Colby College is committed to freshman quarterback Justin Ciero, coach Jonathan Michaeles said.

Ciero started last week’s game against Middlebury, and completed 12 of 27 passes for 100 yards. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“The first week, (Ciero) showed us a couple things. He was running around, and he made some plays on his own. That’s the thing he can do, he has an element that, when something breaks down, he can make a play happen,” Michaeles said.

Michaeles said the playbook has been streamlined for Ciero, more to play to his strengths rather than cover his inexperience.

“We have tightened it a little bit. We certainly have gotten a feel for what he is comfortable with and likes to do. That’s important, so he can go out there and play with confidence,” Michaeles said. “We’re trying to keep it manageable. We have a lot of guys who can lead on offense and help him out on the field and in the huddle.”

On Saturday, the Mules host Wesleyan. In an era of wide open offenses, the Cardinals are a throwback. Offensively, Wesleyan is a run-first team. Defensively, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the nation against the run. Through two games, Wesleyan has allowed just 120 yards on the ground, a scant 60 yards per game.

“They make you beat them with the pass, and that’s the challenge, to spread them out. That’s what’s good about having a quarterback who can run the football, because that counters their eight man front,” Michaeles said.

With that in mind, Ciero will get opportunities to beat the Cardinals with his feet as well as his arm.

“We have some plays orchestrated, and Wesleyan will see it, where he’s going to run the football and make them defend one more player,” Michaeles said.

* * *

Bates plays its home opener Saturday, hosting Williams. The Bobcats improved to 1-1 with last week’s 31-23 win at Tufts.

After just two weeks, the NESCAC is a conference divided into haves and have nots. Four teams are 2-0, four teams are 0-2, and Bates and Williams sit in the middle at 1-1.

Bates is going for a rarity, a win streak over Williams. Last season, the Bobcats upset the Ephs, 35-26, for their first win over Williams since 2003. That was just the second win ever for Bates over Williams.

* * *

Like Colby, Bowdoin is 0-2, but the Polar Bears face an opponent Saturday that is mired in a long losing streak.

Bowdoin hosts a Tufts team that comes to Brunswick with a 17-game losing streak dating back to the second game of the 2010 season.

Waterville native Cam Bishop has two catches for 7 yards for Bowdoin.

* * *

Maine Maritime Academy had its best offensive game of the season last week, scoring 34 points and gaining 372 yards against Worcester State. The problem was, the Mariners were unable to stop the Lancers, who piled up 47 points and 407 yards.

Traditionally, MMA is one of the strongest rushing teams in the nation, but so far this season, the Mariners have fumbled too many times to make their ball control option attack effective. The Mariners put the ball on the turf 16 times in the first four games, losing seven of those fumbles. The Mariners are ranked 10th in the 16-team New England Football Conference in turnover margin.

The Mariners host Westfield State (1-4) on Saturday. Lawrence High graduate Brock Lawrence is second on the Mariners in tackles, with 26.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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