The last time Bates College football defeated Middlebury College, “Red Red Wine” by UB40 was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100, “The Accused,” starring Kelly McGillis and Jodie Foster, was the top box office film, and the price of gas was a mere $1.03 per gallon.
In other words, it’s been a long time since the Bobcats (1-3) have defeated the Panthers (2-2). To be precise, it hasn’t happened since 1988. They’ll seek that elusive victory Saturday afternoon at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium in Middlebury, Vt.
“It puts us back to where we’ve been the past few years, as far as recordwise,” Bates coach Mark Harriman said of getting a win against Middlebury. “It’s a team we want to have success against. They’re a good football team. We have a good challenge ahead of us, but it’s a team we feel if we do the right things we can beat.”
After winning its first game of the season two weeks ago against Williams College, Bates took a step back in its 24-10 loss to Wesleyan University in which the Bobcats were outgained 418-164. The Bobcats struggled to move the ball with backup quarterback Patrick Dugan under center. Dugan completed 5 of 13 passes for 66 yards and an interception.
“They’re a very good defense,” Harriman said of Wesleyan. “Consistencywise we hurt ourselves in some situations with both some muffed pitches and muffed handoffs. We put the ball on the ground more than we typical do. You go from being in second-and-medium to second-and-extra-long.”
Starting quarterback Matt Cannone is expected to return after missing last week’s game with an ankle injury. With Cannone sidelined, his go-to target, wide receiver Mark Riley, was held without a catch against Wesleyan. Riley entered last week’s game as the conference leader in receiving yards per game with 109. His average dropped to 87.2 yards per game, but still leads the NESCAC by more than 20 yards per contest.
Middlebury is coming off a 23-20 overtime victory at Williams and has won two of its last three. The Panthers rank fifth in the conference in total offense at 315.8 yards per game. Quarterback Matthew Minno ranks fourth amongst NESCAC signal callers with 179 yards passing per game.
“They’re in a little bit of a transition,” Harriman said. “They went from probably throwing the ball seventy times a game to more of a run-pass offense. We haven’t played them in this type of scheme before. We’re not sure what exactly to expect. I know we’ll go out and play well defensively.”
Saturday’s tilt has the look of a low-scoring affair, as Bates averages 14.8 points per game and Middlebury 16 through four games this season.
The Panthers lead the all-time series 40-14-3, including the last 24 games. Middlebury defeated Bates, 28-17, last year.
Ellis, Planche fall in quarterfinal
A week after winning the ITA Northeast Region doubles championship, Pierre Planche and Chris Ellis fell to the University of Chicago’s David Lui and Deepak Sabada, 7-6 (5), 7-5, in the quarterfinal round of the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships on Thursday in Sumter, S.C.
Planche and Ellis were the third seed at the event among eight pairs. They would have played Emory’s Alex Ruderman and Ian Wagner in a consolation match, but the Bates duo withdrew due to injury.
Trinity’s Jordan Mayer and Aaron Skinner won the doubles tournament, 6-4, 6-4, over Pomona Pitzer’s Connor Hudson and Kalyan Chadalavada. The top four seeds were all upset in the quarterfinals.
Members from Johns Hopkins, Stevens and Gustavus Adolphus were also among the eight-team field.
Men’s golf wins CBB tournament
The Bobcats shot a team score of 393 and won the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin tournament by 13 strokes over Bowdoin on Sunday at Waterville Country Club.
Freshman Matt Marcus led the Bobcats with a 77 as their top five scores finished within three strokes of each other. Alex Stekler fired a 78, Garret Bonney and Brad Rutkin each carded 79s and Edmund Pierce rounded out the scoring with an 80.
Bowdoin’s Dustin Biron carded a 72 to take home medalist honors.
Colby finished with a team score of 411, led by Geoff Sullivan’s 79.
Women’s rowing wins opening regatta
The Bates women’s rowing team opened the season by winning the varsity eight Quinsigamond Snake Regatta on Saturday in Worcester, Mass.
The Bobcats’ top varsity eight boat completed the 2.5-mile race in 15 minutes, 45.219 seconds, more than 15 seconds faster than the next competitor. Their second varsity eight team fared better than most schools’ top team, placing sixth in 15:45.219.
Bates fared well in the varsity fours, as well. Its top two boats placed second and third, respectively, out of 24 teams. Its first boat crossed the finish line at 17:02.941, followed by its second boat at 17:05.781. Bowdoin won the varsity four race in 16:49.735.