It was not the first undefeated season in program history, but it may well have been the most decisive. The 8-0 campaign of Coach E.J. Mills and company concluded memorably with a resounding 31-18 victory over host Williams. The road to that point, however, was a deceptively arduous one that the Jeffs traversed with skill, toughness and all-important luck.
Looking to cap their undefeated season in style, Amherst’s football team (7-0) travelled to Williamstown on Saturday to take on their archrivals. Touted as the “Biggest Little Game in America,” the matchup would have had all the intensity of a playoff game even without the added stakes. A Lord Jeff victory would give Amherst the NESCAC Championship and perfect season, so the Ephs could not have been happier to get the chance to play spoiler.
With NESCAC title hopes on the line, the football team hosted Trinity on Saturday in one of the most anticipated matchups in the rivalry’s history. Both teams came into the contest with undefeated records, sitting at 6-0, and with only two games left in the season, the victor was guaranteed a share of the NESCAC crown. For the Jeffs, it would mean a chance to earn only their second-ever outright title, while the Bantams, quite accustomed to regular-season success, were looking for their fifth title in the past decade.
On a windy and rain-swept Saturday, the football team traveled to Tufts to take on the Jumbos in a matchup of teams bookending the NESCAC standings. While the Jeffs were looking to protect their undefeated record, the Jumbos were simply looking for a bright spot in a season that has yet to see them earn a victory. Those trends would not change on Saturday. Behind a furious ground attack and impressive defensive effort, the Jeffs ran all over their opponents, earning a 30-0 shutout to move to 6-0.
The football team passed the halfway point of their season on Friday by extending their winning streak to a season-long 5-0 in a triumph over Wesleyan. While Amherst has traditionally dominated the matchup between these two squads, this year’s Wesleyan team possessed a potent offense featuring star freshman running back LeDarius Drew. Drew and the rest of the Cardinal squad came ready to spoil the day for the Jeffs but fell short due to an efficient offensive performance and stifling defensive effort from the home team.
Fueled by a punishing running attack and a tenacious defense, the football team pummeled Bowdoin 20-3 on a soggy Pratt Field last Saturday. The Jeffs improved to 2-0 with the victory, having beaten Bates 20-7 last week.
While the offense played solid, unspectacular football, it was the dominating defense that again paved the way to victory. The Jeffs tormented Bowdoin quarterback Grant White into throwing three interceptions, and held the Polar Bears to just 94 passing yards and 74 rushing yards — a miniscule 2.43 yards per play.