WATERVILLE, ME – Colby College sophomore QB Justin Ciero completed 17-31 passes for two touchdowns and 152 yards to lead the Mules (1-0) over the Williams (0-1) 31-8.
With 2:26 remaining in the first quarter, the Mules capped the first scoring drive of the game despite two false start penalties. Ciero connected on a 5-yard pass to junior WR Luke Duncklee. The Colby scoring drive covered 49 yards in nine plays. Junior kicker Louw Scheepers' PAT was good putting the Mules ahead 7-0.
Scheepers started off the second quarter with a 41-yard field goal at 13:27 after Eph sophomore LB Jack Ryan forced an incomplete pass on third down, boosting the Mules to a 10-0 lead.
With 5:37 left in the first half, Williams fumbled the ball off a poor snap out of the end, which Colby registered a safety on, upping their lead to 12-0.
The Ephs took advantage of a Colby fumble at the Mules' 49-yard line with 3:22 remaining in the first half, but the could not convert the turnover into points for Williams. On second and goal from the Colby 7-yard line Eph QB Adam Marske attempted a pass. The Mules' Zach Padula picked off Markse's pass at his own 2-yard line and returned it 98 yards for a TD. With Scheepers' extra point the Mules carried a 19-0 lead into the halftime.
The Ephs defense came out ready to start the half. Senior DL Ernest Higginbotham forced a 2-yard loss followed by junior DE Mike Flynn forcing a 1-yard loss on the first two plays of the third quarter. Next Eph sophomore defensive lineman James Howe pressured Ciero out of the pocket resulting in an incomplete pass.
The Ephs then were called for a roughing the kicker penalty on the Colby punt attempt, which allowed the Mules to retain possession of the ball. Ciero connected on a 26-yard pass to Duncklee for the Mules second passing touchdown of the game. Scheepers kick attempt was no good, because it was blocked by Ernest Higginbotham. At 11:01 of the third quarter Colby led 25-0.
At the end of a 13-play, 80-yard drive by the Mules, sophomore FB Max Eberhart scored on a 1-yard rush to give Colby its final touchdown of the game. Scheepers' PAT was wide and Colby led 31-0 with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.
Colby's shutout chances ended in the middle of the fourth quarter when Eph junior QB Tom Murphy scored on a 1-yard rush, finishing a 38-yard drive. Murphy's pass to senior RB Marco Hernandez was good for the 2-point conversion, making the score 31-8 in favor of Colby.
This was Colby's first season-opening win since defeating Williams 35-9 in 2005 in Waterville. The Ephs lost their first season-opener under head coach Aaron Kelton.
Williams will stay on the road next week and face Trinity College next Saturday at 1:30pm in Hartford, CT.