Bowdoin College will begin their 115th season of intercollegiate football with a season-opening clash against reigning NESCAC Champion Williams College at 1:00 p.m. at Whittier Field. The last time Bowdoin hosted a season-opener was in 2005, when Bowdoin defeated Middlebury College, 22-21.
Bowdoin (2-6 in 2006) enters today's game on a two-game winning streak, having claimed the final two contests of the 2006 season over Bates and Colby. The Polar Bears, who won their first CBB Championship since 1998, will look to replace a significant amount of talent lost to graduation.
Offensively, Bowdoin does return First-Team All-NESCAC tackle Rogan Donelly and quarterback Oliver Kell (524 passing yards, 3 touchdowns). Tailback Jeff Smith (544 rushing yards, third in NESCAC) and receiver Nick Tomaino (252 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns) will look to improve on impressive 2006 campaigns. Defensively, the Polar Bears will look to key returners Damon Hall-Jones (44 tackles, 5 tackles for loss) and Kevin Zikaris (34 tackles) to pace an athletic unit. Lamont White and Bobby Welch return to their spots in the defensive backfield, but Bowdoin will have to replace their top four tacklers from a year ago.
The 2006 NESCAC Champions, Williams is currently riding a 14-game winning streak and return a boatload of talent for another run at the title. NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year Pat Lucey leads a potent attack that ranked first in scoring offense in the league last year at 34.5 points per game- nearly 10 more points per contest than any other conference squad. The Ephs also return their leading rusher from a year ago- Brian Morrissey- who totalled 486 yards and four scores in '06. Defensively, Williams returns their two leading tacklers from last season in linebacker Jordan O'Reilly (46 tackles, 24 solo) and cornerback Tim Batty (26 tackles, 20 solo.).
Last season in Williamstown, the Ephs amassed 450 yards of total offense and scored a touchdown in each quarter on their way to a 27-0 blanking of Bowdoin. For Williams, Morrissey posted 86 rushing yards. Sean Gleeson and Lucey split time at quarterback, totalling 257 yards passing between them. Jeff Smith rushed for 63 yards for Bowdoin, while Tom Duffy went 10-27 for 89 passing yards. Doug Johnson caught five of those balls for 52 yards. Defensively, captain John Regan had nine solo tackles and an interception, while Damon Hall-Jones was all over the field, making 11 solo stops on the day.
The Polar Bears and Ephs have played 68 times with Williams holding a 48-15-5 edge. The first contest was played in 1890 as the Ephs took a 50-0 victory. Bowdoin's first win in the series came in 1932 (a 7-0 win) and their last victory took place in 1979, capping a three-year winning streak over Williams (also with a 7-0 win). The teams have played 15 games since then, with Williams coming away victorious every time.