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Middlebury College football tops Bates, 41-27

LEWISTON, Maine — Middlebury College quarterback Matt Milano threw for 405 yards and five touchdowns this past Saturday as the Panthers defeated winless host Bates, 41-27. Matthew Minno caught 10 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns for the Panthers, who will host Trinity at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
At Bates, the teams combined for 917 yards of offense. The Panthers overcame a 10-7 first-quarter deficit to build leads of 28-13 and 35-20. Despite losing several players to injury during the game, Bates closed in the fourth quarter 28-20 and 35-27. But Panther backup quarterback Jared Lebowitz iced the win with a 40-yard touchdown run on a read-option play with 3:38 left.
Milano was intercepted three times but completed 31 of 53 passes. Conrado Banky caught five passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Ryan Rizzo caught seven passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers outgained Bates, 473-444 yards.
Bates rushed for 204 yards and accumulated a season-high 240 yards passing. Quarterback Patrick Dugan completed 19 or 32 passes for career-highs of 217 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off twice. Mark Riley caught 10 passes for 117 yards.
Bates scored first on a career-long 34-yard field goal by Grant DeWald.
Middlebury answered with an 84-yard drive, capped by Milano’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Minno. The score came one play after Banky caught a pass in the flat and scampered 47 yards to the Bates 13.
Bates came back as Frank Williams rushed untouched for 39 yards to the end zone to give Bates a 10-7 lead at the end of one quarter.
After teams traded turnovers, Middlebury assumed the lead for good midway through the second quarter, driving 80 yards on the strength of two big plays — a 33-yard catch by Minno on third and 10, and Banky’s 34-yard touchdown catch on third and seven. Bates kept the score at 14-10 at the half as Brandon Williams recorded his fifth interception in the past three games, picking off Milano in the end zone in the final minute.
Middlebury opened the third quarter with a key interception by Kevin Hopsicker that set up the Panthers at the Bates 27. On fourth and two, Milano found Minno for a 19-yard score and a 21-10 lead.
DeWald made a 26-yard field goal to close the gap to 21-13 with 2:57 left in the third quarter. Middlebury, which successfully completed all four of its four fourth-down conversions, opened up a 28-13 lead as Milano completed a pass to Tanner Contois for 36 yards on fourth and one.
Bates responded with a 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Dugan to Riley that closed the gap to 28-20 with 11:20 left in the game.
Coulibaly’s second interception of the game returned the ball to Bates at its own 33, but two plays later Wesley Becton picked off Dugan at the Middlebury 43.
The Panthers mounted another scoring drive, keyed by a four-yard pass from Milano to Rizzo to convert a fourth and three at the Bates 21. Three plays later, Milano found Rizzo open near the right pylon for a three-yard touchdown pass, making it 35-20 Middlebury with 6:49 to go.
Bates then moved 67 yards, a drive ending with Marcus Ross’ three-yard leaping TD catch that made it 35-27. But Lebowitz, taking his first snap of the game at quarterback, rushed up the middle untouched for 40 yards to make it 41-27 with 3:38 left. Middlebury iced the win with Dan Pierce’s interception of Dugan on Bates’ final drive.
Gil Araujo recorded a game-high 13 tackles for Middlebury, including a sack, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Addison Pierce (11 tackles), Tim Patricia (10 tackles) and Jake Clapp (10 tackles, 3.5 for a loss) also keyed the Panther defense.

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