WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - The Bowdoin College football team was
doomed by five turnovers in a season-opening loss to Williams on
Saturday afternoon, 33-15. The Polar Bears were able to move the
ball successfully against the Ephs all day but lost three fumbles
deep in Williams territory and had an interception returned for a
score in the defeat.
The loss overshadowed a successful starting debut for quarterback R.J. Shea, who tossed for 316 yards and a pair of scores, and the efforts of receivers Brendan Garner and Pat Noone. Garner, making his first collegiate football appearance as a senior, caught 10 passes for 135 yards and a score. Noone, Bowdoin's preseason All-American, also collected 10 passes to move his career total to 93, two shy of the school record held by Peter Nye '94.
Williams jumped out to a 14-0 lead after a pair of long first-half drives before a late surge by Bowdoin saw the offense go 58 yards in just five plays, capped by a 22-yard touchdown strike from Shea to Garner with just six seconds left in the half. A blocked PAT made it 14-6 at intermission.
Bowdoin continued to trim into the lead early in the second half, marching 58 yards in seven plays and scoring on a six-yard pass from Shea to Paul Hinman. A missed two-point conversion made it 14-12 Williams. The Ephs increased their lead on the 53-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the third quarter, but Bill Donahue answered for the Polar Bears with a 26-yard field goal late in the quarter to make it 21-15 after three quarters.
Bowdoin had a chance to take the lead early in the fourth, but an apparent touchdown pass from Shea to Hinman was called incomplete in the endzone. On the very next play, rookie Zach Donnarumma fumbled the ball at the Williams 5, and the Ephs march 95 yards in 17 plays for a back-breaking score. The hosts would add a late touchdown to seal the win.
First-year Griffin Cardew made 10 tackles for the Polar Bears while Ian Vieira made seven stops and had an interception.
Bowdoin will host reigning NESCAC Champion Amherst in their home opener at Whittier Field next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.