MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Sporadic offense made life difficult again for Bates football Saturday afternoon.
And four turnovers made winning imposssible.
Led by Matt Milano’s career-high four touchdown passes, Middlebury cruised to a 35-6 win at Alumni Stadium.
Bates (1-4) fell into an early hole and never recovered.
Nate Leedy’s interception at the Bates 33-yard line led to a quick score by the Panthers. Middlebury immediately went skyward for a touchdown hookup from Milano to Brandon Rankowitz.
The Bobcats battled back to tie it on the strength of its longest offensive play in more than 10 years.
Back in the lineup after missing the Wesleyan contest, senior quarterback Matt Cannone located Mike Tomaino on a 74-yard catch and run. The extra point failed, and Middlebury stayed on top, 7-6.
The play accounted for a big chunk of Bates’ 185 total yards.
From there, the Panthers stayed on the prowl.
Milano (29 for 43, 287 yards) used play action to set up a 21-yard TD strike to Matt Minno with 12:35 remaining in the half.
Addison Pierce’s tackle stopped Bates’ next march on fourth-and-1 at the Middlebury 32.
For the second consecutive week, an opponent’s touchdown in the final minute of the half deflated the Bobcats. Jake Vacovec pounced on a bad snap in the end zone for the points with 31 seconds remaining.
All told, Middlebury’s first-half scoring possessions used up just over a minute.
Middlebury kept up the pace with pass-happy scoring march in the third quarter. Ian Riley’s catch on fourth down led to a 2-yard TD toss from Milano to Rankowitz.
Vacovec intercepted Cannone to start the fourth quarter.
Milano and Minno connected for a 30-yard score to punctuate the Panthers’ win.
Rankowitz and Minno combined for a dozen catches. Ivan Reese had 43 yards to lead the Bobcats’ ground game.
Mark Upton made 11 tackles and forced a fumble for Bates, which hosts Colby next Saturday.