Week 4 Preview: Amherst @ Colby

Amherst College (3-0) vs. Colby College (1-2)
October 17, 2009 * Seaverns Field
Waterville, ME * 1 p.m.
Junior inside linebacker Brandon Quinn recorded a team-high 15 total tackles during Amherst's 20-10 win over Middlebury.

Saturday’s game between Amherst and Colby will feature a live audio broadcast courtesy of WMBH, Colby’s student-run radio station. For in-game score updates, please call the Colby football press box at 207-859-4984.

Hamilton (1-2) @ Bowdoin (1-2) - 12 p.m.
Bates (0-3) @ Wesleyan (1-2) - 1 p.m.
Trinity (3-0) @ Tufts (2-1) - 1:30 p.m.
Williams (2-1) @ Middlebury (1-2) - 1:30 p.m.

Colby’s four wins over Amherst from 1992 to 1995 marked its only four victories in the history of this NESCAC rivalry, as the Lord Jeffs have posted a 27-4-1 record against the Mules dating back to the inaugural matchup in 1903. Amherst has out-scored Colby 323-74 since 1996, with nine of its 13 victories coming by at least 14 points during that stretch.

The Lord Jeffs featured a balanced running and passing game, amassing a total of 406 yards of offense while limiting the Mules to only 106 total yards during a 23-2 victory last year at Pratt Field. The Mules gained momentum in the middle of the first quarter, but Fran Florio ’10 picked off a pass at the 15-yard line on a spectacular one-handed catch over the receiver’s helmet.

Amherst made the most of the Mules’ turnover, as Alex Vetras ’11 found Brian Murphy ’11 three times on the ensuing drive, including a nine-yard touchdown grab early in the second quarter. The ball was tipped at the line on the ensuing extra point attempt, as Colby held the Jeffs to just six points. Amherst would score on its next two possessions, with a Matt Eberhart ’10 39-yard field goal making it a 9-0 game before Eric NeSmith ’09 caught a screen pass from Vetras and took it to the house for a 77-yard touchdown.  

Vetras connected with Aaron Rauh ’10 on a pair of short passes early in the second half for gains of 32 and 11 yards, and Rauh finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Jeffs a 23-0 lead with 11:43 to play in the third quarter. The Mules were able to get on the board when the Jeffs snapped the ball over Eberhart’s head and through the end zone for a safety late in the third quarter, but those would be the final points of the day.

Both starting quarterbacks put in record-breaking performances during Amherst’s 20-10 victory over Middlebury last Saturday. Junior quad-captain Alex Vetras completed 35 passes to break the previous Amherst single-game mark of 28, while his 54 pass attempts are also a new single-game school record. Vetras threw for 234 yards and had a pair of touchdowns without being intercepted.

Donald McKillop set a new Middlebury career record by connecting on 47 of his 74 pass attempts, giving him 418 completions to surpass the previous high of 397. McKillop’s 47 completions on the day tied his own school and NESCAC record, while his 74 attempts broke his own school mark. McKillop threw for one touchdown and 438 yards but was picked off four times by an impressive Lord Jeff defense.

The quarterbacks put up the big numbers on the day, but it was Amherst first-year outside linebacker Sam Clark who stole the show with seven solo tackles and a pair of game-changing interceptions during a breakout performance. After returning his first career interception 64 yards to set up an Amherst touchdown in the second quarter, Clark picked off a McKillop pass in the end zone during the third quarter.

Middlebury began its first scoring drive late in the third quarter, but the Panthers would not get on the scoreboard until the fourth when they made it a 17-7 game. The teams then traded field goals, and the Panthers would make one final march down the field but did not have enough time for a comeback, as Amherst held on for the 20-10 win.

Chris Copeland ’10 had a collegiate-high 17 tackles, Peter Scheve ’10 made the defensive play of the game, and David Bendit ’13 got a chance at redemption as the Mules pulled out a thrilling 16-13 overtime win against Wesleyan University last Saturday. Copeland was all over the field with his 17 tackles and was part of a defense that allowed Wesleyan just 163 yards of total offense.

With Wesleyan quarterback Joe Giaimo about to make the first down on a quarterback sneak in overtime, Scheve forced a fumble and the ball was recovered by Colby to thwart the Cardinals’ overtime opportunity. The Mules were up next and took over on Wesleyan's 25-yard line for their first overtime chance. Connor Walsh ’12 rushed right on the first play for 17 yards to the Wesleyan 8-yard line, the Mules safely had three straight rushes to get the ball to the 5-yard line, and Bendit nailed the 22-yard field goal for the game-winning points.

Wesleyan used outstanding field position to dart out to a 13-0 halftime lead thanks to some Colby slip-ups on special teams. In the second quarter, Wesleyan took over on the Mules’ 23-yard line and used six plays to take the 13-0 lead. Greg McDonough scored from one yard out for the score, but Wesleyan kicker Matt Alexander missed what turned out to be a key extra point.

Colby's offense finally got into gear at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth with 13 unanswered points. The Mules drove 59 yards on eight plays to cut the margin to 13-7 when Nick Kmetz ’12 hit Spencer Merwin ’12 on a 7-yard scoring pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Mules tied things up on a touchdown run from Michael Cuqua ’10 with 4:15 to play in regulation, but Bendit’s missed extra point would send the game into overtime.

