Week 1 Football Game Preview: Amherst vs. Hamilton

Amherst College (0-0) vs. Hamilton College (0-0)
September 20, 2008 * Pratt Field
Amherst, MA * 1 p.m.

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

Pratt FieldTHE SERIES
Amherst holds a commanding 21-1 advantage over Hamilton in the all-time series and has come out on top in each of the last seven meetings. The Lord Jeffs have outscored the Continentals 537-108 in 22 meetings, with 41 of Hamilton’s points coming during a convincing shutout in 1992. After meeting 10 times in a 14-year span, the teams took a 46-year hiatus before reviving the series in 1980 and have since met 12 times. Since Coach Mills took the helm at Amherst in 1997, the Lord Jeffs are a perfect 5-0 against Hamilton, earning three shutouts while outscoring the Continentals by a 164-10 margin.

LAST MEETING
Amherst opened its 2005 season with a decisive 28-3 victory at Hamilton by piling up 485 yards of total offense, including 320 on the ground, while holding the Continentals to just 179 total yards. Four Jeffs found the end zone, highlighted by Mark Hannon ’06, who piled up 175 total yards to lead his team to a sixth consecutive season-opening win.

The Jeffs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as they marched 52 yards to put up seven points on their opening possession. Hamilton seemed to gain momentum on the ensuing drive as quarterback Brandon Holtslag ’05 completed three straight passes to bring the Continentals out to midfield, but they would stall there and be forced to punt. After a pair of three-and-outs by both squads, Holtslag managed to pin the Jeffs inside their own 20-yard line with a 42-yard punt with just over a minute left in the opening quarter. An illegal-substitution penalty and a run for no gain left the Jeffs with a third-and-15 situation on their own 10-yard line, but Hannon responded for Amherst by lining up at quarterback and taking a sweep 90 yards for a touchdown to give the visitors a 14-0 advantage.

Amherst stretched its lead to 21-0 on its next possession as Hannon reeled off another long run, this time scampering 23 yards, and quarterback Nick Kehoe ’06 capped the six-play, 76-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown strike to receiver Mike Myers ’07. Hamilton finally answered on the following drive when Pete Kopp ’06 put Hamilton on the scoreboard with a 24-yard field goal to prevent the shutout. Amherst carried its 21-3 advantage into the break and added seven points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

LAST 10 MEETINGS
Amherst leads all-time series, 21-1 (22 meetings)
1982 - Amherst 18 Hamilton 10
1983 - Amherst 10 Hamilton 9
1992 - Hamilton 41 Amherst 0
1993 - Amherst 6 Hamilton 0
1996 - Amherst 17 Hamilton 6
1997 - Amherst 38 Hamilton 0
2000 - Amherst 30 Hamilton 0
2001 - Amherst 24 Hamilton 0
2004 - Amherst 44 Hamilton 7
2005 - Amherst 28 Hamilton 3

O-Line_cropAMHERST LAST TIME OUT
Williams College picked apart the Amherst defense all day en route to 399 yards of total offense, as the Ephs picked up a 20-0 win to satisfy their Homecoming crowd in the 2007 finale. Amherst accumulated just 146 yards on offense and was held scoreless for the first time of the season. The Jeffs finished at 4-4, having lost the final three games of the season, while Williams improved to 6-2 after stringing together six consecutive wins. In head-to-head action, the rivalry moved to 69-48-5 in favor the Ephs, with Williams winning 17 of the last 21 meetings. Amherst has not tasted victory on Weston Field since 1985.

HAMILTON LAST TIME OUT
Matt Pitarresi ’08 made a season-high 13 tackles, forced two fumbles and broke up one pass in his last college game, but Hamilton lost 17-16 against visiting Bates College to close out the 2007 season on a three-game losing streak. The Continentals led 13-2 and 16-10, but Bates pulled ahead on a touchdown pass and PAT with 1:22 left in the third quarter to seal its first and only victory of the year. The Bobcats drove 50 yards on 11 plays, including a 2-yard fade on fourth-and-goal to tie the score at 16-all, with the extra point giving the visitors the lead for good. Hamilton’s Mark Snickenberger ’11 ran for a game-high 50 yards and one touchdown, while Dan Hood ’08 threw for 187 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jim Chapman ’09 in the second quarter.

