads the all-time series against the Bobcats, 31-14-3. Since 1970, the Panthers have won all but two contests and have won 17 in a row since 1988.
Last Year’s Meeting
In week 5 of the 2005 season, Middlebury came into Lewiston and dealt the Bobcats a 41-7 drubbing. After a tightly played first quarter ended with the game knotted at 7, the Panthers quickly put up two touchdowns in the second quarter. An Anthony Begon (Lynn, Mass.) block of a PAT attempt by Middlebury kicker Steve Hauschka (Needham, Mass.) made the score 20-7 going into the half. With the game still in reach, Middlebury managed to pull away with two third-quarter touchdowns and put the finishing touches on the victory with a score early in the fourth. Hrdina rushed for 100 yards on 25 carries and one score and Lyon completed 13-of-17 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively for the Panthers, safety Scott Secor (Lake Odessa, Mich.) intercepted two of Brandon Colon’s passes, returning one 49 yards for a touchdown. Woodring registered eight tackles on the day to lead the Panthers. Jamie Walker (Needham, Mass.) paced the Bates rushing attack, netting 71 yards on 25 carries, and Dylan MacNamara (San Francisco, Calif.) accounted for the lone Bates score on a 15-yard touchdown reception from Colon in the opening quarter. MacNamara led the Bobcats in receiving for the game, with four catches for 47 yards.
This Week in the NESCAC
Hamilton at Colby, 1 p.m. – Two one-win teams collide in Waterville with hopes of gaining momentum going into the second half of the season. Hamilton DB Jesse Koch is a player to watch as he ranks fifth in the NESCAC in tackles through the first four games of the year.
Trinity at Bowdoin, 1 p.m. – The Bantams have outscored Bowdoin by a count of 113-3 in their last three meetings. More of the same may be expected as the Polar Bears rank last in the conference in total defense.
Amherst at Wesleyan, 1 p.m. – Amherst standout WR Mark Hannon and conference-leading passer Nick Kehoe look to attack a Wesleyan pass defense that is giving up nearly 200 yards/game.
Williams at Tufts, 1:30 p.m. – Williams remains as the last unbeaten team in the NESCAC A large dose of the running game is likely to be showcased by both squads as the Ephs and the Jumbos rank first and second, respectively, in the conference in rushing proficiency.