MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Bates College fell behind by 22 points in the first half against Middlebury on Saturday.

The Bobcats bounced back with one of their best offensive performances in years, but the rally fell one point short, 35-34, in NESCAC football action.

The 34 points is a season-high for Bates, and the most it has scored in one game since 2014.

Leading the comeback was sophomore quarterback Brendan Costa, who ran for a season-high 111 yards and had a season-best 177 yards passing, while the Bobcats racked up 354 yards, by far a season-high.

All that, though, was not enough for Bates (0-6) to earn its first win of the season.

The Panthers took a 28-6 lead with 4:42 left in the first half. Bates cut into that lead with 1:28 left in the second quarter when a seven-play, 75-yard drive ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Christian Sanfilippo.

In the third quarter, on the first play after an interception by Joe Frake, Costa hooked up with freshman Jackson Hayes for a 49-yard scoring pass. That cut Middlebury’s lead down to 28-20.

The Panthers added some breathing room when Drew Jacobs ran in from 7 yards out, making it 35-20.

But the Bobcats scored again late in the third quarter, this time on a 17-yard pass to Marcus Ross from Costa.

Bates got to within one point, 35-34, when Costa connected with Sanfilippo for a 5-yard TD pass with 8:20 to play. Three touchdown passes is a career-high for Costa.

The Bobcats had a chance at the end of the game, taking over at their own 20 with 2:20 remaining in the game, but Costa threw an interception to Clay Hunt near midfield.


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