LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates quarterback Trevor Smith was stopped for a three-yard gain at the Colby 5-yard line on fourth down, a yard short of the first down, with three seconds left in the game, turning the ball over on downs and ending a wild NESCAC game with Colby as a 10-6 winner over the heartbroken Bobcats on Homecoming Saturday at Garcelon Field.
Colby moved to 3-3 with the win, while Bates fell to 1-5.
Colby led 3-0 at halftime, thanks to a 21-yard field goal by David Bendit midway through the second quarter. The Mules then tacked on a touchdown late in the third quarter on Spencer Gopaul's 41-yard touchdown reception of a screen pass from quarterback Nick Kmetz.
A fourth-quarter interception by Colby's Derrick Beasley, who returned the ball 36 yards, appeared to dash Bates' hopes for a comeback. But two plays later, the game's only other interception suddenly turned the momentum back toward Bates, and the Bobcats were able to close the gap with 5:10 left in the fourth quarter. Bates defensive end Tyler Kuehl (Plymouth, N.H.) got hold of a pass tipped by junior Will Taft (South Hamilton, Mass.) and returned it 71 yards before he was brought down by Kmetz at the Colby 1-yard line, setting up senior Jared Jammal's (Concord, Mass.) 1-yard scoring plunge. Senior Gavin Segall-Abrams' (Greensboro, N.C.) extra-point attempt caromed off the left upright and away, however, leaving the Bobcats four points behind at 10-6.
Colby earned two first downs on its ensuing possession, taking 3:20 off the clock until Connor Sullivan punted into the Bates end zone for a touchback, giving Bates the ball at its own 20 with 1:46 left to play.
Bates quickly faced 4th and 5 at its own 25, but Smith scrambled nine yards for the first down. Two straight incompletions brought up 3rd and 10, and Smith hit senior Evan Tierney (Carlisle, Mass.) over the middle for a 26-yard gain to the Colby 40. Smith hurried the offense up the field for a quick snap and a 6-yard completion to junior John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.). Colby called timeout with 41 seconds left and Bates in Colby territory at the 34.
On 2nd and 4, Smith threw a long slant to a heavily covered Squires near the left pylon, and a Mules defensive back was called for pass interference, moving Bates inside the Colby 15 with the seconds ticking down. Smith rolled right and completed a pass to Tierney, who fell out of bounds at the Colby 8. Smith spiked the ball to stop the clock, then on 3rd and 4 his pass over the middle intended for sophomore Brian Gallagher (North Attleboro, Mass.) sailed through the end zone. In what became the final play of the game, Smith scrambled for extra time and appeared prepared to throw to a target in the end zone. Smith wound up scrambling across the line of scrimmage, but shy of the first down marker, handing the ball over to Colby with three seconds left on the clock.
On Bates' possession prior to Beasley's pickoff, the Bobcats marched into red zone territory, but the drive sputtered once they got there. Junior quarterback Ryan Katon (Durham, Conn.) hit Squires for a 40-yard completion down the right sideline, and he was pushed out of bounds at the Colby 29. A nine-yard rush by sophomore Teddy Downs (South Boston, Mass.) and a two-yarder by Jammal gave Bates a first down at the Colby 18. But Katon was caught for a four-yard loss by Lester Batiste, then hurried into an incompletion to Downs. On 3rd and 14 at the Colby 22, Katon nearly connected with rookie Kevin Davis (North Andover, Mass.) near the left pylon, but Beasley was there to break up the pass before Davis could establish control of the ball. Ryan Veillette then sacked Katon on fourth down to end Bates' scoring chance in frustrating fashion.
Kmetz completed 17 of 26 passes for 197 yards, while Patrick Burns pulled down five receptions for 100 yards. Connor Walsh had four catches for 42 yards and also threw a 37-yard completion to Burns.
For Bates, Smith completed 8 of 15 passes for 72 yards, and Katon completed 2 of 6 for 46 yards. Downs led the Bobcats in rushing with 32 yards on seven carries. Squires led Bates receivers with five catches for 69 yards.
Tom Duffy led Colby with 10 tackles, and Veillette had two of the Mules' five quarterback sacks in the game.
Bates also had five sacks, including one by Kuehl and one apiece by senior Myles Walker (Needham, Mass.) and junior Kevin Helm (Norwell, Mass.), who had nine tackles apiece. Senior Ted Durkin (Rye Beach, N.H.) had a team-high 10 tackles.