Week 2 Football Preview: Amherst @ Bowdoin

HelmetAmherst College (1-0) vs. Bowdoin College (0-1)
October 2, 2010 * Whittier Field
Brunswick, ME * 1 p.m.

Live Webcast * Live Statistics

Trinity (1-0) @ Williams (1-0) - 1 p.m.
Hamilton (0-1) @ Wesleyan (0-1) - 1 p.m.
Bates (0-1) @ Tufts (1-0) - 1 p.m.
Middlebury (1-0) @ Colby (0-1) - 1 p.m.
Amherst (1-0) @ Bowdoin (0-1) - 1 p.m.

Amherst holds a 68-17-2 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to 1896. The Lord Jeffs are 15-2 against the Polar Bears since 1993, with Bowdoin’s last win coming in 2005 at Pratt Field (16-13). The Bears have unsuccessfully defended their home field in their past five attempts, with their last home win against the Jeffs coming in 1998 (24-16).

Bowdoin made seven trips inside the red zone but managed only four field goals, all on the foot of Bill Donahue ’11, who tied a 38-year-old school record by splitting the uprights four times. Amherst got inside the red zone twice and found paydirt on each occasion, the first on a running play in the second quarter and the second on a passing touchdown with only 2:43 remaining in regulation. The Polar Bears held possession for 36 minutes and 40 seconds and finished with a 392-240 advantage in total yards, as the visitors commanded the stat sheet but fell victim to several timely plays by the Lord Jeff defense.

Bowdoin's Pat Noone '12 caught 11 passes for 124 yards against Amherst last year.

The game-winning drive began on Amherst’s 36-yard line with only 4:57 to play and the hosts trailing 12-6. The Jeffs used three receivers in completing five consecutive passes, including a 20-yard strike that put Amherst on Bowdoin’s 32-yard line. The Jeffs threw a running play into the mix to pick up two yards for a first down, but they went right back to quarterback Alex Vetras ’11 for a five-yard touchdown connection with Brandon Bullock ’10 to tie things up at 12-12. The extra point by Matt Rawson ’12 was good, and Bowdoin’s comeback attempt would end abruptly as quarterback Oliver Kell ’10 was picked off by Amherst’s Fred Argir ’10 on the first play of the ensuing drive.

Amherst ran for a pair of touchdowns, threw for two others, returned a fumble for six points and was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in its 44-0 season-opening win over Bates College. The Lord Jeffs recovered three Bobcat fumbles and held Bates to eight first downs. Amherst more than doubled Bates in total yards with a 391-143 edge on the day and dominated every facet of the game, scoring on all six of its trips to the red zone. Alex Vetras ’11 threw for 165 yards and two touchdowns, while Eric Bunker ’12 led a powerful running game with 96 yards and a touchdown. For kicking two field goals and five extra points, as well as handling Amherst’s punting duties, Matt Rawson ’12 was named the NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Bowdoin was doomed by five turnovers in a 33-15 season-opening loss to Williams this past Saturday. The Polar Bears were able to move the ball successfully against the Ephs all day but lost three fumbles deep in Williams territory, also having an interception returned for a score in the defeat. The loss overshadowed a successful starting debut for quarterback R.J. Shea ’12, who tossed for 316 yards and a pair of scores, as well as the efforts of receivers Brendan Garner ’11 and Pat Noone ’12, who combined for 20 catches and more than 200 yards.

With no other team in the NESCAC posting a shutout or scoring more than 33 points last week, Amherst has quickly established itself as the team to beat in 2010. Saturday’s performance against Bates marked the Jeffs’ highest single-game point total since a 44-7 win over Hamilton in 2004, and the most lop-sided shutout since a 46-0 win over Bowdoin in 1996.

Sam Clark '11 tied for the team high in tackles (11) last weekend against Bates.

Four players had at least five carries and six others caught at least one pass, which, combined with an offensive line that did not allow a sack, gives Amherst a number of options on offense. The Jeffs ran for 226 yards against the Bobcats, marking the team’s first 200-yard performance since Week 5 of 2008 and only the sixth 200-yard game since 2006. Amherst tends to be successful when its running game is at its best, posting a 26-1 record in the past 27 games in which it has rushed for at least 200 yards. The only loss during that stretch came in 2005, when Amherst fell to Bowdoin despite gaining 282 yards on the ground.

Amherst’s defense entered the season unproven, but the Lord Jeffs maintained their reputation by holding Bates to only 67 passing yards and two trips inside the red zone. The Bobcats did not pick up a first down in the opening quarter and lost three fumbles on the day, each of which led to points for Amherst on the ensuing drive. The defense as a whole was outstanding in the opener, but the team’s linebackers stand out as one of the best units in the NESCAC. Matt Pieterse ’13 and Sam Clark ’13 each had 11 tackles against Bates, while Brandon Quinn ’11 and 2009 All-Conference selection Jeff Katz ’11 combined for nine tackles and each forced a fumble.

