Football preview: Bates (0-4) looks to pounce on Wesleyan (2-2)

Bates quarterback Brendan Costa had a breakout game against Wesleyan a year ago, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football team looks to build upon the strides made in a deceptively competitive 31-7 loss to Williams last Saturday, as the Bobcats host Wesleyan on Garcelon Field this Saturday, Oct. 13.

One of the stronger programs in the NESCAC in recent history, Wesleyan began the 2018 season with a 52-21 stomping of Middlebury. But the next two weeks brought losses to Tufts (16-13) and Hamilton (33-29). The Cardinals hope their road win at Colby last week has them back on track to another winning season.

Wesleyan has the third most potent passing in the offense after four games, with an average of 193.3 yards through the air, including seven touchdowns. The well-balanced offense ranks fifth in the league in rushing (173.3 yards per game). They rank first in the NESCAC in third-down conversions (51%).

Defensively, the Cardinals have struggled against the pass, averaging a league-worst 227 yards allowed through the air (Bates is seventh in that category at 201.0), but they have held the opposition to only 78.3 rushing yards per game.

The host Bobcats are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day at the game.


THE PARTICULARS:

What: Wesleyan (2-2) at Bates (0-4)

When: Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field (Lewiston, Maine)

Live Coverage: Video | Stats

All-Time Series: Wesleyan leads 32-4

Previous Meeting: Williams 41, Bates 23 (Oct. 14, 2017 in Middletown, Conn.)


WESLEYAN LAST WEEK:

Wesleyan downed Colby 28-20 last Saturday in Waterville, Maine, as quarterback Mark Piccirillo passed for 166 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 103 yards and a touchdown. The win is the ninth-straight over the Mules, with Colby's last win coming in 2009.

Piccirillo threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Glenn Smith to give Wesleyan a 7-0 advantage with 4:36 remaining in the first.

The Cardinals added to their lead when they went nine plays for 80 yards over as 3:51 elapsed. During the drive, Piccirillo completed a 35-yard pass to Hallvard Lundevall at the Colby five, before Piccirillo found Sean Penney for the Cardinal touchdown to make it 14-0 in the second.

The Mules intercepted a pass and returned it for 22 yards to the 27-yard line. Colby gained 73 yards on 10 plays, with QB Matt Hersch finding Matt Richman for a Colby touchdown, making it 14-7 at the half.

Later, a Sam Green interception led to a 22-yard touchdown run by Piccirillo, extending the lead to 21-7 with 5:31 left in the third quarter.

The Cardinals sealed the game on a three-yard touchdown run by Glenn Smith, putting them up 28-7 with 1:45 remaining.

The Mules quickly answered with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Hersch to Jibri Woods, cutting the lead to 28-14. Colby recovered the onside kick and added a touchdown with just 14 seconds left on a six-yard strike from Hersch to Jordan Roody.

Piccirillo completed 15-24 passes for 166 yards with two touchdowns. He also paced all rushers with 103 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. Smith added 72 yards on 11 carries and a score, while Lundevall the Cardinals with 50 yards receiving.

BATES LAST WEEK

Coming to Garcelon Field as heavy favorites after a big win over Trinity last week, Williams was tested for three quarters by the Bates football team before prevailing by a 31-7 score Saturday.

Bates (0-4) trailed 17-7 but had the ball on the Williams 1-yard line late in the third quarter. The Ephs ended Bates' 17-play, 75 yard drive by stuffing first-year Christian Sanfilippo's (Gloucester, Mass.) fourth-down run from the 1, then received a pair of breakaway touchdown runs by TJ Dozier in the fourth quarter to pull away from the host Bobcats.

Dozier had touchdown runs of 35 and 75 yards in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 151 yards on 12 carries.
Bates possessed the ball for over 36 minutes of the game clock, a season-high, gained a season-best 259 yards of offense, and totaled 19 first downs to Williams' 15.

The game began disastrously for the hosts, as the ball was fumbled away on the Bobcats' first play from scrimmage and recovered by the Ephs. Williams took over at the Bates 12 and got a 12-yard touchdown pass from Bobby Maimaron to Ryan Kingman in the flat on their first offensive play.

