Wesleyan (3-3) and Bowdoin (0-6) square off for the 91st time on Saturday in a series that dates back to 1906. The Cardinals have won six straight against the Polar Bears and own a convincing lead in the series with a 59-29-2 record against their NESCAC foes. During the six-game win streak, Wesleyan has outscored Bowdoin, 183-62.
Last year, the Cardinals used a 14-point second quarter to defeat the Polar Bears on the road, 21-10. Bowdoin got on the board first and led 3-0 after the first. Wesleyan took the lead at the 14:12 mark of the second quarter as QB Mark Piccirillo '19 connected with WR Mike Breuler '18 for a 10-yard touchdown. The duo connected for all three scores as the Cardinals went on a 21-0 run. Bowdoin scored the final points of the game with 4:36 on the clock as Griff Stalcup threw an 85-yard TD to Nick Vailas.
Piccirillo finished 26-of-35 for 282 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He also rushed 16 times for a game-high 54 yards. Breuler finished with eight catches, 100 yards, and three scores, and Gernald Hawkins '18 led all players with 10 catches while gaining 118 yards. Wesleyan recorded 21 first downs and 389 yards of total offense with 282 through the air and 107 on the ground. Defensively, Brandon Morris '19 led all players with 11 tackles and a sack, while Jude Lindberg '19 and Taj Gooden '21 combined for a sack as well.
Bowdoin finished with 372 yards of total offense on 317 passing and 55 rushing. The Polar Bears gained 19 first downs and sacked the quarterback four times. Stalcup was 26-of-47 for 317 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT. Robert Kollmer led the rushing attack with 10 carries for 23 yards, and like the Cardinals, Bowdoin had two 100-yard receivers. Vailas had eight receptions for a game-high 167 yards and one score, while Bryan Porter caught nine passes for 104 yards. Nat Deacon recorded two sacks while Christian Pridgen and Harrison Craig each got to the quarterback once. Franny Rose totaled a team-high eight tackles and broke up a pass.
Wesleyan looks to rebound from a disappointing 33-3 loss on Homecoming Weekend last Saturday against Little Three rival Amherst (6-0). The Mammoths recorded a safety less than three minutes into the game to get on the board first, and never looked back. Amherst's defense, ranked first in the NESCAC in several categories, held Wesleyan to a season-low 103 yards of offense with just 13 first downs. The Mammoths pressured Piccirillo all game and finished with six sacks for a loss of 35 yards.
The Cardinals were unable to get much going offensively last week but look to bounce back and return to form against the Polar Bears. Despite its three-point performance against Amherst, Wesleyan's offense still ranks third in the NESCAC in scoring with an average of 28.2 points per game. The Cardinals also average 332.7 yards per game, with 177.0 passing and 155.7 rushing. Wesleyan remains the league's leader in 4th-down conversions (67%) and ranks second in 3rd-down conversions (47%) as well.
Defensively, the Cardinals rank fourth in yards (299.8/game) and fifth in scoring (22.7 points/game). They are allowing 198.2 yards per game through the air and just 101.7 yards on the ground. Additionally, they rank first in the NESCAC in defensive touchdowns (2) and third in sacks (12), and have six interceptions and two fumble recoveries on the year.
Bowdoin is still looking for its first win since Nov. 14, 2015, after back-to-back winless seasons. Last week, the Polar Bears hosted Trinity and lost 48-6. They gained just 11 first downs and 161 yards of total offense, with 99 through the air and 62 on the ground. Quarterback Austin McCrum was intercepted four times as he finished 17-of-38 for 99 yards. He also rushed 10 times for 19 yards, including the team's only touchdown. Brendan Ward had a team-high 12 carries and 26 yards, while Stalcup led the receiving corps with seven catches and 64 yards. Bowdoin's defense allowed 505 yards of offense as the Bantams passed for 280 and rushed for 225 while gaining 28 first downs. Drew Ortiz led the Polar Bears with eight tackles and a forced fumble, and Joe Gowetski and Jack Wertz each recorded a sack.
Entering Saturday's game, Bowdoin ranks seventh in the conference in total offense (316.8 yards/game) and last in total defense (501.8 yards/game). The Polar Bears are also last in the league in both scoring offense (12.8 points/game) and scoring defense (40.0 points/game). They have been outscored 240-77 thus far.
Offensively, Bowdoin is third in the NESCAC in passing yards with 204.0 per game, while averaging 112.8 yards rushing. McCrum, a sophomore QB, is 123-of-244 on the year for 1,061 yards, 6 TD and 13 INT. Nate Richam, a junior RB, leads the team in rushing with 396 yards on 64 carries and two touchdowns but has not played the past three games. The junior broke the program's single-game rushing record with 288 yards and two scores in a loss at Middlebury. Brendan Ward has taken the reins in his absence and has 143 yards on 37 carries. Five receivers have at least 100 yards on the year with Stalcup—last year's starting quarterback—leading the way with 270 yards and 31 catches. Gregory Olson is second on the team with 22 receptions for 267 yards and two scores.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bowdoin is surrendering 240.3 yards per game through the air and 261.5 yards rushing. The Polar Bears have caused 11 turnovers with six interceptions and five fumble recoveries, and also have six sacks on the year. Gowetski is leading the league in tackles, averaging 8.8 per game with 53 total. He also has two sacks, seven tackles-for-loss, one fumble recovery, and one blocked kick. Rose leads the team in interceptions with two, and Cameron Rondeau has a team-high five pass break-ups in the secondary.