Athletics

Week 1 Football Preview: Amherst vs. Hamilton

Team6

Contact: Ben Badua

Amherst College (0-0) vs.
Hamilton College (0-0)

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 * Pratt Field
Amherst, MA * 1 p.m.

MULTIMEDIA

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Jeff Report - Week 1

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Preseason Highlight Video
Practice Photo Gallery
Intrasquad Photo Gallery

LIVE COVERAGE
Amherst’s season opener will
feature live statistics and a webcast.

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

THE SERIES
After a two-year hiatus, Amherst and Hamilton renew a rivalry that dates back to 1920. Holding a commanding 23-1 all-time edge, the Jeffs shut out out the Continentals in seven of the squads’ first nine meetings, outscoring Hamilton 237-13 during that span. After a 47-year break from 1933-1980, Amherst rattled off four wins in consecutive seasons before the series was again put on hold. Hamilton earned its first and only win against the Jeffs in 1992 with a 41-0 decision, but Amherst has outscored the Continentals by a 177-28 margin in the six matchups since 2000.

LAST MEETING
Alex Vetras ’11 threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns to lead Amherst to a 21-12 season-opening win at Hamilton in 2009. After forcing a three-and-out on the Jeffs’ first possession, Hamilton drove 87 yards on 13 plays, taking a 6-0 lead on a Dylan Isenberg ’12 rushing touchdown.

Early in the second, Vetras capped off a 14-play, 62-yard drive with an 11-yard strike to Andre Gary ’11. Extending the lead in the third, he linked up with Brian Murphy ’11 for a 10-yard touchdown pass. With 12 seconds left in the quarter, Vetras capped off a big day with another game-changing play, finding Andrew Reed ’11 all alone for an 80-yard catch-and-run.

Defensive lineman Edwin Urey ’10 recorded four sacks and broke up a pass to lead an Amherst defense that allowed just 247 yards of offense, including 40 on the ground. Mike Taylor’10 was credited with a team-high nine tackles, forced a fumble and broke up two passes, while Jeff Katz ’11 intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter.

Ceccio

AMHERST LAST TIME OUT
Amherst capped off its second undefeated season in three years with a dominating 31-18 victory at Williams. Up 7-3 early, the Lord Jeffs went on a 24-point run and held a 31-6 lead late in the third quarter. Defensive lineman Kevin Ferber ’12, running back Eric Bunker ’12 and kicker Matt Rawson ’12 set single-season program records for sacks, rushing touchdowns and field goals, respectively, while quarterback Brian McMahon ’12 threw for a touchdown and ran for another. Ferber finished with 4.0 sacks to give him 11.0 on the season, surpassing the previous record of 9.5 that had been held by Alex Niefer ’99 and Pat McGee ’02. He also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a pivotal touchdown that opened the second-half scoring.

Bunker rushed for only 21 yards against Williams in 2010, but he gained 107 yards on 27 carries (4.0 ypc) in last year’s matchup. In the second quarter he gave the Jeffs a 13-6 lead on a three-yard run that broke the previous single-season touchdown record of 11, which had been held by Josh Mason ’97.

McMahon put the Jeffs on the board with a 15-yard touchdown run to his left after a fake handoff, and Rawson added the extra point to mark the fourth consecutive Amherst-Williams game in which the Jeffs scored first. McMahon accounted for 205 total yards after completing 14 of his 27 passes and running the ball 15 times. Ben Kettering ’12 was his leading target, catching five balls for 58 yards. Safety Doug Gebhardt ’12 led all players with 14 tackles, while Kevin Heller ’12 had a pair of interceptions. The win was only Amherst’s second at Weston Field since 1985.

HAMILTON LAST TIME OUT
Hamilton closed out its 2011 season with a 28-15 home win over Bates College. Jordan Eck ’13 got the Continentals going on a three-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Donadio ’15 with just under 12 minutes to go in the first quarter. Bates tied the game with a 26-yard Patrick George run, but James Stanell ’14 put the Continentals back on top with a two-yard touchdown run of his own.

Eck kept things going in the second quarter with a 24-yard rope to Ryan Cray ’12 before once again linking up with Donadio on a 13-yard touchdown pass that put Hamilton up 28-7. Eck finished 21-of-34 with 250 yards and three touchdowns, while Garrett Hoy ’13 made six catches for a team-high 94 yards.

Lewis

SCOUTING AMHERST
Amherst’s biggest strength in 2012 is undoubtedly its offensive line, which has led the NESCAC in fewest sacks allowed for four straight seasons. Last year’s unit paved the way for an exceptional running game that ranked second in the league in yards per game (189.5) and touchdowns (16). The Jeffs will have to rely on that experience up front with youth at the quarterback position, where they must replace Brian McMahon ’12 and Blake Grauer ’12, who each started four games last season.

Another major challenge will be filling the void left by 2011 NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year Eric Bunker ’12. The Jeffs lost all 16 of their rushing touchdowns and more than 150.0 yards per week on the ground, but Ryan Silva ’14 and Steven Jellison ’14 will return significant experience after combining for 334 yards as sophomores. Similarly, the Jeffs have to replace their top five leaders in receiving yards per game and eight of last season’s nine touchdown receptions, with Wade McNamara ’14 returning the best statistics after hauling in 99 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore.

