Looking Ahead: Amherst vs. Middlebury Preview

Amherst College (2-0) vs. Middlebury College (2-0)
October 6, 2007 * Pratt Field

Amherst
, MA * 1:30 p.m.
Offense_mestre

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday’s match-up will feature the NESCAC’s top two defensive teams in terms of yards allowed per game, as well as the conference’s top two rushing offenses. Amherst and Middlebury also have the nation’s second and third best defenses in terms of points allowed per game, with the Jeffs surrendering an average of 3.0 points per contest and the Panthers close behind at 5.0 points allowed per game.

THE SERIES
Amherst holds a slim 18-14 series edge over Middlebury, in what has become a very evenly matched conference rivalry. Dating back to the 1999 season, the Panthers and Jeffs have each won four head-to-head match-ups, with the winning team coming out on top by an average of only 7.4 points. Middlebury has pulled off two nail-biting wins over Amherst on Pratt Field during that span, including a 14-13 victory in 1999 and a 17-14 win in 2003. The Jeffs responded with back-to-back wins in 2004 and 2005, including a 15-0 shutout the last time these teams met at Pratt Field. The Panthers held Amherst to a mere three points in last year’s low-scoring 7-3 result, and they will be looking to take back-to-back games from the Jeffs for the first time since 1999-2000.

SCOUTING AMHERST
The Amherst College football program has had several phenomenal defensive teams during Coach Mills’ tenure, and this year’s squad has thus far proven to be no different. The 2-0 Lord Jeffs have allowed just a single touchdown in their wins over Bates College and Bowdoin College. Junior A.J. Scola picked off a pair of Bowdoin passes last weekend to lead the defense. The Jeffs also feature the NESCAC’s most dangerous running game, with junior Eric NeSmith and sophomore Aaron Rauh leading the way as the conference’s top two running backs in terms of rushing yards per game. Rauh ran wild against Bowdoin, racking up 159 yards on 31 carries, and scored his fourth touchdown of the season, while NeSmith ran for another 133 yards on 23 carries for a pair of touchdowns.

MIDDLEBURY head coach BOB RITTER
Bob Ritter is now in his seventh season as head coach of the Middlebury College football program, having earned a 25-23 mark in his first six seasons with the Panthers, including an impressive 6-2 mark in the fall of 2006. In his time as a head coach with the Panthers, Ritter has coached 36 All-NESCAC selections and seen his players break 17 school records. Twenty-one players have earned All-NESCAC Academic honors in his time, with an Academic All-Region selection and 21 NESCAC Players of the Week as well.

The Holden, Mass. native began his coaching career immediately following his graduation from Middlebury. In the fall of 1982, he joined the coaching staff and spent six years as the defensive coordinator under Michael “Mickey” Heinecken. Following his six years at Middlebury, Ritter took a head men’s lacrosse and assistant football coaching position at Tufts University, where he worked as both the offensive and defensive coordinator during his tenure.

Ritter returned to Middlebury in the fall of 1996 to take on duties as an assistant football and assistant men’s lacrosse coach. He was named head coach of the football program in the spring of 2001. Ritter continues to work as an assistant coach in the spring for the three-time NCAA Championship men’s lacrosse team.

LAST MEETING
In a game featuring two undefeated NESCAC rivals, Amherst and Middlebury proved to be equally matched through four quarters of play. Amherst clung to a slim 3-0 lead at halftime, but it was not enough to ensure victory, as the Panthers came back to win 7-3 in an exciting game, avenging a 15-0 loss to the Jeffs the previous year.

The Jeffs drew first blood, scoring on a Matt Eberhart ’10 29-yard field goal with 7:47 remaining in the second quarter. The field goal capped off a nine-play drive featuring 38 rushing yards by Eric NeSmith ’09, as Amherst took the 3-0 lead into halftime.

Amherst threatened early in the second half, marching down to Middlebury’s 27-yard line after a 22-yard run by NeSmith and a 15-yard pass interference penalty against the Panthers. A costly fumble by NeSmith on the opposing 21-yard line, however, placed the momentum in Middlebury’s hands, and the Panthers took full advantage of the turnover. Middlebury drove 79 yards to score on a 1-yard run by Stefan Hrdina ’07. The extra point gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

After a 19-yard pass from Nick Kehoe ’07 to Mike Myers ’08 placed Amherst on Middlebury’s 41-yard line to end the third quarter, the Jeffs appeared to be starting the final quarter in great position. However, Kehoe was intercepted by Middlebury’s Mac Conn ’07 on the next play.

