Date Posted:10/02/2008, 9:00AM
Traditonal foes Bowdoin and Tufts tangle for the 103rd time Saturday afternoon in Brunswick. The Jumbos carry an unbeaten 2-0 mark into the game, outscoring opponents by a NESCAC-best 33 points over the first two weeks (54-21). Bowdoin lost their home-opener last weekend to Amherst, 31-24, to fall to 0-2 this season.
BOWDOIN BY THE NUMBERS
The Polar Bear offense continued to roll in week two, and ranks fourth in the NESCAC with 26.0 points per game. Bowdoin is third in the league in passing offense (226.0 yards/game) and seventh in rushing (98.5 yards/game). That will be tested Saturday against Tufts' defense which ranks first in the conference in yards allowed. Individually, Oliver Kell is second in the NESCAC in total offense, accounting for a 280.0 yards per game average. He is the second-leading passer in the conference (226 yards/game) and also ranks ninth in rushing in the league (54.0 yards/game). Ian Merry is sixth in the league with 77.0 yards per game receiving.
Defensively, the Polar Bear bent but didn't shatter last Saturday against Amherst, holding the Jeffs to 31 points despite allowing 459 yards of total offense. Despite ranking 10th in the league in defense, Bowdoin is +2 in turnover margin and is the least-penalized defensive unit in the league, having committed just two infractions against two of the league's top offensive units from a year ago. Kevin Zikaras is the NESCAC's leading tackler (18.5/game) with Matt Leotti ranking third (11.0/game). Nolan McNair tops the conference in punting average, booting 39.4 yards per kick.
SCOUTING THE JUMBOS
Tufts has taken care of business in the opening two weeks of the season, surviving Wesleyan 20-14 in their first contest before bouncing Bates last weekend, 34-7.
The Jumbos rank first in the league in total defense, allowing just 198.0 yards per game and have outgained their opponents by a startling margin, 810-396 yards, so far. Tailback Will Forde sparks the Tufts attack and leads the NESCAC at 124.5 yards per game and three touchdowns. Quarterback Anthony Fucillo is first in the league in pass efficiency, posting a rating of 169.2 with 186.5 yards per game passing this year.
Defensively, Matt Williams is second in the NESCAC with two sacks while defensive back Tom Tassinari (one interception in 2008) was second in the league last year with five picks.
Despite outgaining Tufts by 147 yards, Bowdoin turned the ball over four times and the Jumbos claimed a 21-13 victory in Medford last October. Andy Henke finished with 11 tackles for the Tufts defense, while Stephen Albertine had eight tackles (two for losses), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack. Oliver Kell completed 21 of 42 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns for Bowdoin.
BOWDOIN vs. TUFTS
The teams have split the last four meetings and have had little difference between them, with the average margin of victory for the winning team being 5.5 points during that stretch. The storied rivalry dates back to 1889 (an 8-4 Tufts victory) and spans 102 games (Tufts leads 57-43-2). 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, but Tufts holds a slim 9-8 edge over the last 17 meetings.