Williams-Amherst Live Blog: Kevin Ferber’s Three Sacks, Touchdown Lead Lord Jeffs to 31-18 Victory Over Ephs

Williams-Amherst Live Blog: Kevin Ferber's Three Sacks, Touchdown Lead Lord Jeffs to 31-18 Victory Over Ephs

End of game, Amherst 31-18: A hook-and-lateral gets the Ephs across midfield as time expires. Amherst completes an undefeated season and retains sole possession of the NESCAC title with the victory.

Fourth quarter, 0:05, Amherst 31-18: Mallock chops the onside kick and Williams recovers.

Fourth quarter, 0:11, Amherst 31-18: Wohlwender battles for four yards but is stood up at the goal line. Marske spikes the ball with 15 seconds to go as Amherst's fans gather on the sideline, ready to storm the field.

Wohlwender keeps them at bay for the moment, following a blocker into the end zone with 11 seconds left. Accepting defeat, Williams goes for the extra point rather than the two-point conversion, but Mallock's kick misses wide right.

Fourth quarter, :33, Amherst 31-12: What's one more sack for Ferber?

The senior chases down Marske for his third sack of the game, plus a touchdown on a fumble recovery.

Kearney catches a tipped Hail Mary down inside the 5, but at this point it's academic. The Lord Jeffs will win. It's just a matter of by how much.

Fourth quarter, 2:09, Amherst 31-12: Amherst goes into soft coverage, basically allowing Williams to complete long throws over the middle of the field. That strategy backfired with Kearney beating the secondary on a fly pattern down to the 1-yard line.

But it wouldn't be a big play for Williams without a penalty, and an illegal procedure brings the ball back. A couple acrobatic catches by Hartwell move the Ephs down to Amherst's 22 with just over two minutes to play before Ferber registers another sack.

Ferber for player of the game?

Fourth quarter, 4:25, Amherst 31-12: Memo to Amherst: Eric Bunker's a pretty good running back. You're ahead 31-12 in the fourth quarter of the last game. Give him the ball.

McMahon is sacked while dropping back, then Bunker is tackled after a short gain on a draw. At least the clock kept running.

Fourth quarter, 5:14, Amherst 31-12: That didn't go too well for the Ephs.

Marske is dropped on a sack, then watches a pass slip through Hartwell's hands. On third and 15, Marske again hits Hartwell on a screen, but he gets only to the 22 before he's brought down.

The ball comes loose, but after Hartwell was down.

The Ephs keep hurting themselves. Facing fourth-and-four, they're called for a false start, bringing up fourth-and-nine.

On fourth down, Marke has a man in the back of the end zone, but Stickney can't reach it.

Fourth quarter, 6:53, Amherst 31-12: Tick, tick, tick.

The Lord Jeffs are in clock-killing mode, taking their sweet time to snap the ball. For a spread team, this is the equivalent of going into the power I and burning clock.

Williams defensive end Dan Canina isn't slowing up, though. He gives McMahon a hard shot on an incompletion, forcing a punt that Hartwell returns into Amherst territory.

Fourth quarter, 8:03, Amherst 31-12: Risky move by Wohlwender on fourth-and-inches. He had the first down on forward progress, but bounced backward and tried to get extra yards. In the process, he lost the first down.

Amherst ball.

Fourth quarter, 8:35, Amherst 31-12,: The Ephs are clinging faintly to hope, and they've already marched down to Amherst's 22. They need two touchdowns, two two-point conversions and a field goal to tie.

Sit tight.

Fourth quarter, 10:19, Amherst 31-12: An extra personal foul penalty gives Amherst 15 free yards and moves the ball across midfield. Yet another personal foul on Williams will advance the ball another 15 yards on a facemask by Tyler Cole.

The Ephs finally get a break with linebacker Dylan Schultz flying through to recover a fumble by Bunker. Williams takes over at their 20 with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Fourth quarter, 11:19, Amherst 31-12: Hartwell receives a short punt at midfield, setting up the Ephs with starting position at Amherst's 45. A Williams player collided with the punter on the play, however, and Amherst keeps possession.

Kettering's helmet came off and flags started flying. The ruling is offsetting personal foul penalties, so we'll run the play over. If nothing else, it gives fans a chance to admire the wide receiver's flowing golden locks.

Fourth quarter, 12:33, Amherst 31-12: Amherst is still in the no-huddle, but there's no hurry-up in its step. The Lord Jeffs clearly are comfortable to be deliberate with a 19-point lead in the fourth.

Fourth quarter, 14:13, Amherst 31-12: Well, that didn't last long. Three and out for Williams. Only bright spot is a 63-yard punt by Greg Payton, so the Lord Jeffs will start inside their own 15-yard line.

