Week 7 Preview: Amherst vs. Trinity

SATURDAY, NOV. 7 * 12:30 P.M.
The Lord Jeffs can secure at least a share of the NESCAC title with their first win over Trinity since 2001.

Saturday’s game between Amherst and Trinity will feature live video and audio courtesy of JeffCast. Live statistics will also be available.

Bowdoin (2-4) @ Bates (0-6) - 12:30 p.m.
Tufts (2-4) @ Colby (3-3) - 12:30 p.m.
Hamilton (1-5) @ Middlebury (3-3) - 12:30 p.m.
Williams (5-1) @ Wesleyan (3-3) - 1 p.m.

Amherst can secure at least a share of the 2009 NESCAC title with a win over Trinity this Saturday. If the defending conference champions want to stay in the hunt for their sixth crown, they will need to become this season's first team to knock off the Lord Jeffs. The last time Amherst won the NESCAC title was in 2000 when it was shared with Colby and Middlebury.

Neither Amherst nor Trinity won more than two consecutive meetings in this rivalry between 1973 and 1988, but since then the Bantams have put together a pair of seven-game winning streaks with a Lord Jeff winning streak of six games sandwiched in between. Despite Trinity’s recent dominance, Amherst holds an overall edge in the series with a head-to-head record of 54-41-9. Three times since 1996 Amherst has taken a 6-0 record into its annual Week 7 matchup with Trinity. The Jeffs picked up a 24-7 win in Hartford in 1996 and a 35-8 victory here at Pratt Field in 1997 to move to 7-0 on each occasion. In 2001, Amherst once again put an undefeated mark on the line on Family Weekend, emerging with a 28-10 win at home.

Last year, Amherst traveled to Hartford with a 5-1 record to face unbeaten Trinity College (6-0) with hopes of a NESCAC Championship still alive. The Bantams scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to blow open an evenly matched bout, clinching the 2008 NESCAC title with a 30-13 victory. Alex Vetras ’11 finished the day 28-of-42 for 283 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, with Jim Eckenrode ’09 grabbing six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Amherst ran for only 48 yards on the day, while Trinity gained 147 via the run. Trinity quarterback Eric McGrath finished the day 16-of-26 with one touchdown and 171 yards passing. The Amherst offense out-gained Trinity 331-318 and held a slight advantage in time of possession, but while the Lord Jeffs converted on just one of three trips into the red zone, Trinity scored on three of its four.

Amherst earned a 13-3 win at Tufts University last week to move to 6-0 for the first time since 2001. The Lord Jeffs’ victory left them alone atop the conference standings with previously undefeated Trinity falling to Middlebury, 31-24. Sophomore Matt Rawson kicked two field goals for the Lord Jeffs and senior receiver Brandon Bullock caught a six-yard touchdown pass with 8:53 remaining in the game as Amherst emerged in what was a strong defensive effort for both sides.

The Jeffs limited Tufts to 93 total yards, thanks in large part to senior linebacker Mike Taylor recording eight individual tackles and assisting on eight more while contributing two sacks. Taylor also forced two fumbles, recovering one of them deep in the Jumbos' end in the third quarter. The Lord Jeffs held Tufts to -15 rushing yards and 1-for-15 on third down conversions.

Last Saturday, Middlebury handed Trinity a 31-24 loss on Youngman Field to snap a 15-game winning streak for the Bantams that dated back to October of 2007. Middlebury led the entire game with Trinity scoring late to make it a 31-24 final. Trinity quarterback Craig Drusbosky completed 28 of 54 passes, earning 239 yards with a touchdown and four picks. Oliver Starnes gained 81 yards on the ground with a pair of touchdowns, while Michael Galligan caught 10 passes for 74 yards. Ben Sherry (15 tackles), Walter Fallas (13 tackles) and John Marinelli (10 tackles) led the Trinity defense in the loss.

With a 13-3 win at Tufts last Saturday, Amherst increased its streak of allowing 13 points or fewer to six games. The dominant performance against the Jumbos left Amherst leading the NESCAC in a number of defensive statistical categories. The Lord Jeffs lead the conference in scoring defense (8.3 ppg) and turnover margin (+8), and lead all of Division III in rushing defense (32.5 ypg), sacks per game (5.3) and red zone defense (42.9 percent). Amherst has held its opposition scoreless in the past six trips to the red zone, while the Lord Jeff offense has scored on seven consecutive trips inside the 20.

