Week 7 Preview: Amherst vs. Trinity

Chun_Sonnwesaction.jpgContact: Ben Badua

Amherst College (5-1) vs.
Trinity College (5-1)
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013
Pratt Field * Amherst, MA * 1 p.m.

FEATURED LINKS
Jeff Report Podcast - Week 7

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LIVE COVERAGE
Saturday’s game will feature a webcast and live stats.

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

THE SERIES
Amherst holds a 56-43-9 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to 1886, but Trinity has won 16 of the past 23 meetings thanks to a pair of seven-game winning streaks (1989-95, 2002-08). The Jeffs enjoyed a six-game win streak of their own from 1996-2001, but it’s been a see-saw battle of late, with the home team winning each of the last five showdowns. The Purple & White held off a late Trinity charge in 2011, downing the Bantams, 35-28, en route to an undefeated season. Despite carrying a 20-12 lead into the fourth quarter last year, Amherst could not make it two in a row, falling to Trinity on Jesse/Miller Field, 32-20.

Lewis_Wesaction.jpgLAST MEETING
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. The Bantams scored two touchdowns in the last 8:55 to extend their nation-best regular season home win streak to 47.

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.

Arguably enjoying his most productive day of the season, Max Lippe ’15 accounted for 243 yards of total offense (192 passing, 51 rushing) and two scores, but a costly pick-six with under nine minutes to go gave the Bantams a lead they would not relinquish. Kenny Adinkra ’16 led Amherst on the ground, 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 corps with nine catches for 61 yards.

Up 3-0 after the first, Amherst put together a pair of 76 and 80-yard scoring drives to help build a 17-9 halftime lead. Each team had a field goal in the third quarter, but it was all Trinity in the final frame, with the Bantams putting up 20 unanswered points. Bunker got things started, capping off a 71-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run, before a 60-yard pick-six put Trinity up 26-20. Michael Budness ’15 capped off the scoring with a 26-yard touchdown reception with 2:18 remaining in regulation.

Tamasi_Wesaction.jpgAMHERST LAST TIME OUT
Behind a stellar defensive effort, Amherst overcame six turnovers en route to a 17-7 victory at Tufts. The Purple & White surrendered just 116 yards in 61 plays from scrimmage. The Tufts passing game, which entered the contest ranked second in the conference, managed just 109 yards, while the Jumbo rushing attack picked up just seven yards on 30 carries against the NESCAC’s top-rated run defense. Wreaking havoc in the Tufts backfield, the Amherst defense posted a season-high seven sacks. Ned Deane ’15 led the way with 2.5 sacks, while Chris Tamasi ’15 had a team-high 10 tackles (7 solo) and two sacks.

Offensively, the Jeffs racked up a season-best 515 yards, but came away with just 17 points thanks to six turnovers, five of which came in Tufts territory, including three inside the 20-yardline. Nick Kelly ’17 led an exceptional ground game that rolled up a season-high 268 yards, helping Amherst finish with a nearly 15-minute edge in time of possession. Averaging 4.6 yards per carry, the rookie back gained 97 yards on 21 touches.

Junior quarterback Max Lippe ’15 completed 16 of his 30 passes for 196 yards, while adding 58 yards on the ground. First-year signal caller Alex Berluti completed 6-of-7 attempts, while finishing with 89 all purpose yards (51 passing, 38 rushing). Gene Garay ’15 led the receiving corps with eight catches for 63 yards.

Turning it over three-straight times after a punt on its first possession, Amherst pieced together a 12-play, 56-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard Berluti touchdown run. Gaining possession on another Jeff turnover at the tailend of the first half, Tufts got on the board on a 1-yard TD run of its own. Making use of a short field, the Jeffs tacked on a field goal late in the third quarter, before putting together an eight-play, 62-yard touchdown drive that ended in a Lippe 1-yard run into the endzone.

