Establishing a strong running game has been a point of emphasis for Colby College football coach Jack Cosgrove all season. In Saturday’s 21-6 win at Bates, the Mules had their best rushing game of the season.

Playing in snow, Colby ran the ball 49 times for 236 yards in the win in Lewiston. Senior Jake Schwern carried the ball 40 times for 226 yards, scoring all three of the Mules touchdowns to earn New England Small College Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

“The conditions required it. They just did. The nature of this game requires you run it and you stop the run. It’s got to be part of our personality. We haven’t run it successfully at times, but the threat of it’s there,” Cosgrove said. “The week before, we threw it 48 times. This time, the kid (Schwern) runs it 40 times. It’s good to have that.”

Schwern is second in the conference in rushing, with 719 yards, and first in carries with 182.

“To Jake’s credit, he’s very gifted. He’s got great eyes. We ran a lot of power last week, and probably my favorite play in football. It’s just a whole unit that has to do their jobs,” Cosgrove said.

The way the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin series is set up, the Mules get a week off between rivalry games. That means this Saturday Colby (2-5) plays at Tufts (5-2). The Mules will have no problem staying motivated to take on the Jumbos with the Bowdoin game looming next week, Cosgrove said.

“We haven’t even talked about the other one. This (Tufts) is a huge game for this program. When you win, you value the feeling you get from that. That’s in life as well as the football field,” Cosgrove said. “We enjoyed Bates, but Tufts is a really good team and a tremendous challenge.”

Cosgrove noted how Tufts has executed a strong turnaround. After three consecutive winless seasons from 2011 through 2013, the Jumbos have now clinched their fifth consecutive season with a .500 record or better. That’s where Colby, which hasn’t posted a winning record since 2005, wants to be.

“It’s a program that was once a few years back where we are, trying to get away from being a program that lost more than it won. They have now,” Cosgrove said. “For us, that’s kind of a blueprint for how we want to get ourselves resurrected here. I think this is a huge game for us.”

• • •

The CBB will not be on the line when Bowdoin hosts Bates Saturday, but there is something at stake. Bates and Bowdoin are the final two winless teams left in the NESCAC, and each would love to earn its first win of the season over a rival.

For Bowdoin, a win snaps a 24-game losing streak. The Polar Bears last win came over Colby in the 2015 season finale. Bates last win came last season, when the Bobcats beat Bowdoin to win the CBB title.

• • •

Ranked No. 23 in the Football Championship Subdivision, the University of Maine has a huge game Saturday at No. 15 Towson. Both teams are 4-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play, and each needs to continue winning to strengthen its chances for a playoff bid.

Towson has the top offense in the CAA, averaging 481.9 yards per game. Maine boasts the top defense in the conference, allowing just 248.4 yards per game. The Black Bears defense has been dominant against the run, allowing just 60.4 yards per game on the ground, best in the nation in the FCS. Towson’s offensive strength is a running attack that averages 200.6 yards per game.

Old Town native Andre Miller is coming off his best game at Maine. A sophomore wide receiver, Miller had three catches for 64 yards in last week’s 28-9 win over Albany.

• • •

Husson can clinch a third straight Eastern Collegiate Football Conference title Saturday with a win over Gallaudet. The Eagles (6-2, 5-0 in ECFC play) are also going for a third consecutive season undefeated in conference play.

Husson has dominated the ECFC, with just one loss in five seasons against a conference opponent. The Eagles close the regular season next week with a non-conference game against Plymouth State.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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