The Bowdoin College football team (0-2) will take on Tufts (0-2) Saturday in a battle of squads looking to break into the win column for the 2011 season. The Polar Bears have dropped their first two games of the season to Williams and Amherst while the Jumbos have opened with losses to Hamilton and Bates.
Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Zimman Field in Medford. The contest will be the 2011 home opener for the Jumbos and the 106th meeting between the schools dating back to 1889.
Tufts will provide a free live video webcast of the game. Fans can also follow the action via live statistics and via the Twitter feed of Bowdoin football.
POLAR BEAR PREVIEW
Listen to Coach Caputi's weekly interview with WBOR's Mike and Wiley show (click play on video)
Of the ten-team New England Small Athletic Conference, Bowdoin likely opened with the toughest schedule in the first two weeks, hosting defending league champion Williams in week one and traveling to first-place Amherst in week two. The Polar Bears held their own against the Ephs in a 24-21 setback but couldn't find their footing against the Jeffs in a 20-3 loss.
Bowdoin will look to revive an offense that put up 376 yards of offense against Williams but scuffled to just 168 against the Jeffs. After losing just a single turnover (a last second hail-mary interception) against the Ephs, Bowdoin committed four turnovers against the Jeffs. The Polar Bears have also been plagued by penalties, having been flagged 17 times for 165 yards through the first two games.
After the first two weeks, Bowdoin has several individual players among the league leaders. Pat Noone stands second in the league in receptions (15) while Nick Goldin is sixth in receiving yards (123 yards). Zach Donnarumma is third in the conference in all-purpose yards (283 yards) and fifth in rushing (183 yards). Quarterback Grant White is sixth in the NESCAC in passing yards (320 yards). Defensively, Griffin Cardew is seventh in the league in tackles (20) while standing third in the league in sacks (2.0).
SCOUTING THE JUMBOS
The tenure of new Tufts head coach Jay Civetti has gotten off to a rocky start, as the Jumbos fell to Hamilton (24-16) in their season opener and then lost at Bates (28-9) in week two. The Jumbos stand last in the conference with a -4 turnover margin and, although they rank fourth in the league in total offense (307.5 yards/game), they have fallen behind in both contests and been forced to abandon the run, leading to a league-low in time of possession (25:36 average/game) and in rushing yards (71.0 yards/game).
Senior quarterback Johnny Lindquist is second in the NESCAC in passing this fall (236.5 yards/game) while Dylan Haas ranks among the best in conference in both receptions (12) and yards (157). Senior linebackers Jack Skarzynski (23 tackles) and J.T. Rinciari (21 tackles) both rank among the top-five in the NESCAC in tackling.
BAY STATE EIGHT
For eight Bowdoin players, Saturday's game marks the final time playing in their home state. The Polar Bear senior class includes Massachusetts natives Pat Noone (North Attleboro), Greg Pierce (Beverly), Dave Westhaver (Mansfield), Chris Martin (Woburn), Nicholas Cataldo (Walpole), Ian Vieira (Plymouth), Dan Evans (Marblehead) and Andrew Belmonte (Beverly).
Bowdoin rallied from a 12-point deficit to defeat Tufts, 22-15 last year in Brunswick. The Polar Bears were paced by the efforts of Zach Donnarumma, who rushed for a career-high 114 yards, and receiver Pat Noone, who caught 13 passes, one shy of his own Bowdoin record. Griffin Cardew intercepted a pair of passes for the Polar Bears in the win.
BOWDOIN vs. TUFTS
The Bowdoin-Tufts rivalry has always been one of the most tightly-contested rivalries in the NESCAC. Bowdoin has won 16 of the last 30 meetings, but Tufts has won six of the last ten. The teams have split the last four meetings with the Jumbos scoring 87 points to Bowdoin's 85 since 2007. The storied rivalry dates back to 1889 (an 8-4 Tufts victory) and spans 105 games (Tufts leads 58-45-2). The most noteworthy contest was the 1992 game, won by Bowdoin 7-6, that was played in Galway, Ireland - the first Division III game played in Europe.