Bates College turned six Hamilton College turnovers into 21 points and the Bobcats went on to a 47-33 NESCAC win in a shootout at Bates' Garcelon Field on Nov. 10.
The Bobcats (5-3 overall, 5-3 NESCAC) won their final three games and posted their first winning season since 1981. Bates, which entered the afternoon ranked as one of the top teams in NCAA Division III in turnover margin, enjoyed a plus-four advantage in that department against Hamilton.
The Continentals (1-7, 1-7) dropped their final four games of 2012. Hamilton had the ball for more than 35 minutes, was 8 of 15 on third-down conversions and a perfect 2-for-2 on fourth down, but the Continentals continually hurt themselves with the miscues. Four turnovers were committed in the second half and another came at the end of the second quarter.
The teams combined for 80 points, 48 first downs and 927 yards of offense. It was the highest-scoring game in the 35 meetings all-time between the programs.
Gilbert Brown '15 returned an interception 101 yards for a score in the fourth quarter and was credited with a game-high 12 tackles for the Bobcats. Andrew Kukesh '14 recorded eight solo stops, including three for a loss, forced a fumble and had an interception. John Durkin '15 and Matt Gaither '13 forced one fumble apiece and Mike Kelleher '15 recovered a fumble and picked off a pass.
Bates racked up 355 yards on the ground with its triple-option attack. Teddy Downs '13, Trevor Smith '13, Shawn Doherty '14 and Mac Jackson '15 all ran for one touchdown. Smith was 7 of 13 passing for 81 yards, including 42 yards to Doherty for a touchdown in the second quarter. Smith also gained 50 yards on the ground. Patrick George '13 ran for a game-high 144 yards on just 15 carries (9.6 yards per rush). Charlie Donahue '14 connected on two field goals and made 3 of 4 extra-point attempts.
James Stanell '14 led Hamilton's offense with 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Stanell recorded his third straight 100-yard game and fourth this year. He also caught a 63-yard pass for a third touchdown early in the third quarter, and finished with 205 all-purpose yards. Stanell also lost three fumbles.
Jordan Eck '13 threw for a career-best 329 yards on 27 of 42 passing with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Joe Jensen '15 hauled in a touchdown catch for the fifth straight game and ended the year with six. Jensen had five receptions for 71 yards. Garrett Hoy '13 posted six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown in his final game, Simon Jia '16 added six receptions for 47 yards and Pat Donadio '15 chipped in five for 65 yards.
Austin Fisher '15 paced the Continentals' defense with a career-high 10 stops. Mike MacDonald '13 recovered a fumble and made five tackles. MacDonald finished his Hamilton career with 301 tackles, and is one of just two players to have 300 or more in their career for the Continentals. Nick Kaleikini '13 broke up two passes in his last game and Nick Ufkes '15 recovered a muffed punt by the Bobcats in the first quarter.
Donahue gave Bates a 3-0 lead with a 28-yard field goal with 10:45 left in the first quarter. Donahue finished the year a perfect 9-for-9 on field goal attempts. Stanell scored from 6 yards out and Hoy added the PAT with 7:47 remaining in the first for Hamilton's only lead of the day at 7-3. The Continentals tried to extend their lead late in the quarter, but lost a fumble at the Bobcats' 4-yard line and Bates recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
The Bobcats scored all 16 points in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Smith plunged in from the 3 on the first play of the quarter, Donahue nailed a 34-yard field goal with 7:00 left and Smith and Doherty hooked up for a 42-yard TD with 2:04 remaining. Smith's attempt to pass for the two-point conversion failed, and Bates led 19-7 at the break.
Stanell made the score 19-13 on his 63-yard TD reception with 10:01 left in the third quarter. The extra point was blocked. The Bobcats responded with a pair of touchdowns. Jackson scored from 21 yards out with 7:43 remaining in the third and Downs ran it in from the 18 less than two minutes later. Smith ran for the two points after Downs' TD to give Bates a 34-13 cushion.
Hamilton wasn't finished yet. Eck found Jensen for a 40-yard touchdown grab that made it 34-19 with 12:31 left. It seemed the Continentals would chisel away more at the Bobcats' lead when they faced third-and-goal at the 1 on their next drive. But Brown intercepted an Eck pass in the end zone and returned it for a touchdown that sealed Hamilton's fate with 6:02 remaining.
Hoy caught a 21-yard TD pass from Eck, Doherty scampered into the end zone from 27 yards out for Bates and Stanell rounded out the scoring late in the fourth with a 9-yard TD run. Patrick Donahoe '16 kicked a pair of extra points in the fourth quarter for the Continentals.