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Panther football tops Williams, still in first

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Middlebury College football team knocked off host Williams, 49-23, on Saturday to improve to 4-0 and remain in a first-place tie in NESCAC with Trinity. The win over the 0-4 Ephs was the Panthers’ fifth in five years over Williams, and the 49 points marked the most the program has ever scored against Williams.
 The Panthers host Bates at 1 p.m. this Saturday and on Oct. 29 will visit Trinity, which defeated previously unbeaten Tufts on this past Saturday.
At Williams, the Ephs scored 1:03 into the contest, when quarterback Jansen Durham found Tyler Patterson for a 79-yard touchdown.
The Panthers answered on their second drive, when Frank Cosolito fell on a fumble in the end zone after a five-yard run from quarterback Jared Lebowitz.
Middlebury took a 14-7 lead late in the quarter on an 18-yard scoring strike from Lebowitz to Ryan Rizzo. The drive was set up by a 40-yard reception by Conrado Banky.
Williams made it 14-10 at the 10:19 mark of the second quarter, when Adam Regensburg connected on a 25-yard field goal.
Middlebury linebacker Clay Hunt next intercepted a pass at the Panther 44-yard line, leading to a 10-yard touchdown reception from Lebowitz to Rizzo at 4:02 of the second quarter to make it 21-10 at halftime.
Middlebury scored on its opening possession of the second half on a 22-yard pass from Lebowitz to Rizzo. On the drive Diego Meritus rushed for 24 yards and Rizzo caught a 21-yard pass.
Williams answered later in the quarter, when quarterback Peter Cahill hit Jaelon Moaney for a three-yard touchdown. The Ephs made it 28-23 at 6:31 of the third quarter on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Durham to Tyler Patterson.
The Panthers dominated the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns, two following Eph turnovers.
A short punt gave Middlebury the ball at the Williams’ 32, after which Lebowitz found Banky in the end zone from 30 yards out.
Linebacker Wesley Becton then picked off a Williams pass, leading to another touchdown. Meritus gained 32 yards on the ground, including a 12-yard touchdown run, making it 42-23 with 8:08 remaining.
Safety Kevin Hopsicker helped the Panthers score their final touchdown of the day, intercepting a pass at the Williams’ 33-yard line. Seven plays later, Lebowitz scored from 11 yards out to make it a 49-23 final.
Meritus finished with a career high 122 yards on 20 carries. Middlebury had a big day on the ground overall with 206 yards rushing to go along with 292 yards through the air. This marked the first time since October 18, 2008 that the Panthers have rushed for over 200 yards in a game.
Lebowitz completed 22 of 43 passes for 292 yards for four touchdowns and ran for 41 yards and a touchdown. Banky caught nine passes for 159 yards, and Rizzo caught six balls for 86 yards. Kicker Carter Massengill converted all seven extra points and is now 15 for 15 on the season. Addison Pierce led the Panther defense with 11 tackles and two pass break-ups, while Becton added eight tackles, a sack and an interception.
Durham completed 12 of 28 passes for 205 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Harris finished with 86 yards on the ground, while Noah Sorrento rushed for 79. Patterson led the Ephs receivers with seven catches for 176 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

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