Middlebury Beats Bowdoin in Football Season Opener at Whittier Field

Griffin Cardew (9) and Joey Cleary (2) had ten tackles apiece in Saturday's loss to Amherst
Griffin Cardew (9) and Joey Cleary (2) had ten tackles apiece in Saturday's loss to Amherst

BRUNSWICK, Maine - McCallum Foote threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Middlebury College football team to a 27-5 win over Bowdoin in both teams' season-opener Saturday at Whittier Field.

It is the first win in Brunswick for the Panthers (1-0) since 2001. Bowdoin (0-1) had claimed the last two clashes between the teams in Maine, in 2005 and 2009.

Foote went 36-59 overall and overcame two interceptions in the victory. William Sadik-Khan was his top target, catching 11 passes for 106 yards and two scores. Bowdoin was led by Zach Donnarumma's 95 rushing yards while Joey Cleary had 15 tackles and Griffin Cardew posted 11, including a safety.

The Panthers took the opening kickoff and marched 71 yards in nine plays, capping the drive with a Foote eight-yard pass to Sadik-Khan crossing over the middle to give the visitors an early lead.

A few possessions later, Bowdoin's Andrew Murowchick dropped a 49-yard punt deep inside Middlebury territory, with Dan Johnson making a diving save to down the ball at the Middlebury 1. That proved crucial, as Cardew tackled Matt Rea in the endzone on the next play to trim the Panther lead to 7-2. Bowdoin took the ensuing free kick and compiled its longest drive of the day - 14 plays and 55 yards - but had to settle for a Murowchick field goal with 14:20 to go in the half.

The Panthers quickly pushed the lead back to two scores as Foote ended a nine-play, 68-yard drive with a screen pass to Joey Zelkowitz, who sliced through the Bowdoin defense to paydirt at 12:04, making it 14-5 Middlebury.

Bowdoin twice intercepted Foote in the second quarter, but couldn't convert on either turnover. The Polar Bears looked to cut into the lead later in the half as they advanced to the Middlebury 22, but fumbled in field goal territory. With under three minutes to go in the second quarter, Matt Crimmins intercepted a Mac Caputi pass at midfield and the Panthers cashed in, going 50 yards in five plays with Sadik-Khan winning a jump-ball pass over the middle with 1:43 left before break to make it 21-5.

Neither team could get much offense going in the second half, with the lone score coming from Middlebury after a Bowdoin turnover in its own territory. Rea dove one yard into the endzone at 2:29 of the third quarter to cap the scoring.

Middlebury held a 33:59-26:01 advantage in time of possession and owned a 459-290 edge in total offense. The Bowdoin defense, led by Cleary (15 tackles) and Cardew (11 tackles) played well against the top-ranked offense in the NESCAC from a year ago. Cleary and Reeder Wells had Bowdoin's interceptions defensively while Cardew had a pair of tackles for loss and a sack.

Tim Patricia had eight tackles for Middlebury while Benedict had seven stops, an interception and a fumble recovery for the Panthers.

Saturday's game was delayed slightly in the second quarter due to a major power outage in the Midcoast region. The game was played without power at the field for the entire second half.

Middlebury will play Colby in its home opener next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Bowdoin will travel to play at Amherst with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m.