Last Saturday, the Bowdoin football team defeated Williams College (1–1) 20–0 to start the year 2–0 for the first time since 2005. The Polar Bear defense was the star of the show, earning its first shutout since 1998 and the most team sacks (6) since 2015. Bowdoin aims to take its recent success in stride as it prepares to face Middlebury College (1–1) tomorrow afternoon.
Bowdoin headed into last weekend coming off of its first road win since 2014. The team knew that Williams could be a season-defining opponent.
“Williams is a really good, really physical team, and they have been for a long time,” defensive lineman Mike Randall ’24 said. “This was a statement game for us in terms of both the opponent and the atmosphere.”
Bowdoin’s defense was particularly eager to face off against the Ephs.
“Last week, for the defense, it was about not only matching Williams’s intensity, but making them match us, because we know we play at a high physical level,” captain Ty Jones-Garland ’23 said.
The team’s defensive presence paid off. Bowdoin held Williams to just 60 yards on 32 plays in the first half. Defensive back Nick Viscusi ’26 and Jones-Garland led the team with six tackles apiece. The Polar Bears attribute much of their success to their discipline.
“We always play fast. We always play hard, but for the most part, we were really disciplined, executed our assignments and trusted each other,” Randall said. “Everyone who’s playing for the defense right now has been here and had key roles on this team for two or three years at least. That experience is critical.”
Offensively, quarterback Andrew Boel ’24 went 14–27 with 244 yards, a passing and a rushing touchdown. Running back Andre Eden ’24 rushed 64 yards, and quarterback Robbie Long ’25 added 48 yards on 16 attempts.
Fish Family Head Coach of Football B.J. Hammer commented on the team’s offensive strengths.
“We created some good, big plays. I think our receiving core and tight end have been playing really well. Our running back, [Eden], has been doing a really good job, as well,” Hammer said.
Captain and tight end Brendan King ’23 stressed how versatile Bowdoin is on the field.
“We spread the ball out well. We have a lot of playmakers,” King said. “Our quarterbacks [Boel and Long], can not only pass the ball well, but they’ve also done a great job running the ball this year. That sort of unpredictability, from an offensive standpoint, has been crucial.”
The win was all the more special at Whittier Field.
“The game day environment was spectacular. It was perfect weather, and we love our field with the pine trees around. The fans are loud, and there’s just something in the air,” King said.
Going forward, Bowdoin is hoping to capitalize on its special teams and cut back on its unforced errors.
“[Against Williams], we played really well on special teams, and Middlebury has always been very good on special teams,” Hammer said. “The number one thing we have to do is be better on offense. We had two interceptions in the red zone this week, and those are easily correctable things that we’re working on right now.”
The team is also trying not to get too ahead of itself, even as it shatters decades-long droughts.
“It’s cool to see our hard work translating to success on the field, but that’s not really anyone’s priority. We’re focused on getting better individually. The key is for us to not be complacent at all,” King said.
Hammer emphasized that, while the season is still early, the team is excited for what lies ahead.
“Our expectations are more what our guys want, and I know they want to win. They put a lot of hard work into this. We got to keep it going. It’s just two games, but we’re in a good place right now,” Hammer said.
The Polar Bears will travel to Middlebury, Vt. to play the Panthers tomorrow. Last season, Bowdoin lost 10–20 to Middlebury. The team is eager to make the game count.
“Every game is meaningful. We only get nine games, and that’s it. Every weekend is a big test,” King said.