Kicker Sebastian Aguirre '14 (#94, main photo) hit a pair of second-half field goals as the Cardinals cut a 12-0 deficit at Bowdoin in half Sat., Oct. 29, but a final Wesleyan drive ended at the Bowdoin 28-yard line with an incompletion to the endzone as time expired, giving the homestanding Polar Bears a 12-6 triumph. Up next for the Cardinals is a Homecoming/Family Weekend date with Little Three rival Williams Sat., Nov. 5 in Middletown.
Aguirre connected on a 35-yard field goal with 11:41 left in the contest to make it 12-3. The 35-yarder equaled his career best at the time but 4:38 later, Aguirre hit from a yard further out for his all-time best. Bowdoin took the ensuing kickoff and nipped 5:24 off the clock before a punt into the endzone and additional five-yard penalty against Bowdoin gave the Cardinals a 1st-and-10 at their own 25 with just 1:30 to play and no time out left. Matt Coyne '12 completed four straight passes for 45 yards to engineer a 47-yard march as Wesleyan reached the Polar Bear 28 with a 1st-and-10 but just 17 ticks remaining. But three incompletions from that point made a winner of Bowdoin.
For the game, Coyne went 16-for-26, good for 135 yards. Four of his connections went to Jon Day '15 for 59 yards. Wesleyan's rushing attack, ranked third in the NESCAC coming into the game at 179 yards a game, was stymied by the Bowdoin defense as the Cardinals were held to 59 net yards on 28 attempts. Wesleyan was equally effective in stopping Bowdoin's passing game, as the Polar Bears completed only five of 20 tries for 26 yards after picking up 118 yards a game through the air on average entering the game.
Bowdoin did rush for 218 yards as its ball control generated a 10-minute edge in time of possession. Still the difference in the scoreboard came from Bowdoin's special team as the only TD in the game came on an 85-yard punt return after it appeared Wesleyan would down the ball deep in Polar Bear territory 5:33 into the second half. Bowdoin also had a pair of field goals, one from 37 yards out on the final play of the first half, breaking the scoreless tie, and the second from 29 yards at 10:55 of the third period.
On defense for Wesleyan, Larry Belotta '12 (#31, photo insert upper right) had a standout game with 10 tackles, three of them for a loss, and a pass breakup. Brett Bandazian '12 had a team-high 11 stops in the contest. The Cardinals had twice held on fourth down inside their own 30 during the first half with one play saving a TD as Jordan Greene '12 knocked the ball free from a Bowdoin receiver in the endzone. The Cardinals had five pass breakups in the game. There were no turnovers by either team.
Wesleyan had won the previous two meetings of the teams and leads the overal series, 53-29-2.