Live Blog: Amherst Beats Williams, Finishes Perfect Season

by abournenesn

November 14, 2009

Live Blog: Amherst Beats Williams, Finishes Perfect Season Final, Jeffs 26, Ephs 21: That will do it from Williamstown as the Jeffs finish off their perfect season at 8-0.

Fourth quarter, 1:13: The Ephs can't reach the first down on the short pass to tight end John Carroll along the left side as he gets wrapped up about one yard short. The Jeffs can now just run out the clock and hang onto the win.

Fourth quarter, 1:18: Lupo takes it to the right on third and seven but manages just three yards. The Ephs are now fourth and four with the game on the line from the Jeffs' 23.

Fourth quarter, 3:44: Just when it looked as though Amherst was on their way to slowly killing off the clock, the Jeffs fumble it away and the Ephs' Will Cronin jumps on it to bring the crowd to its feet. Williams as just under four minutes to cut the 26-21 lead down.

Fourth quarter, 5:04: The Jeffs are turning to the running game in an attempt to kill the clock. This isn't an easy feat today with the muddy field but Vetras was able to run a quarterback draw and grab a first down along the right sideline.

Fourth quarter, 8:26: On third and 26, Dan Savage dropped a first down pass by Vetras. Savage, a senior, just gave the Ephs another chance as the Jeffs had to punt it off.

Fourth quarter, 10:12: Vetras and the Jeffs come right out and answer with a 22-yard strike to Murphy along the right sideline.

Fourth quarter, Jeffs 26, Ephs 21, 10:23: Moffitt keeps it himself and rushes in after selling the pass to bring things within five points. Solid work by the O-line on that tally.

Fourth quarter, 10:39: Bennett makes a big play after the catch as he evades a few tackles and stretches all the way to the Amherst four-yard line.

Fourth quarter, 12:37: Lupo now has 91 rushing yards and continues to do all he can to get these Ephs out of their current offensive funk.

Fourth quarter, Jeffs 26, Ephs 14, 13:41: The Jeffs get on the board again as Vetras hits Murphy for a 10-yard score in the back corner of the endzone. The ball slipped right through the hands of an Ephs defender and right into Murphy's hands. The two-point conversion was no good but the Jeffs now own a 12-point lead.

Fourth quarter, 13:59: Vetras unloads another deep ball as he finds Andre Gary who knocks the short throw with his left hand over the defender's head before grabbing it for the big gain down the right sideline.

Fourth quarter, 14:51: Just like that, it's another Ephs turnover as Fred Argir comes up with a pick and the Jeffs' offense gets another chance at paydirt. Argir ripped the ball out of Bennett's hands after the Eph leaped in the air and snared it.

Fourth quarter, 15:00, Jeffs 20, Ephs 14: After a high-flying second quarter, the two teams managed just three points in the third frame as we enter the fourth quarter.

Third quarter, 0:59: Vetras hooks up with Murphy on third and 10 but Murphy gets wrapped up and is three yards shy of the first down. Rawson came in for the field goal attempt but missed wide left to keep it a six-point game.

Third quarter, 2:26: Coyne gets picked off by Edwards, who now has two picks on the afternoon for the Jeffs. Edwards dove in front of Ephs wideout Jamal Jefferson.

Third quarter, 2:52, Jeffs 20, Ephs 14: On third and six from the Williams' 12-yard line, Vetras couldn't hook up with his wide out and the Jeffs were forced to kick the field goal.

Third quarter, 5:22: Vetras connects on another deep ball, this time hooking up with Kevin Heller

for 39 yards. Vetras was able to get the ball away as the Ephs brought the blitz and the QB stood tall and took a big hit just as he released it. Heller made an incredible grab as he was tightly guarded by the Ephs' defender.

Third quarter, 7:00: Eric Pender gets in on the action as he sacks Moffitt on third and eight to force the Ephs to punt it away.

Third quarter, 7:11: Ferber, who had a sack earlier, takes down Lupo for a loss of yards.

Third quarter, 9:26: Moffitt hits J.C. Stickney for a 13-yard gain on the run on third and eight to pick up a big first down. Moffitt has looked very strong on the move.

Third quarter, 11:00: The Jeffs grab the ball back after Williams went for it on fourth and one but came up short. Let's see if the big defensive play can spark some more offense for the Jeffs.

Third quarter, 12:46: Bennett almost grabbed another score on an Ephs flea-flicker. The wide out was able to get both hands on the deep pass in the endzone but as he came back down with it, the impact knocked the ball loose.

