Nine Jeffs Earn All-NESCAC Honors
Contact: Ben Badua
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HADLEY, Mass. - Winning at least a share of the NESCAC Championship for the third time in five seasons, the Amherst football team placed nine players on the league’s all-conference squads.
Garnering his third-consecutive All-NESCAC selection, Rob Wasielewski ’14 was one of a league-best seven Jeffs named to the first-team. Jake O’Malley ’14 joined the senior offensive lineman on the first team offense, while defensive lineman Max Lehrman ’15, linebackers Danny Chun ’14 and Chris Tamasi ’15, and defensive back Landrus Lewis ’14E represented Amherst on the first team defense.
Junior placekicker Phillip Nwosu earned a spot on the first team as a specialist, while Jack MacLennan ’14 and Gene Garay ’15 were each recognized with a place on the second team offense.
Bookending one of the conference’s best offensive lines, Wasielewski and MacLennan helped the Jeffs average 132.2 yards on the ground, while giving up just nine sacks in eight games. A staple in the Amherst attack, the ground game rushed for at least a 100 yards in all but two outings, rolling up a season-best 268 yards against Tufts.
Especially effective down the stretch, Amherst’s run game averaged 175.7 yards over the team’s last three contests. Racking up 203 yards in the season-finale against Williams, the Jeffs averaged 4.4 yards per carry in a 20-7 win over the Ephs.
Complementing a strong rushing attack, Amherst ranked second in the league in passing yardage thanks in part to the efforts of Garay and O’Malley. Picking up his second-straight first team selection, O’Malley finished tied for fourth in the NESCAC in touchdowns (5), while amassing 416 yards on 32 receptions (52.0 ypg).
Catching a touchdown in four-consecutive games beginning with a Week 2 showdown against Bowdoin, the senior hauled in six catches for 77 yards and two scores in a 37-16 victory over previously unbeaten Middlebury. Seven days later, he amassed a career-high 105 yards on five receptions against Colby, which included a personal-best 72-yard touchdown.
Fifth in the NESCAC in receptions (42), Garay was one of the Jeffs’ most consistent contributors this season. Averaging 50.0 receiving yards per game, he had three touchdown receptions, while averaging nearly 10 yards per catch. Gaining 76 yards on seven catches with a touchdown against Bowdoin, he pulled down a season-best 10 receptions for 77 yards against Wesleyan. Garay also had a big day in a hard-fought victory against Tufts, catching eight passes for 63 yards.
The team’s backbone for much of the 2013 campaign, Amherst’s defense ranked first in the league in points (11.8) and rushing yards allowed (99.1) per game, takeaways (23), sacks (22) and interceptions (20). Emerging as a strong presence up front, Lehrman got to the opposing quarterback in all but one game, ranking third in the league in sacks (6.5), while recording 7.5 tackles for loss.
Enjoying a breakout season, Tamasi led the team in tackles (62), while leading the conference in tackles for loss (18.0) and sitting tied for fourth in sacks (4.0). Recording 10 stops, including 3.5 behind the line of scrimmage against Tufts, he had a season-best 13 tackles (12 solo) in a 17-16 win over Trinity.
Scoring his second-career touchdown with a 22-yard pick six in the season opener against Hamilton, Chun ranked among the team’s leaders in tackles (43) en route to his second all-conference selection. Making 4.5 tackles for loss, he also had a pick in his final game as a Jeff, notching an interception in Amherst’s 20-7 victory over Williams. Over the course of his decorated career, Chun has amassed 148 tackles (100 solo), with 12.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions.
Returning to Amherst for a fifth year due to a medical redshirt last season, Lewis re-established himself as one of the conference’s premier defensive backs, regaining the form that also made him a first team honoree in 2011. Defending seven passes, he tied for the league lead with three interceptions, while also recording four break-ups. Making 33 tackles, he had two picks and a fumble recovery that led to 20 of the team’s 27 points against Middlebury, earning him Player of the Week honors. The following week the standout corner notched his 10th career interception with a fourth-quarter INT against Colby.
Making an impact in his first season as the team’s full-time placekicker, Nwosu notched 49 points in 2013, connecting on 10-of-14 field goal attempts and 19-of-20 PATs. Perfect through his first three games, he converted his first six field-goal attempts, including a career-long 46-yarder against Middlebury.
Nwosu continued to play an integral role in Amherst’s special teams as the year wore on, knocking through a 44-yarder in a one-point win over Trinity, before hitting a pair of field goals against Williams. Also a force on kick-offs, he averaged 61.2 yards per attempt, with nine touchbacks.