WATERVILLE — The Colby College football team was halfway to an upset of Middlebury on Saturday when the game changed on one play.

Leading by a touchdown, the Mules lined up for a 27-yard field goal on the last play of the first half. Matt Crimmons came off the edge, blocked the kick and the ball bounced into the hands of Joel Blockowicz who returned it 80 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

The play gave the Panthers a one-point lead at the half and they went on to blow out the Mules, 42-13, in a second half that showcased quarterback McCallum Foote and his talented group of receivers.

“I think we bobbled the snap a little,” Colby coach Jonathan Michaeles said. “The kicker had to break his stride. The kid made a play. We had a chance to put three more on the board and it went the other way.”

Foote, who threw five touchdown passes in last week’s win against Bowdoin and was named New England Small College Athletic Conference offensive player of the week, finished with four scoring passes Saturday. Three of those went to senior Zach Driscoll, who caught 11 passes for 128 yards. Foote completed 34 of 56 passes with two interceptions for 388 yards.

“Last year was his first year in the system,” Middlebury coach Bob Ritter said of Foote. “This year, he knows our receivers a little better and he’s really playing well.”

Middlebury (2-0), went to a hurry-up offense on the first drive of the second half and drove 74 yards on nine straight passing plays with Driscoll capping the drive with an 8-yard reception. Driscoll hauled in scoring tosses of 23 and 3 yards as the Panthers took a 35-13 lead entering the fourth quarter.

“That’s what they’re good at, especially with the weapons that they’ve got” Michaeles said. “They want to force the tempo and try to wear you down. We’re not real deep in the defensive backfield.”

Most of Colby’s (0-2) success came in the first half. The Mules took advantage of a bad snap on a punt attempt and got the ball at the Middlebury18-yard line early in the first quarter. Two plays later, freshman quarterback Justin Ciero hit Jason Buco for a 14-yard score. Ciero completed 12 of 27 passes for 100 yards and rushed for another 28.

“The offense moved the ball in the first half and . . . we expect to do that every week,” Ciero said.

Colby played without Augusta sophomore receiver Luke Duncklee, who broke a bone his lower leg in last week’s loss to Williams and is likely lost for the season.

“He’s such a weapon in every phase of the game you can’t replace it,” Michaeles said. “So other guys have to step up. You have to be able to run the ball efficiently.”

Colby senior Spencer Gopaul rushed for 78 yards on 18 carriers while linebacker Henry Nelson forced one fumble and recovered another and Buco intercepted two passes.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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