October 1, 2011

Bates wins second straight over Tufts with 28-9 rout

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Watch video of the Bobcats singing the team fight song after the game

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College football team has started a win streak of its own against NESCAC rival Tufts University. On Saturday, the Bobcats dominated the Jumbos for a 28-9 victory at Garcelon Field, their second straight over the Jumbos after they broke Tufts' 24-game win streak a year ago. It is Bates' most lopsided win since the 2004 season.

Bates (1-1) outrushed Tufts (0-2) by a 218-18 margin, sacked Jumbos quarterback Johnny Lindquist six times and intercepted him four times in the game.

Junior running back Patrick George (Gloucester, Mass.) ran for 84 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, pushing the pile for several first-down conversions, while junior quarterback Trevor Smith (Malvern, Pa.) nearly matched him with 83 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries -- career-high rushing totals for both players. In perhaps his best game so far as a Bobcat, Smith also completed 17 of 24 passes for 122 yards, with two touchdowns, leading a Bates offense that committed no turnovers and accumulated 340 yards.

Sophomore slotback Ryan Curit (South Portland, Maine) led Bates receivers with eight catches for 50 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown reception that gave Bates its initial lead in the first quarter. Curit also rushed for 37 yards on four carries.

Bates senior linebacker Brett McAllister (Exeter, N.H.) had a big day with two interceptions, two sacks and two pass breakups. McAllister also came down with the ball simultaneously with sophomore teammate Andrew Kukesh (Exeter, N.H.) on another pickoff that was credited to Kukesh.

Lindquist finished 22 for 39 for 258 yards. Ryan Pollock rushed for 26 yards, including Tufts' lone touchdown in the fourth quarter. Adam Auerbach put the Jumbos on the scoreboard with a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter. Zack Skarzynski had a game-high 15 tackles in the game for Tufts (12 solo).

Bates roared out of the gates after the opening kickoff, which was returned by George for 32 yards to the Bates 47. Curit rushed for 20 yards on one play and converted a screen pass from Smith into a 16-yard touchdown down the left sideline on another, completing a quick six-play drive that was capped by sophomore Charlie Donahue's (Plymouth, N.H.) extra point.

Tufts was held to a single first down on its first possession, then was pinned to its own 3-yard line on its second possession after junior Evan Dowd's (Longmeadow, Mass.) coffin-corner punt. A three-and-out and a 29-yard punt by Marty Finnegan gave Bates the ball back at the Tufts 38, and the Bobcats only required four plays to ring up their second touchdown of the game, a 13-yard bootleg race to the left pylon by Smith. Donahue's extra point kick was blocked by Tommy Castle, keeping the score at 13-0.

Bates got the ball back in excellent field position again early in the second quarter, thanks to its first interception of the game. Sophomore defensive tackle Matt Comstock (Amherst, N.H.) tipped Lindquist's pass up in the air before it fell into the waiting arms of McAllister, who returned the ball 24 yards to the Tufts 22. The Bobcats advanced inside the 1-yard line, but were flagged for illegal motion on 4th-and-goal. Donahue then tried a 22-yard field goal that missed wide left.

Tufts took the ball over on the 20 and got some offensive rhythm for the first time in the game, moving 69 yards in 10 plays. The Jumbos had first and goal at the 10, but Comstock stopped Pollock for a 1-yard loss, and after two Lindquist incompletions, Auerbach lined up for a 28-yard field goal that closed the gap to 13-3 with 5:13 left in the second quarter.

Bates reasserted control of the game on its ensuing possession. Smith hit Curit for a nine-yard gain that brought Bates to the Tufts 23, and on the next play Smith unleashed the prettiest pass of the day, finding well-covered senior Tom Finkenstaedt (Norwell, Mass.) for a beautiful over-the-head catch at the right edge of the end zone. Finkenstaedt's first career touchdown put Bates firmly in control with a 21-3 lead, after George rushed for a two-point conversion. At the half, Bates had outgained Tufts 219 to 111, including 137 rushing yards.

The teams traded three-and-out possessions to start the third quarter, but Tufts started moving the ball on its next possession, getting three first downs out of four plays on a five-yard copmletion to Nick Kenyon, a 13-yard completion to Pollock, and a 10-yard pass to Pollock that brought Tufts into Bates territory. But Lindquist's next pass was tipped again, this time by Kukesh, and McAllister was again the nearby beneficiary. McAllister returned the ball eight yards, giving the offense the ball back at the Bates 40. Bates then embarked on its longest drive of the game, moving 60 yards on 13 plays, capped by a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by George. Bates led 28-3 with 2:00 left in the third quarter.

A pair of Bates sacks stalled the Jumbos on their next possession, but they had better fortunes on their next chance, after taking the ball over at their own 43. Lindquist found Pat Nee for a 20-yard gain, then hooked up with Haas for 10 yards and Finnegan for another 24, drawing Tufts to the Bates 1. Pollock's plunge made it 28-9 midway through the fourth quarter, but a two-point pass attempt by Lindquist was batted down by Bates senior Will Taft (Hamilton, Mass.) to keep the score there.

Taft had a career-high nine tackles and a sack, and senior Kevin Helm (Norwell, Mass.) tied him for the team lead with nine tackles and another sack. Junior defensive end Matt Gaither (Winchester, Mass.) had a very disruptive day with three tackles, one sack, two tackles for losses, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.

Bates plays at Williams next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Bobcats' road opener. Tufts plays Bowdoin next Saturday at 1 p.m. in its home opener.

Stats and Play by Play: Bates 28, Tufts 9

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