Bowdoin Football Opens 2014 Campaign at Williams Saturday - Video Preview

Tyler Grant will move into a starting role at tailback this season for the Polar Bears
Tyler Grant will move into a starting role at tailback this season for the Polar Bears

The Bowdoin College football team will kick off its 123rd season on Saturday as they travel to play Williams College at 2:00 p.m. Both squads will be looking for bounce-back years, as the Polar Bears are coming off a 3-5 campaign in 2013, while the Ephs finished at 2-6.

Due to the rotation in NESCAC scheduling, the teams will be playing for the first time since 2011. It will be the 72nd meeting all-time between the squads and will be the first game played at Williams' newly-renovated Farley-Lamb Field.

NOTE: for fans traveling to Saturday's game, tailgaiting will be limited due to renovations still ongoing around the facility. Visit this page for game day information at the complex.

The Northeast Sports Network will provide live coverage of the game in Williamstown. Visit the link above or go to for the broadcast.

Bowdoin returns 15 starters from last year's squad, but lost several key contributors to graduation, including three senior starting linebackers from a year ago, highlighted by NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year Joey Cleary. The Polar Bears will look to rely on a deep and talented defensive line, headed by All-NESCAC honoree and team captain Tom Wells, who was among the team leaders with 31 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, in 2013.

Four experienced players return to anchor Bowdoin's defensive backfield, led by safeties Dan Johnson and Jon Fraser, who each had two interceptions last season. Juniors Brendan Lawler and Branden Morin, who filled in admirably last season when senior captain Griffin Cardew was lost to injury, will look to step into permanent starting roles at linebacker this fall.

Offensively, Bowdoin boasts a large and experienced line, book-ended by senior tackles Jake Giovanucci and Anthony Todesco. Tailback Tyler Grant will look to take over carrying duties from graduated All-NESCAC running back Zach Donnarumma. Grant gained 265 yards in part-time duty a year ago. Senior quarterback Mac Caputi threw for 1,109 yards and four touchdowns last season and returns his top two receivers - Daniel Barone (22 rec., 247 yards) and Ethan Drigotas (20 rec., 215) as well as tight end Matt Perlow (10 rec., 191 yards in 2012), who missed almost the entirety of last year due to injury.

The Ephs will welcome back 17 starters from last year's squad, including the NESCAC's top sack specialist - defensive end James Howe, who led the league with 10 sacks a year ago. Williams returns an experienced offensive line, but lost its starting quarterback and two top receivers to graduation. Williams will be looking to right the ship after posting its first losing season in 28 years.

Williams claimed a 24-21 win in Brunswick in 2011 in the last meeting between the schools. Zach Donnarumma rushed for 108 yards in the loss for Bowdoin, who would go on to finish the season 4-4. Among active players who played in that contest, Jon Fraser made five tackles and forced a fumble in what was his first career contest as a Polar Bear.

Including the 2011 win, the Ephs have won two consecutive games in the series overall. Bowdoin's last victory came in 2007, 28-14, at Whittier Field. The Polar Bears will be looking to win their first game in Williamstown since 1979 when Bowdoin earned a 14-13 triumph. The Ephs hold a 50-15-6 advantage in the all-time series.