Saturday marks the 85th meeting between historic rivals Amherst College and Bowdoin College. The game is the home-opener for the Polar Bears (0-1), who opened last weekend with a loss at Williams College. Bowdoin, who posted a 3-1 mark at home in 2005, will host the Jeffs (1-0), who hammered Bates 31-6 in week one.
The Bowdoin Cable Network will be video webcasting all home football games this season. Unfortunately, due to connectivity issues currently at Whittier Field, this weekend's game will be available online on a delayed basis. It will be available at the Bowdoin Podcast Page immediately following the conclusion of the game on Saturday afternoon, at approximately 4:00 p.m. BCN hopes to do live broadcasts of the remaining home games on the schedule.
Going into the 2006 season, Dave Caputi's squad knew they would have their hands full in the opening two weeks. A combined 11-5 last season, Williams and Amherst represent the toughest opening pair of games for any NESCAC squad in 2006.
Last week, Bowdoin allowed 450 yards of total offense and a touchdown in each quarter in a 27-0 defeat at Williams. The Polar Bears could only muster 137 yards of offense on their own, but did manage to drive deep into Williams territory on a few occasions, without result. The Polar Bears were only 4-for-15 on third-down against the Ephs and will look to beat the Jeffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1991-92.
Amherst's Mark Hannon was a one-man wrecking crew in the Jeffs' dominating win over Bates last Saturday. The senior captain scored three first-half touchdowns - two on scoring strikes from senior quarterback Nick Kehoe and another on a 64-yard punt return - as the hosts cruised to victory. Amherst's 31 points were the most by any NESCAC team in week one.
BOWDOIN BY THE NUMBERS
After week one, Bowdoin's Jeff Smith ranks sixth in the conference in rushing following a 61-yard effort against Williams. Doug Johnson stands seventh in the league with five receptions and fifth in the conference among qualifying receivers with a 10.4 yard/catch average. Dave Donahue is third in the conference with a 40.5 punting average, and also stands third with 14.0 tackles on the season. Damon Hall-Jones and John Regan also rank among the top tacklers in the conference with a dozen apiece after one week.
One of the Polar Bears' hallmarks in 2005, Bowdoin was one of four teams to break-even on turnovers last week, giving away and taking away just one on the afternoon. The Polar Bears were penalized four times for 40 yards against Williams.
SCOUTING THE JEFFS
Amherst displayed a lethal passing attack last week against Bates, as Kehoe racked up 260 yards through the air to rank first in the NESCAC. Hannon caught seven balls for 94 yards and two touchdowns, but Justin Macione was also a target, collecting two passes for 77 yards. The Jeffs rushing attack gained 84 yards, led by Aaron Rauh's 33 yards. Defensively, Amherst's Brendan McKee is tied for the league lead with 1.5 sacks.
The Jeffs were minus-1 in turnovers against Bates, fumbling once and throwing two interceptions. Amherst posted an 8 of 15 clip on third-down conversions, and were penalized six times for 71 yards on the afternoon.
After knocking on the door in a thrilling double-overtime tilt in 2004, Bowdoin snapped a six-year losing skid to the Jeffs with a 16-13 victory in Amherst. The Polar Bears sprinted out to a 16-0 lead and held off a late flurry by Amherst to seal the win. Dave Donahue got things going for Bowdoin with a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Polar Bears held on, despite accumulating just 139 yards of offense to Amherst's 399.
BOWDOIN vs. AMHERST
The Jeffs and the Polar Bears have played 84 times entering Saturday's contest, with Amherst holding a 64-18-2 edge in the all-time series. Prior to 2005, Bowdoin's last victory over Amherst came in 1998 (24-16), and the Jeffs have won 11 of 13 games since 1993.
The most entertaining contest between the teams in recent memory was the epic 2004 showdown- the first overtime game in Whittier Field history. Several school records were set in the Jeffs' 34-28 win, including Amherst's Fletcher Ladd rushing for 170 yards, Rob Walsh's four interceptions and Bowdoin's Ricky Leclerc's school-record 64 passes for 395 yards.
Football vs. Amherst Game Notes