Fourth quarter, 14:41, Amherst 31-12: Amherst is in four-down territory, but McMahon is off the mark on fourth-and-14. The Ephs will get the ball back with a chance, yet again, to get back into this thing. Let's see if this possession is any different.

End of third quarter, Amherst 31-12: McMahon barely misses Kettering down the left sideline. The wind may have caught that and pushed it the extra yard.

Facing third-and-8, McMahon calmly plants and fires to Kettering for a first down over the middle. Amherst is proving to be a difficult team to come back against.

The Lord Jeffs are putting together a wrinkle-free drive and are already at Williams' 21. McMahon slips while being pushed out of bounds, eliciting some comments from the Amherst portion of the stands, but on the replay McMahon clearly just slipped and there was no late hit.

The third quarter ends with the Lord Jeffs threatening to put this one on ice.

Third quarter, 3:39, Amherst 31-12: After converting that fourth down, the Ephs face another one. This one is at Amherst's two after a catch by Kearney.

Wohlwender converts this time with his feet, stretching the defense along the left before plunging in for the touchdown. Marske's brought down on the two-point attempt, keeping the Ephs' deficit at 31-12.

Third quarter, 5:11, Amherst 31-6: Marske hits Stickney for the first down just outside the 10-yard line.

Third quarter, 5:14, Amherst 31-6: Marske throws another low pass that Stickney goes down to make a play on, giving Williams a first down.

Wohlwender gets the carry, but Amherst's defense is starting to pick up the pace. The Lord Jeffs know the Ephs need big plays now.

Marske hooks up with Stickney again to convert the third-and-4. Stickney follows with a five-yard reception and the Ephs have one of their most promising possessions of the day at Amherst's 23.

In a reversal of what you'd expect, the Lord Jeffs are stuffing the rush and giving up the pass with a 25-point lead. Marske carries on third and 4 and gets a yard, bringing up fourth-and-4.

The Lord Jeffs take a time out. Huge play coming up for the Ephs.

Third quarter, 9:35, Amherst 31-6: Marske is sacked at the one and the ball comes loose, recovered in the end zone by Ferber. It looked like junior linebacker Mike Aldo on the hit. That would be Aldo's fifth sack of the year.

Rawson's kick stretches Amherst's lead to 31-6.

Third quarter, 9:43, Amherst 24-6: Amherst goes three-and-out, but an excellent punt pins Williams within its own 10. Marske and the Ephs have a long way to go if they hope to crack the end zone for the first time.

Third quarter, 11:03, Amherst 24-6: On third-and-1, Wohlwender takes a handoff and follows a pulling guard for the first down. Marske, replacing Cleary, immediately connects with Hartwell on first down and the Ephs appear to have a drive going.

Marske throws low to Krieg, who barely grabs the pass with his fingertips before it hits the ground. That brings up a fourth-and-1, and Wohlwender slips before he reaches the marker. Wohlwender didn't appear to get tripped up, it looked like more of a half-hearted dive that came up short.

Third quarter, 13:51, Amherst 24-6: Williams gets the ball to open the second half and really needs to get something going. Kicker Joe Mallock's had a productive day so far with two field goals, but that's all the scoring the Ephs have mustered.

The way Amherst is moving the ball, Williams needs to answer or this thing could get out of hand. Adam Markse's in at quarterback.

Halftime, Amherst 24-6: Amherst gets creative with 22 seconds left, breaking past midfield with a hook-and-lateral. McMahon then hits Reed deep down the middle and Amherst calls time out with one second left.

Rawson's 39-yard field goal attempt is iced with a time out by Williams. (His attempt after the whistle missed wide left.) Given a second try, Rawson lines it up and it's good on the final play of the half.

Second quarter, :23, Amherst 21-6: Williams needs a strong scoring drive in the waning moments of the first half to build some momentum going into halftime, but it doesn't start off well.

Wohlwender runs for a short gain that is negated when Hartwell trips on a toss behind the line of scrimmage. On third-and-10, Cleary hits wideout J.C. Stickney, who fights for the extra yard and a first down.

Just when things appear to be rolling Williams' way, though, Cleary tosses a wobbly pass directly into the hands of Heller. Heller has his second interception, and for the second time a holding penalty will nix most of the yardage after the interception. Heller's not complaining.

Second quarter, 2:57, Amherst 21-6: Bunker runs three straight times for a first down, but wide receiver Andrew Reed misses a chance for a big play when he drops a wide-open pass across the middle.

McMahon throws another long pass toward the right side, with Olice making contact with the receiver. Not sure if that was catchable, but the official throws the flag for pass interference to give Amherst first and 10 at Williams' 17.