The offenses were unable to put much together in the fourth quarter, as neither team gained more than 19 yards on any possession until late in the game. Facing 4th-and-24 with nearly two minutes remaining, Kehoe completed passes for 38 and 20 yards, respectively, to bring his team to Middlebury’s 36-yard line with the end of the game nearing. Two key sacks by the Panthers’ defense, along with a costly Amherst penalty, prevented the Jeffs from advancing any farther. Middlebury regained possession with just nine seconds remaining and was able to run out the clock. The Panthers accumulated 221 total yards of offense, while the Jeffs were close behind at 218, with each team earning 15 first downs on the day.

Defense_erik

AMHERST LAST TIME OUT
The Amherst College Lord Jeffs improved to 2-0 last weekend with a convincing 30-6 win over visiting Bowdoin College in the Jeffs’ home opener. Amherst has returned to old-school, smash-mouth football this season, with a strong running game and stifling defense. Junior Eric NeSmith and sophomore Aaron Rauh combined for three touchdowns and 290 yards rushing, while junior defensive back A.J. Scola had a pair of interceptions.

MIDDLEBURY LAST TIME OUT
Middlebury improved to 2-0 on the season last Saturday with a 41-0 drubbing of Colby College at home. The Panthers were led by the useful combination of quarterback Donald McKillop and wide receiver Andrew Matson, who paired for touchdown completions of 20, 31 and 35 yards. Middlebury registered its second shutout in as many years against the White Mules. The win sets up a highly touted re-match of last year’s 7-3 defensive battle with Amherst.

2007 AMHERST SCHEDULE/RESULTS
Sept. 22 @ Bates (W 24-0)
Sept. 29 BOWDOIN (W 30-6)
Oct. 6 MIDDLEBURY (1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 13 @ Colby (1 p.m.)
Oct. 20 WESLEYAN (hc) (1 p.m.)
Oct. 27 @ Tufts (1 p.m.)
Nov. 3 TRINITY (fw) (1 p.m.)
Nov. 10 @ Williams (Noon)

2007 MIDDLEBURY SCHEDULE/RESULTS
Sept. 22 @ Wesleyan (W 24-10)
Sept. 29 COLBY (W 41-0)
Oct. 6 @ Amherst (1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 13 WILLIAMS (1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 20 @ Bates (1 p.m.)
Oct. 27 TRINITY (1 p.m.)
Nov. 3 HAMILTON (1 p.m.)
Nov. 10 @ Tufts (12:30 p.m.)

AMHERST PROBABLE STARTERS
LORD JEFF OFFENSE
QB -
Lucas Loeffler - 9
RB - Aaron Rauh - 11
WR - Mike Myers - 4
WR - Jim Eckenrode - 1
TE - Matt Dunleavy - 83
LT - Sam Rudman - 79
LG - Wyatt Moss - 57
C - Justin Wiley - 72
RG - Tim Rose - 54
RT - Dan Guariglia - 66
PK - Matt Eberhart - 43
P - Keith Erzinger - 32

LORD JEFF DEFENSE
NG - Greg Smith - 50
DT - Jon Attridge -98
DT - Eric Pender - 92
OLB - Guy Matisis - 45
OLB - Jack Ewen - 37
ILB - Nick Boehm - 29
ILB - Preston Puryear - 53
CB - A.J. Scola - 13
CB - Chris Mottau - 7
SS - Rob Grammer - 8
FS - Chris Govey - 10

PR - Mike Myers - 4
KR - Andre Gary - 85

MIDDLEBURY PROBABLE STARTERS
PANTHER OFFENSE
TE - Charlie Holm - 48
LT - Nick Welch - 55
LG - Paul Bennett - 71
C - Brendan Kelly - 64
RG - Stuart Lindberg - 68
RT - Blake Berman - 60
WR - Andrew Matson - 3
WR - Derek Polsinello - 10
QB - Donald McKillop - 16
FB - David Randolph - 1
RB - Erik Rostad - 12
PK - Jack Britton - 18