The Ephs (4-0) appeared to be on their way to a blowout, as they tacked on a touchdown and a field goal for a 17-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
But Bates' defense rallied and forced Williams to punt on six straight possessions through three quarters.

BATES' AND WESLEYAN'S LAST MEETING

Bates quarterback Brendan Costa carried the ball 18 times for 170 yards and a touchdown, but Wesleyan quarterback Mark Piccirillo countered with 370 passing yards and tallied three total touchdowns to lead the Cardinals past the Bobcats 41-23 on Oct. 7, 2017 in Middletown, Conn.

The Bobcats held a 23-21 lead at the half, thanks to Grant DeWald nailing a career-long 43-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in the second quarter.
But the Cardinals (4-1) took the lead for good in the third quarter when they went on a 14-play, 63-yard drive, setting up a Corey Phillips 31-yard field goal.
He split the uprights and after a Bates three-and-out, Wesleyan marched 79 yards on nine plays.

They scored a touchdown when Piccirillo connected with Gernald Hawkins for an eight-yard reception, extending the lead to 31-23 after the extra point. Hawkins finished with 11 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.

Wesleyan did not go up by more than one score until Phillips booted a 20-yard field goal with 5:15 left in the game, extending the lead to 34-23. Mike Breuler added a two-yard touchdown reception with 1:41 left in the contest.

Bates leapt out to a 14-0 lead with a 1-yard touchdown run by Peter Boyer and a 23-yard touchdown run by Brendan Costa. Wesleyan tied the game with nearly three quarters remaining in the game, with a 22-yard touchdown run by Piccirillo and a 2-yard score by Sean Penney.

Costa connected with Jaason Lopez for a 54-yard touchdown in the second quarter, then a 4-yard Penney touchdown run and the extra point gave Wesleyan its first lead at 21-20. Bates finished out the half with DeWald's boot and the 23-21 lead.

After an explosive first half, the Bobcats struggled on offense in the second half, getting outscored 20-0 by the Cardinals and recording only three first downs.
Wesleyan tallied 537 yards of total offense while holding Bates to 384 yards of total offense. The Bobcats outrushed the Cardinals 287-167 but the Cardinals threw for 370 yards to the Bobcats' 97.

BATES' PROBABLE STARTERS:

OFFENSE
LT 70 Matt Flanagan 
LG 68 Phil Simplicio 
C 64 Jack O'Brien 
RG 77 Yanni Falaras 
RT 74 Dan Marino 
TE 85 Isaiah Saunders 
WR 1 Kevin Claflin 
WR 26 Jackson Hayes 
WR 13 Marcus Ross 
QB 3 Brendan Costa 
RB 30 Zach Doyon 

DEFENSE
DE 97 Shane Collins 
NT 99 Ramon Ruiz 
DT 94 Walter Washington 
OLB 95 Tyler Harrington 
ILB 8 Chase Fulton 
ILB 37 Peter Daley 
OLB 33 Liam Greene 
CB 39 Art Churchwell
SS 6 Jon Lindgren 
FS 4 Anthony Costa
CB 20 Joe Frake

SPECIALIST
P/K 2 Justin Foley 

WESLEYAN'S PROBABLE STARTERS:

OFFENSE

LT 68 Ryan Schutta
LG 60 Bryce Jenkins
C 64 Joe Wilson
RG 77 Karl Seitz
RT 76 Terence Norton
TB 25 Glenn Smith
TE 42 Ryan Earle
QB 12 Mark Piccirillo
WR 6 Dario Highsmith
WR 11 Halvard Lundevall
WR 23 Joe Scancarella

DEFENSE

DE 98 Sam Green
DT 4 Taj Golden
DT 90 Grant Williams
DE 53 Jude Lindberg
LB 1 Brandon Morris
LB 37 Will Kearney
LB 2 Cole Harris
DB 15 Ben Thaw
DB 9 Pat Leone
DB 5 Eli Blair-May
DB 29 Zak Foster

SPECIALISTS
P 13 Sam Han
K 31 Patrick Wolff