Date Posted:10/27/2005,  2:30PM

Football vs. Wesleyan Game Notes

The Bowdoin College Polar Bears will host Wesleyan University on Saturday, October 29 in a Parent's Weekend match-up at Whittier Field.

The Polar Bears (4-1) are coming off their first defeat of the season at the hands of Trinity last weekend, 23-3. Wesleyan (0-5) is still looking for their first win of the 2005 campaign after falling to Amherst 37-0 last Saturday.

Fans can listen to the game live on the web via Free Teamline. Click the link at approximately 12:20 to listen to the contest:

Despite starting the season 4-1 for the first time since 1979, Bowdoin is looking to rebound following a disappointing defeat at Trinity.

The Polar Bears could muster only five first-downs and 140 yards of total offense in the loss. Regardless of the statistics, Bowdoin had numerous chances, particularly in a close-played first half, to put the pressure on Trinity, but were stymied by two key fumbles late in the second quarter that changed the complexion of the game. Rather than looking at a 10-10 deadlock heading into halftime, the turnovers resulted in a 17-3 Bantam lead that proved too much to overcome.

Recently, Bowdoin has proved to rather resilient after losses, picking up victories following a defeat on each of the past two occasions, dating back to last season.

Bowdoin has proved to be one of the most opportunistic teams in Division III football, posting a 4-1 mark despite scoring the exact same number of points this season (72) as it has allowed (72). The Polar Bears have beaten Middlebury (22-21), Amherst (16-13), Tufts (10-8) and Hamilton (21-7) this year.

Defensively, the Polar Bears have been advantageous, scoring three touchdowns and earning a plus-seven turnover margin this year. Despite ranking ninth in the NESCAC, allowing 361.6 yards per game, Bowdoin is allowing just 14.4 points per contest. Dave Donahue and Shaun Kezer are tied for second in the conference, averaging 10.8 tackles per game this season.

Offensively, Ricky Leclerc is second in the league with 147.2 passing yards per game. A number of those throws have been in the direction of receiver Jeff Nolin, who ranks first in the conference with 81.2 yards receiving per contest.

Wesleyan has struggled, dropping games in nearly every fashion; by blowout (to Amherst last week 37-0), close, but not quite (to Colby, 28-14, to Tufts, 16-6, and to Hamilton 24-19) and in overtime to Bates (30-29) on a missed PAT in the extra session.

Zach Librizzi ranks first in the conference with 179.4 yards passing per game, while Mark Noonan is third in the NESCAC with 5.0 catches per contest. Defensively, Steve Secundo is second in the league with three interceptions this year. Tim O'Callaghan leads the Cardinals and ranks seventh with 9.2 tackles per game this season.

Last year in Middletown, Bowdoin squandered a fourth-quarter lead and Wesleyan won their eighth straight in the series, 25-21. An Ahron Cohen touchdown run capped a 17-play, 70-yard drive to give Bowdoin a 21-18 lead with 12:38 left in the game. After the teams traded possessions, Wesleyan got the ball back with less than five minutes to play. It took the Cardinals just 1:30 to go 67 yards as Blake Curry hauled in a seven-yard pass from Librizzi for the game-clinching score. Bowdoin drove to midfield with under a minute to play, but Matt Barnum picked off a pass with 44 seconds left to seal the game for Wesleyan. Librizzi passed for 308 yards and four touchdowns for the Cardinals. Shaun Kezer had 10 tackles and Mike Stratton posted two sacks for the Polar Bears.

The Cardinals have dominated the series of late, winning 14 of the last 15 meetings dating back to 1980. Bowdoin's last victory over their Middletown, Connecticut rivals came in 1996, a 31-8 victory. Wesleyan leads the all-time series 47-26-2.

In looking through the record books, Wesleyan-Bowdoin games have often been a statistical oddity. The most fumbles ever committed by a Bowdoin team (10) came in a 1966 loss to the Cardinals, while the most fumbles ever committed by a Polar Bear opponent was Wesleyan's nine in a 1977 Bowdoin win. In the 1976 game, Bowdoin threw two passes- the fewest in modern Bowdoin history- in a 42-34 victory. In addition, the fewest yards gained in a game by the Polar Bears came in 1966 (23) against Wesleyan, while the fewest yards ever allowed by a Bowdoin defense (44) also came against Wesleyan in 1963.