Mules win CBB opener over Bates behind Schwern's 226 yards

LEWISTON, Maine -- Head coach Jack Cosgrove had his first taste of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) rivalry and it was wild as usual as the Colby College football team took a 21-6 victory over Bates College on Saturday at Garcelon Field.
 
The Mules (2-5 overall), winners of two straight games, can win the CBB title with a victory over Bowdoin College at home on Saturday, Nov. 10. 
 
Colby and Bates had to play in the snow, with the field completely covered at the start of the game. Crews shoveled the field during the course of the game.
 
" I loved my first CBB game, how could I not?" Cosgrove said. "I'm proud of our players and the fight they put up today.The rivalry is incredibly important to them and the importance of this win for them can’t be understated."
 
The conditions were just right for senior co-captain Jake Schwern, who rushed 40 times for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Schwern had scoring runs of 44, 1, and 1 yards. All the scoring happened in the opening half.
 
“We leaned heavily on Jake as the game wore on," Cosgrove said. "He’s got great skills and toughness. Forty carries is unheard of in this day and age.”  
 
Game highlights
* The Mules went ahead for good on their first drive of the game. Colby drove 70 yards in five plays, capped off by Schwern's 44-yard touchdown run. Shane Normandeau had a nice block to let Schwern get outside and he rambled untouched the rest of the way.
 
* With the bad weather conditions, Colby kicker Walter Thilly went 3-for-3 on the day. He was the NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week after last Saturday's win over Hamilton.
 
“Simple things become the most important things on days like today," Cosgrove said. "We were flawless with our quarterback/center exchange and did a great job with our ball security.”
 
* Bates (0-7 overall) needed just three plays to go 67 yards to score its lone touchdown in the first quarter. Liam Spillane had runs of 25 and 23 yards before quarterback Brendan Costa scored from 19 yards out. However, the holder on the extra point try had the ball slip through his hands.
 
* Schwern was the main man on Colby's second scoring drive of 59 yards in 10 plays. He had seven straight carries to start the drive and eventually scored on the first of two 1-yard touchdown runs. The offensive line helped Schwern on both short scores, creating room and pushing him from behind into the end zone.
 
* Colby used running backs Schwern, David Smith, and Devin Marrocco on the final scoring drive. Smith caught a 14-yard pass on the drive, tight end Ethan Smith had an 18-yard catch, and Schwern had a 14-yard run to the Bates 1-yard line before his touchdown with 6:20 to halftime.
 
By the numbers
* The Mules were 7-for-14 on third down conversions and 15-for-29 over the past two weeks. 
 
“Our quarterback (Matt Hersch) has grown tremendously as has our entire offense," Cosgrove said. "We are developing more confidence in our pass game as it pertains to third down situations. And, we haven’t been shy about running it either.” 
 
* The 226 yards is not career-high for Schwern. He broke the school record last year with 262 yards in a season-ending victory over Bowdoin.
 
*  Smith had three catches for 37 yards, while Hersch threw for just 70 yards with Schwern getting so much work. 
 
* Don Vivian led the Mules in tackles with nine, while Sean Godin had two sacks for minus 21 yards. Marcus Bullard, David O'Donnell, Will Terzi, and Patrick Sopko all had five stops.
 
* The Mules won the time of possession battle at 36 minutes, 21 seconds. Bates had the ball for just 23:39.
 
Next up
* The Mules play a second straight road game next Saturday at Tufts University at 1 p.m. The Jumbos are 5-2 after falling to Amherst College.
 
Box score