Date Posted:09/25/2008, 3:00PM
Longtime rivals Bowdoin and Amherst will battle for the 87th time Saturday as the Polar Bears open their 2008 home schedule. The Polar Bears (0-1) return home after falling to Middlebury in their season-opener last weekend in Vermont, while Amherst hits the road for the first time after slamming Hamilton 30-6 last Saturday. In fact, home teams went 5-0 in the NESCAC's opening week with Williams, Tufts and Trinity also claiming victories in addition to Middlebury and Amherst.
BOWDOIN BY THE NUMBERS
The Polar Bear offense proved to be in midseason form last weekend against Middlebury, racking up 409 yards of total offense against a squad that finished as the top defense in the conference in 2007. Quarterback Oliver Kell sparked the attack, tossing for 250 passing yards and rushing for another 96 to post the third-highest total offensive yardage by a Bowdoin player in school history. The Polar Bears' 409 yards of team offense was the fourth-highest in the league last Saturday and balance was the key; Bowdoin is the only squad to rank in the top-three in both rushing and passing yards after week one.
Unfortunately for Bowdoin, the Middlebury offense proved just as prolific, totaling 476 yards of offense to pull away in a 42-28 victory. Kevin Zikaras was one bright spot for the Polar Bear defense, as his 23 tackles crushed the school record of 17 that he formerly shared with Shaun Kezer and Dave Donahue.
SCOUTING THE JEFFS
The Jeffs looked impressive in their week one effort - a 30-6 thumping of Hamilton. Amherst's defense forced five turnovers and held Hamilton to just 52 yards rushing in the victory.
In his first career start, quarterback Alex Vetras completed 25 of 34 passes for 239 yards and three scores to lead the Jeffs offense. Defensive back Chris Govey made eight tackles and an interception to lead the Amherst defense in the victory.
Amherst outgained Bowdoin 323-23 in rushing yardage and scored four touchdowns on the ground in a 30-6 victory last season in Massachusetts. Amherst's Aaron Rauh rushed for 159 yards while Eric NeSmith totaled 131 yards on the ground in the victory. Oliver Kell passed for 170 yards while Matt Leotti and Kevin Zikaras had nine tackles apiece to pace Bowdoin.
BOWDOIN vs. AMHERST
Despite the Jeffs winning 13 of the last 15 meetings between the schools, Bowdoin has given the Jeffs fits in recent years. In 2006, Amherst outgained Bowdoin by a nearly 2:1 margin, yet had to score 10 points in the final six minutes to pull away in a 20-7 win. In 2005, the Polar Bears snapped a six-game losing skid to the Jeffs with a 16-13 win in Massachusetts. The 2004 showdown - a 34-28 Amherst win - was the first overtime game in Whittier Field history.