Jeffs Turned Away at Trinity, 32-20
Contact: Ben Badua
HARTFORD, Conn. - Carrying a 20-12 lead into the fourth quarter, the Amherst football team surrendered 20 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes en route to a 32-20 loss to Trinity on Jesse/Miller Field.
Improving to 7-0, the Bantams kept their pursuit of an undefeated season alive, scoring two touchdowns in the last 8:55 to extend their nation-best regular season home win streak to 47. Dropping to 2-2 against Trinity over the last four meetings, Amherst falls to 5-2 heading into its season finale with archrival Williams.
In a game that featured Amherst’s top-ranked run defense (82.0 ypg) against the league’s best rushing attack (309.3), it was the Trinity run game that eventually won out, piling up 250 yards on 48 carries (5.2 ypc). Evan Bunker ’14 led the way, gaining 215 yards on 34 touches (6.3 ypc) with two touchdowns, while quarterback Ryan Burgess ’13 completed 11 of his 22 passes with one touchdown and one interception.
Arguably enjoying his most productive day of the season, Max Lippe ’13 accounted for 243 yards of total offense (192 passing, 51 rushing) and two scores, but a costly pick-six with under nine to go gave the Bantams a lead they would not relinquish. Kenny Aboagye-Adinkra ’16 also had his best game to date, rushing for 63 yards on just nine carries (7.0 ypc), while Steven Jellison ’14 gained 40 yards on 10 touches (4.0 ypc).
Jake O’Malley ’14 led Amherst’s receiving core with nine catches for 61 yards, while James Durham ’13 and Gene Garay ’15 combined for 93 yards and six catches.
Sam Clark ’13 made a game-high 12 tackles (9 solo), while recording one of two Jeff sacks. Chris Tamasi ’15 and Travis Dickenson ’13 combined for 21 tackles (16 solo) while Michael Aldo ’13 picked off his third pass in as many games.
Akeem Labitue ’13 led Trinity with 11 stops, while Rae Haynes ’13 took back a Lippe misfire for a touchdown. Stephen Goniprow ’14, Nathan Cyr ’15 and Lyle Baker ’15 each registered a sack.
Chewing up seven minutes during its opening possession, Amherst moved the ball 52 yards on 15 plays, with Lippe converting three-straight third downs to O’Malley and Durham to set up a 29-yard Jake Schmidt ’14 field goal.
Beginning the second quarter with a second-and-4 from its own 26-yardline, Burgess hit Andrew Grombala ’13 on a 23-yard play action. Coming out of a pile at the line of scrimmage, Bunker bounced a run to the outside for 38 yards, setting up senior Tim Costello’s game-tying field goal from 30-yards out.
Taking advantage of a fumbled option exchange, the Bantams took their first lead, needing just three plays to move 35 yards. Taking the direct snap at the goaline, Bunker took it in for his first score of the afternoon, but Costello rang the extra point off the upright to keep it at 9-3.
Amherst wasted no time responding, going 76 yards in just 2:12 to retake the lead. The Jeffs’ long gainer came on a 48 yard Lippe to Garay completion down the right sideline, setting up first-and-goal from the five. The very next play, Lippe kept it on a zone read, racing up the middle to pay dirt.
Getting the ball right back after forcing a Trinity punt, the Jeffs faced a third-and-1 from its own 29-yardline. Handing it to Aboagye-Adinkra, the first year running back burst through the first level of the Trinity defense before getting caught from behind by Labitue 45-yards downfield. Five plays later on second-and-goal from the six, Brian Ragone ’16 made a heads-up play, pulling down a deflected pass at the line of scrimmage for his first collegiate touchdown.
Hoping to cut into the deficit just before the half, Trinity quickly moved into Amherst territory, but Aldo tracked down an errant Burgess toss at the Jeffs’ 30-yardline to end the threat.
Trailing 20-12 to start of the final period after Amherst tacked on a Schmidt 33-yarder at the end of the tailend of the third, Trinity looked to finally get its run game going. Handing it to Bunker on three-straight plays, the Bantams picked up 16 yards to its own 42 before Burgess hit Adrian Johnson ’15 for a six-yard gain.
Going right back to the ground, Trinity picked up eight more yards in two plays before Bunker ripped off a 37-yard scamper to set up first-and-goal. Two snaps later, Bunker took it in for another touchdown, but Amherst strung out the two-point attempt to keep it at 20-18.
Looking to make something happen on Amherst’s ensuing possession while facing a third-and-7, Lippe sailed a pass over his intended receiver into the arms of Haynes, who raced untouched into the endzone to put Trinity back on top.
Stopping Amherst’s next two drives, the Bantams took over on the Jeffs’ 36-yardline with 4:06 to go after a 16-yard punt veered out of bounds. Running it three-straight times while using up valuable clock, Trinity moved the chains, forcing an Amherst timeout. After handing it to Bunker on the first play following the break, the Bantams took a shot downfield, hitting fullback Michael Budness ’15 down the seam for a 26-yard touchdown to seal the victory.
Amherst returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 10 against Williams on Pratt Field. Next Saturday’s game will be the last of its kind on the historic site, with the 121-year-old turf slated for a major renovation following the conclusion of the 2012 season.