McMahon dances out of bounds on a short run and Bunk is finally stopped for a loss, but the Ephs forget about Mike Samela on third and five. Easy pitch and catch for McMahon and Samela for a 10-yard touchdown.

Second quarter, 6:19, Amherst 14-6: Well, that score certainly took some of the wind out of Williams' sails. Amherst dials up the pressure and holds Williams to a three-and-out.

Second quarter, 7:15, Amherst 14-6: It's tough for 5-10 Andre Lafontant to cover 6-6 Kettering, and Kettering draws a pass interference penalty in the end zone. First-and-goal from the 1 is too easy for Bunker, who nabs an option pitch for a touchdown.

Matt Rawson's extra point gives Amherst a 14-6 lead.

Second quarter, 7:25, Amherst 7-6: Poor communication by Amherst's kick returners causes them to collide and briefly lose the football.

Fortunately for the Lord Jeffs, they recover and advance the kick. Unfortunately for them, they're flagged for a block in the back.

Tough way to start a drive.

Starting at their 15, Amherst stays conservative with a couple runs by Bunker for a first down. The Lord Jeffs stay in the no-huddle and, after a short completion to Kettering, McMahon runs for a big gain on a read option to advance to Williams' 38.

The Ephs blitz and they pay, as McMahon flips to Bunker on an option to get to Williams' 15. The Ephs call time out to talk things over.

Second quarter, 10:38, Amherst 7-6: The Ephs have a little fun on first down with a reverse, then go the conventional route with a play-action pass from Cleary to tight end Sam Krieg to penetrate the red zone.

With first-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Cleary is chased down by Kevin Ferber on a bootleg that takes a long time to develop. An incompletion sets up third and goal from the 15, and Cleary's completion to Hartwell only manages to get Williams inside the 10.

Mallock has a 23-yard field goal attempt take a hard left turn, but it still splits the uprights. This one was probably tougher than his 41-yard attempt, because the wind was right in his face.

Anyway, it cuts Amherst's lead to 7-6.

Second quarter, 14:14, Amherst 7-3: McMahon hits Kettering again for a first down, but the Lord Jeffs draw a holding penalty while trying to set up a screen pass to Bunker on the next play. A first and 20 from their own 29 could give them trouble.

Long situations lead to freaky plays. McMahon's downfield pass is tipped at the line, and Williams cornerback Dan O'Mara catches the high tip for an interception.

End of first quarter, Amherst 7-3: Amherst takes a touchback on the kickoff and rushes to try to get off two plays before the whistle. They don't succeed and they will have second down when the second quarter begins.

First quarter, 0:31, Amherst 7-3: Wohlwender carries again for a six-yard gain on first down. Amherst's defense has struggled to stop the Ephs on first down, but have been survived because of Williams' struggles on the later downs.

Case in point: A false start on Williams puts them back at the 27.

Sam Clark then pursues Cleary and tackles him for a 2-yard loss on a quarterback scramble, but Ephs kicker Joe Mallock calmly boots a career-long 41-yard field goal with the wind at his back.

First quarter, 2:55, Amherst 7-0: A Colin Curzi sack forces third and 12, and Williams gets Amherst to go three and out.

Hartwell scoops up a bouncing punt at Amherst's 45 and scoots up to the 27, giving Williams great field position for a chance to tie.

First quarter, 4:39, Amherst 7-0: The Ephs go for it, but a wild throw by Cleary is picked off inside the 10 yard line by Kevin Heller.

A clipping penalty will push Amherst back, but it still amounts to a good stand by Amherst's defense.

First quarter, 4:45, Amherst 7-0: The Ephs begin their second drive with another seven-yard draw by Cleary, but this time they stay with what works. A second decent gain on a quarterback keeper gives Williams its first first down of the game.

Tom Wohlwender bursts up the middle out of the I formation for the Ephs' first big play. On first down, Cleary sidesteps the rush to hit Darren Hartwell coming back across the middle. Another late hit tacks on 15 yards.

Inside the red zone for the first time, Cleary tries to hit Kearny on a fade, but Kearney hooks his arm around the cornerback's shoulders and is whistled for pass interference. The penalty pushes Williams outside the 20, but a pair of incompletions bring up fourth down.

The Ephs take a timeout to consider what would be almost a 50-yard field goal in a stiff wind.

First quarter, 7:59, Amherst 7-0: Bunker shows why he's the top running back in the NESCAC, breaking tackles for a long run down the right sideline. On the very next play, McMahon runs off right tackle, but his gain is negated when he and Bunker can execute the handoff.

