Football Shuts Out Jumbos with Ease, Rawson Sets Records
Issue   |   Wed, 11/02/2011 - 01:51
Alec Jacobson ’12
The Jeffs dominated Tufts with an agressive and relentless offensive.

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.

Amherst set the tone for their dominance very early on in the contest. On Tufts’ second possession of the game, the Jeffs turned up the defensive pressure, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive back Landrus Lewis ’13. Making the most of that opportunity, the Jeffs capitalized on the very next play, as senior quarterback Brian McMahon ran 26 yards untouched for Amherst’s first score of the game.

Even with the early lead, however, the Jeffs did not let up on their defensive intensity. They forced a quick three-and-out for Tufts and put the ball back in the hands of McMahon. Amherst’s quarterback did not disappoint, building off his earlier momentum and orchestrating an 11-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a six-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Ben Kettering.

The Jeffs closed the first quarter strong and continued their solid play through the second, putting up their third-straight touchdown to take a 21-0 lead into the half. The third score came on senior running back Eric Bunker’s seven-yard run with 1:15 to play and capped a well-executed drive that saw the Jeffs cover 54 yard in nine plays. Amherst, which came into the game ranked second in the NESCAC in run defense, allowed only 16 yards on the ground in the first half, absolutely throttling any Tufts offensive threat.

The second half followed a similar script as the first, as the Jeffs controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They added three points to their lead on a third-quarter field goal by Matt Rawson ’12 and another seven early in the fourth, as Eric Bunker ran for his second touchdown of the game, his ninth rushing score on the season. That last touchdown rounded out the scoring for the contest, as Amherst easily closed out the fourth quarter to wrap up their sixth victory of the season.

As expected, given the Jumbos’ weak rush defense and the Jeffs’ offensive strength, the result of the game predicated on the success of Amherst’s ground attack. This was evident in the Jeffs’ rushing dominance, as Eric Bunker ended the contest with 82 yards on 17 carries, while Steven Jellison ’14 ran for a career-high 75 yards on 15 carries. Meanwhile, McMahon ran an efficient offense in his own right, completing 11 of 16 passes for 99 yards. His favorite receiver of the day was Kettering, the recipient of five catches for 53 yards, including McMahon’s lone passing touchdown.

Rounding out the notable offensive performances was Rawson, whose field goal and three extra points allowed him to tie two program records. Rawson’s nine completed field goals on the season equal the mark he set last year, while his third extra point of the day put him at 148 points for his collegiate career and into a tie with David Bodner ’05. Defensively, the Jeffs were just as impressive. Junior Matt Pieterse led the effort with eight solo tackles, while first-year Max Lehrman impressed with 1.5 of Amherst’s four sacks on the afternoon. The Jeffs’ defense also induced two interceptions, as Doug Gebhardt ’12 and Max Dietz ’14 each came up with a pick.

With the victory, Amherst moved to 6-0 on the season, keeping pace with Trinity as the only unbeaten teams in the NESCAC. The win sets up a hugely consequential matchup this coming Saturday, as these two powerhouses are scheduled to face off. The victor will earn sole possession of first place in the conference, a spot they are unlikely to squander through the rest of the season. With these stakes on the line, the game is of immense importance to both sides and is guaranteed to be a battle no one should miss.