Football vs. Bates Game Notes

Saturday is Senior Day at Whittier Field, where the Bowdoin College football team will play long-time rival Bates for the 109th time in the history of the series. The Polar Bears (0-6) and Bobcats (0-6) are both looking for their first victory of the season. Bowdoin has won two straight over Bates and is looking to win three straight over their Route 196 rivals since the 1996-98 seasons.

Bowdoin College will be webcasting Saturday's game live on the web. Visit the Bowdoin Athletics Podcast Page for more details. The broadcast will begin shortly before 12:30.

The Bobcats have twice lost in overtime this season, including last Saturday's dramatic 10-7 defeat to Colby. The four-overtime game (in a torrential downpour) was the longest contest in the history of NESCAC Football. Bates also dropped a single-overtime decision to Wesleyan on October 14.

Bowdoin senior defensive back Brendan Murphy has been outstanding against Bates over the past three seasons. His rookie season he made 11 tackles (10 solo), picked off a pass and broke up two more against the Bobcats. In 2004, he intercepted another pass and collected four more pass deflections. Last season, Bowdoin's co-captain made a team-high 13 tackles and broke up another pass. In three career games against Bates, Murphy is averaging over nine tackles per game.

Bowdoin's defense currently ranks 10th in the NESCAC in yards allowed, but the Polar Bears are ninth in the conferece in points allowed (21.8), just ahead of Bates. Although the Polar Bear offense ranks seventh in the conference in yardage (208.3 yards/game), the unit has scored just two touchdowns this season.

In extremely poor conditions at Wesleyan last weekend, quarterback Oliver Kell made his starting debut, tossing for 90 yards of 11-of-22 attempts. Jeff Smith rushed for 46 yards against the Cardinals, and stands third in the conference in rushing yards per game (65.0). Doug Johnson is fifth in the league in receiving yards per game (56.4) and sixth in receptions per contest (4.2).

Defensively, John Regan is third in the conference with three interceptions and fifth in tackles (9.3/game). Dave Donahue is third in the NESCAC in punting average (35.3 yards/kick) and fourth in tackles (9.8).

The Bobcats rank eighth in the NESCAC in total offense (199.7 yards per game), while standing ninth in total defense (290.5). They've allowed more points (137) than any other NESCAC squad, but are seven in the conference in points scored (53).

The top weapons for the Bates offense are tailback Jamie Walker (second in NESCAC with 71.7 yards rushing per game), quarterback Brandon Colon (fifth in the NESCAC with 127.3 yards passing per game) and receivers Dylan McNamara (fourth in the NESCAC with 5.17 catches per game) and Matt Gregg (seventh in the NESCAC with a 53.3 yards per game receiving average).

Defensively, Bates has two of the top sack-men in the conference in Terence Ryan (6.0) and Anthony Begon (4.5). Ron DiGravio is sixth in the conference with 8.8 tackles per contest.

In what was the signature victory of the beloved 2005 squad, Bowdoin rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Bates, 21-14 in Lewiston.

With the Bobcats leading 14-0 to start the fourth quarter, Ricky Leclerc '07 threw scoring strikes to Doug Johnson with 14:56 to go and Jared Prichard '07 with 4:23 left to tie the score. Matt Boyd '07 capped off the winning drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge with under a minute to play.

With Bates driving to tie the score on the ensuing possession, Dylan Brix sacked Brandon Colon, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Zach Hammond, sealing the dramatic victory.

The Bowdoin-Bates rivalry, at 108 games entering play on Saturday, is the 10th-longest in Division III, dating back to 1889 (a 62-0 Bowdoin win). The Polar Bears hold a 62-39-7 edge in the all-time series, and have won two straight in the rivalry.

The teams have split the last ten meetings evenly (5-5), including the 2001 contest in Lewiston (a 38-35 Bates win). That contest was the first-ever overtime game for both storied programs.