On paper, Saturday’s matchup between the 0-5 Colby Mules and the 5-0 Amherst Mammoths was a huge mismatch, and from the first whistle the gap in class between the programs was visible.
The Mammoths utilized their NESCAC-leading defense and an impressive outing from junior running back Biafra Okoronkwo to overpower the Mules, leading to a resounding 35-9 victory. Amherst’s defense was tested early, as Colby drove into Mammoth territory with ease on the opening drive. However, the Mules came up one yard short on a fourth-and-6 from the 34-yard line, and though the Mammoths weren’t able to capitalize on their first drive of the game, Amherst opened the scoring on its second drive thanks to a 70-yard run by Okoronkwo. After holding Colby to a three-and-out, Amherst doubled its lead as quarterback Ollie Eberth ’20 connected with wideout James O’Regan ’21 for a 31-yard touchdown.
The second quarter was much of the same for Amherst. After the teams exchanged three-and-outs to open the frame, Eberth found Bo Berluti ’19 in the endzone from five yards out for the Mammoths’ third score of the game. After another defensive stop, Eberth drove Amherst down to the Mules’ 1-yard line before punching it in himself to extend the lead to 28-0. Although Colby got on the board with a field goal right before the halftime whistle blew, the Mammoths took a comfortable 28-3 lead into the locker room. Amherst showed no complacency at the start of the second half, as it took the Mammoths only four plays to go 89 yards, capped off by a 44-yard touchdown pass from Eberth to Berluti.
Colby finally found the endzone on its next drive, scoring its only touchdown of the game on a seven-yard throw from quarterback Matt Hersch to cut the lead to 35-9, but these were the last points of the game for either team. Amherst relied on its running game to kill the clock, with both teams stagnating offensively for much of the last two quarters.
The closest either team came to scoring came late in the fourth quarter, when backup quarterback Nick Morales ’19 was picked off in the red zone by Colby’s Dylan James. When the final whistle sounded, Amherst had secured its fifth consecutive win with a 35-9 victory.
Okoronkwo had a prodigious game on the ground, rushing for 185 yards on just 15 carries and scoring a touchdown. Eberth had a great performance as well, totaling four touchdowns (three passing and one rushing) and completing 11-of-19 passes for 194 yards. O’Regan and Berluti were his go-to receivers, combining for nine catches, 182 yards and three touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Andrew Sommer ’19 led the team with nine tackles, and Joe Kelly ’21 recorded 1.5 tackles for loss, including a sack. With the victory over Colby, Amherst sits alone at the top in NESCAC standings, with Trinity, Tufts, and Williams in a three-way tie for second after both the Ephs and the Jumbos lost this weekend.
The Mammoths now enter the gauntlet of their schedule as they will travel to Middletown, Connecticut to square off against 3-2 Wesleyan on Saturday, October 20 at 1 p.m.