In what could be the season's defining game, the football team (1-2) looks to bounce back from a two-game slide when the team returns home to face Hamilton College this Saturday at 12 p.m.

"This game is big, no doubt about it," said veteran offensive lineman Chris Grillo '11.

Coach Caputi agreed, saying, "I think every game is important. We can't afford to overlook any game because we only have eight games in a season, so this [upcoming matchup against Hamilton] is very important."

The Polar Bears suffered two excruciating defeats in the last two weekends against Amherst and Tufts.

After a thrilling opening-day victory against Middlebury, the Polar Bears seemed poised to defeat perennial NESCAC power, the Amherst Lord Jeffs. Senior quarterback Oliver Kell and sophomore wide out Pat Noone picked up right where they left off against Middlebury, as the pair connected eleven times for a total of 125 yards.

The difference this time was the team's inability to find the end zone.

In a game defined by missed opportunities, Bowdoin thoroughly out-played its formidable opponent, out-gaining the Lord Jeffs by over 150 yards and holding possession for a remarkable 36 minutes and 40 seconds.

Despite this statistical advantage, the Polar Bears struggled when they moved the ball within Amherst's 20-yard line, making seven trips but tallying only four field goals and three costly turnovers.

Despite these mistakes, the Polar Bears seemed primed to escape from Amherst with a win, carrying a 12-6 lead into the final five minutes of play.

After a 66-yard touchdown drive by Amherst left Bowdoin trailing by a single point with less than three minutes remaining, the Polar Bears' comeback attempt was abruptly cut short by another Kell interception—his third of the day.

"We left a lot of points out on the field and against a quality opponent like Amherst you just can't afford to do that," said starting left tackle, Joe Smith '12.

The Polar Bears' seemed to have fixed their offensive woes as they marched down the field for a 94-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession against the Jumbos.

Led by Noone's third straight 100-yard, 10-catch performance, the Polar Bears built a 22-19 lead with under 10 minutes remaining in the game on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Kell to Noone.

"I think we expected him to be a good football player but he's achieving at a higher level faster than I anticipated," Caputi said. "What he's done has been very impressive but we have other guys who are capable of similar break out games and making that happen will be a key to our success."

A 35-yard field goal by Tufts' kicker, Adam Auerbach tied the game with only a few seconds left in regulation, sending the contest into overtime.

Bowdoin was unable to score on its opening possession of overtime, as the team's kicker, Billy Donahue '11, sailed a 28-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Tufts kicker, Auerbach had no such problems as he crushed the hopes of the Bowdoin faithful with a 35-yard field goal to give Tufts the thrilling victory. With the loss the Polar Bears record on the young season stands at 1-2.

Despite the team's consecutive losses, Coach Caputi believes there is reason to be excited about Bowdoin's prospects for the rest of the season.

"I think the key thing for us is when opportunities present themselves we need to take advantage of them," Caputi said. "We had chances and we didn't capitalize. If we all played one play better we might have had a different outcome to the past two games," Caputi said.

The team has shown it can be dominant on both offensively and defensively but has yet to find consistency.

"I think [the game against Hamilton] is going to come down to two things," said Caputi. "First, which team can create the most big plays? And second, which team can have the most efficient running game?"

"If the answer to both those questions is Bowdoin, then I think we'll have a good shot [at defeating Hamilton]," said Caputi.