Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Travis Lazarczyk firstname.lastname@example.org
With half of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin series in the books, the Colby College football team hosts Tufts on Saturday. The Mules beat Bates 21-3 and can claim the CBB title with a win next week at Bowdoin. While still basking in last week’s win and looking forward to the Polar Bears, this week’s game against the Jumbos would be ripe for a letdown.
WHEN: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Waterville
LAST SEASON: Colby 21, Tufts 14, OT
KEY PLAYERS: Tufts — RB Zack Trause, WR Greg Lanzillo, RB Chance Brady, LB Matt McCormick, LB Tommy Meade, DB Mike Stearns. Colby — WR Luke Duncklee, QB Justin Ciero, T Paul Gallagher, DL CT Harris, LB Henry Nelson, CB Jason Buco.
OUTLOOK: The Jumbos come to Colby on a 29-game losing streak. Tufts hasn’t won since the first week of the 2010 season. The Jumbos are tied with Hamilton at the bottom of the NESCAC in scoring defense, and are last in the league in total defense, allowing 458.7 yards per game. Ciero is second in the league in total offense, averaging 166.5 yards per game passing and 58 yards per game rushing. Duncklee is second in the league in receptions with 42. Harris leads the Mules defense with six sacks.
Colby head coach Jonathan Michaeles said he’s seen no signs of a lack of focus from his team.
“We’re starting to hit a little bit of a stride here, having won two in a row. Our kids are pretty mature. They understand Tufts comes to town a super hungry team. They’re going to be absolutely chomping at the bit for a piece of us. It’s been easy to highten our awareness and guard against what might appear to be a natural lull,” Michaeles said.
Tufts (0-6) comes to Waterville with 29 straight losses. The Jumbos last win came in Week 1 of the 2010 season. Still, Michaeles looks at close losses to Amherst and Bowdoin this season, and said no team can take Tufts lightly.
“They’re good. They hung with Amherst. It was a 17-7 game, and it was tied in the fourth quarter.We don’t look at them as a team that’s lost X amount of games, however many it’s been. They’re as good as anybody we’re going to face,” Michaeles said.
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The Mules played one of their best defensive games of the season last week. Bates entered the game averaging a New England Small College Athletic Conference-high 245 yards per game rushing. Against Colby, the Bobcats gained just 88 yards on 46 carries, less than 2 yards per run.
“It was an excellent defensive performance. That set the tone, and then everybody just built off it and fed off it,” Michaeles said. “While we didn’t put up a ton of points, we did play great field position team football and we were able to score when we needed to.”
Colby’s defense is ranked third in the conference, behind Wesleyan and Amherst. The Mules are also third in the league in turnover margin, at +3.
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Neither Bates nor Bowdoin enters their rivalry game in Lewiston on Saturday on a hot streak. Bates (2-4) has lost three games in a row, while Bowdoin (2-4) has dropped two in a row.
If Bowdoin wins, next week’s Colby-Bowdoin game in Brunswick is for the CBB title. If Bates beats the Polar Bears, a Bowdoin win next week would leave the CBB in a three-way tie, and the trophy would stay with Bates for another year.
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Coming off its first win of the season, Maine Maritime Academy hosts Salve Regina, which is tied with Endicott for first place in the New England Football Conference.
Maine Maritime (1-5) leads all of Division III in rushing, averaging 375.7 yards per game on the ground. The Mariners ran for 508 yards in last week’s 63-52 win over Nichols.
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Lawrence High graduate Kevin Pressey is having a good season for Endicott. A senior defensive lineman, Pressey has started all seven games for the Gulls. Pressey has 30 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss.
Endicott is 5-2, with a 4-0 record in conference play. The Gulls have won four games in a row, and play at MIT on Saturday. Endicott is 10-0 against MIT since 2003.Travis Lazarczyk — email@example.comTwitter: @TLazarczykMTM