Week 5 Preview: Amherst vs. Wesleyan

EJCOL

Contact: Ben Badua

Amherst College (3-1) vs.
Wesleyan University (4-0)

Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012
Corwin Stadium at Andrus Field
Middletown, Conn. * 1 p.m.

Jeff Report - Week 5

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Photo Gallery - Amherst vs. Colby
Video Highlights - Amherst vs. Colby

LIVE COVERAGE
Saturday's game will feature live statistics and a webcast courtesy of Wesleyan Sports Information.

THIS WEEK IN THE NESCAC
Hamilton @ Colby (12 p.m.)
Amherst @ Wesleyan (1 p.m.)
Trinity @ Bowdoin (1 p.m.)
Bates @ Middlebury (1 p.m.)
Williams @ Tufts (1:30 p.m.)

THE SERIES
Amherst and Wesleyan have met 117 times since 1882, with the Lord Jeffs holding a 67-41-9 edge against their Little Three rivals. The Cardinals dominated the early part of the series, winning 14 of the first 19 matchups. The rivalry proved too close to call during a four-game stretch from 1950-53, with the two teams playing to a tie for four consecutive seasons. It’s been all Amherst of late however, with the Jeffs taking 17 of the last 18 meetings, including each of the past nine. Winning last year’s showdown 24-10, Amherst has outscored Wesleyan 268-42 since the Cardinals’ last victory in 2002.

LAST MEETING
Amherst outgained Wesleyan 366-225, including a 220-87 advantage on the ground en route to a 24-10 triumph on Pratt Field. The Lord Jeffs ran for their first touchdown, threw for their second and returned an interception for their third to take a 21-3 lead at the break. Wesleyan tried to keep pace with a LaDarius Drew ’15 2-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth, but the Cardinals’ deficit proved too big to overcome.

Wesleyan’s Sebastian Aguirre ’14 and Amherst’s Matt Rawson ’12 each connected on a career-long field goal, with Aguirre’s 35-yarder coming with 3:08 to play in the first quarter and Rawson’s 45-yarder closing out the scoring with 4:03 remaining in regulation.

Eric Bunker ’12 led the Jeff rushing attack, gaining 143 yards (6.8 ypc) on 21 touches, while Drew picked up 107 yards on 34 carries (3.1 ypc). Brian McMahon ’12 was 13-of-26 for 146 yards, with one touchdown, adding 59 yards on five carries. Matt Coyne ’12 finished 20-of-30 with two interceptions and 138 yards. Andrew Reed ’12 led all receivers with 61 yards on three catches.

In addition to his pick-six, Sam Clark ’13 led all players with 12 tackles. Matt Pieterse ’13 recorded two sacks—one of which came on Wesleyan’s first play from scrimmage—for a total loss of 18 yards. Danny Chun ’14 and Landrus Lewis ’13 each made 10 stops.

JellisonColby1

AMHERST LAST TIME OUT
Robbie Heflin ’13 made three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, to lift Amherst to a 23-3 victory over Colby on Pratt Field. Notching their 16th-consecutive win over the Mules, the Jeffs held a 253-164 edge in total offense, including a decisive 124-27 advantage on the ground.

Limiting the Mules to just 1.0 yards per carry, the Jeffs won the battle in the trenches, with Travis Dickinson ’13 recording seven tackles, including 2.5 for a loss. Consistently in the Colby backfield, Amherst also notched a season-high four sacks, with Chris Tamasi ’15, Sam Clark ’34 and Benji Sklar ’14 each getting to quarterback Connor Emmert on the Mules’ ensuing drive following Heflin’s pick-six.

Pinning Colby inside their own 2-yard line in the first quarter, Dickenson stuffed a Spencer Gopaul run in the end zone, recording the game’s first points on a safety. Adding it its tally early in the second, Amherst capped of a seven-play drive with a 15-yard Max Lippe ’15 strike to Tom Holahan ’13 that made it 9-0.

Clinging onto a six-point lead late in the third, Heflin jumped a Jason Buco route, intercepting Emmert at the Mules’ 24-yard line before racing into the end zone to up the margin to 16-3. The Lord Jeffs capped off the scoring with a six-play, 51-yard drive bookended by a Steven Jellison ’14 rushing touchdown.

