Amherst Holds on to Defeat Wesleyan on Homecoming, 27-18

Amherst Holds on to Defeat Wesleyan on Homecoming, 27-18

AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst College football team bounced back from a halftime deficit to defeat Little Three rival Wesleyan University Saturday on Homecoming Weekend, 27-18.

RECORDS
Amherst: 5-0 (3-0 home, 2-0 away)
Wesleyan: 4-1 (2-1 home, 1-1 away)

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Trailing 12-7 at halftime, the Purple & White scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter. Reece Foy '18 found Jackson McGonagle '16 for a 33-yard score, and followed up with a 65-yard touchdown to Devin Boehm '17 just 2:12 apart. 
  • Wesleyan held a 392-320 advantage in total offense and 38:46-21:14 edge in time of possession.
  • Foy struggled early on and threw three interceptions in the game, but he remained resilient and finished with three crucial touchdown passes to finish with 202 yards on 9-of-20 attempts. His favorite target was McGonagle, who finished with a game-high 91 receiving yards on only four catches, including two deep touchdowns of 40 and 33 yards.
  • The Purple & White rushed for 118 yards and were led by Nick Kelly '17 who gained 62 on only seven carries, including an impressive 30-yarder late in the fourth quarter which led to an Amherst score.
  • Defensively, Tom Kleyn '16 finished with an impressive 18 tackles (9 solo, 9 assisted), and also recovered a fumble. Jack Drew '17 had a career day as well and finished with 13 tackles (8 solo, 5 assisted). Three others recorded nine each, including Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn '16 who also blocked a field goal in the final second of the first half.
  • For Wesleyan, Gernald Hawkins went 19-of-32 for 147 yards passing (0 TD, 0 INT), while also rushing for a game-high 85 yards on 21 carries. He connected with Mike Breuler five times for 86 yards, and also caught a receiving touchdown from wide receiver Devon Carrillo on a trick-play.
  • Jon Spivey led the team with nine tackles (5 solo, 4 assisted), while Jordan Stone finished with two sacks. Brandon Morris also blocked a punt.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS

  • Wesleyan's defense came out strong to start the game and picked off the Purple & White on their first two possessions. The second interception occurred deep in Amherst territory as the Cardinals capitalized three plays later with a one-yard touchdown run by Carrillo. However, Wesleyan missed the extra-point.
  • The Purple & White went three-and-out on its following drive, and Wesleyan took advantage. After regaining possession at its own 12-yardline, the visitor's marched down the field and capped off a 19-play, 71-yard drive with a 34-yard field goal to take a 9-0 lead.
  • Another Amherst interception just under four minutes later gave the Cardinals possession at their own-32. Following a 54-yard completion to Breuler on the first play of the drive, Amherst's defense held strong and forced a Wesleyan field goal as Ike Fuchs kicked one from 27-yards out.
  • Trailing by 12, Amherst's offense came alive just three plays later when Foy threw one deep to McGonagle who continues to make big plays. The 6-3 wide receiver pulled in Amherst's first touchdown of the game on a perfect pass from Foy to cut the deficit to five.
  • Following a three-and-out, Amherst got the ball back but was forced to punt. Kicking from the home-43 yardline, McGonagle's attempt was blocked by Morris as Wesleyan took over with 1:17 to play in the half. Two rushes for 10 yards, including an Amherst penalty, brought the visitor's to the Amherst-5 yardline. The Cardinals let the clock go down to one second before calling a timeout, but their 22-yard attempt was blocked by Fairfield-Sonn to give Amherst momentum as both teams entered the locker room.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS

  • After forcing an Amherst three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, Wesleyan fumbled on its first play as Kleyn picked it up. The next play resulted in a 33-yard touchdown score from Foy to McGonagle to give the home team a 14-12 advantage.
  • The Purple & White forced a three-and-out, and regained possession at its own-35. After an eight-yard run by Adinkra, Foy tossed it deep once again to an open Boehm who beat his one-on-one coverage and sprinted past the defender on the way to the endzone. Following the extra point attempt, Amherst went ahead 21-12.
  • After four consecutive drives that resulted in punts, Wesleyan strung together an impressive drive early in the fourth quarter that was capped off by a six-yard touchdown run from Hawkins. However, the extra-point attempt went wide left.
  • Amherst retaliated just 5:08 later. Facing 2nd-and-20 at its own 23-yardline, Foy found Kelly for a 16-yard gain. With no one open down field, Foy ran for nine yards and the first down on the next play. Facing another third-down, the sophomore took a big hit but completed an 18-yarder to Nick Widen '17 to keep the drive going. Two plays later, Kelly stayed on his feet and crossed some defenders on a shifty move from the right sideline back to the middle of the field for an impressive 30-yard gain. Rory Walsh '17 capped off the drive with his first career rush, and first career touchdown to inevitably seal the win with only 3:05 remaining.  

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

  • Prior to the game, Amherst College celebrated the dedication of Lehrman Stadium.
  • Today's game marked the 121st meeting between Amherst and Wesleyan. The Purple & White are now 70-42-9 all-time against their Little Three rival, and have won 12 of the last 13 meetings.
  • Amherst's consecutive win streak improves to 16 overall – a program record.

UP NEXT

  • Amherst returns to the field Saturday, Oct. 31 and will head to Medford, Mass. to face Tufts (4-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
  • Wesleyan is back in action next Saturday to face Bowdoin (1-4) on the road at 12:30 p.m.

(Photos by Clarus Studios, Inc.)