Bates College football seniors hope to accomplish something Saturday that has been startlingly rare in their lifetime.

The Bobcats aim for their fourth consecutive win over the Tufts University Jumbos at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Garcelon Field as part of the school’s annual Parents and Family Weekend.

Having the chance to go undefeated in their career against an annual opponent is a sure sign of the recent up-turn in Bates football fortunes. The Bobcats’ five consecutive wins over Hamilton from 2004 to 2008 are the only other example of such uninterrupted success against an opponent dating back to at least the early 1990s.

For so many seasons, the roles were completely reversed. Bates beat Tufts 31-23 in 2012, 28-9 at home in 2011, and 21-20 in 2010. That narrow victory in Somerville, Mass., was the Bobcats’ first triumph over the Jumbos since 1985.

Tufts’ current 24-game losing streak is the longest in all of college football. That skid began with the 2010 loss to Bates.

Even throwing out that history and factoring in only Week 1 results, Bates is the favorite. The Bobcats led reigning NESCAC champion Trinity 17-14 before three fourth-quarter turnovers led to two Bantams touchdowns in a 28-17 loss.

Tufts made history by playing at Wesleyan in the first night game in conference history. The Jumbos scored a touchdown on their opening drive but were thumped thereafter in a 52-9 loss.

The Bobcats’ triple option offense rolled up 290 rushing yards against Trinity. That doesn’t bode well for the Jumbos, who were outgained 309 to 7 on the ground against Bates a year ago.

Senior running back Ryan Curit of South Portland cleared the century mark for only the second time with 30 carries for a career-high 104 yards and two touchdowns.

Curit established himself as Bates’ inside threat, with senior co-captain Shawn Doherty (91 yards, also a career-best) doing the work on the perimeter.

After entering the season without a game-tested quarterback, Bates flaunts a pair of options under center. Patrick Dugan racked up 20 carries for 79 yards against Trinity. Matt Cannone emerged as the passing threat, setting up a first-half touchdown with a long strike to Mike Tomaino.

But Bates’ calling card in recent years has been its defense.

The Bobcats were among the top five in NCAA Division III in takeaways in 2012, and the new season began with a similar flourish. Gilbert Brown and Pat Gilligan each intercepted a pass against Trinity.

Brown and Gilligan’s fellow junior linebacker, Adam Cuomo, erupted for 15 tackles — a dozen of them solo, and 3.5 for a loss.

Cuomo had made only 10 stops in his first two Bates seasons combined. His total matched that of teammate Andrew Kukesh, a preseason All-America safety, for the league’s leading number in Week 1.

Bates picked off Tufts three times a year ago in a game that saw the Jumbos accumulate a staggering 71 pass attempts.

Tufts QB Jack Doll was 22-for-42 for 168 yards against Wesleyan. He connected with tight end Xavier Frey for the Jumbos’ lone TD.

Other Jumbos pass-catching threats are Greg Lanzillo and Harrison Kidd, as well as Zach Trause out of the backfield.

Trause and Chance Brady are the primary ground gainers.

The linebacking corps of Matt McCormack, Tommy Meade and Sean Harrington leads Tufts’ defense. They combined for 168 tackles in 2012.

Bates fans likely feel that the sudden prosperity against Tufts is long overdue. Despite the recent reversal of fortune, the Jumbos still lead the all-time series, 57-16-3.

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