Football Team Opens Season With A Win

September 25, 2004

9/25/04 - The Middlebury College football team took advantage of six Bowdoin College turnovers and posted a 31-17 victory on Saturday. The Panthers have won seven straight series meetings, and improve to 1-0 on the season, while the Polar Bears fall to 0-1.

After the teams traded possessions early in the first quarter, Bowdoin's Steve Curwen picked off a Mike

Keenan pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Polar Bear lead. Middlebury answered with a quick strike from Keenan to Tom Cleaver for on a 52-yard scoring pass just 1:26 later to deadlock the game at seven apiece.

Late in the quarter, Bowdoin recovered a Middlebury fumbled punt deep in Panther territory and took advantage with a 25-yard field goal by Nolan McNair to make it 10-7 Polar Bears.

The Panthers took the lead for good in the second quarter, as Michael Murray gathered in a pass from Keenan and lost two defenders on his way to a 42-yard touchdown run and a 14-10 lead. Steve Hauschka nailed a 41-yard kick later in the quarter as Middlebury carried a 17-10 edge into halftime.

Middlebury turned to their rushing game to clinch the contest in the third quarter. Dom DiDomenico, who finished the contest with 119 yards, capped back-to-back scoring drives with touchdown runs of five and three yards as the Panthers upped their edge to 31-10. The junior carried the ball nine times for 59 yards on the second scoring drive.

Bowdoin's Matt Boyd scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge late in the fourth quarter to cap a six-play, 72-yard drive and cut the final score to 31-17.

Keenan ended the contest with 232 yards passing and two touchdowns, completing 22 of 37 passes. Tom Cleaver caught seven passes for 124 yards to lead the Panthers. Middlebury totaled 375 yards of total offense on the day. Phil Reiff led the Middlebury defense with 10 tackles, while three different players had interceptions.

Bowdoin was led by 201 yards passing from Ricky Leclerc, while Rob Patchett rushed for 75 yards on the ground. Despite the Polar Bears' 311 yards of total offense, Bowdoin turned the ball over six times. The Polar Bears will return home and play Amherst next Saturday, while the Panthers will play at Colby next weekend. (box)