Colby College football coach Jack Cosgrove assigned himself a little extra homework earlier this week. The former University of Maine head coach in his first season at Colby, Cosgrove studied up on the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin series. The annual rivalry games between Maine’s three New England Small College Athletic Conference schools begin Saturday when Bates hosts Colby. Bates plays at Bowdoin next week, and the series concludes when Bowdoin plays at Colby November 10.

“It’s really a neat thing. I spent some time on it this week early in the week,” Cosgrove said, adding he was interested not just in the current rivalry, but the University of Maine’s involvement until the mid-1960s, when it was known as the State Series.

Colby has not won the CBB title since 2005, and the dozen year drought is the Mules’ longest run without the CBB crown. Bates has won the title each of the last four years and five of the last six.

“I’ve talked to our team about it. Obviously, they’ve experienced it more than I have. I’m a rookie to this whole thing,” Cosgrove said. “It’s a neat thing within the conference. It means a lot. I can feel it, how much it means to these men and this program.”

The Mules enter the Bates game coming off their first win of the season, a 23-21 victory over Hamilton. Colby (1-5) earned the win when Walter Thilly nailed a 34-yard field goal with 13 seconds left. Thilly went 3 for 3 on field goal tries in the win, earning NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

To Cosgrove, the win was tangible evidence the Mules are improving.

“I thought we had some shots in a couple games earlier. We just didn’t measure up in the fourth quarter. Last Saturday, we did. We made plays in all three phases,” Cosgrove said. “Now it’s something, when I tell you we’re getting better, we’ve got a win to show for it.”

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Madison native and Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder saw his team win one of the wildest finishes in recent college football history last week, taking a 37-34 victory over Western Kentucky.

Nick Rice kicked a 26-yard field goal with no time left to give the Monarchs the win, but it’s what set up Rice’s kick that will make this finish memorable.

With two seconds left, a Western Kentucky pass fell incomplete, but ODU was penalized for roughing the passer. That set the Hilltoppers up for a 57-yard field goal try. Alex Rinella’s kick was short, but this time the Monarchs were flagged for too many men on the field. Kicking again from 52 yards, Rinella’s attempt was again short, and caught at the goal line by ODU’s Isaiah Harper, who returned it to the Hilltoppers 17. A facemask penalty on Western Kentucky gave the Monarchs an untimed down, setting up Rice’s improbable game winning field goal.

“Those are the moments you live for as a head coach, to be in a game like that,” Wilder said in his postgame comments. “Where at the end, every call is critical. Every play is pivotal.”

The win was the first of the season in Conference USA play for the Monarchs, now 2-6 overall. Old Dominion had lost three games in a row since a 49-35 upset win over Virgina Tech on Sept. 22. The Monarchs host Middle Tennessee Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

• • •

Husson can run its Eastern Collegiate Football Conference win streak to 20 games with a win at Castleton Saturday afternoon. The Eagles are 5-2 overall, and ranked 10th in New England in the latest New England Division III football poll.

Senior quarterback Cory Brandon is having an strong season for Husson. Brandon has 1,675 yards passing, with 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. Guard Brad Weston of Gardiner is a key member of the offensive line protecting Brandon, helping the Eagles average just over 39 points per game overall, and 48 points per game in conference play.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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