Football Week Six Preview: Amherst vs. Wesleyan

Football Week Six Preview: Amherst vs. Wesleyan

Amherst College (4-1) vs. Wesleyan University (4-1)
Homecoming Weekend
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017
Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium
Amherst, Mass. * 1 p.m.

LIVE COVERAGE
Amherst's 2017 season opener will feature live stats and a webcast courtesy of the Northeast Sports Network.

THE SERIES
Beginning their rivalry in 1882, today's contest will mark the 122nd meeting between the Little Three adversaries, with Amherst owning a 70-43-9 series lead. Amherst has gone 3-2 in its last five games against the Cardinals, with Wesleyan owning a slight 97-91 advantage in point differential. The Mammoths' wins came in 2015 (27-18), 2014 (33-30 OT) and 2012 (17-9), while the Cardinals registered a 20-0 victory in 2016 and a 17-9 win in 2012.

AMHERST LAST TIME OUT
The Mammoths defense dominated from start to finish, holding the Mules to 135 yards of total offense, and impressive special teams play contributed two touchdowns in a 21 point third quarter, as Amherst posted a 40-7 victory over Colby on Oct. 14 at Harold Alfond Stadium.

Amherst recorded the first 34 points of the contest, with the Mammoths claiming an early lead on their first drive of the game as they marched 74 yards down field in 12 plays to set up a 32 yard John Rak '19 field goal and take a 3-0 edge. Rak added a 26 yard field goal with 14:57 on the clock in the second, before Reece Foy '18 bought some time by rolling to his right and connected with James O'Regan '20 for a 22 yard touchdown at the 4:58 mark to give Amherst a 13-0 lead heading into halftime.

Recording 21 points in the third quarter, Amherst took a 34-0 advantage behind the strength of two special teams touchdowns.

Blocking a punt at the Colby 16 yard line and scooping up the ball with 8:13 on the clock, Tristan Andrzejewski '21 notched an 11 yard return on the play to cross the goal line before Ollie Eberth '20 capped off a 2:22, 86 yard drive by finding Craig Carmilani '18 in the back right corner of the end zone for a 28 yard score.

Nate Tyrell '19 made the second big special teams play of the quarter for Amherst  at the 2:03 mark after the Mammoths defense stood strong to force a three and out. Corralling a 35 yard punt at the Amherst 47 yard line, Tyrell broke two tackles to earn space down the left sideline and sped past the last remaining defenders to post a 53 yard touchdown return and set the score at 34-0 heading into the final quarter.

Responding on their next possession, the Mules tallied their lone points of the day following an eight play, 62 yard drive. Taking the snap at the Amherst 14 yard line, Jack O'Brien hurled a pass to Jibri Woods on the left sideline to move the score to 34-7 and help the home team avoid the shut out. 

Directing the Mammoths to the 40-7 victory, Joe Kelly '21 logged the final score of the game with 35 seconds remaining in regulation as he intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage and returned the ball for five yard a touchdown.

Finishing with 334 yards of total offense, Eberth went 12-for-20 for 141 yards, while Foy finished 7-for-9 for 56 yards. Hasani Figueroa '18 led the team with 63 yards on the ground, while O'Regan and Bo Berluti '19 each totaled 44 yards to lead the receiving game. Rak and Andrew Sommer '19 each tallied seven tackles, while Andrew Yamin '19 added two sacks.

WESLEYAN LAST TIME OUT
Trailing 23-21 at halftime, Wesleyan rallied in the second half to hold the Bobcats to only 43 yards in the final 30 minutes of action en route to posting a 41-23 victory over Bates on Oct. 14 at Corwin Stadium.

The Bobcats notched the first two scores of the game to jump out to a 14-0 lead, with Peter Boyer and Brendan Costa registering rushes of and 23 yards, respectively, for touchdowns. The Cardinals cut their deficit in half before the end of the first quarter, with Mark Piccirillo barreling downfield for a 22 yard touchdown at the 2:23 mark.

Dead-locking the score at 14-14 on its third play of the second quarter, Sean Penney tallied the fourth TD on the ground of the contest on a two yard run at the 14:32 mark before Bate retook the lead eight minutes later as Brendan Costa connected with Jaason Lopez for a 54 touchdown pass.

The two sides traded scores in the final 3:02 of the first half, with Sean Penney finding the end zone on a four yard run to put Wesleyan on top 21-20, before Grant DeWald drilled a 43 yard field goal with 26 seconds on the clock to set the score at 23-21 in favor of the Bobcats.

The second half was all Cardinals, with Wesleyan holding Bates scoreless while putting 10 points on the board in both the third and fourth quarter.

Striking at the 8:09 and 1:54 marks in the third, Corey Phillips sent a 31 yard field goal through the uprights move the score to 24-23 and Gernald Hawkins corralled an eight yard pass to extend the Cardinals lead to 31-23.

Phillips nailed his second field goal of the game with 5:15 remaining in the fourth, converting on a 20 yard opportunity, while Mike Breuler brought in a two yard TD pass with 1:41 to play to direct the Cardinals to the 41-23 victory.

The Cardinals concluded the contest with 537 yards of total offense, including 370 yards through the air as Piccirillo finished 29-for-42 on the day. Piccirillo led Wesleyan's rush game with 84 yards on 11 attempts, while Breuler led all receivers with 164 yards on 10 catches. Brandon Morris led the contest with 14 tackles, including 10 solo, while Taj Gooden added a sack.