SCOUTING AMHERST
Head coach E.J. Mills moved his career coaching record to 61-27 with last year’s 4-4 finish, as the Lord Jeffs finished with less than five wins for just the second time in Mills’ 11-year tenure. Amherst got off to a hot start in 2007, outscoring opponents 126-47 in the first five weeks to post a 4-1 mark. In those five games, the Jeffs boasted the conference’s best rushing offense (185.2 yds/gm). By season’s end, Amherst was second in the conference in scoring defense (13.6 ppg), pass defense (169.5 ypg) and total defense (261.5 ypg), and third in rushing defense (92.0 ypg). Amherst is once again expected to feature a stellar running game, while the defense returns an incredibly talented group of players that should form one of the best units in the NESCAC.

PROBABLE STARTERS

LORD JEFF OFFENSE
WR - Jim Eckenrode
WR - Ben Kettering
TE - Dan Savage
RB - Aaron Rauh
TB - Eric NeSmith
LT - Sam Rudman
LG - Tim Rose
C - Justin Wiley
RG - Wyatt Moss
RT - Ryan Bone
QB - Alex Vetras
LORD JEFF DEFENSE
DT - Edwin Urey
NG - Greg Smith
DT - Eric Pender
LB - Preston Puryear
LB - Travis Doering
OLB - Guy Matisis
OLB - Jake Spadafora
CB - AJ Scola
CB - Fran Florio
S - Chris Govey
S - Fred Argir
CONTINENTAL OFFENSE
LT - Silvio Cuadra
LG - Randall Lee
C - Andrew Greenwald
RG - Mike Bourbeau
RT - Paul Zarella
TE - Ben Tomaszewski
FB - Dylan Isenberg
TB - Mark Snickenberger
QB - Ben Saccomano
WR - Max Foster
WR - Scott Kleinklaus
CONTINENTAL DEFENSE
DT - Taylor Soobitsky
DT - Burke St. John
NG - Bradley Tipper
DE - Joe Bock
S - Trevor Pedrick
S - Will Finan
ILB - Landrey Mack
OLB - James Gibson
OLB - John Lawrence
CB - Jon Higginbotham
CB - Ted Finan

 

 

 

Amherst Returning Stat Leaders
PASSING
Dan Pozner (13-of-30/100 yds/1 TD/1 INT)
RUSHING
Aaron Rauh (135 att/501 yds/6 TD)
Eric NeSmith (115 att/509 yds/3 TD)
RECEIVING
Brandon Bullock (24 recs/240 yds/3 TD)
Jim Eckenrode (15 recs/214 yds/1 TD)
DEFENSE
A.J. Scola (5 INT/26 tackles/7 breakups)
Guy Matisis (55 tackles/9.5 TFL/4.0 sacks
Hamilton Returning Stat Leaders
PASSING
Ben Saccomano (25-of-70/362 yds/1 TD/7 INT)
RUSHING
Mark Snickenberger (130 att/418 yds/3 TD)
RECEIVING
Max Foster (27 rec/362 yds/0 TD)
Scott Kleinklaus (21 rec/248 yds/1 TD)
DEFENSE
John Lawrence (56 tackles/9.5 TFL/4.5 sacks/3 INT)
Will Finan (37 tackles/3 INT/7 breakups)

 

 

 

 

2007 TEAM STATS

Rushing Yards/Avg.
A: 1,146 yds/143.2
H: 656 yds/82.0

Passing Yards/Avg.
A: 980 yds/122.5
H: 1,765 yds/220.6

 

Total Offense/Avg.
A: 2,126 yds/265.8
H: 2,421 yds/302.6

Total Points/Avg.
A: 145 pts/18.1
H: 91 pts/11.4

 

Rushing Allowed/Avg.
A: 736 yds/92.0
H: 683 yds/85.4

Passing Allowed/Avg.
A: 1,356 yds/169.5
H: 1,806 yds/225.8

 

Total Offense Allowed/Avg.
A: 2,092 yds/261.5
H: 2,489 yds/311.1

Total Points Allowed/Avg.
A: 109 pts/13.6
H: 172 pts/21.5