Panther football holds on to defeat visiting Bates

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College football team hung on for a 35-34 victory over visiting Bates on Saturday to improve to 4-2. The Bobcats dropped to 0-6. Middlebury will visit Trinity this Saturday.
The Panthers took a 35-20 lead on a Drew Jacobs rush at 6:34 of the third period, but the Bobcats scored on consecutive possessions to make it 35-34 at 8:20 of the fourth. After the teams exchanged five straight punts, the Bobcats had one last chance starting on its own 20, but Panther Clay Hunt picked off a pass at the Bates 41 to seal the win.
Middlebury took a 7-0 lead at 4:28 of the first quarter when quarterback Will Jernigan found Maxwell Rye for a seven-yard scoring strike, his first of three touchdown passes. Jernigan completed 17 of 26 passes for 266 yards and threw one interception.
Bates answered with a 75-yard drive ending in a five-yard rush from Jason Lopez seconds into the second quarter. Critically, as it turned out, Ian Blow blocked the extra point, and it was 7-6.
The Panthers made it 14-6 at 4:55 of the second quarter on a 92-yard touchdown from Jernigan to Rye. Rye caught the ball at his own 45, broke away from a defender and raced 55 yards.
Middlebury made it 21-6 when Jernigan hit Conrado Banky in the end zone from 17 yards out at 6:05 of the second quarter.
Bates fumbled on its next play from scrimmage, putting the Panthers on the Bobcat 11-yard line. Three plays later Jacobs scored from three yards out at 4:42.
The Bobcats answered with a Christian Sanfi one-yard TD set up by quarterback Brendan Costa’s 44-yard run, and it was 28-13 at the break.
Bates scored after Jernigan’s interception early in the third quarter, when Costa found Jackson Hayes for a 49-yard touchdown pass.
Middlebury answered with a 75-yard drive capped by Jacobs’ seven-yard rush to make it 35-20.
But Bates answered with a 75-yard march that Costa finished with a 17-yard pass to Marcus Ross, and another drive in which Costa found Sanfi from five yards out. Bates elected to kick the extra point, and it was 35-34 with 8:20 remaining. The Panthers then held the rest of the way.
For Middlebury Cosolito caught six passes for 60 yards, while Rye caught three passes for 110 yards. Banky made three catches for 33 yards and moved into third place on the school’s all-time list with 1,999 yards. Hunt paced the Panther defense with nine tackles, while Charles Roselle and Jonathan Hobart each made seven stops.
Costa completed 11 of 22 attempts for 177 yards and led all rushers with 111 yards on 13 carries. Middlebury outgained Bates, 388-354.

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