Running back Tyler Grant ’17 rushed a school record 43 times for 208 yards and scored all four of Bowdoin’s touchdowns in their October 4th win against Tufts. 

He followed the effort on Saturday with 29 more carries and two touchdowns in the team’s victory over Hamilton. After four games, Grant’s 118 total carries lead the NESCAC by 29—over a game’s worth of rushes. 

In addition to winning the NESCAC player of the week award, Grant became the first Bowdoin player since 1998 to win the New England Football Writers’ Association Division II/III Gold Helmet, which he was awarded two weeks ago. He is currently second in the NESCAC in yards per game, averaging 112.2.

Grant started playing football in fifth grade as a quarterback but was moved to running back a year later because of his height. He always planned on playing in college. Grant’s father and brother also played at the collegiate level.

“I’ve always loved football,” said Grant. “I could think about how my life would be without it—the camaraderie, the contact, everything.”

Grant, who went to high school in New Hampshire, also added that he always wanted to go to a NESCAC school, noting the academic reputation and ability to connect quickly with the team and its coaches. 

During his first season, Grant and Zach Donnarumma ’14  stepped into prominent roles when Trey Brown ’16 became injured. Grant played in five games and tallied 67 carries.

This season, now that Donnarumma has graduated and Brown is still injured, Grant’s position in the starting lineup has been secure.

“It’s kind of funny when you look at it, but after last year, Ty’s our most senior running back,” said captain and tight end Matt Perlow ’15. 

Quarterback Mac Caputi ’15 estimates that Grant is in the backfield 90 to 95 percent of the time, including passing downs. Caputi considers him a legitimate threat catching the ball out of the backfield. Grant has also proven a capable blocker out of the backfield as well.

“He’s just a workhorse,” Perlow said. “As an o-line unit, if we can open any seam, he can hit it. He can do it all.”

Both Caputi and Perlow agree that the running game was essential to the team’s success in both of their wins this season.

“We established ourselves pretty early on the ground,” said Caputi. “It makes it easier. You’re saying you’re more physical than the other person. That’s what football boils down to.”

“If we find something that’s working, we’ll stick with it,” said Perlow of Grant’s 43-carry game. “We’ll run power 40 times”

A bit undersized for his position at 5’10” and 168 pounds, Grant has succeeded largely as a straight-ahead runner, forcing his way through the line and trying to make a safety miss at the second level. His number of carries shows that he can handle a large workload in any game, and he has converted his six touchdowns from all over the field—proving his versatility. 

Grant remains in the game in short-yardage situations and has scored two touchdowns from the one-yard line. In addition, his touchdown runs of 42 and 39 yards against Tufts and Hamilton, respectively, sealed the win for the team by putting the lead out of reach.
“By the end of the game, we’ve been pounding and pounding it and then I get out to the outside and beat them with speed,” said Grant. “Our fullback Jack Donovan [’15] is having an incredible year. He’s really been the key to my success, along with the line.”

Bowdoin football faces undefeated teams in its next two games, and Grant’s success finding holes in the defense will certainly affect the outcomes of those games if Bowdoin continues with their run-heavy attack going forward.