Football explodes for 62 points in lopsided win over Bowdoin

Will Budington '21 (Josh McKee photo)
Will Budington '21 (Josh McKee photo)
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Hamilton College's Will Budington '21 caught three touchdown passes and the Continentals went on to rout the Bowdoin College Polar Bears 62-27 in a NESCAC game played at Hamilton's Steuben Field on a cool, rainy Saturday afternoon.

The 62 points for the Continentals is the most they've scored in a game since a 64-7 win against Wesleyan University in 1986. Hamilton (2-3 NESCAC) racked up 505 yards of offense and 26 first downs. The defense came up with four interceptions and on special teams the Continentals blocked a punt and recovered a muffed punt return.

Budington, who had six catches for a game-high 90 yards, entered the day with two career touchdown receptions. Kenny Gray '20 threw for 293 yards and ran for 87 more, including a 50-yard gain. Gray completed 23 of 31 passes and matched a career-high with four scoring tosses. Fullback David Kagan '20 rumbled 55 yards on one play and finished with 67 yards on just three carries.

Colby Jones '19 led the Hamilton defense with a career-best 14 tackles. Sam Bowen '20 intercepted two passes and Sean Tolton '19 and Christian Snell '22 picked off one apiece. Sam Thoreen '22 set a program record by making eight extra points and was a perfect 2-for-2 on field goal tries.

Bowdoin (0-5) had its losing skid extended to 22 games. The Polar Bears, who defeated rival Colby College in the 2015 season finale, finished with 430 yards of total offense and 29 first downs.

Austin McCrum was 31 of 54 passing for 279 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions for Bowdoin. Brendan Ward ran 13 times for 81 yards and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Gregory Olson led the Polar Bears with 74 receiving yards, and Michael Cloppse ended up with a game-high nine catches.

Franny Rose paced the Bowdoin defense with nine tackles (all solo), and Nicholas Leahy and Cameron Rondeau broke up two passes apiece. Joe Gowetski recorded a sack and Andrew Tichy and John Page shared another one.

The Continentals took the lead for good in the second quarter when they scored 24 points. A 3-yard touchdown run by Joe Park '22 just 59 seconds into the quarter gave Hamilton a 20-14 advantage. The drive was aided by defensive pass interference and roughing the passer penalties.

Ward returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a Polar Bear touchdown but the PAT was no good and the Continentals were still clinging to a 21-20 edge. Park made it 27-20 on a 5-yard scoring jaunt with 11:17 left, one play after Gray hooked up with Nick Fabrizio '22 for 19 yards on third-and-9. Gray completed a 42-yard pass to Christian Donahoe '20 earlier in the drive.

Bowdoin turned the ball over on downs at the Hamilton 38 on the next drive. Gray went 4-for-4 for 47 yards and put the Continentals in position for a 36-yard field goal by Thoreen that gave Hamilton a 31-20 cushion with 4:39 remaining.

The Continentals forced a punt by the Polar Bears that was blocked by Dana Marrocco '19 at the Bowdoin 32 and returned by Snell to the 12-yard line. Three plays later Gray passed 14 yards to Budington for a touchdown and a 37-20 advantage with 2:55 to go.

The Polar Bears came right back after a 43-yard kick return by Aidan Israelski to the Hamilton 48. McCrum capped the nine-play drive with a 3-yard toss to Bo Millett that pulled Bowdoin within 38-26 with 39 seconds left. The Continentals took a 38-27 lead into the locker room.

The Polar Bears thought they had closed the gap to five points on their opening drive of the second half but a 16-yard touchdown pass was wiped out due to an ineligible man downfield penalty on Bowdoin. Two plays later, Tolton returned an interception 59 yards to the Polar Bear 26. On the very next play, Budington caught a 26-yard pass for a touchdown and a 44-27 cushion with 11:43 left in the third quarter.

Thoreen made it 48-27 on a 26-yard field goal with 6:15 remaining in the third. Bowdoin's next drive was stopped on downs at the Hamilton 49 and it took the Continentals three plays to score again. This time it was Sam Robinson '20 scoring on a 35-yard pass from Gray with 2:27 to go in the third. Thoreen's PAT made it 55-27.

Bowen picked off McCrum at the Hamilton 37 on the next drive by the Polar Bears. The Continentals marched 63 yards in eight plays as Mitch Bierman '21 completed the scoring on an 8-yard touchdown run with 11:30 left in the fourth quarter. Snell returned an interception 47 yards from his own goal line on the final play of the afternoon.

The teams combined to score 28 points in the first quarter. Kagan bulled into the end zone from the 1 for an early Hamilton lead with 10:04 remaining. Bowen intercepted McCrum at the Bowdoin 30 on the Polar Bears' second play from scrimmage. Gray passed to Budington in the end zone from 9 yards out for a 13-0 advantage with 7:45 to go.

Bowdoin responded on its next drive on an 18-yard scoring toss from McCrum to Millett with 4:19 left. The Continentals were forced to punt from their own end zone on their next possession. Billy Wagner '20 fumbled the snap and was forced to run it out but was tackled short of the first down at his own 23 by Myles Hugee. The Polar Bears took advantage of the great field position, scoring two plays later on an 8-yard reception by Olson with 1:47 remaining. Michael Chen's extra point forged the lone tie at 14-14.

Hamilton won its third straight against Bowdoin and the Continentals lead the all-time series, 20-15. Hamilton travels to Colby in Waterville, Maine, on Saturday, Oct. 20 for another conference game at 1 p.m. The Polar Bears host Trinity College on Saturday at 1 p.m.