Third quarter, 14: 09: Ryan Lupo is looking to get things going for the Ephs' running game as he broke out with 15 yards on two carries to start the second half.

Third quarter, 15:00: Both teams have completed 12-of-18 pass attempts heading into the second half. Williams' Coyne and Moffitt combo will get the first crack at improving this number as the Ephs get the ball first here in the third.

Halftime, Jeffs 17, Ephs 14: Thanks to 14 unanswered points by the Jeffs, the visitors own a three-point lead heading into the locker room.

Things are going well on the ground for either team as the Jeffs have just 46 net yards rushing compared to the Ephs' 15 net yards rushing.

Second quarter, 1:47: The Moffitt-Coyne duo has cooled off here as the Ephs again are forced to punt it away. It appears that the Jeffs needed a quarter to wake up.

Second quarter, 4:00: A lot of credit goes to Vincent DiForte on the play as he was the one who put a hit on the Ephs punter to allow Bunker to scoop it up.

Second quarter, 4:06, Jeffs 17, Ephs 14: After a bad snap on an Ephs' punt attempt, Eric Bunker scooped up the loose ball and took it in for the score to give the Jeffs the lead.

Thats two big plays in the quarter for the Jeffs who are attempting to keep their perfect season going.

Second quarter, 6:01: The Jeffs couldn't get anything going as the Ephs' offense heads back on the field. Both teams' defensive units are starting to step up after the 24-point early outburst.

Second quarter, 8:46: That 70-yard strike wasn't even Reed's longest play of the season as he had an 80-yarder earlier this season.

Looks like Amherst has gained all of the momentum here halfway through the second frame as the Ephs go three-and-out and hand it back to the Jeffs.

Second quarter, 9:50, Ephs 14, Jeffs 10: On 1st and 10 from his own 30, Vetras hits sophomore wide out Andrew Reed in stride at the Ephs' 35 before Reed shook off a tackle and found his way into the endzone for the huge 70-yard touchdown strike.

Second quarter, 10:26: E.J. Mills' offense is back on the field as Amherst needs a big play to get back on track.

Second quarter, 11:50: The Amherst defense is making a stand as Nick Edwards comes up with a big defensive stop on the Ephs followed by a Kevin Ferber sack — his seventh of the season.

Second quarter, 13:36: The Jeffs are having problems offensively as they can't seem to get things going. The Amherst offense appeared to be ready for a high-scoring affair after their opening drive but they are clearly struggling.

Second quarter, 13:52, Ephs 14, Jeffs 3: Bennett grabs a great pass from Moffitt in the back corner of the endzone for a 28-yard score.

Bennett juggled the ball for an instant but was able to keep it under control while staying in bounds.

Second quarter, 15:00: That concludes the first quarter as the Ephs own a 7-3 lead and have 127 total net yards to the Jeff's 61.

First quarter, 1:25: Amherst couldn't get anything going so now it's the Ephs turn as they took the ball back after a 32-yard punt by Matt Eberhart.

First quarter, 3:25: Moffitt finds B.J. Griffin on the move for a nice 18-yard gain to get into Jeff's territory. However, Amherst's Nick Edwards picks off Moffitt on the next play for his third pick of the year to stall the drive and take over from their own 16.

First quarter, 4:23: The Ephs almost had a huge gain as Bennett broke down the left sideline after breaking a tackle. Bennett took a short pass from Moffitt but stepped out of bounds at his own 48.

First quarter, 5:05: Eric and Doug point out how the (grass) field is holding up well so far despite the earlier showers. Despite a few divots, the field shouldn't be a factor in this one.

First quarter, 5:28, Ephs 7, Jeffs 3: It's Moffitt-to-Bennett once again as they run a slant-and-go to beat the Jeffs' secondary and find the endzone with a 24-yard strike.

First quarter, 6:12: Moffitt finds Bryce Bennett for a 14-yard gain and a first down to bring the Ephs to the Jeff's 23.

First quarter, 9:11: Williams quarterback Pat Moffitt finds Ryan Lupo for a 12-yard gain and an Ephs first down.

Moffitt is the starter and is a classic slinger while the Ephs also send in backup Matt Coyne quite often. Coyne is more athletic and is a threat with his legs as well as his arm.

First quarter, 9:22, Jeffs 3, Ephs, 0: Jeffs' kicker Matt Rawson drills the field goal to cap-off a strong first drive and put the visitors up 3-0.

