Late Rally Falls Short, Football Loses Fifth Straight

The football team’s fourth-quarter comeback effort came up just short, as they lost to Colby 17-12. The Mammoths will look to pick up their first win of the season next week at Tufts.

Late Rally Falls Short, Football Loses Fifth Straight
The football team’s fourth-quarter comeback against Colby fell just short. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.

The Mammoths found their form late in their matchup at Colby this past Saturday, Oct. 15, but still came up just short of their first win of the 2022 season. They will look to get in the win column next week with a matchup at Tufts.

Despite another stellar performance by the Amherst defense, the Mammoths struggled to get on the scoreboard against Colby until a fourth-quarter rally. However, their clutch-time surge ended up being too little too late, and the Mammoths fell to the Mules by a final score of 17-12.

Neither Colby’s nor Amherst’s offenses could get much going in the first half, as the only score of the half was a 34-yard field goal from Conor Kennelly ’23 in its final seconds. The kick put the Mammoths up 3-0 heading into halftime.

After going scoreless in the first half, the Colby offense came out swinging in the second half, and they scored on their first two offensive possessions. With the Mammoths unable to muster a response, an early fourth-quarter field goal put the Mules up 17-3. With only one quarter of play left, Amherst quarterback Mike Piazza ’24 threw an interception deep in Colby territory. With little time on the clock, the Mammoths’ hopes looked bleak. However, the Mammoths’ defense responded strongly — defensive lineman Kemit Fisher ’26 came up with a crucial tackle for loss on third down to force a Colby punt out of their own endzone. On the following play, Adam Tolk ’24 flew in unblocked from the right side of the defense and tackled Colby’s punter while he still had possession of the ball, scoring a safety for the Mammoths. This score made it 17-5 with 9:08 left in the fourth, and gave the Mammoths’ offense the ball back.

After the safety, the Amherst offense jolted into action. They took over possession with great field position at their own 43-yard line following the Colby free-kick. When the Amherst drive almost stalled in Colby territory, they decided to try a risky fourth-down conversion on a fourth-and-nine at the Colby 33-yard line. On the play, Piazza connected with Jack Roberge ’24 for a 10-yard gain and a new set of downs. The Mammoths went for it on fourth down once more later in the same drive, with the ball on the Colby 17. This time, the team faced a fourth-and-four. Piazza stood in the pocket amid the Colby pass-rush and connected with Owen Gaydos ’25 as he was hit to get the first down. Three plays later, Piazza ran up the middle, and despite getting his momentum stopped by the Colby defense, was able to push into the endzone with help from a collection of seven Amherst players behind him. The touchdown made it 17-12 with 5:32 left in the game.

The Amherst rally continued on the defensive side: They forced a Colby punt on their next possession, and the Mammoths got the ball back with 3:38 to go at their own 20-yard line. Piazza completed a screen pass to Roberge, who ran 30 yards after the catch to midfield. However, the Mammoths soon ended up in another fourth-and-long situation following a false start penalty. On fourth-and-eight, Piazza threw a pass to Gaydos which fell incomplete. This gave Colby the ball back with 1:21 to go. While the Mammoths defense again put up a fight and got the team the ball back with 12 seconds left, they were deep in their own territory with no timeouts. The clock ran out in the middle of a 34-yard pass from Piazza to receiver Carson Ochsenhirt ’24, who was tackled well short of the endzone. Despite their mammoth effort, the final score was 17-12.

The loss on Saturday makes it five straight weeks without a win for the Mammoths. The Amherst defense has been strong all season, but the offense has been spotty. Despite their strongest performance of the year last week at Bates, the Mammoths offense struggled for most of the contest at Colby. While the Mammoths still outgained Colby with 337 total yards to the Mules’ 239, they were only 5-19 on third down compared to Colby’s (significantly better) 9-20 conversion rate.

Amherst football will take the field again next week at Tufts in search of their first win of the season. Kickoff in Medford, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Oct. 22, is scheduled for 1 p.m.