Dominant Defense Leads Football Past Hamilton, 21-0

Behind an impressive defensive performance, football earned a 21-0 victory against Hamilton College on Oct. 23. The Mammoths held the Continentals to just 305 yards of offense, while also intercepting four passes.

The football team cruised their way to a 21-0 win over Hamilton at home on Saturday, Oct. 23. The defense was the dominant unit for the Mammoths in this game, holding the Continentals to only 305 yards of total offense in the game.

The Mammoths’ secondary came to play, intercepting four passes on the day, including a pick-six by Ricky Goodson ’22. One of the Mammoths’ team captains, Goodson led the defense with two interceptions, three pass breakups, and three tackles, and helped to set the tone for the game defensively. Returning to the lineup after missing the past two games due to injury, quarterback Brad Breckenridge ’24 got the Mammoth offense moving again after the unit notched a subpar game last week at Bowdoin.

In stark contrast to last week’s contest, the Mammoths were able to move the ball well in the first half but still struggled to convert in the red zone early in the game. Hamilton blocked three consecutive field goals in the first half, keeping the score tied at zero through the end of the first quarter. However, the Amherst defense helped to weather the offensive woes, continually forcing turnovers throughout the first half.

Impressively, the defense recorded interceptions on four consecutive Hamilton drives, giving the offense great field position on multiple occasions. Goodson’s first interception and stellar return got the Mammoths the ball on Hamilton’s 14-yard-line. A few plays later, Breckenridge took a quarterback sneak into the end zone on a huge fourth down conversion, giving the Mammoths a 7-0 lead. Two plays later, Goodson got his second interception and streaked down the sideline for 30 yards and a touchdown to widen the Mammoth lead. Neither team could muster any offense for the rest of the second quarter, and Amherst went into halftime up 14 points.

The second half saw the Mammoth defense continue to excel, stuffing Hamilton on every drive despite the Continentals winning the time-of-possession battle. The offense finally put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, scoring on their first drive of the quarter. Tailback Louie Eckelkamp ’24 took his first carry of the game 33 yards for a touchdown to put Amherst up 21 points. From there, the defense kept Hamilton off the scoreboard to finish the game with a score of 21-0.

The Mammoth offense did what it needed to do to get the win on Saturday. With the defense locking Hamilton’s offense down, Breckenridge and company were able to take advantage of good field position and string together a clutch fourth-quarter drive to win the game. Breckenridge threw for 183 yards, and also ran for 31 yards and a score. Kellen Field ’22 led the Mammoths with 88 rushing yards, and is now fourth in the conference in rushing. Carson Ochsenhirt ’23 had four catches for 83 yards to lead all Amherst receivers. The Mammoth defense played one of their best games of the year to shut out the Hamilton offense. Goodson earned NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week for his stellar performance. Not to be outdone, the defensive line and linebackers were flying around the field, recording 11 tackles for loss, including seven sacks. Defensive backs Ryan Monteleone ’24 and Logan Shooster ’23 each caught an interception, and the Mammoths defense as a whole stopped Hamilton three times on fourth downs and were relentless in the red zone. The team will look to build on this success next week. However, the whole team will face a tough task when they take on undefeated Wesleyan on the road Saturday, Oct. 30, with kickoff slated for 1:00 p.m.