Colon sets Bates passing record vs. Tufts
|Brandon Colon ’08 fires en route to 16 completions and 224 yards on the day. (Phyllis Graber Jensen photos)|
LEWISTON, Maine — The Bates College football team won the turnover battle and boasted a dangerous passing attack but the Bobcats didn’t have quite as many big plays as Tufts University in a 35-20 Jumbos victory Saturday at Garcelon Field.
Tufts (2-0) rushed for 236 yards total and jumped out to a 28-7 lead before halftime while holding Bates to -5 yards rushing at the intermission.
For the second time in as many games, Bates (0-2) gathered itself to play better football in the second half, outperforming the Jumbos in first downs (8-4) and holding them to 84 yards of offense. But it was too little and too late to keep Tufts from extending its win streak over Bates to 22 games.
Bates senior quarterback Brandon Colon (Manchester, N.H.) completed 16 of 38 passes for 224 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Tom Beaton (West Newbury, Mass.) in the first quarter. Colon was picked off twice in the game, but he broke Dan Hooley ’97′s Bates career completions record of 349 and now has 362. Colon connected with Beaton three times in the game for 69 yards, and also found sophomore Matt Gregg (Milton, Mass.) for five completions worth 82 yards.
Brad Ricketson (Medfield, Mass.) rushed 15 times for 111 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that broke the game open for the Jumbos. Chris Guild (Wellesley, Mass.) added 79 rushing yards on 11 carries, including a 24-yard scoring run that gave Tufts a 7-0 lead. And Will Forde (Hyde Park, Mass.) added 47 yards with two touchdowns on 15 carries for Tufts, which outgained Bates on the ground 236 to 46 and had a 345-270 edge in total offense.
Bates sophomore safety Kyle McAllister (Exeter, N.H.) picked off a Tom McManama (Wakefield, Mass.) throw in the third quarter, his second interception of the day, and burned upfield 45 yards for a touchdown to cut the Tufts lead to 28-13. Junior Greg Thornton (Norwell, Mass.; 7 rushes, 33 yards) added a one-yard touchdown for Bates in the fourth quarter.
Tufts quarterback Matt Russo (Longmeadow, Mass.) completed 12 of 29 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown.
|Teammates swarm Tom Beaton ’10 (holding the ball) after his 40-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.|
The Jumbos capitalized on an early mistake by the Bobcats, as Colon was picked off by Tom Tassinari (Andover, Mass.) on the fourth play of the game, giving Tufts the ball inside Bates territory at the 40. On 3rd and 5 at the 24, Guild rushed around end and into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
The Bobcats evened the score midway through the first quarter with a four-play, 69-yard drive featuring a 36-yard Colon to Gregg hookup down the right sideline. Tufts’ Ryan Crisco (Madison, Conn.) sacked Colon for a 12-yard loss, confronting Bates with 3rd and 22 from the Tufts 40. But on the next play Colon evaded the rush, rolled out left and threw a bomb into the left corner of the end zone. Beaton, who had come all the way over from the right side of the field, lunged and held onto the pass for the 40-yard score.
Tufts regained the lead on the next possession, however, covering 57 yards in 11 plays, capped by Forde’s 1-yard plunge with 2:14 still left in the first quarter.
Tufts grabbed a 14-point lead soon after, when Ricketson burst through a stacked Bates defensive front and easily outran everyone for a backbreaking 62-yard score with 6:24 left in the half.
Riding its own momentum, Tufts recovered its own ensuing kickoff, giving the Jumbos the ball back at the Bates 30. But two plays later, McAllister picked off Russo at the 5 and returned it 30 yards upfield. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty followed by a 10-yard sack of Colon by Christopher Seufert (Whitehall, Pa.) stalled Bates’ ensuing drive. With only 3:32 left in the half, the Jumbos orchestrated a 9-play, 65-yard touchdown drive, capped by Russo’s 13-yard scoring toss to the curling tight end Kevin Gleason (Holden, Mass.).
McManama was a brief substitution at quarterback for Tufts early in the third quarter, when McAllister leaped up to grab an underthrown ball and ran for daylight along the right sideline for a 45-yard score. But the Bates offense went three and out on its next two possessions. Forde’s 16-yard punt return started the Jumbos in Bates territory at the 37, and he completed the deal with a 20-yard run to the 2, followed by his second touchdown of the day.
The Bates running game breathed new life in the fourth quarter: the Bobcats sustained a 12-play, 77-yard scoring drive, featuring three rushes by sophomore Judd Smith (Milton, Mass.) for 18 yards and 31 yards on five carries by Thornton, including his first collegiate touchdown which made it 35-20 with the extra point by sophomore Andrew Johnson (Naples, Fla.).
Bates junior linebacker Coleman Peeke (Exeter, N.H.) led the Bobcats with a career-high 14 tackles. Peeke also forced a fumble on special teams and made two quarterback hurries. Seniors Todd Wilcox (Brentwood, N.H.) and Ron DiGravio (Farmington, Maine) were also in double digits in tackles with 12 and 11, respectively. Wilcox racked up Bates’ lone quarterback sack. McAllister added seven tackles to his two-interception, one-touchdown day.
Bates will play at Williams next Saturday at 1 p.m., while Tufts will host Bowdoin.