Ragone_Wesaction.jpgTRINITY LAST TIME OUT
Trinity saw its 14-game win streak come to an end last Saturday in Middlebury, with Sonny Puzzo ’17 throwing an interception in the endzone on the final play of the game to seal a 27-24 loss. Puzzo finished 20-33 for 229 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while rushing 18 times for 58 yards. Ben Crick ’14 led the ground game with a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries for 62 yards. Chris Ragone ’15 made three receptions for 100 yards with a touchdown.

Midway through the first quarter, Middlebury got on the board, capping off a 10-play, 52-yard drive with a McCallum Foote touchdown pass. Taking advantage of a Panther turnover, Trinity needed just three plays to cover 15 yards as Crick tied it with a 4-yard scoring run. Trailing 17-14 at the half, Middlebury mounted a 13-play, 64-yard drive that ended in a 28-yard field goal. Tacking on a 37-yarder early in the fourth, the Panthers took a three-point edge, but the Bantams answered with a long drive of their own, with Puzzo finding Ragone for a 39-yard touchdown with under five minutes to go. Middlebury answered by going 75 yards in eight plays as Foote threw another TD pass with 1:12 left to give the Panthers the lead. Getting the ball back on its own 25-yardline, Trinity marched all the way to the Middlebury 33 before Puzzo got picked off on the last play of the game.

Spears.jpgSCOUTING AMHERST
Coming off arguably its most dominating performance of the season, Amherst’s defense ranks second in the conference in both points allowed (11.8) and total defense (276.3 ypg). Surrendering just 116 total yards to Tufts last Saturday, the league’s most stout run defense allowed just seven yards on 30 carries, lowering its conference-best average to 75.3 per outing.

Linebacker Chris Tamasi ’15 has helped lead the charge, ranking second in the NESCAC in tackles for loss (12.5), while Ned Deane ’15 is tied for fourth in both TFL (8.0) and sacks (4.0). Up front, Max Lehrman ’15 sits tied for second in the league in sacks (6.0), while as a unit, the Jeffs have gotten to opposing quarterbacks a conference-high 19 times (including seven sacks last week). In the secondary, three Jeffs have three interceptions, led by Max Dietz ’14 who is currently tied for second in the conference in passes defended (6 BrUps, 3 INT).

Outgaining its opponents in each of the last two weeks, Amherst has piled up the yardage, but has also suffered from turnovers, giving the ball away four times against Wesleyan before turning it over six more times against Tufts. Quarterback Max Lippe ’15 is second in the NESCAC in yards per game (184.5), completing 108 of his 185 passes (58.4 percent). Gene Garay ’15 has been his favorite target, with the wideout ranking sixth in the conference in receptions (33). Senior Jake O’Malley is also enjoying a stellar season, ranking among the league’s leaders in receiving yards per game (52.8).

Kenny Adinkra ’16 leads a running back by committee, averaging 55.0 yards per game. Nick Kelly ’17 had a breakout performance against the Jumbos, gaining 97 yards as Amherst rolled up a season-best 268 yards on the ground. Fellow first-year Myles Gaines has also seen time in the backfield, averaging 3.8 yards per carry.

Garay_Wesaction.jpgSCOUTING TRINITY
Despite coming off its first loss of the season, Trinity enters Saturday’s contest with one of the conference’s most balanced offenses. Averaging 201.8 yards through the air, the Bantams boast the league’s third-ranked running game (211.2 ypg). Senior Evan Bunker sits second in the conference in rushing, averaging 94.0 yards per game with five touchdowns, while Ben Crick ’14 also ranks amongst the NESCAC leaders (69.4 ypg).

Quarterbacks Sonny Puzzo ’17 and Henry Foye ’16 have split time under center, with the duo each ranking among the league’s leaders in passing efficiency. Completing 55-of-87 passes (63.2 percent), Puzzo has averaged 116.2 yards per game with seven touchdowns, while Foye has completed 40-of-71 attempts for 502 yards (100.4 ypg) and six scores. Junior Chris Ragone leads the wide receiving corps with 18 catches for 353 yards (58.8 ypg).