McMahon finds Wade McNamara on third and long, however, which keeps the drive moving to Amherst's 46-yard line. Again, the Lord Jeffs convert, this time on third and 13, with a shovel pass to Bunker to Williams' 33.

The Lord Jeffs face another third down and finally one they can't convert. McMahon scrambles and is hit as he throws, forcing Amherst to punt.

First quarter, 10:21, Amherst 7-0: Cleary, who injured his ankle in Week 2, is back in the starting lineup for the final game of his college career. His first snap is a quarterback draw up the middle for seven yards.

The Ephs get a little greedy on third and one, though, and Cleary overthrows Tomas Kearney on a deep pass downfield.

First quarter, 11:54, Amherst 7-0: Ben Kettering, a 6-foot-6 wide receiver, gives Amherst a first down in the red zone on a jump ball from McMahon. On the next play, McMahon keeps and dashes into the end zone for the first score of the game.

First quarter, 12:55, 0-0: Amherst quarterback Brian McMahon leads out the Lord Jeffs in a spread look. He converts a third and long by finding Will Reed, then is hit out of bounds while scrambling on second down. The penalty gives Amherst its second first down of the drive.

12:05 p.m.: The opening coin toss features a ceremonial coin in honor of Mike Reily, a 1964 Williams graduate who died of Hodgkin's disease shortly after graduating in 1964. Reily was a two-time all-American for the Ephs.

Check out an image of the coin below via williams.prestosports.com:

Williams-Amherst Live Blog: Kevin Ferber's Three Sacks, Touchdown Lead Lord Jeffs to 31-18 Victory Over Ephs
Williams wins the toss and chooses to defer.

Noon: In addition to an undefeated season, Amherst can claim sole possession of the NESCAC title with a victory over Williams. Amherst running back Evan Bunker was named NESCAC Player of the Week last week after rushing for 111 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown run, in a 35-28 win over previously unbeaten Trinity.

There appears to be a change at quarterback for Williams. Senior Chris Cleary is warming up as if he is the starter.

11:55 a.m.: It's five minutes to kickoff of the 126th meeting of the Lord Jeffs and the Ephs.

Here are the starting lineups, according to the Williams College athletics website:

Williams College Ephs
 

Offense 
Adam Marske, No. 10, QB
Tom Wohlwender, No. 33, RB
Tim Morris, No. 44, FB
Sam Krieg, No. 45, TE
Cong Tian, No. 69, RT
Pete Christiani, No. 78, RG
Vincent Nistico, No. 60, C
Ryan Loughran, No. 79, LG
Steve Denza, No. 58, LT
Darren Hartwell, No. 1, WR
J.C. Stickney, No. 11, WR

Defense
Dan Canina, No. 92,  DE
Colin Curzi, No. 97, DL
Ben Halbower, No. 99, DL
Dan Vaczy, No. 52, DE
Chris Cameron, No. 7, LB
Dylan Schultz, No. 55, LB
Noah Goldberg, No. 51, LB
Ben Oliva, No. 12, CB
Andre LaFontant, No. 25, CB
Ladd Hamrick, No. 9, FS
Dan O'Mara, No. 21, SS
Greg Payton, No. 82, P
Joseph Mallock, No. 36, PK

Amherst College Lord Jeffs

Offense
Brian McMahon, No. 6, QB
Eric Bunker, No. 4, RB
Stephen Koenig, No. 88, TE
Ben Kettering, No. 84, WR
Will Reed, No. 21, WR
Andrew Reed, No. 11, WR
Rob Wasielewski, No. 73, LT
Jack Reynolds, No. 55, LG
John Ceccio, No. 54, C
Jack MacLennan, No. 77, RG
Ian Mahoney, No. 70, RT

Defense

Trevor Rappa, No. 47, DT                  
Matt Sponheimer, No. 50, N
Kevin Ferber, No. 3, DT
Danny Chun, No. 25, OLB
Matt Pieterse, No. 42, MLB
Sam Clark, No. 34, MLB
Greg Kutzin, No. 33, OLB
Gordie Lockbaum, No. 20, CB
Doug Gebhardt, No. 8, S
Kevin Heller, No. 5, S
Landrus Lewis, No. 1, CB
Matt Rawson, No. 94, P/PK

8 a.m.: The most-played rivalry in NCAA Division III history and the fourth-most played overall enters its 126th edition Saturday.

Williams College (5-2) hosts Amherst (7-0) at Weston Field at noon.

In a flip from last year, the Lord Jeffs are looking to put the finishing touches on a perfect season. The Ephs won 31-16 last year to finish their season undefeated.

Join NESN.com shortly before the noon kickoff for updates and tune in to watch the game on NESN.

Thumbnail photo via williams.prestosports.com

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