Bowdoin did a lot of things well against Williams, but the negatives outnumbered the positives. The Polar Bears won the possession battle, didn’t allow a sack, threw for 316 yards, made five trips inside the red zone and committed only three penalties on the day. Countering that success, however, were four lost fumbles, 52 rushing yards, three failed appearances in the red zone, an interception that was returned by the Ephs for a touchdown, and a defense that surrendered 237 rushing yards.

Led by preseason All-America wide receiver Pat Noone ’12, Bowdoin’s passing game appears to be its biggest strength. Noone caught 10 passes for 79 yards against Williams, leaving him only two receptions shy of the school’s career record of 95. Sixteen of Bowdoin’s 22 first downs in Week 1 were earned via the pass, with only four coming on the ground and two by way of penalty. The Polar Bears finished second in the NESCAC in passing offense last year (299.2 ypg), throwing for 317 yards against Amherst in Week 2.

The Polar Bears will need to be more effective at stopping the run if they want to snap Amherst’s head-to-head winning streak. The Lord Jeffs are averaging 254.2 yards on the ground against Bowdoin since 2000, eclipsing the 250-yard mark seven times and hitting 300 yards three times during that stretch. Bowdoin will be looking to exact some revenge after losing last year’s nail-biter to Amherst despite having several golden opportunities to put the Jeffs away.


QB - Alex Vetras - 12
RB - Eric Bunker - 14
TE - Charlie Pratt - 46
WR - Sean Legister - 22
WR - Brian Murphy - 4
WR - Andre Gary - 2
LT - Ian Mahoney - 70
LG - Marcus Richtel - 76
C - John Ceccio - 54
RG - Ricky Morgan - 62
RT - Jack Reynolds - 51
SS - Doug Gebhardt - 8
FS - Kevin Heller - 10
CB - Nick Edwards - 25
CB - Landrus Lewis - 1
OLB - Sam Clark - 34
OLB - Jeff Katz - 98
ILB - Brandon Quinn - 31
ILB - Matt Pieterse - 42
DE - Brady Benelli - 55
NG - Tom Grossi - 97
DE - Kevin Ferber - 3
QB - RJ Shea - 12
RB - Zach Donnarumma - 37
WR - Pat Noone - 2
WR - Sean O’Malley - 33
WR - Brendan Garner - 6
TE - Lonnie Nunley - 96
LT - Grant Easterbrook - 56
LG - Joe Smith - 75
C - Kyle Duncan - 55
RG - Nick Cataldo - 76
RT - Bobby Driscoll - 67
DE - Scott Roman - 48
NT - Dominic Ridgard - 95
DE - R. Harasimowicz - 47
OLB - Dan Evans - 45
OLB - Griffin Cardew - 43
ILB - Ian Vieira - 44
ILB - Rob MacGregor - 15
CB - Evan Pare - 3
SS - Joey Cleary - 17
FS - Matt Savard - 20
CB - Beau Breton - 25


Alex Vetras (13-of-22, 165 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT)
Eric Bunker (17 car, 96 yds, 1 TD)
Femi Oyalowo (9 car, 40 yds, 0 TD)
Andrew Reed (2 recs, 88 yds, 1 TD)
Andre Gary (4 recs, 20 yds, 1 TD)
Matt Pieterse (11 tackles, 4 solo, 1.5 TFL)
Sam Clark (11 tackles, 3 solo, 1.0 TFL)
R.J. Shea (29-of-47, 316 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT)
Zach Donnarumma (15 car, 45 yds, 0 TD)
Brendan Garner (10 recs, 135 yds, 1 TD)
Pat Noone (10 recs, 79 yds, 0 TD)
Paul Hinman (4 recs, 54 yds, 1 TD)
Griffin Cardew (10 tackles, 1 solo, 1.0 TFL)
Ian Vieira (7 tackles, 6 solo, 1 INT, 1 FR)


Rushing Yards
A: 226 yds/226.0 avg.
B: 52 yds/52.0 avg.

Passing Yards    
A: 165 yds/165.0 avg.
B: 316 yds/316.0 avg.
Total Offense    
A: 391 yds/391.0 avg.
B: 368 yds/368.0 avg.

Total Points    
A: 44 pts/44.0 avg.
B: 15 pts/15.0 avg.
Rushing Allowed    
A: 76 yds/76.0 avg.
B: 237 yds/237.0 avg.

Passing Allowed    
A: 67 yds/67.0 avg.
B: 188 yds/188.0 avg.
Total Offense Allowed    
A: 143 yds/143.0 avg.
B: 425 yds/425.0 avg.

Total Points Allowed    
A: 0 pts/0.0 avg.
B: 33 pts/33.0 avg.