Football Preview: Jumbos look to extend win streak vs. Bobcats
Bates College Bobcats vs. Tufts University Jumbos
Garcelon Field – Lewiston, Maine
Parents & Family Weekend
September 29, 2007 – 1 p.m.
Live Audio Streaming
Bates College has partnered with Teamline to make live play-by-play of 2007 season home football games available to listeners from anywhere.
Veteran announcer Al Harvie ’65 will be making the call from Garcelon Field for each home game.
There are two simple ways to listen in on the play-by-play:
- Free via the Internet. Simply follow this link or click on the Teamline logo above.
- Via any telephone for $5 per game. To access the game via any phone just dial (216) 502-3200. Enter team code 0424 when prompted. Long distance charges may apply, depending on your particular long distance plan or provider.
Tufts leads the all-time series with Bates, 54-13-3. The teams first faced each other in the first college football game ever played in Maine, winning 1-0 on November 6, 1875.
The Bobcats traveled to Tufts’ Ellis Oval/Zimman Field on Sept. 30, 2006, and jumped out to an early 9-0 lead in the first quarter. A recovered fumble by Anthony Begon and a 19-yard scamper by Jamie Walker set up the first score of the game by means of a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Colon to Adam Poplaski. The Bates defense held the Jumbos to negative yardage in the first half, but that wasn’t enough to keep Tufts down, as Matt Russo threw two second-quarter touchdowns to take the lead 14-9. Bates settled on a field goal before half after an impressive two-minute drill which ended at the Tufts 2-yard line, cutting the lead to 14-12. Both defenses battled in a scoreless third quarter. A Colon interception and a 21-yard touchdown pass by Russo with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter would cement the Jumbos’ 21st straight victory over Bates.
Despite a 3-0 start in 2006, the Jumbos lost three of their last four games to end the 2006 campaign 4-4. Head coach Bill Samko enters his 14th season with the Jumbos and hopes to add more victories to his 45-59 career record. Samko and the Jumbos started on the right track by adding a 24-7 win over Hamilton College in the 2007 season opener.
Despite allowing 300 yards of total offense to the Continentals, Tufts’ defense found a way to force four turnovers en route to a come-from-behind victory. It was Hamilton who drew first blood late in the first quarter, when quarterback Ben Saccomano found Claudius Zorokong, who dashed 43 yards to the end zone, finishing an eight-play, 83-yard drive.
The Tufts offense had no response: Russo and company failed to score on their first eight drives, punting on the first seven and fumbling away the eighth. However, late in the second quarter the Jumbos forced Hamilton to punt from their own 16. They capitalized on the great field position by evening the contest at 7-7 on fourth and goal with 36 seconds left in the half, on a 5-yard run by junior tailback Will Forde.
The second half was all Jumbos. Freshman kicker Greg Stewart first kicked a 38-yard field goal to take the lead for good at 10-7. Tufts added two more scores through the air, as Russo connected on touchdown passes of 54 yards and 12 yards in the fourth quarter to seal a Jumbo victory.
Averaging only 1.4 yards per carry on the ground, the Jumbos looked to the passing game for success, particularly the big play: the Jumbos completed less than 50 percent of their passes (12-28), but averaged 17 yards per completion. Russo threw for a career high 205 yards last week, accounting for 79 percent of the Jumbos’ 260 total yards of offense.
Tufts’ defense appears to be the difference maker of the team, and they too count on the big play. Despite allowing 300 yards of total offense, Tufts’ defense caused four turnovers, including three interceptions, and sacked the Hamilton quarterbacks three times for -23 yards.
The Bobcats couldn’t get their offense going and despite a stout performance by their defense fell to the Amherst Lord Jeffs in week one, 24-0. The Bobcat defense was led by senior middle linebacker Graham Raymond with 15 tackles, while seniors Ron DiGravio and captain Todd Wilcox each added nine tackles from their linebacker positions.
It was the ground game that gave Bates’ defense the most trouble: the Lord Jeffs netted 170 yards rushing including an average of 3.3 yards per carry, outgaining the entire Bates offense, which only netted 131 total yards. But the Bates pass defense did show signs of improvement from last year, forcing an interception and not allowing a touchdown as well as only 130 yards through the air, compared to their average of 198 yards from last year.
The Bates offense was stifled by a fast and experienced Lord Jeff defense. The Bobcats had difficulty establishing a solid run game, only averaging one yard per carry and totaling 25 yards on the ground. The Bobcats hope that junior Shawki White will be able to provide a much more effective run game for the offense. Quarterback Brandon Colon fell three completions shy of eclipsing the Bates career mark for completions of 349, going 12-24 for 106 yards with one interception. It was senior tight end Ross Van Horn who was Colon’s primary target: Van Horn hauled in four passes for 53 yards including catches of 24 and 15 yards. Although the Bobcats had some success through the air, the Bobcats look to get sophomore wideout Matt Gregg more involved, as he was held to three receptions for 12 yards by the Lord Jeff secondary.
This Week in the NESCAC
Wesleyan Cardinals (0-1) at Hamilton Continentals (0-1), 12:30 p.m.: Both teams look to get on track after convincing losses in Week 1.
Bowdoin Polar Bears (1-0) at Amherst Lord Jeffs (1-0), 1 p.m.: Coming off a huge upset of NESCAC defending champion Williams, the Polar Bears look to keep the ball rolling against the Lord Jeffs.
Colby Mules (0-1) at Middlebury Panthers (1-0), 1 p.m.: Middlebury looks to go 2-0 as the Mules search for their first win of the year, coming off a shutout loss against Trinity.
Trinity Bantams (1-0) at Williams Ephs (0-1), 1:30 p.m.: This matchup last year changed the complexion of the conference standings, with Williams ending Trinity’s 31-game win streak by a resounding 41-16 score.