Defense Lifts Jeffs Over Hamilton, 23-7
Contact: Ben Badua
CLINTON, N.Y. – Danny Chun ’14 and an opportunistic defense helped turn five turnovers into 13 points as the Amherst football team opened its 2013 season with a 23-7 victory over Hamilton College.
Accounting for one of two Jeff touchdowns on the afternoon, Chun took a Colin Pastorella ’16 pass back 22 yards to pay dirt on the game’s opening possession. Last season, Chun found the endzone against Tufts, taking a pick back 72 yards for his first career score. Ned Deane ’15, Jaymie Spears ’16, Max Dietz ’14, and Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn ’16 also came away with interceptions for a Purple & White defense that last year finished tied for second in the league in picks with 13.
Holding Hamilton to just 70 yards through the air, Amherst finished with a 263-223 advantage in total offense. Deane and junior linebacker Chris Tamasi each made a game-high nine tackles, while Fairfield-Sonn had seven stops.
Jeff quarterback Max Lippe ’15 completed 16 of his 29 pass attempts for 162 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Brian Ragone ’16 led the receiving corps with seven catches for 99 yards and a score. Getting the bulk of the carries, sophomore running back Kenny Adinkra picked up 46 yards on 19 touches, while first-year Myles Gaines made the most of his opportunities, racking up 40 yards on five attempts (8 ypc).
Hamilton’s Pastorella and first-year signal caller Chase Rosenberg were a combined 12-for-27, throwing five interceptions. Joe Jensen ’15 led the Continentals with six receptions for 35 yards, while James Stanell ’14 paced an effective ground game with 95 yards on 28 carries (3.2 ypc). Outgained 376-60 in last year’s meeting, Hamilton held the rushing advantage on Saturday, 153-101.
Setting the tone early, it was Amherst’s defense that came up with the game’s first big play. Blitzing from his outside linebacker position, Chun batted a ball at the line of scrimmage before catching his own deflection at the Hamilton 22-yard line and racing into the endzone untouched just 2:27 after the opening kick-off.
Coming in for Pastorella on the Continentals’ second series, Rosenberg promptly turned the ball back over to the visitors, as Deane picked off the rookie’s first collegiate pass to set the Jeffs up on the Hamilton 31-yard line. After a four yard Adinkra run, Lippe completed three-straight passes to set up a first and goal from the nine, but Amherst’s drive stalled, forcing the visitors to settle for a 26-yard Phillip Nwosu ’15 field goal.
Still up 10-0 at the start of the second quarter, the Jeffs took over on their own 47-yard line. Lippe got the drive started with a 16-yard completion to Ragone before Adinkra gained seven yards to the 30. A 16-yard Lippe scramble once again put Amherst in the red zone, but Hamilton’s defense stiffened, holding the visitors to another Nwosu field-goal.
Hoping to turn the tide just before the half, the Continentals looked to take advantage of a botched punt attempt that gave Hamilton the ball inside the Amherst five-yard line. Stopped on first down, Rico Gonzalez ’16 broke through the line for a four-yard score, suddenly trimming the margin to six at the intermission.
Punting on its first possession of the third quarter, Amherst looked to get something going with 11:34 left in the period. Marching the ball 55 yards on nine plays, the Jeffs faced a fourth-and-9 from the Continentals’ 25-yard line. Opting to go for it, Lippe hit Ragone over the middle for 10 yards to set up a first-and-10 from the 15. Looking at third down two plays later, Lippe floated a pass into the endzone, but Alex Mitko ’16 came up with a big interception to keep the Purple & White off the board.
With neither team able to gain any traction over the next few possessions, the Amherst defense once again made a play to set up a scoring drive. Tracking back on a deep throw, Spears made an acrobatic interception of a Rosenberg pass on the last play of the third quarter before returning it 45 yards to the Hamilton nine-yard line. Three-consecutive Adinkra runs moved it inside the Hamilton one, allowing Nwosu to convert a 17-yard field-goal to make it 16-7.
Getting a Fairfield-Sonn interception and a three-and-out on Continentals’ next two drives, the Jeffs looked to put it away midway through the fourth. Picking up 13 yards on first down, Gaines added runs of six, 20 and 10 yards on three-straight carries to put the ball on the Hamilton 31-yard line. Finding Ragone on a slant across the middle, Lippe completed a 32-yard touchdown strike to cap off the scoring with under seven minutes to play.
The Jeffs return to action on Saturday, Sept. 28 against Bowdoin College in what will be the first game on a newly renovated Pratt Field.