Polar Bears and Jumbos Rekindle Football Rivalry Saturday at Whittier Field

Polar Bears and Jumbos Rekindle Football Rivalry Saturday at Whittier Field

The Bowdoin College and Tufts University football teams both enter Saturday in search of their first wins of the 2012 season. It will be the 107th meeting between the squads dating back to 1896.

The Polar Bears (0-2) have lost their first two games of the season to Middlebury and Amherst while the Jumbos (0-2) have suffered setbacks to Wesleyan and Bates to open the campaign.

Bowdoin will provide a live video webcast and live stats coverage of the game. WBOR will carry the game live locally at 91.1 FM and will also be streaming their broadcast online. Click the links above to follow all the action live.

Bowdoin came out strong against defending league champion Amherst in last week's home opener, and held a 10-6 advantage heading into halftime. The Jeffs controlled the second half, however, accumulating 19:59 minutes of possession and scoring 16 unanswered points to take a 22-10 win.

Bowdoin linebacker Griffin Cardew racked up 16 tackles, one shy of the school record, recorded 2.5 tackles for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble in the defeat. Senior tailback Greg Pierce continued to gain tough yards for the Polar Bears, carrying the ball 26 times for 76 yards and a score.

Senior defensive back/punter Beau Breton helped the Polar Bears win the battle of field position in the early going, punting six times for an average of 40.8 yards. He forced three fair catches and landed one punt inside the Amherst five. In addition to his efforts on special teams, Breton made 15 tackles on the afternoon. Breton leads the conference in tackles (26) and is second in punting (36.3 yards/kick) this fall.

Also among the conference leaders, Pierce stands fourth with 158 yards rushing while quarterback Thomas Romero has thrown for 251 yards to stand seventh. Bowdoin is seventh in the league in total offense (264.5 yards/game) and eighth in total defense (399.0 yards/game).  

With losses in its first two games this season, Tufts is sitting on a 17-game losing streak dating back to a season-opening win over Hamilton in 2010. Down 28-10 in the fourth quarter to Bates last week, the Jumbos used a late rally but couldn't come all the way back in a 31-23 loss. Tufts hasn't been shy in its passing attack this fall, ranking first among conference teams with 124 attempts over its first two games - more than Amherst, Hamilton and Bates combined. On the flip side, Tufts has rushed for just 62 yards as a team - fewer than 14 individuals in the conference.

Last week against the Bobcats, quarterback John Dodds fell one attempt shy of the Tufts single-game record with 70 passing attempts. He completed 12 passes for 99 yards to Dylan Haas in the loss. Dodds ranks second in the league with 533 yards passing while Haas is second in the league with 14 catches. Despite just gaining four yards on the day, Tufts running back Macel Pitre rushed for three touchdowns in the game, the most by a Tufts player since 2001.

Bowdoin opened and closed the scoring with mammoth interception returns for scores as the Polar Bears downed Tufts 27-6 on October 8, 2011. With 10:43 remaining in the second period, Joey Cleary opened the scoring by picking off a Johnny Lindquist pass at the Bowdoin one and running straight down the sideline for a 99-yard touchdown. Not to be out done, sophomore Griffin Cardew closed the scoring and sealed the win with a near instant replay with 4:10 remaining in the contest as he snared a Lindquist pass at the goal line and returned the ball for an NCAA record-tying 100 yard return.

The two highlight-reel returns marked the first time in NCAA history that a team had returned two interceptions 99+ yards for touchdowns in the same game. The returns also became the two longest plays in the 120-year history of Bowdoin football. As a result, the Polar Bears saw a wave of attention among the national media for their feat, with the highlights being featured on ESPN's SportsCenter, NBC SportsTalk, and ESPNU's College Gameday. Cleary and Cardew were also featured as "Faces in the Crowd" in the October 31st issue of Sports Illustrated.

The Bowdoin-Tufts rivalry has always been one of the most tightly-contested rivalries in the NESCAC. The Polar Bears have won two straight, and three of the last four, against the Jumbos. Bowdoin has not won three consecutive games against Tufts since winning four-straight from 1991-94. The storied rivalry dates back to 1889 (an 8-4 Tufts victory) and spans 106 games (Tufts leads 58-46-2). 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.