MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Amherst College senior wide receiver Devin Boehm caught six passes for 73 yards, but the Wesleyan University defense picked off five passes as the Cardinals earned their second win over the Purple & White in the last four years during Saturday afternoon's Little Three contest at Corwin Stadium at Andrus Field in Middletown, Conn.
With the loss, Amherst moves to 3-2 on the season and will host Tufts University on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. on Family Weekend at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium. Wesleyan improves to 4-1 on the season.
After forcing Amherst to punt on its first drive of the game, Wesleyan started its first drive at its own 23-yardline and marched 49 yards in eight plays as Mark Piccirillo completed a 31-yard pass to Andrew Mehr to help set up a 45-yard field goal attempt by Ike Fuchs. Fuchs delivered to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead at the 10:08 mark of the first quarter.
Late in the first quarter, Wesleyan moved the ball from its own 39-yardline to the Amherst nine, thanks in part to a 25-yard catch and carry by Devon Carrillo to set up a 26-yard field goal try by Fuchs. This time, Fuchs pushed the ball wide right, keeping the lead at 3-0 with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter. On the Purple & White's ensuing possession, Cole Harris picked off a third and 10 pass by Nick Morales '19 and returned the ball 31 yards to the Amherst one-yardline. From there Carrillo rushed the ball into the end zone to give Wesleyan a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes of play.
With neither team being able to find much offense early in the second quarter, the Cardinals received the ball at the Amherst 49-yardline and drove 14 yards in six-plays. Facing a fourth and 11 at the visitors' 35-yardline, Piccirillo's pass attempt to Mike Breuler fell incomplete forcing a turnover on downs. Amherst responded with an 11-yard dash by Jack Hickey '19 on the team's first play of the drive but two plays later, Morales was intercepted for a second time as Zac Cuzner came away with the errant throw as time expired in the first half.
The Cardinals received the ball to start the second half and orchestrated an eight-play, 27-yard drive capped by a Fuchs field goal from 25 yards out. Piccirillo hooked up with Carrillo for a 15-yard pass on a crucial fourth-and-five play to help set up the score.
The Purple & White drove to the Wesleyan 35-yardline midway through the third quarter as Morales found Boehm for an 11-yard completion, before hitting Bo Berluti '19 with a 16-yard strike. Cuzner then picked off the next pass – the Cardinals' third forced turnover of the contest.
After forcing Wesleyan to punt, Amherst conducted a lengthy drive that featured back-to-back 13-yard completions to Berluti and Nick Widen '17, a 10-yard pass to Widen, and a 23-yard completion to Boehm as the Purple & White advanced to the Cardinals' 30-yard line. Facing a fourth and 19, Andrew Ferrero '19 was called in to punt and delivered a beauty that was downed inside the two-yardline.
Despite the Purple & White forcing a three-and-out, Harris once again made a play on a Morales pass, hauling in his second interception of the game at his own 39-yardline. The Cardinals then drive 61 yards in four plays as Piccirillo connected with Breuler for a 58-yard pass play down the Wesleyan sideline setting up a three-yard Carrillo pass to Ben Kurtz for a touchdown as Wesleyan extended its lead to 20-0 with 10:16 remaining in the game. Morales was later intercepted for a fifth time by Justin Sanchez as the Cardinals were able to see out the victory.
- Wesleyan held a 311-176 advantage in total offense, as Amherst was held to season lows in passing (165 yards) and rushing (11 yards). The Cardinals added five sacks for a loss of 28 yards to go along with their five interceptions, while Wesleyan also held the advantage in time of possession: 35:41-24:19.
- Morales was 18-for-39 for 165 yards, while Hickey led the ground game with 33 yards on seven carries. Berluti and Widen added five receptions each for 51 and 31 yards respectively.
- On defense, Andrew Yamin '19 and Andrew Sommer '19 led Amehrst with 10 tackles each, while Yamin posted three tackles for a loss, including a five-yard sack. Niyi Odewade '17 and Isaiah Holloway '17 added a half sack each.
- The Wesleyan offense was led by Piccirillo who completed 14-of-28 passes for 209 yards, and added 21 yards on the ground. Lou Stevens led the rushing attack with 35 yards on 10 carrie, while Breuler pulled in three receptions for 70 yards to lead the receivers for the hosts.
- The Cardinals were led defensively by Brandon Morris who made 10 tackles, while Grant Williams collected two sacks. Jordan Stone added a sack for a loss of nine yards, while Cuzner and Harris posted a pair of interceptions each.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Amherst suffered its second loss in a season for the first time since 2012.
- Saturday's loss to Wesleyan was the first time the Purple & White have been shutout of a contest since the 2007 season when Williams College defeated Amherst, 20-0 on Nov. 10.
- Amherst now leads the all-time series with the Cardinals, 70-43-9 dating back to 1882. Wesleyan picked up its first win over the Purple & White since 2013.