Date Posted:10/06/2005,  12:30PM

Football vs. Tufts Game Notes

The Bowdoin College Polar Bears and Tufts University Jumbos will face eachother for the 100th time this Saturday afternoon in a match-up of NESCAC unbeatens, as both teams enter the game with identical 2-0 records.

Live on the web via Free Teamline, click for more information. The broadcast will begin at approximately 12:45.

The Bowdoin College football team stands at 2-0 for the first time since 1980 after a thrilling 16-13 victory at Amherst last Saturday. Although head coach Dave Caputi's squad has beaten their first two opponents by a combined four points, Bowdoin has dominated the turnover battle in two victories against squads that were a collective 9-0 against Bowdoin in the last five seasons.

None of the players on the 2005 squad were born the last time Bowdoin opened the season with consecutive victories. Bowdoin opened the 1980 season with two straight wins over Hamilton and Amherst, but fell to Tufts in game three (14-10). The Polar Bears are attempting to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1964.

Ricky Leclerc, despite struggling against Amherst, is second in the conference in pass yards per game (198.5/game), while Jeff Nolin leads the NESCAC in receiving yards per contest (117.0). Dave Donahue was tabbed as the conference's Defensive Player of the Week following an incredible performance against the Jeffs that included an 65-yard interception return for a touchdown, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Linebacker John Regan could've easily been honored as well as his six solo tackles, two forced fumbles, interception and pair of sacks helped lead Bowdoin to victory.

Tufts is 2-0 after defeating Wesleyan (16-6) and Bates (34-7) to open the 2005 season. Senior quarterback Casey D'Annolfo was named the NESCAC's Offensive Player of the Week for his 16-for-23, 255-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Bobcats last weekend. The Jumbos also feature a balanced running attack that features senior tailback Scott Lombardi, who is averaging 63.5 yards per game. Defensively, Tufts has been solid, allowing just two touchdowns in the first two contests.

Offensively, Tufts is fourth in the conference in total offense (301 yards/game), while Bowdoin stands eighth (265 yards/game). Defensively, the Jumbos have clamped down on Wesleyan and Bates, allowing just 160.5 yards per game (second in NESCAC). Bowdoin has allowed an average of 402 yards per game (eighth in NESCAC), but are ranked first nationally in Division III with a plus-3 turnover margin per game. Bowdoin leads the NESCAC with 10 gained turnovers this season, while Tufts ranks sixth in the NESCAC, having turned the ball over six times in their first two games.

The Jumbos and Polar Bears played a nailbiter in Brunswick last season with Bowdoin coming away 14-12 victors. Tufts dominated the game on the statsheet, but twice settled for short field goals as a late rally fell short. Former Jumbo Kevin Holland had an incredible day, catching a Tufts and NESCAC-record 22 passes for 202 yards. Bowdoin's Ricky Leclerc had a 14-yard touchdown run and Steve Curwen's knack for the big play resulted in a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown. Curwen has scored three career touchdowns, two interception returns and one fumble recovery for a score.

Bowdoin's 2004 victory snapped a six-game losing streak between these historic rivals. The two teams have played 99 times entering Saturday with Tufts holding a 55-42-2 edge in the all-time series. The teams' first played in 1889, with Tufts taking an 8-4 victory. The most unique contest, however, was the 1992 game that was played in Galway, Ireland - the first Division III game played in Europe. Bowdoin won that contest 7-6 and the two teams have split 7-7 in the last 14 meetings.