Football Routs Bowdoin 30-7
Issue   |   Tue, 09/30/2014 - 23:35

The Amherst football team continued its march toward an undefeated season with a decisive 30-7 win over Bowdoin on Saturday. The Jeffs posted 390 total yards on offense, 227 in the air and 163 on the ground. Jackson McGonagle ’16 boasted an impressive 124 receiving yards along with two touchdowns in the game.

“We knew after our win against Bates that we had a lot of work to do. All week we kept our focus and really tried to perfect the execution of our plays,” the junior wide receiver said.

Quarterback Alex Berluti ’17 emerged as a leader, throwing for 187 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“We didn’t have that different of an approach this week going into the Bowdoin game other than just really trying to focus on ourselves,” the sophomore remarked. “That starts with taking care of the football and limiting turnovers, making the right reads and getting first downs. We focused on trying to move the ball better and generate more points so our defense can play more loosely and get after Bowdoin’s offense.”

While the Amherst offense showed vast improvement from last week, the Amherst defense continued to impress, keeping the Polar Bears scoreless through the first three quarters of play. They forced two interceptions, a fumble and three sacks, limiting Bowdoin’s offense to 316 yards and only seven points.

Captain Ned Deane ’15 said turnovers and sacks “definitely resulted from our ability to stop the run and get after the quarterback.”

“The coaches had a great game plan for us that was much simpler than the one we implemented for Bates,” Jake Shuman ’15 added. “Bates runs the triple options so we had inserted a lot of unique coverages and techniques to defend that. It was nice to run more of our base defense against Bowdoin.”

After failing to score on their first possession, Berluti and the Jeffs strung together an impressive second drive. Nick Kelly ’17 broke through the Polar Bears’ defense to bring Amherst into Bowdoin territory on the opening play. After a holding penalty moved the Jeffs back 10 yards, Berluti found McGonagle and then Gene Garay ’15 to earn the Jeffs a first down at the Bowdoin 23-yard line.

After a few unsuccessful plays, it looked as if the Amherst drive would end there, but the Jeffs were given a lucky break, as a personal foul on the Bowdoin defense moved them up to the 14-yard line, giving them a fresh set of downs. Setting up in the red zone, the Amherst offensive line created a big hole for McGonagle to sneak through on a sweep play to the right side of the field. McGonagle blew through the hole right into the end zone to put Amherst on the board first.

“As a team we did a great job blocking, on the inside and outside, which gave our quarterbacks time to throw and gave our running backs space to run,” McGonagle said.

With four minutes left in the first quarter, Mills decided to give Berluti a rest and put in first-year quarterback Reece Foy. Foy found success through the air, making a big throw to Robert Thoma ’17 for 22 yards. Bowdoin was able to stop the drive, however, forcing the Jeffs to settle for a field goal. They carried a nine-point lead into the second quarter, as Phillip Nwosu ’15 missed the point-after-touchdown.

The second quarter proceeded without much excitement, as Bowdoin and Amherst exchanged punts back and forth. Bowdoin threatened to put points on the board, but Amherst’s Thomas Kleyn ’16 forced Tim Drakeley to fumble on the 1-yard line. Deane noted this as a turning point in the game, saying “Offense and defense came out in the second half firing on all cylinders and I attribute that to the momentum changing play by TK.”

Amherst used that momentum, as the third quarter was all Jeff offense. Deep in their own territory, Berluti aired it out to McGonagle way down field. The junior receiver caught the ball near midfield and ran for over 50 yards to add six points to the Jeffs’ tally. The 97-yard touchdown play broke the previous Jeffs’ record for the longest reception. With a Nwosu extra point, the Jeffs extended their lead to 16.

The defense played a big role in Amherst’s next touchdown, as Jaymie Spears ’16 picked off Bowdoin’s Caputi at the 33-yard line and returned it to the Bowdoin 18. Taking over again, Berluti handed off the ball to Garay who ran for the final 18 yards and another Amherst touchdown, making the score 23-0 Amherst.

After two more stops by the Amherst defense, Berluti and the offense marched down to the Bowdoin 26-yard line with a little over a minute left in the third quarter. Berluti found Kelly through the air, who ran in for another touchdown making the score an impressive 30-0.

The fourth quarter saw little scoring action on either side, as the Jeffs defense were able to keep the Polar Bears out of the red zone until there were three minutes remaining. Driving steadily down to the field to the Amherst one-yard line, the Polar Bears scored off a quarterback sneak by Caputi. With just 39 seconds remaining in play, the Jeffs took a knee to leave the score at 30-7.

The Jeffs will travel again this Saturday to face Middlebury.

“The last time we played at Midd., we got crushed, so we are going to use that as added motivation to stay focused and pay attention to detail throughout this week,” McGonagle ssaid.