College Football: Panthers Tops Colby In Home Opener 28-9

Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury improved to 2-0 on the season with a 28-9 win over Colby (0-2) in the team’s home opener on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers out-gained the Mules 389-237 for the afternoon en route to the win. Middlebury returns to action at Amherst next week, while Colby visits Wesleyan.

Middlebury took a 2-0 lead when Nate Leedy blocked a punt out of the end zone for a team safety at the 7:58 mark of the first quarter. The Panthers scored again on the ensuing kick as a Colby punt left them the ball at the 50. Quarterback Matt Milano hit tight end Trevor Miletich for seven and 10 yards on the drive before a 10-yard connection to Ian Riley for the touchdown.

Tim Patricia picked off a pass on Colby’s ensuing drive, as the Panthers marched 73 yards on nine plays to take a 14-0 lead. Tanner Contois caught a 22-yard pass on the drive before Milano and Miletich connected in the corner of the end zone on a six-yard strike.

In the second quarter, a booming 79-yard punt by Colby’s John Baron left Middlebury the ball on its own one-yard line. Three plays later, the hosts were unable to get a punt away as Justin Lamere pushed Panther punter Charlie Gordon out of the end zone for a safety.

Middlebury took a 21-2 lead after an 11-play, 87-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jared Lebowitz to Ryan Rizzo. Lebowitz aided the drive with a 15-yard rush and a 39-yard strike to Conrado Banky. The touchdown at the 5:25 mark of the second quarter left the home team with a 21-2 advantage at the half.

Late in the third quarter, a bad snap on a punt left Middlebury the ball on the Colby 13. The Panthers drove to the two before a 20-yard field goal attempt from Gordon was blocked.

An interception by Middlebury’s Kevin Hopsicker with 7:38 remaining gave the Panthers the ball on their own 24-yard line. Six plays later, Milano lofted a beautiful pass over the head of the defender, finding Banky who raced down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown reception and a 28-2 lead with 4:39 remaining.

Colby scored its only touchdown of the day on its final drive, moving the ball 74-yards on 11 plays in 4:01. Gabe Harrington hit Mark Snyder for 25 yards on the drive before Jabari Hurdle-Price scored from two yards out to make it a 28-9 final.

Milano finished the day 21-33 with 258 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Lebowitz went 5-9 for 77 yards with a touchdown and a 15-yard rush. Rizzo finished with seven receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown, while Banky (123 yds., TD) and Miletich (30 yds., TD) each caught five passes. Diego Meritus gained 39 yards on 24 rushes, catching four passes for 51 yards.

Harrington completed 17-36 passes for 142 yards with two interceptions for Colby. Hurdle-Price gained 66 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown, while Snyder finished with six receptions for 83 yards.

Defensively, Patricia finished with seven tackles, one for loss and an interception. Addison Pierce made six stops with a forced fumble, pass break-up and two tackles for lost yardage. Colby’s Connor Rozinsky paced all tacklers with eight on the afternoon.

Colby was penalized nine times for 91 yards, but held a 36:06 to 23:54 edge in time of possession. The Panthers converted on 8-17 third down attempts.

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