On the other side of the ball, Amherst welcomes back three seniors to the defensive line and three of its four starting linebackers. Lou Jacoubs ’13, Matthew Sponheimer ’13 and Travis Dickenson ’13 will try to fill the void left by Kevin Ferber ’12 up front, while Sam Clark ’13 and Matthew Pieterse ’13 return to the inside after earning All-NESCAC honors and finishing as the Jeffs’ top two tacklers a year ago. Leading the outside linebackers will be Danny Chun ’14, who finished fifth on the team in tackles (47) and added 2.0 sacks. Rounding out Amherst’s group of four captains is cornerback Landrus Lewis ’13, who returns invaluable experience to a secondary that lost three starters to graduation.

SCOUTING HAMILTON
Hamilton posted a 3-5 record in 2011 with victories against Tufts, Wesleyan and Bates. New head coach Andrew Cohen aims to guide the Continentals to their first winning season in 16 years, and he’ll have plenty of veteran talent to draw from on both sides of the football with 16 seniors on the roster.

Mike MacDonald ’13 will once again captain the Continentals’ defense after earning All-NESCAC second team praise last season. With more than 200 tackles at linebacker in his college career, he ranked among the league’s leaders in 2011 with 11.0 tackles per game (88 total), 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. Dan Peters ’13 also returns to lead a secondary that ranked third in the conference in pass defense last season.

Named a captain for the second consecutive season, Jordan Eck ’13 will quarterback the Hamilton offense after emerging as one of the league’s top passers last year, ranking second in the NESCAC with 223.4 passing yards per game. James Stanell '14 should pick up where he left off after a standout first year as the team’s leading rusher, while Kevin Petrick '13 leads the receiving corps from his tight end position.

PROBABLE STARTERS

AMHERST OFF.
QB – M. Lippe
RB – R. Silva
WR – W. McNamara
WR – J. O’Malley
WR – J. Durham
TE – T. Holahan
LT – R.Wasielewski
LG – J. Reynolds
C – J. Ceccio
RG – M. Silver
RT – J. MacLennan
K – J. Schmidt
AMHERST DEF.
N – M. Sponheimer
DT – B. Sklar    
DT – T. Dickenson
ILB – M. Pieterse
ILB – S. Clark
OLB – J. Phillips
OLB – N. Deane
SS – M. Aldo
FS – M. Dietz
C – R. Heflin
C – L. Lewis
P – J. Schmidt
HAMILTON OFF.
QB – J. Eck
RB – J. Stanell
WR – P. Donadio
WR – S. Jia
WR – J. Jensen
TE – K. Petrick
LT – V. DiCindio
LG – D. Berardelli
C – N. Robinson
RG – J. Michel
RT – J. Gardepe
K – G. Hoy
HAMILTON DEF.
DE – A. Madigan
DE – Z. Klein
DT – D. Fuller
DT – M. De Percin
ILB – M. MacDonald
OLB – C. Larabee
OLB – A. Austin
SS – A. Mitko
FS – J. Kochenash
CB – K. Woods-Lokken
CB – N. Kaleikini
P – G. Hoy

RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS

AMHERST
Passing

DJ Petropulos (1-of-1/9 yds/0 TD/0 INT)
Rushing
Ryan Silva (62 att/201 yds//0 TD)
Steven Jellison (34 att/133 yds/0 TD)
Receiving
Wade McNamara (11 rec/99 yds/1 TD)
Ryan Silva (8 rec/34 yds/0 TD)
Defense
Sam Clark (72 tackles/39 solo/1 INT)
Matt Pieterse (68 tackles/37 solo/1 INT)
Danny Chun (47 tackles/23 solo/2.0 sacks/1 FR)

HAMILTON
Passing

Jordan Eck (168-of-264/1,564 yds/8 TD/8 INT)
Rushing
James Stanell (112 att/380 yds/5 TD)
Zach Klein (12 att/31 yds/0 TD)
Receiving
Garrett Hoy (37 rec/383 yds/0 TD)
Kevin Petrick (30 rec/348 yds/2 TD)
Defense
Mike MacDonald (88 tackles/45 solo/4.0 sacks)
Dan Peters (65 tackles/32 solo/3 INT)
Camron Waugh (55 tackles/31 solo/1 FR/1.0 sacks)

2011 STATISTICAL COMPARISON

RUSHING OFF.
A:
189.5 avg.
H: 37.5 avg.

TOTAL OFF.
A:
350.9 avg.
H: 242.5 avg.
RUSHING DEF.
A:
88.1 avg.
H: 150.0 avg.
TOTAL DEF.
A:
278.1 avg.
H: 307.2 avg.
PASSING OFF.
A:
161.4 avg.
H: 205.0 avg.
SCORING OFF.
A:
29.9 avg.
H: 12.6 avg.
PASSING DEF.
A:
190.0 avg.
H: 157.2 avg.
SCORING DEF.
A:
12.6 avg.
H: 19.9 avg.