The Trinity College football team, which won, 43-7, at Tufts last weekend to remain unbeaten and tied with Amherst and Wesleyan for first place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) at 4-0, will host the Bowdoin College Polar Bears on Saturday, October 19 at 12:30 p.m.
Head Coach Jeff Devanney (8th season) and the Bantams are looking for their 14th consecutive victory and to extend their winning streak at home to 50 games. Trinity has not lost a game on Jessee/Miller Field since September 29, 2001 against Williams (31-10), and has not lost any of its 51 all-time games played on an artificial surface. Also Saturday, Trinity will honor the 2003 NESCAC Football Champion Bantams on the 10th anniversary year of their league title and undefeated season.
Trinity leads the all-time series against Bowdoin, 34-6-2, and has won the last 14 meetings, while the Polar Bears have won two games in a row after an 0-2 start. Trinity senior captain RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.), who needs 27 yards to move into second place all-time in NESCAC history, has rushed for 387 combined yards the last three years against Bowdoin, but the Polar Bears are currently ranked second in the league against the run with 92 yards allowed per game.
A Trinity win Saturday will put the Bantams in a tie with just the winner of the Amherst/Wesleyan game the same day at Amherst for first place in the NESCAC. Trinity is ranked No. 1 in the New England Division III Poll and No. 6 in the ECAC Lambert Meadowlands Division III Poll.
At Tufts, sophomore Ian Dugger (West Hartford, Conn.) started a 43-0 Trinity run with a 99-yard kickoff return after the Jumbos had taken an early 7-0 lead. In 2012, Trinity took advantage of five Bowdoin turnovers and Bunker rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-10 Bantam victory. Dugger answered a 99-yard Tufts touchdown drive with a kickoff return to the end zone of the same distance which was one shy of the Trinity record for longest kickoff return. Junior RB Michael Budness (Belchertown, Mass.) scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge, while rookie QB Sonny Puzzo (West Caldwell, N.J.) found senior WR A.J. Jones (Upper Darby, Pa.) for an 11-yard touchdown pass for the two Trinity offensive touchdowns. Senior LB's Tom Haverty (Marion, Mass.) and Michael Weatherby (Atlantic City, N.J.) returned interceptions for touchdowns of 36 and 30 yards, respectively, and rookie Ben Rosenblatt (Newton Center, Mass.) booted field goals of 20, 22, and 27 yards.
Bunker was the Bantam workhorse, lugging the ball 31 times for 104 yards, while Puzzo was 11 for 16 through the air for 138 yards, and sophomore QB Henry Foye (Madison, Conn.) went 8-for-16 for 88 yards. Junior Chris Ragone (Sarasota, Fla.) led the receiving corps with six catches for 106 yards.
Defensively, Trinity held Tufts to 69 passing yards and came up with four turnovers. Five tackles apiece by junior DE Nathan Cyr (Kingston, N.H.) and junior S Mike Mancini (Rocky Hill, Conn.) topped 32 players who made stops for the Bantams. Junior OLB Tom Szymanski (Dracut, Mass.) added four tackles and an interception, and sophomore P Kyle Pulek (Cheshire, Conn.) averaged 39.2 yards on four punts with two inside the Jumbo 20-yard line.
Trinity ranks second in the NESCAC in scoring offense with 34.8 ppg, pass defense with 139.2 yards allowed per game, pass efficiency with a 144.1 efficiency rating, and pass efficiency defense with an 88.9 opponent rating. The Bantams also lead the league in turnover margin at +11. Puzzo and Foye rank 2-3 in the league in pass efficiency at 155.9 and 140.2, respectively, having completed 60 of 103 attempts for 786 yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions as a tandem under center.
Bunker and classmate Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.) are third and ninth, respectively, in the conference in rushing with 97.0 and 58.7 yards per game, while Jones is 10th in the NESCAC with in receiving yards with 194 on 14 grabs. Junior CB Brian Dones (Philadelphia, Pa.) is one of five NESCAC defenders in second in the conference with two interceptions this fall, and Cyr is tied for third among league pass rushers with two sacks. Haverty (10th in NESCAC with 31), Mancini, and Weatherby have combined for 87 tackles, and Weatherby adds a team-high 6.5 tackles for loss. Pulek is the top punter in the NESCAC with 41.0 average.
Bowdoin, under Head Coach David Caputi (14th season), won at Tufts, 13-10, two weeks ago and, 27-21, against Hamilton on Saturday. Senior LB Joey Cleary (Winchester, Mass.) leads the Polar Bear defense with a league-best 45 tackles and two interceptions. Senior LB Griffin Cardew (Ipswich, Mass.) adds 39 tackles and junior DL Jake Prince (Hamilton, Mass.) has three sacks.
Senior RB Zach Donarumma (Ramsey, N.J.) is the league's fourth-leading rusher with 368 yards, while junior QB Mac Caputi (Brunswick, Maine) has completed 50 percent of his passes with both of his season touchdowns coming last weekend to go with five interceptions. Sophomore K/P Andrew Murowchick (Needham, Mass.) earned the NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week award the last two weeks for booting two field goals in each Bowdoin win.
Photo caption: Senior OLB Mike Weatherby leads the Trinity defense with 6.5 tackles for loss