MIDDLETON, Conn. — The Bates College football team held a halftime lead for the first time this season Saturday.

The second half didn’t go quite so well for the Bobcats, though, as they fell 41-23 to Wesleyan.

Grant DeWald kicked a career-long 43-yard field goal to put Bates up 23-21 with 26 seconds left in the first half.

The Cardinals retook the lead with 10 points in the third quarter. Bates stayed within one score until Wesleyan added a field goal and a touchdown in the game’s final five minutes.

The halftime advantage wasn’t the first lead of the game for the Bobcats (0-5). They actually jumped ahead 14-0 with first-quarter touchdown runs by Peter Boyer and and freshman Brendan Costa, who was starting his second game at quarterback.

Costa, who finished with a game-high 170 yards on 18 carries, set up Boyer’s scored with a 57-yard scamper on third-and-4.

The Cardinals (4-1) answered with touchdown runs by quarterback Mark Piccirillo and running back Sean Penney, tying the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter.

Following an interception by Coy Candalario, the first of his career, midway through the second quarter, Costa completed a 24-yard pass to fellow freshman Jaason Lopez to advance Bates to its own 45-yard line. Three plays later, Costa connected with Lopez for a 54-yard touchdown pass, and the Bobcats led 20-14.

Costa completed 7-of-20 passes for 97 yards. He committed no turnovers after throwing four interceptions in last week’s loss to Williams.

Penney’s second touchdown run gave the lead back to Wesleyan, 21-20.

In the second half, Corey Phillips kicked two field goals and Piccirillo tossed two touchdown passes, an 8-yarder to Gernald Hawkins and a 2-yarder to Mike Breuler.

Piccirillo was 29-for-42 for 370 yards. He also led the Cardinals in rushing, 11 carries for 84 yards. Breuler caught 10 passes for 164 yards, and Hawkins hauled in 11 passes for 106.

Wesleyan out-gained Bates 537-384.

Defensively for Bates, Bobby Dee had 11 tackles, while Chase Fulton added 10.

Bates hosts Middlebury (4-1) next week at Garcelon Field at 1 p.m. The Panthers suffered their first loss Saturday, 27-26 to Williams.

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