In the waning minutes of last weekend's game at Whittier Field, the Tufts football team was driving for the game-tying score. Bowdoin was leading 22-15 despite the Jumbos relentless aerial assault—68 pass attempts and four trips to the red zone.
With only 1:21 remaining, the Polar Bears needed one more red zone stop. The Jumbos 69th pass attempt was unsuccessful, as Bowdoin first year Griffin Cardew sealed the Polar Bear victory with his second interception of the game.
Cardew's pick-off finalized a fantastic day for the first year linebacker/defensive back: two interceptions, three pass break-ups and seven tackles (five solo). Cardew's playmaking ability was readily apparent throughout the game.
Head coach Dave Caputi thought that Griffin's first interception, not the game-winner, was the first year's defining moment.
"After we fell behind 12-0, we needed a spark, and Griff came up with a key interception that led to our first score," he said.
For his efforts, Cardew was named the NESCAC defensive player of the week.
The game served as a coming-out party for the versatile defender from Ipswich, Mass. Despite being a first year, Cardew is starting this season as a linebacker for the Polar Bears. Both Caputi and senior captain James Lathrop agreed that Cardew's best position is linebacker.
Lathrop said he first noticed Cardew's abilities when the first year crushed an Amherst wide receiver the previous week, one of the few crowd-pleasing moments of a difficult Homecoming weekend loss. During that game, however, Cardew was moved from linebacker to defensive back because of injuries. Because of his large size and speed, Cardew still excelled despite the difficult transition from thumping linebacker to nimble defensive back.
"His willingness to step into the role and perform at a high level sets him apart from others," Lathrop said.
The transition not only highlights his physical abilities, but also his team-first attitude. When discussing the victory over Tufts, Cardew was quick to credit his teammates.
"I don't think there was one play I looked back and didn't see [the Tufts'] quarterback on the ground with a Bowdoin player standing over him," Cardew said, lauding the performance of Bowdoin's defensive line.
Cardew also noted the fantastic play of Bowdoin's young secondary, made up of three first years and a sophomore, saying the unit as a whole covered and tackled very well.
Cardew's efforts powered Bowdoin to its first victory of the season. After starting 0-2, the first year is looking forward to more victories.
"Our hard work finally paid off," Griffin said of the win over Tufts, "and hopefully we turned the season around."