AMHERST, Mass. – Sophomore quarterback Ollie Eberth threw for 210 yards and four touchdowns, including a 75-yard TD connection with Craig Carmilani '18 in the third quarter, to direct the Amherst College football team to a season opening 41-17 victory over Bates College Saturday afternoon at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium.
With the win, Amherst begins the 2017 season 1-0, while Bates falls to 0-1 on the year. The Mammoths return to action on Saturday, Sept. 23 when they battle Hamilton (0-1). Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at Steuben Field in Clinton, N.Y.
Opening the contest at their own 30 after a 63 yard kickoff by Mike Odenwaedler '18 and a 28 yard return by Frank Williams, Bates crossed into Mammoth territory before a stuff at the line of scrimmage by Andrew Sommer '19 and an Andrew Yamin '19 sacked forced a Bobcat punt.
Trading three-and-out possessions, Amherst hit its stride on its second possession of the matchup to take a 6-0 lead following a seven play, 80 yard drive and a missed P-A-T with 5:24 on the clock. Earning two first downs to reach the Bates 49 yard line, Eberth threw his first of four TD's on the day, tossing a perfect spiral to James O'Regan '20 in the end zone.
The next five series ended in with punts from both sides, before the Mammoths took advantage of solid field position after Yamin and Alex Katchaduri '19 teamed up for a five yard sack and a Justin Foley punt was downed at the Amherst 45 yard line. Amherst used brute force to tally their second TD and extend their lead to 13-0, as Eberth recorded two rushes for 16 yards to move the chains. Setting up the TD play, Jack Hickey '19 shook off a defender to earn a 35 yard gain on the ground before being brought down at the four yard line. Finishing off the drive the next play, Hickey powered over the goal line to cap off the four play, 1:52 drive in the second.
Putting together a methodical nine drive play on their next possession, the Mammoths utilized four rushes and five pass attempts to set the score at 20-0, with Eberth capping off the drive with an 18 yard pass to Beau Santero '18 with 1:41 remaining before halftime and John Rak '19 converting on the P-A-T.
The Bobcats got on the board to make it a 20-3 contest heading into the third, with a 43 yard rush by Tyler Baum with eight seconds on the clock setting up a 38 yard field goal. Amherst called a timeout in an attempt to ice kicker Grant DeWald, but he knocked the ball through the uprights as the clock hit zero.
Responding on its first drive of the third quarter, Amherst needed just three plays to take a 27-3 lead, as Eberth hit Carmilani down the right sideline for a 75 yard touchdown.
The Mammoths notched two TD's on their next three possessions in the third quarter. Picking off Sandy Plashkes at the Bates 45, Sommer had an 11 yard return on the play and drew a personal foul on a Bates defender to set up the Amherst offense at the Bates 19 yard line. Eberth finished off the drive following two short gain rushes by Hasani Figueroa '18, hitting Bo Berluti '19 with a six yard pass at the 8:29 mark.
Stellar defensive play by Amherst once again proved to be a factor on Bates' next drive, with Yamin forcing a Plashkes fumble and Rak recovering the ball deep in the Bobcats' territory to give the offense with a short field. An 18 yard rush by Figueroa led to a Mammoth TD as Andrew Dorogi '18 forced his way into the end zone for what proved to be Amherst's final score on the day as the Mammoths took a dominative 41-3 lead.
An Amherst fumble at their own 15 yard line ended with the Bobcats reaching the end zone for the first time in the contest with 1:10 to play in the third, as Baum's three yard rush on a first and goal opportunity set the score at 41-10.
The final points went on the board with 6:07 remaining in regulation as a 33 yard pass from Matt Golden sent the Bates offense into the red zone. Jason Lopez capitalized on the opportunity two plays later, earning a TD on a four yard rush to make it 41-17 in favor of the Mammoths.
Amherst strategically rattled off six rushes in their final possession of the game to take 4:20 off the clock, and the Mammoth defense held Bates to 11 yards in the final 1:41 to direct the home team to the season opening statement win.
- Eberth was 9-for-16 through the air for 210 yards and four touchdowns, with three touchdown passes of over 15 yards, and added 25 yards on the ground on nine rushing attempts in the winning effort.
- With 47 yards on five carries and a touchdown, Hickey led the Mammoths' running game, while Figueroa added 41 yards on the ground.
- Carmilani, O'Regan and Berluti were Amherst's top-three receivers on the day, picking up 96, 49 and 28 yards, respectively.
- The Mammoths' defense was led by Sommer who racked up 10 tackles (four solo) and an interception, while Yamin notched 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and six tackles (four solo).
- Amherst held the Bobcats to 77 yards in the air, and 234 yards of total offense, while the Mammoths posted 389 yards with a 6.6 average gain per play.
- Plashkes finished 7-for-19 for 44 yards with an interception in the losing effort, while Golden threw one pass for 33 yards. Baum led the Bobcats' running game with 44 yards, while Brian Daly hauled in two passes for 36 yards.
- On the defensive side of the ball, Bobby Dee led Bates with eight tackles, including two tackles for loss, while Joe Frake added three tackles and a sack.