Jellison led the Amherst rushing attack, finishing with 82 yards on 19 carries (4.3 ypc). With starter Ryan Silva ’14 out, Kenny Aboagye-Adinkra ’16 and Tyler Jacobs ’15 filled out the Jeffs’ running back-by-committee, combining for 61 yards on 21 touches. Lippe completed 11-of-19 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown, while Jake O’Malley ’14 pulled down a team-high six catches for 34 yards.

WESLEYAN LAST TIME OUT
Building up a 21-6 third quarter lead, Wesleyan withstood a furious Bates rally, escaping with a 24-22 victory thanks to a defensive stand in the closing seconds of regulation. Forcing the Bobcats to turn it over on downs four times in the first half, the Cardinals took a 14-0 lead into the intermission.

Bates sliced the deficit to 14-6 with 9:21 to go in the third quarter, but Wesleyan responded just 5:16 later when Jesse Warren ’15 hit Jay Fabien ’15 for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Scoring the next nine points on a 59-yard interception return and a 27-yard field goal, the Bobcats trimmed the lead to six. Trailing 24-15 after a Sebastian Aguirre ’14 field goal, Bates picked off a Wesleyan swing pass to set up a one-yard touchdown run with 2:08 on the clock.

Getting the ball back one last time after forcing a quick Cardinals’ punt, Bates moved the ball 50 yards on four passes, reaching the Wesleyan 31-yard line. Facing fourth down after a pair of incomplete passes and a quarterback scramble for no gain, the Bobcats took a shot at the end zone with 4.2 seconds remaining, but Jake Bussani ’14 knocked down the last ditch effort to end the game.

Zach Vinci ’15 made a team-high seven tackles, adding a pair of sacks. Warren ’15 finished 14-of-22 for 163 yards and three touchdowns, while Kyle Gibson '15 picked up 141 yards on 32 carries (4.4 ypc).

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SCOUTING AMHERST
Averaging 439.5 yards and 30.0 points per game during the first two weeks of the season, Amherst’s offense has struggled of late, putting up just 13.0 points and 250.0 yards per outing against Middlebury and Colby. While still ranking second in the league in rushing (221.8 ypg), a powerful Jeff run game has showed signs of slowing down, averaging just 135.0 yards over the last two weeks after gaining over 300 per game to start 2012.

With leading rusher Ryan Silva ’14 sitting out last week’s matchup with Colby, Amherst turned to a running back-by-committee. Steven Jellison ’14 led the way with 82 yards on 19 carries (4.3 ypc) and a touchdown, while Kenny Aboagye-Adinkra ’16 picked up 32 yards on 10 touches. Tyler Jacobs ’15 chipped in with 27 yards on 11 carries. Starting the first three weeks, Silva had ranked among the league leaders in rushing, churning out 130.0 on the ground, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

On the other side of the ball, Amherst has leaned on the NESCAC’s stiffest run defense, while giving up just 12.8 points per game. Surrendering a league-low 63.2 yards on the ground, the Jeffs have been especially stingy of late, limiting Middlebury and Colby to 34.5 yards per game. Last Saturday, the Mules averaged just one yard per carry, picking up 27 yards on 27 attempts.

Travis Dickenson ’13 has helped lead the Amherst surge up front, registering a conference-best 9.5 tackles for loss. Linebacker Sam Clark ’13 currently tops the team in tackles with 26 (17 solo), while Danny Chun ’14 has recorded 23 tackles (17 solo), a pair of sacks and an interception. Reigning Defensive Player of the Week Robbie Heflin ’13, who has picked off four passes in the last two weeks, leads an Amherst secondary that is giving up 182.5 yards through the air.

SCOUTING WESLEYAN
Entering Saturday’s tilt at 4-0 for the first time since 1998, Wesleyan has relied on a balanced offense that ranks among the league’s leaders in both rushing (207.5) and passing (179.2) yards per game.

