WATERVILLE — For the second consecutive season, Colby College lost its first four football games, only to bounce back and finish the year by winning three out of four.

This one feels a little different for the Mules. The Colby seniors get to say they beat Bowdoin for the first time in their careers. Colby stifled, smothered, and suffocated the Polar Bears offense, and the Mules came away with a 17-0 victory at Harold Alfond Stadium.

“The past three years we’ve lost to Bowdoin,” Colby senior defensive lineman Ryan Veillette said. “It’s such a big game. A lot of times it feels like the whole season comes down to one game, how you go into the coming months. We lost a lot of people to injuries and other issues. This is huge.”

Colby outgained Bowdoin, 307 yards to 90. Mules senior Spencer Gopaul rushed 27 times for 127 yards, and two 1-yard touchdown plunges in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Justin Ciero threw for only 55 yards, but ran for 122 yards on 30 attempts. Ten of Ciero’s draws and scrambles resulted in first downs.

Bowdoin did not get inside the Colby 47 yard-line until its last drive of the game, which ended with an interception by Derrick Beasley. The Polar Bears had three of their four first downs in the game on that drive. In the first half, Bowdoin had seven possessions. The average drive started at the Bowdoin 18, and ended at the Bowdoin 20.

“They’re a run team,” Veillette said. “They try to set up the run, and they’re a little bit weaker of a pass team. Our plan was to shut down the run. That’s exactly what we did.”

Bowdoin finished with 25 yards rushing on 20 attempts. Quarterbacks Mac Caputi and Thomas Romero combined to complete nine of 21 passes for 65 yards and two interceptions. One of those picks was by Veillette, who made the first interception of his college career when he tipped a screen pass by Caputi and caught it in the air.

Colby drove 55 yards to its first score, a 27-yard field goal by David Bendit with 8:18 to play in the first quarter. Freshman Harry Nicholas recovered a Bowdoin fumble on the kickoff, setting the Mules up at the Bowdoin 26. Colby drove to the 4 before Bendit missed a 22-yard field goal.

The Mules took that 3-0 lead into halftime, and missed a chance to build on that lead in the third quarter when Ciero fumbled and Bowdoin recovered at its own 1. Still, Bowdoin didn’t get past its own 30 before Colby scored again. Gopaul went in from a yard out with 6:50 to go in the fourth quarter, and after Veillette forced a fumble and Mark Vargas recovered at the Bowdoin 12, Gopaul capped another drive to make it 17-0.

“I think it’s a team learning, and growing, and maturing as a group,” Colby coach Jonathan MIchaeles said. “Our motto is to try to get better every day, and if this means we accomplished a piece of that, then I’m pleased, because our kids really came together.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 

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