In the past two weeks, Amherst has completely shut down opposing teams’ running games while establishing a solid ground game of its own. Wesleyan and Tufts combined for -1 yard rushing against the dominant Lord Jeff defense, while Amherst ran for 108 yards at Tufts to mark its first back-to-back 100-yard rushing games of the season following a 156-yard performance against Wesleyan. Senior inside linebacker Mike Taylor continued to make a case for NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year by recording 16 tackles and forcing two fumbles at Tufts, as he was named the conference’s Defensive Co-Player of the Week for the second time this season. Taylor leads the NESCAC in total tackles (71) and is among the leaders in tackles-for-loss (9.5).

Boasting the second best scoring offense in the NESCAC (29.7 ppg), the Bantams have scored at least 35 points on three occasions this year. The key for Trinity has been its red zone offense, scoring on 20 of 24 trips inside the 20-yard line for an 83.3 percent success rate. The Bantams will need to limit their penalties and turnovers, as they have turned the ball over 15 times (2nd most in the NESCAC) and are committing a conference-high 65.0 yards worth of penalties per game.

The Trinity offense is highlighted by senior running back Oliver Starnes, who has run for a conference-high seven touchdowns while averaging 97.3 yards per game on the ground. Junior quarterback Craig Drusbosky has thrown 11 touchdowns, six of which have gone to classmate Michael Galligan. The defense features several standout performers, including the senior tandem of Kyle Williams (11.0 TFL) and Francois Auzerais (10.0 TFL) and the sophomore pairing of Walter Fallas (67 tackles) and Herman Brito (6.5 sacks). Junior defensive back Harry Melendez ranks second in the NESCAC with four interceptions.

Trinity was riding a 15-game winning streak dating back to 2007 before its 31-24 loss at Middlebury College last week snapped the run. The Bantams have not experienced a losing streak since the 2001 squad suffered setbacks at Middlebury and at Amherst on back-to-back weekends.


WR - Brian Murphy - 4
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 Rawson - 94
DT - Edwin Urey - 99
NG - Tom Grossi - 97
DT - Eric Pender - 92
ILB - Mike Taylor - 40
ILB - 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
QB - Craig Drusbosky - 8
RB - Ollie Starnes - 33
LT - Mac McGinty - 77
LG - Clay St. Dennis - 62
C - Matt Santora - 79
RG - Andrew Weiss - 54
RT - Michael Goulet - 72
TE - Chris Hunt - 87
WR - Drew Grombala - 7
WR - Winston Tuggle - 6
WR - Michael Galligan - 4
K - Tim Costello - 3
NT - Chris Doval - 95
DE - Chuks Ekwelum - 55
DE - Herman Brito - 98
ILB - Walter Fallas - 42
ILB - Francois Auzerais - 36
OLB - Kyle Williams - 57
OLB - Eamon Hanifan - 56
CB - Harry Melendez - 1
CB - Michael O’Connor - 29
FS - Ben Sherry - 13
SS - John Marinelli - 11
P - Grant Kunkel - 10


Alex Vetras (123-of-223/1,071 yds/9 TD/5 INT)
Femi Oyalowo (55 att/182 yds/1 TD)
Aaron Rauh (67 att/148 yds/3 TD)
Brian Murphy (31 recs/283 yds/2 TD)
Brandon Bullock (30 recs/233 yds/3 TD)
Mike Taylor (71 tackles/9.5 TFL/4.0 sacks/3 FF)
Fred Argir (46 tackles/5 INT/8 breakups)
Craig Drusbosky (111-of-222/1,418 yds/11 TD/8 INT)
Oliver Starnes (136 att/584 yds/7 TD)
Nana Appah-Sampon (17 att/65 yds/1 TD)
Michael Galligan (46 recs/568 yds/6 TD)
Winston Tuggle (24 recs/462 yds/3 TD)
Walter Fallas (67 tackles/6.0 TFL/1 INT)
Kyle Williams (43 tackles/11.0 TFL/6.0 sacks)











Rushing Offense
A: 82.2 ypg
T: 132.2 ypg

Passing Offense
A: 198.2 ypg
T: 240.2 ypg
Total Offense
A: 280.3 ypg
T: 372.3 ypg

Scoring Offense
A: 18.8 ppg
T: 29.7 ppg
Rushing Defense
A: 32.5 ypg
T: 64.0 ypg

Passing Defense
A: 245.5 ypg
T: 252.2 ypg
Total Defense
A: 278.0 ypg
T: 316.2 ypg

Scoring Defense
A: 8.3 ppg
T: 18.0 ppg