PANTHER DEFENSE
DL - David Ellis - 21
DL - Tom Brown - 95
DL - Chad Guerrero - 94
LB - Nathan Clancy - 43
LB - Alex Buggy - 7
LB - Erik Woodring - 45
LB - Eric Kamback - 38
DB - Nate Shreve - 8
DB - Brian Young - 4
DB - Mike Quinn - 42
DB - Brian Marcks - 31
P - Jack Britton - 18

AMHERST STATISTICAL LEADERS
PASSING
Lucas Loeffler (19-of-37/191 yds/0 TD/1 INT)
RUSHING
Eric NeSmith (40 att/218 yds/2 TD)
Aaron Rauh (47 att/217 yds/4 TD)

RECEIVING
Andre Gary (4 rec/58 yds/0 TD)
Mike Myers (5 rec/44 yds/0 TD)

DEFENSE
A.J. Scola (2 INT/4 tackles)

MIDDLEBURY STATISTICAL LEADERS
PASSING
Donald McKillop (24-of-40/296 yds/3 TD/2 INT)
RUSHING
David Randolph (38 att/148 yds/1 TD)
RECEIVING
Andrew Matson (5 rec/117 yds/3 TD)
DEFENSE
Erik Woodring (25 tackles/5.5 TFL/1 sack)

2007 TEAM STATISTICAL COMPARISONS
Rushing Yards/Per Game
Amherst: 501 yds/250.5 avg.
Middlebury: 455 yds/227.5 avg.

Passing Yards/Per Game
Amherst: 191 yds/95.5 avg.
Middlebury: 300 yds/150.0 avg.

Total Offense/Per Game
Amherst: 692 yds/346.0 avg.
Middlebury: 755 yds/377.5 avg.

Total Points/Per Game
Amherst: 54 pts/27.0 avg.
Middlebury: 65 pts/32.5 avg.

Rushing Allowed/Per Game
Amherst: 48 yds/24.0 avg.
Middlebury: 215 yds/107.5 avg.

Passing Allowed/Per Game
Amherst: 333 yds/166.5 avg.
Middlebury: 339 yds/169.5 avg.

Total Offense Allowed/Per Game
Amherst: 381 yds/190.5 avg.
Middlebury: 554 yds/277.0 avg.

Total Points Allowed/Per Game
Amherst: 6 pts/3.0 avg.
Middlebury: 10 pts/5.0 avg.

THIS WEEK IN THE NESCAC
Hamilton @ Trinity (1:00 p.m.)
Colby @ Wesleyan (1:00 p.m.)
Bates @ Williams (1:00 p.m.)
Bowdoin @ Tufts (1:00 p.m.)
Middlebury @ Amherst (1:30 p.m.)

2007 NESCAC STANDINGS
Amherst (2-0)
Middlebury (2-0)
Trinity (2-0)
Tufts (2-0)
Bowdoin (1-1)
Wesleyan (1-1)
Bates (0-2)
Colby (0-2)

Hamilton (0-2)
Williams (0-2)

ALL-TIME RESULTS
Amherst vs. Middlebury
Amherst leads 18-14-0 (32 meetings)
1908 Amherst 51 Middlebury 5
1914 Amherst 14 Middlebury 0
1915 Amherst 17 Middlebury 7
1917 Middlebury 19 Amherst 7
1928 Amherst 19 Middlebury 7
1980 Middlebury 30 Amherst 5
1981 Middlebury 22 Amherst 7
1982 Middlebury 12 Amherst 10
1983 Middlebury 16 Amherst 3
1984 Amherst 28 Middlebury 10
1985 Amherst 14 Middlebury 3
1986 Amherst 24 Middlebury 21
1987 Amherst 28 Middlebury 16
1988 Middlebury 19 Amherst 0
1989 Amherst 10 Middlebury 0
1990 Middlebury 20 Amherst 13
1991 Middlebury 35 Amherst 0
1992 Middlebury 24 Amherst 13
1993 Middlebury 10 Amherst 6
1994 Amherst 21 Middlebury 7
1995 Amherst 28 Middlebury 13
1996 Amherst 17 Middlebury 10
1997 Amherst 22 Middlebury 17
1998 Amherst 14 Middlebury 3
1999 Middlebury 14 Amherst 13
2000 Middlebury 17 Amherst 0
2001 Amherst 7 Middlebury 3
2002 Amherst 17 Middlebury 10
2003 Middlebury 17 Amherst 14
2004 Amherst 34 Middlebury 26
2005 Amherst 15 Middlebury 0
2006 Middlebury 7 Amherst 3