BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin senior co-captain Pat Noone returned a punt 85 yards for a third-quarter touchdown that proved to be the difference in a 12-6 victory over Wesleyan on Saturday at Whittier Field. The Polar Bears improve to 3-3 this fall while the Cardinals fall to 3-3 on the year.
Bowdoin dominated on the ground, amassing 218 yards of rushing, including a career-high 158 from sophomore Zach Donnarumma. The Polar Bears held a ten-minute advantage in time of possession and limited a high-powered Cardinal rushing attack to just 59 yards for the day.
The Polar Bears owned a 147-66 advantage in total offense and controlled the ball of 18:54 in the opening half, but could only muster a field goal as time expired to carry a 3-0 edge into intermission. The 37-yard field goal was a career-long for kicker Jimmy Garvey.
Bowdoin took the kickoff after halftime and drove down the field, with Donnarumma scampering 37 yards to set up Garvey's second field goal of the game, a 29-yarder to give the Polar Bears a 6-0 edge.
The Polar Bears forced a three-and-out on Wesleyan's next possession and Jesse Warren's punt sailed inside the Bowdoin 20, seemingly destined to be downed by the Cardinal punt squad. The ball took one bounce and Noone darted through the onlooking defenders, sliced up the sideline and pulled away for the longest punt return in Whittier Field history. A missed PAT gave the hosts a 12-0 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Wesleyan took over with good field position early in the fourth quarter and were able to convert a 35-yard field goal by Sebastian Aguirre with 11:41 to go. Aguirre nailed a career-long 36-yarder with 7:03 remaining to trim the Bowdoin advantage to 12-6.
The Polar Bears took the ensuing kickoff and were able to milk 5:24 off the clock before giving the ball back to the Cardinals. Quarterback Matt Coyne directed Wesleyan 52 yards in nine plays down to the Bowdoin 28 with just seconds left to play. Coyne's last three passes fell incomplete, including a toss into the endzone as time expired.
The Bowdoin defense held the Cardinals to 194 yards of total offense, with 128 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter. Of Wesleyan's 12 possessions, Bowdoin forced eight three-and-outs. Tailback LaDarius Drew, who had posted four consecutive 100-yard games entering Saturday, ended with 48 yards on 18 carries. Coyne went 16-26 with 135 yards passing for the Cardinals. Larry Belotta led the Wesleyan defense with 10 tackles, including three for a loss.
In addition to Donnarumma's 158 yards on 33 carries, Mac Caputi totaled 41 yards on seven rushes.