Panther eleven opens by blitzing Bowdoin
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College football team opened on Saturday with a 40-3 victory over Bowdoin in which the Panthers scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions, gained 517 yards of total offense, averaged 6.5 yards per play, and saw quarterback Jared Lebowitz account for six touchdowns. Middlebury returns to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Colby.
After Bowdoin took an early lead on Andrew Sisti’s 33-yard field goal, the Panthers took charge.
The first TD came after they moved 68 yards on 11 plays, including a 16-yard reception by Ryan Rizzo and a 12-yarder by Diego Meritus. James Burke pulled down an 11-yard touchdown pass from Lebowitz for the 7-3 lead.
A short punt put the Panthers on the Bowdoin 35 on their next drive. Lebowitz connected for 25 yards over the middle to Tanner Contois to set up a three-yard strike to tight end Daniel Fulham for the touchdown.
Next, the Panthers went 72 yards in just 2:14 to take a 21-3 lead at 11:58 of the second quarter. Lebowitz connected with Rizzo three times for 48 yards on the drive before scoring from two yards out on a keeper.
Bowdoin’s Daniel Wanger blocked a 20-yard Panther field goal on the next drive, but Matthew Daniel blocked a Bowdoin punt to give the Panthers the ball on the Bowdoin 28. Lebowitz found Conrado Banky over the middle on the next play to make it 28-3.
On their final possession of the half, the Panthers started on their own 37 with 1:57 remaining. A connection from Lebowitz to Banky for 21 yards set up the scoring strike from 28 yards out to Rizzo to make it 34-3 at halftime.
Middlebury added a fourth-quarter score on a nine-play, 85-yard scoring drive. Lebowitz threw passes of 12 and 14 yards to Banky and rushed twice for 30 yards. The touchdown pass came from 12 yards out to Burke.
Lebowitz completed 26 of 39 attempts for 369 yards, 283 in the first half. Rizzo caught eight passes for 125 yards, while Banky had eight receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. Burke finished the afternoon with four catches for 59 yards.
John Jackson led the Panther defense with 10 tackles, including 2.5 for lost yardage. Justin Fahey finished with nine stops and forced a fumble. The Middlebury defense earned nine tackles for lost yardage on the afternoon.
Tim Drakeley went 15-30 at quarterback for Bowdoin, throwing for 126 yards, while Nate Richam gained 63 yards on 14 carries. Middlebury outgained Bowdoin, 517-194.