Vetras and receiver Brian Murphy connected on an 11-yard gain but the Jeffs needed 14 for the first down, so settled for the 3-pointer.

First quarter: Quarterback Alex Vetras hooks up with Brandon Bullock for a big first down to put the Jeffs just shy of the Ephs' 20-yard line.

First quarter, kickoff: The Lord Jeffs will start things off at their own 30 yard line after a minimal opening kickoff return.

12:03 p.m.: We're just about ready to go in Williamstown with Frede-O (Eric Frede) and Flutie (Doug Flutie) getting the call in the NESN booth above Weston Field.

The weather appears to be a non-factor for this rivalry as things cleared up following a rainy morning.

10:52 a.m.: There's a lot more on the line this year than bragging rights as the Lord Jeffs have a chance to go undefeated. Here's a quick look at this game by the numbers, thanks to Dick Quinn from Williams:

31.1/19.4: Points per game for Ephs (1st in NESCAC)/Lord Jeffs.

13.3/8.9: Points allowed per game for Ephs (2nd in NESCAC)/Lord Jeffs (1st in NESCAC).

222.3/207.4: Passing yards per game for Ephs/Lord Jeffs.

177.7/227.9: Passing yards allowed per game for Ephs (2nd in NESCAC)/Lord Jeffs.

169.7/79.3: Rushing yards per game for Ephs (1st in NESCAC)/Lord Jeffs.

68.0/44.4: Rushing yards allowed per game for Ephs/Lord Jeffs (1st in NESCAC).

Plus-6: Turnover margin for both Ephs and Lord Jeffs (leads NESCAC).

104.4: Yards per game for Ephs? first-year starter Ryan Lupo (leads NESCAC).

128.5: Pass efficiency rating for Ephs? Pat Moffitt (3rd in NESCAC).

39.5: Average yards per punt for Ephs? Will Cronin (leads NESCAC).

Interceptions for Lord Jeffs? Fred Argir (tied for 1st in NESCAC).

8: Total sacks each for Lord Jeffs? Edwin Urey and Jeff Katz (lead NESCAC).

82: Total tackles for Lord Jeff?s Mike Taylor (2nd in NESCAC).

301/288: Total yards in last year?s matchup for Ephs/Lord Jeffs.

6/14: Total tackles in last year?s matchup for Ephs? Pat Barren/Lord Jeffs? Mike Taylor.

245.7/272.3: Total yards per game allowed by Ephs (1st in NESCAC)/Lord Jeffs (2nd in NESCAC).

1: Little Three title /NESCAC championship on the line.

9:26 a.m.: Here's a quick glance at the projected starting lineups for this afternoon's battle:

Williams College Ephs

TE: Jon Carroll, No. 86
T:  Steve Denza, No. 58
G: Simon Kloeckner, No. 65
C: Tim Bishop, No. 64
G: Kevin Rose, No. 73
T: Mike McGuire, No. 54
RB: Ryan Lupo, No. 23
QB: Patrick Moffitt, No. 5
WR: Nick Caro, No. 22
WR: Bryce Bennett, No. 8
WR: J.C. Stickney, No. 11
DE: Tim Kiely, No. 30
DT: Colin Curzi, No. 97
DT: Ben Halbower, No. 99
DE: Dan Canina, No. 92
LB: Dan Johnson, No. 37
LB: Dylan Schultz, No. 55
LB: Chris Cameron, No. 42
DB: Ben Oliva, No. 12
DB: Dan O'Mara, No. 21
DB: Will Cronin, No. 9
DB: Matt Zanedis, No. 27

PK: Scott Sobolewski, No. 94
P: Will Cronin, No. 9

Amherst College Lord Jeffs
WR: Brian Murphy, No. 4
WR: Sean Legister, No. 89
WR: Brandon Bullock, No. 21
TE: Dan Savage, No. 80
RB: Aaron Rauh, No. 11
LT: Wyatt Moss, No. 57
LG: Rick Morgan, No. 62
C: John Ceccio, No. 54
RG: Marcus Richtel, No. 76
RT: Ian Mahoney, No. 70
QB: Alex Vetras, No. 12
P/K: Matt Rawson, No. 94

DT: Edwin Urey, No. 99
NG: Tom Grossi, No. 97
DT : Eric Pender, No. 92
ILB: Mike Taylor, No. 40
ILB: Brandon Quinn, No. 31
OLB: Jeff Katz , No. 98
OLB: Sam Clark, No. 34
CB: Nick Edwards, No. 25
CB: Fran Florio, No. 24
S: Chris Govey, No. 10
S: Fred Argir, No. 3

PR: Femi Oyalowo, No. 5

Nov. 13, 4:10 p.m.: Amherst head coach E.J. Mills has taken some time to answer a few questions for as well. Sitting at 7-0 is a good place to be. How do you keep the players' focused as you rattle off win after win?

