Polar Bears Look To Extend Dominance of Mules in Saturday's Season Finale

Polar Bears Look To Extend Dominance of Mules in Saturday's Season Finale

The Bowdoin College and Colby College football teams will resume the third-longest rivalry in small college history on Saturday as the teams play for the 123rd time. The rivalry trails only Williams-Amherst (125) and Albion-Kalamazoo (124) in the Division III ranks and dates all the way back to 1892.

Bowdoin will provide a free live video webcast of the game and will also have live statistics from Whittier Field.

Saturday will be the final home contest for 13 Bowdoin seniors. Nicholas Cataldo, Joe Smith, Andrew Belmonte, Dan Evans, Conrad Dresdale, Lonnie Nunley, Dave Westhaver, Peter Troubh, Chris Martin, Pat Noone, Ian Vieira, Kyle Duncan and Greg Pierce have been one of Bowdoin's most successful classes in recent memory, earning two outright CBB titles and 13 wins over the past four seasons. With a win today, the class would be the second-most successful class in Dave Caputi's 12 years as head coach.

It seems only appropriate that the group play their final collegiate game at Whittier Field, as they have been particularly successful beneath the pines, earning nine of their 13 victories at home.

Bowdoin will not win its 20th outright CBB Championship this fall after losing at Bates 24-2 last weekend. But they can retain the trophy for a sixth consecutive season with a win over Colby and create a three-way tie for the second time in the last three years. Colby defeated Bates, 37-13, in their week six meeting. Colby is looking for its 15th CBB crown and first since 2005. The three teams also went 1-1 against each other in the 2009 campaign.

Five teams currently stand at 3-4 in a tie for fourth place in the NESCAC standings heading into the final game of the regular season. Bowdoin, Bates and Colby are also joined by Wesleyan and Middlebury with identical records. Colby finished at 4-4 and in fourth place last season but Bowdoin has not finished as high as fourth in the NESCAC ladder since going 6-2 and placing third in 2005.

Bowdoin has struggled offensively in the last three weeks and will look to get on track against a Colby defense that has allowed the second-most yards in the league this season. The Polar Bears are averaging 12.1 points (eighth) and 224.1 yards per game (ninth) this year. Sophomore Zach Donnarumma stands fourth in the conference in rushing with 578 yards this season and 955 for his career. Bowdoin's defense continues to impress, ranking third in the league, behind conference powers Trinity and Amherst, in allowing 276.0 yards/game. Bowdoin's pass defense has been particularly outstanding, permitting just 151.6 yards/game through the air and a league-low four passing touchdowns. In addition, Peter Troubh is second in the league with six sacks this fall.

The Mules will look to counter Bowdoin's strength, as they boast the third-best pass attack in the league (204.3 yards/game) behind quarterback Nick Kmetz, who stands second in the league with 1,332 passing yards and fourth with seven touchdowns this year. His top target has been receiver Conor Walsh, who ranks among the top ten in the NESCAC in both receptions (35) and yards (366). Colby's defense ranks ninth in the conference in total yards allowed (345.9), permitting 22.6 points per game - seventh in the league. The Mules have been opportunistic, however, ranking third in the NESCAC with a +5 turnover ratio, having forced 15 miscues this season. Ryan Veillette is Colby's top pass rusher, standing just behind Bowdoin's Troubh with 5.5 sacks, the third most in the league.

Last year in Waterville, the Polar Bears used a pair of outstanding special teams plays and key defensive stops down the stretch to defeat the Mules, 26-21. Pat Noone returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for the Polar Bears and Bowdoin later got a blocked punt by Brendan Garner, which teammate Sean O'Malley recovered in the end zone for another score. The Polar Bears also had a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown from Ian Vieira and Bowdoin's defense held Colby on a 4th-and-goal with 9:17 to play to seal the win.

One of the most storied rivalries in all of college football, the Bowdoin-Colby game dates back to 1892- a 56-0 Bowdoin victory. With the exception of war years (1943-1945) the teams have faced each other every year since that original meeting in 1892. Bowdoin won eight straight to open the series history from 1892-1896, and hold a 67-46-9 overall edge in the series. The Polar Bears have won five straight in the rivalry - their longest winning streak against the Mules since taking six straight from 1973-78.