Hartford, Conn. - Junior running backs Oliver Starnes (Ledgewood, N.J.) and Robert Jackson (Atlanta, Georgia) rushed for a combined 181 yards and the defense had a strong showing, as the Trinity College Bantams defeated the Bates College Bobcats 17-7 on Jessee-Miller field in both team's season opener this afternoon.
Starnes gained 101 yards on 19 touches, while Jackson collected 80 yards on the ground to go along a touchdown. The Bantam defense frustrated the Bobcats rushing attack, allowing just 35 total yards on the ground. The Bantams struck early with a first drive field goal by senior kicker Adam Cox (Garden City, New York), to take a 3-0 lead. On Trinity's second drive of the game, the Bantams added seven more, highlighted by a nifty 32-yard pass from senior quarterback Eric McGrath (Lynn, Mass.) to sophomore wide receiver Michael Galligan (Shoreham, N.Y.), giving the Bamtams a 10-0 lead.
With under a minute left in the first half, Bates threatened to close the gap after junior defensive back Kyle McAllister (Exeter, N.H.) recovered a fumble, setting his offense up on the Trinity 35-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Larsen (Hull, Mass.) took a shot at the end zone, but Bantam senior cornerback Harryl Smith (Ridgewood, N.J.) made a leaping interception on the four-yard line, denying Bates from adding points to the scoreboard.
The score remained at 10-0 in Trinity's favor until the fourth quarter, when the Bantams added seven more after McGrath found an open sophomore tight end Chris Hunt (Ashford, Mass.), who sprinted down the sideline and into the end zone for a 36-yard score, putting the Bantams up 17-0 with 6:50 remaining in the game.
On the ensuing Bates drive, Bobcats first-year quarterback, Ryan Katon (Durham, Conn.), who entered the game in the second quarter, marched his team 70 yards down the field, and capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone to senior wide receiver Mark Flaherty (East Walpole, Mass.), cutting the Trinity lead to 17-7 with just over three minutes remaining in the game. On the following play, the Bobcats unsuccessfully attempted an onsides kick, which allowed Trinity to kill most of the remaining clock, leaving too little time for Bates to mount a comeback.
McGrath finished the game with 167 yards passing and a touchdown for Trinity, while Katon threw for 101 yards and a touchdown for Bates. Galligan had a team high 56 yards receiving, and senior wide receiver Connor Wells (Haddam, Conn.) had five catches for 55 yards to lead the Bantams receiving corps. Flaherty led the Bobcats with 56 yards receiving, junior wide receiver Matt Gregg (Milton, Mass.) had seven catches for 52 yards and junior wide receiver Sean Wirth (Barrington, R.I.) had 8 grabs for 40 yards.
Trinity travels to Williamstown next week for a 1 p.m. matchup with the Williams College Ephs, while Bates travels to Medfield, Mass. to take on the Tufts University Jumbos. Both Williams and Tufts are 1-0 to start the year.