E.J. Mills: We have talked about staying in the moment from the first day of camp — WIN! — "What?s Important Now."

That's been our mantra. We have looked at each week as a process — get better each day throughout the week and peak on Saturday — that has been the recipe, and we have not strayed from that this week. You obviously have a quite a history at Amherst. What are some rivalry moments that stick out in your memory?

Mills: 1997 was my first year as head coach, and we lost an epic battle 48-46 to finish 7-1. That game will always stick with me. The 2000 game was our first win over Williams in 13 years, and that was an amazing feeling. Each game is special — we have not won enough of them — and we hope to change that on Saturday. What are some of the matchups that you're most concerned with heading into this weekend's game?

Mills: Offensively, Amherst has been awesome the past five weeks — and they have been just as good on defense. I am concerned about every phase, but I believe we are pretty good as well, so I am excited to see how our kids react on this type of stage. In our world, it does not get any bigger.

Thanks go out to coach E.J. Mills for taking time to talk with us.

Nov. 13, 12:49 p.m.: Williams head coach Mike Whalen was kind enough to take a few minutes on Friday afternoon to answer some questions for Going in against a team that hasn't lost yet, what are you looking for in terms of finding a way to solve Amherst?

Whalen: Amherst is an outstanding football team and they have found a way to win for seven weeks in a row. Their defense is outstanding and has been almost impossible to score against in the red zone. Our plan is to continue to do what has been successful for us this season. We must be balanced with the run and the pass on offense and continue to be strong both on defense and special teams. You've outscored opponents 106-14 in the past three games. Is it safe to say you're playing your best football at the most important time of the year?

Whalen: I think that we know to be competitive. In this game, we will need to play our best overall game this season. Our trademark has been our ability to have players step up in this game and make plays. I also think that the leadership of the senior class is very important as well. When the seniors create that sense of urgency in their final game, some of the underclassmen rise up to the challenge for them. You had a perfect season of your own just a few short years ago. Would preventing Amherst from reaching that mark serve as some more inspiration for winning this weekend?

Whalen: I know how difficult it is to go undefeated, so I have a great deal of respect for Coach [E.J.] Mills, his staff and their players. After our loss in week two at Trinity, we didn't think we would have this type of opportunity this season. So to have a chance to play for the Little Three, NESCAC and possible New England Championship is more then we could ask for.

Thanks go out to Whalen for giving us some of his time in preparation for Saturday's game.

Nov. 11, 6:45 p.m.: The Biggest Little Game in America returns to NESN for the 14th straight year as the Williams Ephs (6-1) host the Amherst Lord Jeffs (7-0) for the 124th contest of what many consider the greatest and most storied rivalry in sports. Kickoff is this Saturday, Nov. 14, at noon.

Williams leads the series 70-48-5 and has won the past four battles, including last year's 24-23 slim win and a 20-0 shutout in 2007 — a game that ESPN's College Gameday was on location for.

Amherst and its immovable defense has a good chance to snap its winless streak as the Lord Jeffs enter the game at a perfect 7-0, but they haven't been able to win in Williamstown since 1985. Williams has the top scoring offense, so this game is destined to be a memorable one.

Here's a list of every result dating back to the 1800s, and below is a brief history of the rivalry, courtesy of the Williams athletics Web site, to get your competitive juices flowing:

"THE RIVALRY:  Began in 1818 when some members of the Williams Board of Trustees decided to move the college east into the Pioneer Valley. When the Massachusetts State Legislature turned down the request to re-locate the college further east, then Eph president, Zepheniah Swift Moore resigned and headed east with some Williams faculty members, students and library books to found Amherst Academy, which later became Amherst College.

As a result of the Moore defection the first college alumni society in the world was launched at Williams in 1821 to save the college. At Williams, Amherst teams are known as The Defectors and not the Lord Jeffs.

What other rivalry in this great nation had to have its News Directors decide the outcome of games played 80 years earlier? For many years the Ephs and Lord Jeffs reported different won-loss totals until 1964 when John English of Williams and Horace Hewlett of Amherst finally resolved the scores of the games in 1884, 1886, 1887, 1890, 1891, 1896, 1897, 1918 and 1925."

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