2019 Bowdoin College Football Season Preview

The Bowdoin College football team will open its 128th season of collegiate football on Saturday afternoon against Hamilton College at 1:00 p.m.


The Polar Bears finished the 2018 season with a 1-8 record, earning their lone victory of the season against Bates on November 3. In February, the Polar Bears brought in new head coach B.J. Hammer, most recently the head coach at Allegheny College. Hammer turned around the Allegheny football program from a 1-29 stretch three years prior to his arrival to a 6-4 squad last fall.


Coach Hammer will lead the Polar Bears into a new scheduling format for the NESCAC this fall, for the first time in the league’s two-decade history. Bowdoin will continue to end the season with back-to-back games against Bates and Colby, but will open the season with Hamilton instead of the traditional October match-up between the schools.


The renovation of Whittier Field is complete, with the new support building, public restrooms and tailgate parking available for the 2019 season. Thank you for to all of the parents, fans and alumni for their patience over the course of the two-year renovation!


The Polar Bears return a number of starters from last year’s team, including nine of 11 starters on offense and seven of 11 on defense.

On offense, the Polar Bears will look to quarterback Austin McCrum to take the reins full-time in his second season. McCrum threw for 1,406 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

Bowdoin will rely heavily on the legs of Nate Richam-Odoi, who battled injuries in 2018 to finish with 526 yards rushing (131.5/game).

McCrum's top returning target is All-NESCAC tight end Bo Millett, who finished with 30 catches for 396 yards and five touchdowns in 2018.

Defensively, the Polar Bears boast a veteran linebacking corps that includes co-captains Franny Rose (66 tackles in 2018).

Along with senior Joe Gowetski, who returned from his injury-shortened sophomore season to post a team-high 73 tackles as a junior.

On special teams, returner Brendan Ward was named All-NESCAC last fall and is a unique threat for the Polar Bears. His 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Hamilton last season was the longest in program history.


Hamilton is likely to rely on senior quarterback Kenny Gray, who has been a starter for the Continentals since his freshman season. Gray is third on the Continentals’ career passing yards list with 4,368. Last year he completed 153 of 294 passes for 1,594 yards and was third in the NESCAC in yards per game and tied for second with 13 touchdowns. All-NESCAC receiver Joe Schmidt is his top threat, with 52 catches for 472 yards last year.

Defensively, Hamilton picked off 13 passes a year ago and will rely on linebacker Carmine Bruno to anchor a unit that lost four starters from last season. Kick returner Sam Robinson and punter Billy Wagner were both All-NESCAC performers for the last two seasons.

Last year in Clinton, Hamilton racked up 505 yards of total offense and scored 24 points in the second quarter of a 62-27 victory over Bowdoin. Kenny Gray threw for 293 yards and four touchdowns while also running for 87 more in the win.


The teams have played 35 times with Hamilton holding an 20-15 advantage all-time. Hamilton has won three straight meetings after a three-game Bowdoin winning streak in the series. Recently, home field advantage has proved crucial; the host team has won nine of the last 11 meetings.


Fans can follow all of the statistics from Saturday’s game on their smartphones by downloading the Bowdoin Front Row app in the iTunes Store or on Google Play. Links to live statistics and video coverage of the contest can be found in the app, as well as push notifications and alerts on all of your favorite Polar Bear teams. For fans unable to attend games at Whittier Field, all Bowdoin home games will be carried live online in HD - with instant replay - on the Northeast Sports Network (www.nsnsports.net).


Photos courtesy of Brian Beard/Creative Images Photography/CIPhotography.com