AMHERST, Mass. – Amherst College sophomore quarterback Nick Morales was 23-of-34 for 323 yards and three touchdowns including a 69-yard strike to Bo Berluti '19 as the Purple & White amassed 525 yards of total offense and cruised to a 41-0 victory over Colby College Saturday afternoon at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium.
With the win, Amherst improves to 3-1 on the season, while Colby moves to 1-3 overall. The Purple & White return to action next Saturday, Oct. 22 when they travel to Little III rival Wesleyan University for a 1 p.m. tilt with the Cardinals.
Colby won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. After both teams exchanged punts on their opening possessions, Amherst marched 91 yards on nine plays highlighted by a 40-yard pass down the home sideline from Morales to Berluti on the first play of the drive. Jack Hickey '19 then rushed for 12 yards, and Morales later hit Devin Boehm '17 for 16 yards setting up a first and 10 for the Purple & White at the Colby 11-yardline. Hickey moved Amherst three yards closer before Morales connected with Berluti for an 8-yard score to give the Purple & White a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
After forcing another punt on the Mules' next possession, Amherst began its next drive from its own 31-yardline. Morales hit Berluti for a quick scoring strike on the first play of the sequence as the sophomore receiver raced 69 yards to pay dirt to give the hosts a 14-0 lead at the 6:36 mark of the first quarter.
The first quarter also saw both teams exchange fumbles as Justin Lamere forced an Amherst miscue that was recovered by Jack Colleran on the 50-yardline. Three plays later, Colby's drive stalled when Stefan Soucy '17 forced a fumble by a Mules' wide receiver that was recovered by Zach Allen '19 to give the Purple & White the ball back with 4:07 to play in the first frame.
Amherst added three points on its next possession (its first drive of the second quarter) as John Rak '19 converted a 17-yard field goal to cap an 11-play, 41-yard drive that took up 5:21 of the clock and gave the Purple & White a 17-0 advantage with 9:33 to play in the half. Rak contributed another field goal attempt – this one from 19 yards out – with just seven seconds on the clock as Amherst held a 20-0 lead at intermission.
After Amherst's stingy defense forced a three-and-out by the Mules on their first drive of the second half, Boehm notched a 12-yard punt return setting up Amherst's first drive of the second half at the Colby 42-yardline. Three plays later, Morales tossed his third touchdown pass of the afternoon – a 29-yard heave to Nick Widen '17 who was all alone in the end zone giving the Purple & White a commanding, 27-0 cushion.
With 4:48 left to play in the third quarter, Parker Chapman '17 stepped in front of a Christian Sparacio pass at the Purple & White's 49-yardline. After moving the ball down to the Colby 11-yardline following a 14-yard dash by Hickey, the sophomore capped the six-play drive with an 11-yard carry into the end zone extending the lead to 34-0 after three periods of play.
Late in the fourth quarter, following an interception by Derek Ward '17 on the Amherst 31-yard line, first-year quarterback Ollie Eberth drove the Purple & White 69 yards in seven plays, including quarterback keepers of 11 yards and six yards, before Sam Amaka '19 legged out a 38-yard run for a touchdown to set the final score at 41-0.
- Amherst held a commanding 525-112 differential in yards of total offense, as the Purple & White defense proved to be sensational, holding Colby to just 87 yards through the air, and 25 yards on the ground. The Purple & White also edged the Mules, 31:51-28:09 in time of possession, and forced three Colby turnovers, while losing just one fumble.
- Morales was 23-for-34 for 323 yards and three touchdowns, while Eberth was 1-for-3 for five yards, but picked up 21 yards on four carries.
- Amaka finished with 57 yards on four carries and a score, while Hickey led the offense with nine rushes for 56 yards and a touchdown.
- Berluti led all receivers with seven catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns, while Boehm added six catches for 57 yards. Widen's long reception of 29 yards for a score highlighted his four-catch afternoon as he finished with 51 yards.
- Chapman led a stellar defensive effort with a team-best seven tackles (5 solo) that also featured a sack and an interception. Hunter Voegele '18 and Isaiah Holloway '17 added six tackles each, while Holloway notched two sacks for a loss of 14 yards as the Purple & White sacked Colby quarterbacks seven times in the contest. Niyi Odewade '17 posted a sack for a loss of six yards, while Bolaji Ekhator '18 and Markel Thomas '18 each brought down the quarterback for a loss of 10 yards.
- Sparacio led Colby through the air, going 11-for-18 for 65 yards and an interception, with a long pass of 16 yards. All three of the Mules' primary running backs were held to under 25 yards rushing as Chris George, Dan Roache and Jabari Hurdle-Price were held to 24, 23 and 22 yards respectively.
- Sebastian Ferrell pulled in a pair of receptions for 29 yards, while Brandon Miner made two catches for 19 yards. Hurdle-Price turned in three receptions for eight yards.
- Hurdle-Price collected 62 yards on three kickoff returns, with a long run of 23 yards, while Amherst's Nick Kelly '17 had one return for 37 yards.
- Colby's defense was led by Don Vivian who totaled a game-high 10 tackles (six solo) and forced a fumble, while Lemere added seven tackles in addition to his forced fumble. Colleran finished with six tackles, a fumble recovery, and four pass break-ups, while Bryan McAdams and Joshua Levinger combined for the Mules' lone sack of the game.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Amherst now leads the series with Colby, 35-4-1, and has now won 21 straight matchups with its NESCAC rival. The Purple & White have now outscored their counterparts, 521-133 during that stretch with five shutouts.