The Lord Jeffs are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2004 and find themselves tied with Trinity for first place in the NESCAC standings. Amherst is allowing a NESCAC-high 320.7 passing yards per game, but things will only get easier as the Jeffs have already faced the conference’s top two passing offenses in Middlebury (433.0 ypg) and Bowdoin (303.0 ypg). No other team in the NESCAC is averaging more than 236 yards per week through the air.

Despite allowing more than 300 passing yards per game, Amherst has surrendered a NESCAC-low 11.3 points per contest thanks to limiting its number of turnovers and penalties while making key defensive stops. The Jeffs have intercepted eight passes but have been picked off only once, and have lost only one fumble for a conference-best turnover margin of +8. Amherst has committed only 14 penalties on the year and ranks second in fewest penalty yards allowed per game (36.3).

Amherst ranks second in the NESCAC in both red zone offense and red zone defense. While the Jeffs have scored eight times (6 TD, 2 FG) on 10 trips inside the 20, opponents have scored only seven times (2 TD, 5 FG) on 13 trips. The Jeffs have forced three interceptions, two turnovers on downs and one fumble while opposing teams have been in the red zone, with no other team forcing more than three turnovers in that situation.

Colby’s first three games have resulted in a heartbreaking loss, a lopsided loss and a thrilling overtime victory, as the Mules have had a rollercoaster 2009 thus far. The season opener saw the Mules take a 19-17 lead over Williams in the fourth quarter only to have the Ephs score the go-ahead touchdown on a 16-yard run with one minute remaining in regulation. Middlebury scored seven points in each of the first three quarters the following weekend before erupting for 24 points in the final frame, moving Colby to 0-2 with the 45-0 result. The Mules got into the win column last weekend by overcoming a 13-point deficit with 13 points in the fourth quarter, adding a game-winning field goal in overtime.

Four of Colby’s five touchdowns scored on the year have come by way of the run, as the Mules are averaging 98.0 rushing yards per game and are leading the NESCAC in average time of possession (32:26). Colby has averaged 11.7 points per week while allowing a conference-high 27.0 points per game. The Mules rank eighth in pass offense (173.3 ypg) and pass defense (255.7 ypg), and will look to become more effective in stopping opponents on third down opportunities. Through the first three weeks of the season, Colby’s opponents are converting on a NESCAC-high 48.9 percent of third down chances.  


WR - Andre Gary - 2
WR - Sean Legister - 89
WR - Brandon Bullock - 21
TE - Dan Savage - 80
RB - Aaron Rauh - 11
LT - Wyatt Moss - 57
LG - Rick Morgan - 62
C - John Ceccio - 54
RG - Marcus Richtel - 76
RT - Ian Mahoney - 70
QB - Alex Vetras - 12
P/K - Matt Eberhart - 43
DT - Edwin Urey - 99
NG - Tom Grossi - 97
DT - Eric Pender - 92
LB - Mike Taylor - 40
LB - Brandon Quinn - 31
OLB - Jeff Katz - 98
OLB - Sam Clark - 34
CB - Nick Edwards - 25
CB - Fran Florio - 24
S - Chris Govey - 10
S - Fred Argir -3
PR - Femi Oyalowo - 5
TE - Nathaniel Carson - 89
LT - Nicholas Steele - 55
LG - Matt Quinlan - 50
C - C. Phillips-Spotts - 64
RG - Matt Fait - 73
RT - Brian Leighton - 61
WR - Ken Prior - 81
WR - Patrick Burns - 13
RB - Dan Prunier - 26
RB - Roger Bel - 2
QB - Nick Kmetz - 15
PK - David Bendit - 25
DE - John McCusker - 33
DT - Casey Sullivan - 53
DT - Peter Scheve - 99
DE - Tripp Stevens - 91
ILB - Tom Duffy - 45
OLB - Lamont Henry - 1
OLB - Roger Bel - 2
CB - Nick Tucker - 4
CB - Rich Newton - 29
S - Chris Copeland - 36
S - Brian Mellett - 9
P - Connor Sullivan - 16


Alex Vetras (75-of-131/675 yds/6 TD/1 INT)
Femi Oyalowo (28 att/88 yds/0 TD)
Aaron Rauh (36 att/57 yds/1 TD)
Brian Murphy (20 rec/143 yds/1 TD)
Brandon Bullock (15 rec/107 yds/2 TD)
Mike Taylor (33 tackles/3.5 TFL/1 FF)
Fred Argir (30 tackles/1 INT/5 breakup)
Nick Kmetz (49-of-94/520 yds/1 TD/6 INT)
Nick Kmetz (38 att/110 yds/1 TD)
Michael Cuqua (29 att/89 yds/1 TD)
Spencer Merwin (11 recs/97 yds/1 TD)
Patrick Burns (8 recs/125 yds/0 TD)
Chris Copeland (33 total tackles)
Roger Bel (15 tackles/1.0 sack/2 INT)











Rushing Offense
A: 58.3 ypg
C: 98.0 ypg

Passing Offense    
A: 228.7 ypg
C: 173.3 ypg
Total Offense    
A: 287.0 ypg
C: 271.3 ypg

Scoring Offense
A: 18.0 ppg
C: 11.7 ppg
Rushing Defense    
A: 60.3 ypg
C: 76.7 ypg

Passing Defense    
A: 320.7 ypg
C: 255.7 ypg
Total Defense    
A: 381.0 ypg
C: 332.3 ypg

Scoring Defense
A: 11.3 ppg
C: 27.0 ppg