This past Saturday, the Mules made the trip south to take on the Trinity Bantams in a Week 2 matchup, looking to build on a strong start to their 2022 season. Both sides were victorious in their first games, with the Bantams fending off a comeback from Tufts; however, the Mules came into the matchup with momentum after holding off the defending NESCAC champs, Williams, to secure a decisive 24–14 victory at home.
The Williams Ephs came into 2022 without a single loss since 2019; however, the Mules came in hot avenging the 42–0 defeat from last year. An anonymous student at the game shared with some sarcasm that “[he] actually felt good to be a Colby student” when describing the atmosphere of the event.
Running back Keon Smart `25 rushed for 129 yards while quarterback Matt Hersch `23 threw for two touchdowns and ran in another to lead the Mules to the victory. Lowel Carr `24 earned NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and his punts and kickoffs that pinned Williams deep throughout the game.
Unfortunately, Trinity managed to almost completely shut down the Mules’ run game. Smart finished with only 15 yards, a stark drop-off from the previous week. In the first half, Colby’s longest drive managed to stretch only 30 yards, just barely crossing midfield.
Despite the offense struggling to get going early in the game, Colby’s defense held Trinity scoreless. The Bantams did threaten once, however, marching up the field 98 yards from their own 1-yard line. On fourth down, the Bantams passed up the layup field goal to run it in for six. Nic Donatio `24 made the big stop for the Mules, keeping the game scoreless.
The deadlock held going into the half. Colby came out strong after the break. Hersch marched the ball down the field, running it himself and handing it off to Smart, with a deep 36-yard completion to sophomore wideout Brendan Sawyer. After completing a 13-yard pass to Smart to put Colby on Trinity’s 1-yard line, Hersch ran it in himself, and Carr completed the kick to put the first points on the board for the day.
The Mules were now on top of the previous year’s NESCAC runner-up after defeating the defending champs in the previous week; however, the lead would not hold for long. Trinity quarterback Spencer Fetter led the Bantams to the Colby 27-yard-line and then completed a deep ball into the endzone to tie up the game.
On the next drive, Colby went for it on fourth down, but turned the ball over at their own 26. Following short gains and a Colby penalty, Trinity’s quarterback threw an 11-yard completion to make the score 7-13. They missed the kick, and the score held going into the fourth quarter.
The Mules defense let up a deep ball that carried Trinity all the way to Colby’s 1, where the Bantam’s eventually punched it in to make it 7-19. Trinity failed to complete the two-point conversion, and the ball was back in Colby’s hands, now down two scores.
On the very next drive, Hersch methodically completed passes to Duke Ferrara `25, Smart, and Isaac Anderson `24, and handed it off to Sawyer to put Colby on Trinity’s 1. On fourth down, however, Hersch failed to complete the touchdown pass to Smart, and the drive fell apart.
The 7-19 scoreline would hold to finish the tough matchup between a consistent championship contender, Trinity, and Colby, the team with something to prove. While the Mules did not return with a W, a Week 1 win over the defending champs and a hard-fought Week 2 loss to the runner-up may indicate that building a brand new Athletic Center and hiring the winningest coach in UMaine history may be shaking out for the Mules.
~ Rohan Sinha `24