Ritter Wins 100th Game as Football Downs Bowdoin on the Road

Head coach Bob Ritter recorded his 100th career victory at Bowdoin.
Head coach Bob Ritter recorded his 100th career victory at Bowdoin.

Bob Ritter recorded his 100th career win as Middlebury remained undefeated with a 47-29 win at Bowdoin (0-7) on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers (7-0) return home next Saturday to face Hamilton at 12:30 p.m.

After trading possessions in the early going, Middlebury scored quickly on its second drive of the day. Alex Maldjian broke free up the middle on the second play from scrimmage and scampered 45 yards to give the visitors a 7-0 advantage at 7:23 of the opening quarter.

Middlebury doubled its lead after a Bowdoin three-and-out as quarterback Will Jernigan capped a six-play, 60-yard drive with a 23-yard keeper to the left pylon at 4:27.

The Panthers made it a 21-point game with just 1:06 left in the opening frame as they covered 61 yards in six plays. Jernigan threaded a pass over the middle to Maxim Bochman from 13 yards out.

Bowdoin came alive in the second quarter as Nate Richam took a pass from Matthew Marcantano over the middle and broke free for a 53-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7.

The Polar Bears looked to slice into Middlebury's lead later in the quarter, but Panther linebacker Jack Pistorius stepped in front of a Marcantano pass and returned it to the Bowdoin one. Maldjian dove into the end zone on the next play to give the Panthers a commanding 28-7 lead at the break.

Both teams poured it on offensively in the second half, as Middlebury got an 18-yard touchdown run from Jernigan and a 17-yard strike from Jernigan to Bochman to increase the lead to 41-7 after three quarters.

Bowdoin scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, opening the period with a seven-yard touchdown run by Nate Richam-Odoi and a 22-yard scoring pass from Austin McCrum to Max Freedman on consecutive possessions.

Middlebury capped its scoring with a 22-yard pass from Ben Tauber to Joseph Mastrangelo, but the PAT was blocked by Bowdoin's Alex Tyson and returned for two points by Soren Birkeland with 3:26 on the clock. The catch was the first of his career for Mastrangelo and the first collegiate touchdown pass thrown by Tauber.

The final Bowdoin touchdown of the day came from McCrum to Brendan Ward from 25 yards out to close the scoring with 37 seconds left.

Jernigan completed 13-24 passes for 153 yards with a pair of touchdowns, while rushing for a pair of scores and 53 yards. Maldjian led the team with 95 yards on the ground via 20 carries, while Tauber had a 57-yard rush. Frank Cosolito led all receivers with five catches for 67 yards, Bochman caught four passes for 45 yards with a pair of touchdowns, while Maxwell Rye had four receptions for 41 yards. Rye punted the ball three times for 114 yards, setting career school records for punts (182) and yards (6,638). Wyllis McKissick and Pete Huggins each finished with six tackles, while Pistorius made four stops, recovered a fumble and picked off a pass. Michael Carr finished with two stops and had two picks on the day.

McCrum completed 13-18 pass for Bowdoin with a pair of touchdowns, while Marcantano was 2-12 for 55 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Richam-Odoi led all rushers with 105 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown. Freedman (4-47) and Nick Smyth (4-34, TD) paced the Polar Bear receivers. Joe Gowetski led all tacklers with 15 to go along with six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Ritter now has a career record of 100-53 over 19 seasons, earning his first win at Bowdoin in September of 2001.