Surrendering just over 16 points per game, Trinity’s defense ranks second against the pass (166.3 ypg), but has been susceptible against the run (160.0 ypg). Mike Mancini ’15 leads the team in tackles with 43 (25 solo), while Michael Weatherby ’14 has 36 stops (19 solo), including 7.5 for a loss. Brian Dones ’15 leads a solid secondary that has produced 12 interceptions, sitting tied for second in the NESCAC in passes defended (6 BrUps, 3 INT).

PROBABLE STARTERS

AMHERST OFF.
QB – M. Lippe
RB – K. Adinkra
WR – J. O'Malley
WR – G. Garay
WR – B. Ragone
TE – H. Falter
LT – R. Wasielewski
LG – A. Dirks
C – J. Woodrow
RG – S. Mergner
RT – J. MacLennan
K – P. Nwosu
AMHERST DEF.
N – R. Perdoni
DT – M. Lehrman   
DT – O. Davis
ILB – N. Deane
ILB – T. Mordas
OLB – C. Tamasi
OLB – D. Chun
SS – J. Fairfield-Sonn
FS – M. Dietz
C – J. Spears
C – L. Lewis
P – J. McGonagle
TRINITY OFF.
QB – S. Puzzo
FB – M. Budness
RB – E. Bunker
WR – I. Dugger
WR – C. Ragone
WR – A.J. Jones
T – F. Serrao
G – J. Golden
C – J. Margardino
G – W. Emery
T – W. Lynner
K – B. Rosenblatt
TRINITY DEF.
N – K. McGuire
DT – P. Kelly
DT – N. Cyr
ILB – R. Gau
ILB – T. Haverty
OLB – T. Syzmanski
OLB – M. Weatherby
SS – B. Bader
FS – M. Mancini
CB – B. Dones
CB – A. Labitue
P – K. Pulek

STATISTICAL LEADERS

AMHERST
Passing
Max Lippe (108-of-185/1107 yds/8 TD/7 INT)
Alex Berluti (15-of-24/186 yds/1 TD/2 INT)
Rushing
Kenny Adinkra (84 att/330 yds/1 TD)
Nick Kelly (39 att/149 yds/1 TD)
Receiving
Gene Garay (33 rec/317 yds/2 TD)
Jake O’Malley (26 rec/350 yds/5 TD)
Defense
Ned Deane (49 tackles/35 solo/8 TFL/4 sacks)
Chris Tamasi (43 tackles/35 solo/12.5 TFL/3 sacks)
Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn (36 tackles/31 solo/4 BrUps)

TRINITY
Passing
Sonny Puzzo (55-of-87/697 yds/7 TD/4 INT)
Henry Foye (40-of-71/502 yds/6 TD/2 INT)
Rushing
Evan Bunker (134 att/575 yds/5 TD)
Ben Crick (57 att/347 yds/3 TD)
Receiving
Chris Ragone (18 rec/353 yds/3 TD)
A.J. Jones (14 rec/194 yds/4 TD)
Defense
Mike Mancini (43 tackles/25 solo/2 FR)
Michael Weatherby (36 tackles/19 solo/7.5 TFL)
Tom Haverty (35 tackles/4 TFL/1 INT)

2013 STATISTICAL COMPARISON

RUSHING OFF.
A:
133.2 avg.
T: 211.0 avg.

TOTAL OFF.
A:
352.0 avg.
T: 412.8 avg.
RUSHING DEF.
A:
75.3 avg.
T: 160.0 avg.
TOTAL DEF.
A:
276.3 avg.
T: 326.3 avg.
PASSING OFF.
A:
218.8 avg.
T: 201.8 avg.
SCORING OFF.
A:
22.0 avg.
T: 33.8 avg.
PASSING DEF.
A:
201.0 avg.
T: 166.3 avg.
SCORING DEF.
A:
11.8 avg.
T: 16.3 avg.