Football Upends Bowdoin in Pratt Inauguration
Issue   |   Tue, 10/01/2013 - 23:43
Rob Mattson, Public Affairs Office
Running back Nick Kelly ’17 breaks into the open field against Bowdoin.

Behind another staunch defensive effort, the Lord Jeffs rolled to their second win of the season Saturday. Amherst allowed only one touchdown on the afternoon and led by as many as 24 points before coasting to a 27-11 victory.

After rolling to an easy win at Hamilton in their season opener, the Jeffs expected — and got — a stern challenge from the Polar Bears. Hosting their first game at the newly renovated Pratt Field, Amherst was too motivated to allow a letdown.

Junior quarterback Max Lippe ’15 led the offensive effort, throwing for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He and receiver Gene Garay ’15 were in sync on the afternoon, as the duo connected for a game-high seven completions. Garay finished with 76 yards and a touchdown, while fellow receiver Jake O’Malley ’14 caught four passes for 42 yards, including his second touchdown of the season.

Defensively, the Jeffs built on a five-interception performance from last week with with picks against Bowdoin by Max Dietz ’14 and Chris Gow ’16.

The Jeffs were just as devastating in stopping the run. Linebacker Danny Chun ’14 led the team with seven tackles, while junior Chris Tamasi ’15 chipped in with six more.

The defense forced Bowdoin into a three-and-out on the game’s first possession and got momentum rolling in the Jeffs’ favor. Amherst took over at Bowdoin’s 44-yard line and made the most of their great field position.

Lippe found Wade McNamara ’14 over the middle for a 29-yard reception on Amherst’s first snap that immediately put the Jeffs in scoring range. Three plays later, a 13-yard strike to O’Malley gave the Jeffs the early 7-0 lead.

The Polar Bear, however, put together an impressive drive as quarterback Mac Caputi led Bowdoin from their 39-yard line into the red zone. A holding penalty throttled the Polar Bears’ momentum, however, and forced them to settle for a field goal.

That relatively clean start appeared to set the stage for an offensive shootout. But it was not to be.

Instead, turnovers and poor execution put the scoring on hold. In the second quarter alone, Amherst suffered four three-and-outs, a fumble and an interception. But rather than taking advantage of the opportunities, Bowdoin matched Amherst with four three-and-outs of their own, while throwing an interception for good measure.

In the closing seconds of the half Jaymie Spears ’16 23-yard punt return put Amherst in field goal range and Phillip Nwosu ’16 put his kick through the uprights as time expired to give Amherst a seven-point cushion heading into intermission.

Luckily for Amherst, their sluggish play did not carry into the second half. Looking to add to their lead, the Jeffs finally pieced together a solid 14-play, 68-yard drive early in the third quarter.

That drive was helped by two clutch third-down conversions. Facing third down and 4 yards to go on their 38-yard line, Lippe first came through with a 4-yard completion to Henry Falter ’15 and a 16 yard scramble on 3rd-and-6 to put the Jeffs in the red zone.

Unfortunately, Amherst got no closer than that. The Jeffs were again forced to settle for a field goal after a defensive stand by Bowdoin. Nwosu’s 29-yard kick put Amherst up 13-3, and that score held into the fourth quarter.

Amherst’s offense had plenty more chances to expand their lead thanks to the defense. Inspired by an impressive effort on the ground, Amherst began moving the chains. A 12-yard burst from first-year Nick Kelly ’17 set the tone, and he followed it up with a 7-yard run on the next snap. After a Lippe scramble of nine more yards, Amherst went right back to Kelly for his first career touchdown.

Amherst did not relent with a three-score cushion. The team pounced all over a hesitant and uncomfortable Polar Bear offense, as Gow intercepted a Bowdoin pass to ice the game.

Amherst took advantage of the turnover with another touchdown. This time, Lippe found Garay in the endzone, pushing the Amherst lead to 27-3.

Bowdoin finally responded in the waning minutes of the game with their first touchdown of the afternoon and tacked on a successful two-point conversion.

With the victory, Amherst improved to 2-0 on the season and kept Bowdoin winless (0-2). The Jeffs, though, will face a tough test on Saturday as they play host to Middlebury in a matchup of undefeated teams.

We will certainly see if this Amherst squad has what it takes to compete for a NESCAC championship this weekend.