Bowdoin To Open 122nd Year of Football Saturday at Home vs. Middlebury

Bowdoin To Open 122nd Year of Football Saturday at Home vs. Middlebury

The Bowdoin College football team opens its 122nd season Saturday as they play host to Middlebury College with kick-off scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The Polar Bears are looking to build upon a one-win season in 2012 while the Panthers finished in second place in the conference with a 7-1 mark. Despite the two schools' long-standing rivalries in most other sports, it is just the 21st meeting between the football programs.

For fans unable to attend games at Whittier Field this season, all Bowdoin home games will be carried live online by Northeast Sports Network ( with live statistics available on the Bowdoin Athletics website ( Links are available above.

As the Bowdoin football program enters the new year, it will look to several returners on defense to lead the way. The Polar Bears' defensive front seven is likely the strength of its team heading into 2013, including a trio of senior linebackers in Joey Cleary, Griffin Cardew and Brian Glazewski. Cardew led the NESCAC in tackles last fall (97 total tackles) and was recognized as a First Team All-NESCAC selection. Clarence Johnson, a Second Team All-NESCAC choice, will anchor a deep defensive line corps that includes several returners. Last year, Bowdoin ranked fifth in the league in total defense.

Offensively, the Polar Bears will rely heavily on the legs of senior tailback Zach Donnarumma who, despite missing two games last year, finished third in the league in rushing yards per game (92.7) and has racked up 1,587 career yards to stand 8th all-time in school history. Four of five starters on the offensive line return to the team, led by senior co-captain Bobby Driscoll. Bowdoin returns four of its top five receivers from a year ago, led by David Black, who caught 31 passes a year ago, and senior Sean O'Malley, who missed all of last year due to injury. Quarterback duties will be up for grabs to start the season as senior Thomas Romero and junior Mac Caputi battle for playing time under center. Senior Jimmy Garvey, who has connected on 15 field goals over the last two years, will assume placekicking duties again for Bowdoin this fall.

Click this link to see Coach Dave Caputi's assessment of the upcoming season.

Middlebury's decorated quarterback McCallum Foote has led Division III in completions per game over the last two seasons, but will be dealing with new personnel all over the field this fall. The Panthers graduated an All-American lineman, their leading rusher, and top two receivers that combined for 144 receptions for 1,827 yards and 23 touchdowns a year ago. Brendan Rankowitz (27 catches for 343 yards) is Foote's top returning target. On the other side of the ball, Middlebury's total defense improved from 10th to sixth in its second year of a new system. The Panthers will look to continue that pace this season, bolstered by reigning NESCAC Rookie of the Year, linebacker Tim Patricia.

Last year in Vermont, Foote finished the day 26 of 44, tossing for 285 yards with five touchdown passes as the Panthers amassed 416 yards of total offense in a 42-18 win. Middlebury jumped to a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter and Bowdoin couldn't recover as Panther seniors Zach Driscoll and Ben Chapman each had two receiving touchdowns. Bowdoin's David Black had a career-high seven catches and a touchdown in the loss.

Bowdoin has played Middlebury just 20 times in the series history- the fewest of any of the Polar Bears' NESCAC foes. The squads first played in 1916 (a 7-0 Bowdoin victory) and did not play again until 1976. The Panthers, who hold an 12-7-1 edge in the all-time series, had won seven straight meetings before falling to Bowdoin in 2005. The teams are part of a rotating NESCAC schedule and play twice every four seasons. The Polar Bears have claimed the last two match-ups in Brunswick as Middlebury has not won at Whittier Field since September 22, 2001 which, coincidentally, was Middlebury head coach Bob Ritter's first head coaching win.