Despite Strong Defense, Football Defeated in Home Opener

The Amherst football team took the field for their second game of the season this past weekend, but fell to Colby by a score of 10-7 in a tightly contested defensive battle.

For the first time since 1998, Amherst Football has lost to the Colby College Mules. After 22 consecutive victories in as many seasons, the Mammoths were defeated 10-7 on Pratt Field on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The Mules came out of the gate firing, forcing a three-and-out on the first Amherst drive. They then put together a 13-play drive of 71 yards ending in a two-yard touchdown run. Both defenses stood strong for the rest of the first quarter with neither team able to string together multiple first downs.

In the second quarter, the Mammoths drove deep into Colby territory but a huge interception by the Mules on fourth down stopped Amherst from getting points on the board. The Amherst defense responded to the pick by stuffing Colby, which forced a poor punt and helped the Mammoths retain possession of the ball in Colby territory. Quarterback Chad Peterson ’23 and senior tailback Kellen Field ’22 took advantage of the great field position, rushing on four consecutive plays to gain all 46 yards needed to score. Field capped off the drive with an eight-yard rushing touchdown and Conor Kennelly ’23 added the extra point. Strong defensive play by both teams for the rest of the quarter left the score tied heading into halftime.

The third quarter saw a continuation of excellent defensive plays as the Mammoths held Colby just two first downs in the third quarter. The Mammoths put together a drive late in the third quarter and into the beginning of the fourth quarter but wide receiver Turner Garland ’22 was tackled a yard short on fourth and twelve on the Colby 17-yard-line. Using the momentum from their big fourth down stop, the Colby offense drove 62 yards to set up a 38-yard field goal with just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. After getting stopped on the next drive, Amherst punter ​​Michael Mitchell ’25 pinned the Mules deep, back to their own five-yard line. The Amherst defense stood tall forcing another poor punt to the Colby 41 yard-line. The Mammoths got the ball with 3:35 left to go in the game and took it down to the Colby 13 before quarterback Brad Breckenridge’s ’24  pass was intercepted on the one-yard line with 25 seconds left. Colby ran out the clock to finish the game.

The Amherst defense was stellar in this game, holding Colby to just 170 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. Leading the way were linebackers Tim Swope ’24 and Joe Kelley ’22 as Swope had 12 tackles with 2.5 sacks and Kelley added seven tackles including 1.5 for loss. Offensively, the quarterbacking duo of Peterson and Breckenridge combined for 164 yards through the air and another 39 yards on the ground. Amherst combined for 101 yards on the ground led by Kellen Field’s 34 yards. Carsen Ochsenhirt ’23 led the Mammoth receiving core with 3 catches for 38 yards. The struggle for Amherst came in the red zone as they turned the ball over twice inside the Colby 20-yard line, unable to capitalize on their best scoring opportunities. The Mammoths (1-1) will take on Tufts (0-2) at home next Saturday, Oct. 2, and will be looking to get back in the win column against the Jumbos.