Complete team effort in football's win at Bowdoin

Kenny Gray '20 (Josh McKee photo)
Kenny Gray '20 (Josh McKee photo)

The Hamilton College Continentals had plenty of stars in their 28-7 NESCAC football win against the Bowdoin College Polar Bears at Bowdoin's Whittier Field on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton (1-4 NESCAC) racked up 448 yards on offense, including 208 on the ground. The Continentals limited the Polar Bears to 275 yards, forced and recovered a pair of Bowdoin fumbles, and sacked the quarterback five times.

Hamilton's Kenny Gray '20 threw three touchdown passes and ran for another. Gray was 20 of 34 passing for 240 yards with no interceptions. He's averaging more than 238 yards per game through the air and has thrown nine touchdown passes with just two interceptions in 187 passing attempts.

Mitch Bierman '21 ran for 158 yards and averaged an impressive 7.2 per carry. Bierman's rushing total was the most by a Continental since James Stanell '14 posted 159 yards against Trinity College on Oct. 6, 2012. Marcus Gutierrez '18 added 52 yards on eight carries.

Christian Donahoe '20 led the receiving corps with 102 yards and six catches. Donahoe has four 100-yard receiving games already this year. Joe Schmidt '20 chipped in five receptions for 75 yards.

Tyler Hudson '19 led the Hamilton defense with nine tackles (eight solo), including two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Colby Jones '19 added eight stops and Tim Russell '21 registered seven tackles and a pass breakup. Alex Ganter '20, Mike Friedman '19 and Bill Gordon '18 recorded sacks. Gordon's sack was the first of his career with the Continentals. Ganter also forced a fumble.

Hamilton's special teams got into the act as well with Zach Altneu '18 making all four of his extra points, Billy Wagner '20 averaging 40.8 yards on five punts and Sam Robinson '20 returning a kickoff 52 yards.

Griff Stalcup -- one of two quarterbacks used by the Polar Bears -- was 11-for-23 for 87 yards. Nate Richam led all Bowdoin running backs with 60 yards on 16 carries. Gregory Olson finished with a team-best 44 receiving yards. Matthew Whalen paced the defense with eight tackles and Christian Pridgen and Liam Dougherty were credited with one sack apiece.

Hamilton had a couple chances to take the lead early. The Continentals had first down at the Polar Bear 27 but turned the ball over on downs with 3:05 left in the first quarter. A short punt gave Hamilton great field position at its own 47, and a 33-yard pass from Gray to Schmidt put the Continentals down at the Bowdoin 15. Four plays later -- and on the first play of the second quarter -- Hamilton missed a 25-yard field goal wide right.

The Polar Bears (0-5) responded by marching 80 yards in 13 plays on a drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. Bowdoin was successful on three third-down conversions during the drive, including a 15-yard pass from Stalcup to Chandler Gee to the Continental 40 on third-and-13. On first down at the Hamilton 13, Stalcup passed to Stephen Griffin in the right flat. Griffin spun inside and scampered into the end zone. Andrew Sisti added the PAT and the Polar Bears led 7-0 with 7:55 remaining in the second quarter.

The rest of the half was all Continentals. Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Bowdoin 41. Gray capped a 10-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown as he dove over the pile with 4:18 to go. Gray completed 10-yard passes to Robinson and Schmidt on third down during the drive.

On the third play of the Polar Bears' next drive, Stalcup completed a pass to Gee but Hudson stripped the ball at the Bowdoin 43 and Sean Tolton '19 returned the fumble 13 yards to the Polar Bear 30. It seemed Bowdoin was going to stop Hamilton as the Continentals faced fourth-and-13, but after a Hamilton timeout, Donahoe made a great fingertip catch in the end zone on a 33-yard pass down the middle from Gray. Altneu's extra point was good and the Continentals led 14-7 with 1:26 left.

Hamilton forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at its own 34 with 50 seconds remaining. Gray was 5-for-6 on the drive including a 24-yard pass to Donahoe on third-and-12 to the Polar Bear 28 with 15 seconds to go. Two more completions set up a 34-yard field goal attempt that missed wide right as time expired in the first half.

Bowdoin started the third quarter with a squib kick that the Polar Bears recovered at the Continental 33. More trickery followed as receiver Michael Cloppse completed a 24-yard pass to Nick Vailas on the next play to the Hamilton 9. On second-and-goal from the Continental 3, Ganter forced a fumble that Hudson fell on top of at the Hamilton 2.

The teams traded punts on the next four possessions until the Continentals gave themselves some breathing room late in the quarter. After a 41-yard punt gave Hamilton the ball at its own 33, Gray found tight end Trevor Pinkham '19 for a 17-yard gain, and Bierman darted 18 yards down to the Bowdoin 32. Six plays later, Gray lofted a 21-yard pass to Schmidt on a fade pattern to the back-left corner of the end zone with 2:36 remaining in the third. Schmidt is among the conference leaders with six TD receptions this year.

The Continentals gave themselves a three-touchdown cushion on their next drive that covered 70 yards in seven plays. Bierman started the drive with four carries for 41 yards and Gray completed a 25-yard pass to Donahoe to the Polar Bear 4 on third down. That set up Robinson's 4-yard TD reception on a wide receiver screen pass to the left that ended with him jumping into the end zone with 12:43 to go in the fourth quarter. The touchdown is the first for Robinson at Hamilton.

The Continentals' defense did the rest as Bowdoin didn't get closer than the Hamilton 35 on the Polar Bears' last three drives.

The Continentals return home to face winless Colby College on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. for Fallcoming and Family Weekend.