Bowdoin Rallies in Second Half, Survives Wild Finish to Beat Hamilton

Jon Fraser and the Bowdoin defense caused four second-half turnover in Saturday's win at Hamilton
Jon Fraser and the Bowdoin defense caused four second-half turnover in Saturday's win at Hamilton

CLINTON, N.Y. -- Tyler Grant ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Andrew Sisti kicked three field goals as the Polar Bears rallied for a 30-24 NESCAC win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Hamilton's Steuben Field on Oct. 11.

Bowdoin (2-2, 2-2 NESCAC) won at Hamilton for the first time since 2002 after the Polar Bears trailed 10-6 at the half. The Continentals had won their last five home games against Bowdoin.

The Continentals (0-4, 0-4) lost their 16th straight game as they were undone by four second-half turnovers, including three interceptions, and 80 yards in penalties.

Grant led the Bowdoin offense with 97 yards rushing. Mac Caputi completed 17 of 30 passes for 207 yards, including a five-yard scoring toss to Jack Donovan. Daniel Barone caught five passes for a game-high 95 yards.

Bjorn Halvorson and Reeder Wells were credited with seven tackles apiece. Jibrail Coy, Jon Fraser and Dan Johnson intercepted one pass each, and Brendan Lawler recovered a fumble.

Amman Weaver scored on a pair of 1-yard runs and returned a kick 85 yards for another touchdown for the Continentals. John Phelan paced the Hamilton defense with 11 tackles and recovered a fumble.

Both teams scored 14 points in a wild fourth quarter. The Polar Bears already led 16-10 early in the fourth when they embarked on a 12-play drive that covered 65 yards in six minutes and ended with Grant's six-yard TD run. Grant ran for 21 yards on the drive and Caputi completed 3 of 4 passes for 32 yards.

After a missed PAT by the Polar Bears, the Continentals pulled within 22-17 on the ensuing 15-play drive, which traveled 74 yards and took just over six minutes off the clock. Rosenberg was 7 of 10 for 73 yards on the drive, including a 20-yard pass to John Fisher on 2nd-and-19 from the Bowdoin 21. Two plays later, Weaver scampered around left end and into the end zone from the 1 with 2:24 remaining. Zach Altneu added the extra point.

Hamilton went with the onside kick and recovered at the Bowdoin 46-yard line, but the Continentals were flagged for offsides. The Polar Bears recovered the next onside kick at the Hamilton 41. Two plays later, Grant busted loose off right tackle, slipped through the defense and sprinted 39 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Caputi completed a two-point conversion pass to Donovan and it was 30-17 with 2:06 left.

On the following kickoff, Weaver caught the ball at his own 15 and took it all the way to the end zone. Altneu's PAT was good and Hamilton was within 30-24 with 1:55 to go.

Another onside kick by the Continentals was grabbed by Bowdoin at the 50 but the Hamilton defense stiffened and forced a punt with 17 seconds left. The Continentals put everyone on the line of scrimmage and Mitko busted through to block the punt. Weaver recovered and Hamilton had one last chance at the Polar Bears' 27-yard line with nine seconds remaining.

Rosenberg attempted to throw it deep, but Johnson made a leaping interception in the back of the end zone for a touchback that ended the Continentals' hopes of picking up their first win of 2014.

Altneu gave Hamilton a 3-0 lead on a 30-yard field goal with 2:51 left in the first quarter. It was his second field goal this season. Bowdoin tied the score on a 35-yard field goal by Sisti with 13:15 to go in the second quarter.

Weaver put the Continentals on top with a 1-yard TD run off left tackle with 4:05 remaining in the second. The two big plays on the drive were a 25-yard pass from Rosenberg to Nick Caso, and a 39-yard pass from receiver Charles Ensley to Donahoe down to the Polar Bear 10. Altneu's PAT made it 10-3.

Sisti pulled Bowdoin within 10-6 on a 36-yard field goal with 57.7 seconds left in the half. The Polar Bears took the lead for good in the third quarter. Coy intercepted a pass at the Hamilton 35 on the Continentals' first drive of the second half. Caputi found Donovan in the left flat at the 5 and Donovan rumbled into the end zone to complete a five-play drive with 12:00 left in the third. Andrew Murowchick made the extra point for a 13-10 Bowdoin lead.

Three plays into Hamilton's next drive, the Continentals fumbled and Lawler recovered the ball at the Hamilton 17. Sisti booted a 25-yard field goal four plays later and it was 16-10 with 8:36 remaining in the third. Fraser stopped a drive by the Continentals that had advanced deep into the Polar Bears' territory with an interception at his own 14 early in the fourth quarter.

Hamilton gained 347 yards to 329 for Bowdoin, and the Continentals racked up 20 first downs. Hamilton was 6 of 14 on third-down conversions and was successful on its lone fourth-down try.

Bowdoin hosts Trinity next Saturday at 12:30 for Homecoming Weekend.