Headlining the conference’s third-ranked offense (386.8), averaging 31.0 points per game, is quarterback Jesse Warren. Completing 62.6 percent of his passes, the sophomore ranks third in the NESCAC in passing yardage (179.2), while tossing nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Kevin Hughes ’14 leads the team in receiving, piling up 69.8 yards per game.

Kyle Gibson ’15 and LaDarius Drew ’15 make for a solid one-two punch at running back with the duo both ranking among the conference leaders in rushing. Averaging 5.4 yards per carry, Gibson has picked up 130.0 yards per game, while scoring three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Drew has averaged 79.7 yards per contest with three more scores.

Defensively, the Cardinals have relied on a stout run defense (98.5) to balance out a unit ranked eighth (209.8) in the league against the pass. Tied with Amherst for the conference lead in sacks (9), Wesleyan boasts three players ranked in the top-five with Andy McKeon ’13 (3.5), Zach Vinci ’15 (3) and Nik Powers ’15 (2.5).

Linebacker Jake Siciliano ’15 sits first on the team in tackles with 27 (14 solo), while cornerback Donnie Cimino ’15 has accounted for two of the defense’s eight takeaways with a pair of interceptions.

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 - S. Mergner
RT - J. MacLennan
K - J. Schmidt

AMHERST DEF.
N - M. Sponheimer
DT - L. Jacoubs
DT - T. Dickenson
ILB - N. Deane
ILB - S. Clark
OLB - J. Phillips
OLB - D. Chun
SS - M. Aldo
FS - M. Dietz
CB - R. Heflin
CB - L. Lewis
P - J. McGonagle

WESLEYAN OFF.
QB - J. Warren
RB - K. Gibson
WR - J. Fabien
WR - K. Hughes
WR - J. Hurwitz
TE - T. Baker
OT - J. Curley
OG - M. Radespiel
C - J. Sheffer
OG - S. Scannell
OT - P. DiMase
K - S. Aguirre
WESLEYAN DEF.
DE - A. McKeon
DE - Z. Vinci
DT - M. Hanson
DT - I. Khadar
LB - G. Kelley
LB - J. Siciliano
LB - M. Beaird
CB - D. Cimino
CB - J. Bussani
CB - M. Conrad
CB - J. Kim
P - J. Warren











STATISTICAL LEADERS

AMHERST

Passing
Max Lippe (47-of-74/442 yds/4 TD/1 INT)

Rushing
Ryan Silva (71 att/409 yds/1 TD)
S. Jellison (41 att/203 yds/2 TD)

Receiving
Wade McNamara (18 rec/222 yds/2 TD)
Jake O'Malley (11 rec/82 yds/0 TD)

Defense
Travis Dickenson (25 tackles/15 solo/9.5 TFL)
Sam Clark (26 tackles/17 solo/1 INT)
Robbie Heflin (12 tackles/10 solo/4 INT)


WESLEYAN

Passing
Jesse Warren (62-of-99/717 yds/9 TD/6 INT)

Rushing
Kyle Gibson (96 att/552 yds/3 TD)
LaDarius Drew (51 att/246 yds/3 TD)

Receiving
Kevin Hughes (18 rec/279 yds/2 TD)
Jay Fabien (16 rec/214 yds/1 TD)

Defense
Jake Siciliano (27 tackles/14 solo/4 BrUps)
Donnie Cimino (23 tackles/15 solo/2 INT)
Andy McKeon (14 tackles/3.5 sacks/4.5 TFL)

 










STATISTICAL COMPARISON

RUSHING OFF.
A: 221.8 avg.
W: 207.5 avg.
TOTAL OFF.
A: 345.2 avg.
W: 386.8 avg.
RUSHING DEF.
A: 63.2 avg.
W: 98.5 avg.
TOTAL DEF.
A: 245.8 avg.
W: 308.2 avg.
PASSING OFF.
A: 123.5 avg.
W: 179.2 avg.
SCORING OFF.
A: 21.5 avg.
W: 31.0 avg.
PASSING DEF.
A: 182.5 avg.
W: 209.8 avg.
SCORING DEF.
A: 12.8 avg.
W: 19.5 avg.