Quad-captain Fletcher Ladd ’04 once again led the Jeffs’ offensive attack with a game-high 138 rushing yards on just 20 carries. Ladd’s performance put him over the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
Quarterback Marsh Moseley ’05 registered yet another quality start, as the Jeffs’ signal-caller went 15-23-192 and one touchdown. Moseley has yet to throw an interception this season.
The Jeffs appeared to get off to a strong start on their opening drive as Ladd’s legs and Moseley’s arm helped move Amherst well inside Bowdoin territory. But the drive stalled just outside the red zone and junior kicker David Bodner pushed his 38-yard field goal attempt to keep the game scoreless.
Amherst would have to wait until early in the second quarter to make its first impression on the scoreboard. Facing a second-and-twenty two at the Bowdoin 38-yard line, Moseley connected with junior wide receiver Jay Wagstaff along the Amherst sideline for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, Ladd rumbled into the end zone to give the Jeffs a lead they would not relinquish.
Bowdoin mounted its first solid drive of the afternoon in direct response to the Jeff score. Polar Bear quarterback Tom McMahon drove his team 44 yards down to the Amherst 36, but the Bowdoin threat came to an abrupt end courtesy of a crushing sack by linebacker Dan McNamara ’04. McMahon was unable to hold on to the football, and Gavin Weeks ’06 pounced on the loose ball to return possession to Amherst.
Amherst promptly marched the ball all the way back down to the Polar Bear 12-yard line, but Moseley was sacked for an eight-yard loss on third-and-two and Bodner’s subsequent field goal attempt was blocked to keep Bowdoin within striking distance.
Amherst took its narrow 7-0 lead into the half but was able to pull away from the visiting team early in the third quarter. Bowdoin received the ball to start the half, but McMahon once again lost the ball when sacked. Junior cornerback Rob Walsh scooped up the ball and raced 40 yards for an apparent touchdown, which was called back on a questionable illegal block call: Amherst could keep the ball, but not the touchdown.
The Jeff offense rectified this injustice on the next play, as Moseley threw a beautiful ball over the middle to wide out Jim Devine ’04, who out-ran several defenders to complete the 51-yard touchdown play. This marked the second time in as many weeks that Moseley and Devine teamed up for a touchdown.
Bowdoin showed some signs of life on offense midway through the quarter when Bowdoin receiver Jeff Nolin came down with a McMahon toss while seemingly smothered by two defenders. The 38-yard play put Bowdoin inside Amherst territory, but once again Head Coach E.J. Mills’ “bend but don’t break” defense was able to make a play to thwart Bowdoin. This time, it was a diving interception by quad-captain linebacker Ed Sylvester ’04 that put the Jeff faithful at ease.
Amherst’s final touchdown of the afternoon came after a back-breaking drive in the fourth quarter. The Jeffs marched 73 yards on eight plays in four minutes to record the touchdown. All eight plays were runs by junior halfback Matt Monteith. Late in the game, the Bowdoin defense was simply worn down.
Amherst accumulated 455 yards of total offense while surrendering just 217. McNamara paced the defense with 13 tackles, while Sylvester added 12.
However, Amherst did commit nine penalties for 61 yards. “We need to eliminate penalties on offense if we plan on sustaining drives,” said Ladd.
On defense, Coach Mills was pleased that his team has yet to allow a point, but stressed that there was still room for a lot of improvement. “Defensively, we didn’t create any field position for the offense,” said Mills.
This Saturday, the Jeffs will host the Panthers of Middlebury College at Pratt Field. Middlebury is currently 0-2 after dropping a tough 15-13 decision against Colby College last week. Middlebury traditionally plays Amherst very tough and this week’s matchup figures to be no exception.
“[Middlebury is] a good football team, they aren’t an 0-2 team,” said Mills. “They need to turn the corner; they need a win as much as anybody. That scares you.”
“The pair of shutouts were great, but we definitely have a long way to go,” said Sylvester.