LAST MEETING
Facing off on Oct. 22 at Corwin Stadium a season ago, the Cardinals shut out the visiting Mammoths, 20-0 behind a 10 point first quarter.

Taking a 3-0 lead on their first possession of the contest, Ike Fuchs drilled a 45 yard field goal following a eight play, 49 yard drive before finding the end zone to extend their lead to 10-0 with 1:06 remaining in the first quarter. Intercepting a pass at the Amherst 32 yard line, Cole Harris notched a 31 yard return to set the Wesleyan offense up at the one yard line before Devon Carrillo barreled over the goal line a play later.

Staunch defense kept the sides scoreless in the second quarter, before Fuchs converted on a 25 yard field goal at the 11:07 mark in the third to make it a 13-0 game and Ben Kurtz corralled a three yard touchdown pass from Devon Carrillo to cap off a 61 yard drive in the fourth and direct Wesleyan to the 20-0 victory.

Amherst's best opportunities to get on the board came on its final two possessions of third quarter, with the Mammoths marching 50 yards downfield to reach the Wesleyan 35 yard line before losing the ball to one of the Cardinals five interceptions on the day at the 7:28 mark and a nine yard sack at the 4:29 mark derailing a 10 play, 49 yard drive that saw Amherst drive as far as the Cardinals 21 yard line.

The Cardinals owned a 311 to 176 edge in total offense, with Mark Piccirillo finishing 14-for-28 for 209 yards through the air. Lou Stevens led the Cardinals' ground game, rushing for 35 yards on 10 attempts, while Mike Breuler caught three passes for 70 yards. Cole Harris notched two interceptions and two pass breakups, while Zac Cuzner and Justin Sanchez totaled three interceptions. 

Nick Morales '19 went 18-for-39 for 165 yards, while Jack Hickey '19 ran for 33 yards on seven attempts. Devin Boehm '17 and Bo Berluti '19 led the Mammoths receiving game with six receptions for 73 yards and five receptions for 51 yards, respectively. Andrew Yamin '19 led Amherst's defense with 10 tackles, including six solo, a sack and a pass breakup, while Andrew Sommer '19 logged 10 tackles (four solo).

PROBABLE STARTERS

MAMMOTHS
OFFENSE
MAMMOTHS
DEFENSE
CARDINALS
OFFENSE
CARDINALS
DEFENSE
QB – Reece Foy DB – Nate Tyrell QB – Mark Piccirillo DT – Taj Gooden
WR – Bo Berluti DB – Avery Saffold RB – Dario Highsmith  DT – Grant Williams
WR – James O'Regan DB – John Rak WR – Eric Meyreles DE – Jude Lindberg
WR – Craig Carmilani  DB – John Ballard WR – AJ Girard DE – KJ Laguerre
TE – Beau Santero DL – Andrew Yamin WR – Mike Breuler LB – Cole Harris
RB – Hasani Figueroa DL – Bolaji Ekhator TE – Ryan Earle LB – Brandon Morris
OL – Jack Tyrrell DL – Rob Needham RT – Terence Norton LB – Shayne Kaminski 
OL – Kevin Sheehan DL – Greg Franklin RG – Beau Butler DB – Eli Blair-May
OL – Dan Papa LB – Andrew Sommer  C – Joe Wilson DB – Ben Thaw
OL – Elijah Zabludoff LB – Jack Barrett LG – Bryce Jenkins DB – Elias Camacho
OL – Mitch Arthur LB – John Callahan LT – Ryan Schutta DB – Nate Taylor
K – John Rak P – Henry Atkeson K – Corey Phillips P – Sam Han


2017 STATISTICAL COMPARISON

  AMHERST WESLEYAN
Rushing Yards/Per Game  979 YDS / 195.8 AVG  653 YDS / 130.6 AVG
Passing Yards/Per Game  997 YDS / 199.4 AVG  1718 YDS / 343.6 AVG
Total Offense/Per Game  1976 YDS / 395.2AVG  2371 YDS / 474.2 AVG
Scoring Offense/Per Game  179 PTS / 35.8 AVG  164 PTS / 32.8 AVG
Rushing Allowed Per Game   73.2 AVG   126.6 AVG
Passing Allowed Per Game   169.0 AVG   182.2 AVG
Total Offense Allowed Per Game   242.2 AVG   308.8 AVG
Points Allowed Per Game   15.8 AVG   17.2 AVG


2017 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS

AMHERST WESLEYAN
PASSING
Ollie Eberth (49-for-83/854 YDS/8 TD/2 INT/172.5 RTG)
PASSING
Mark Piccirillo (137-of-191/1648 YDS/15 TD/7 INT /162.8 RTG)
RUSHING
Jack Hickey (56 ATT/397 YDS/7.1 AVG/5 TD)
Hasani Figueroa (51 ATT/275 YDS/7.1 AVG/2 TD)
RUSHING
Mark Piccirillo (72 ATT/275 YDS/3.8 AVG/1 TD)
Dario Highsmith (41 ATT/180 YDS/4.4 AVG/2 TD)
RECEIVING
James O'Regan (23 REC/428 YDS/18.6 AVG/4 TD)
Craig Carmilani
(8 REC/197 YDS/24.6 AVG/2 TD)
RECEIVING
Mike Breuler (56 REC/803 YDS/14.3 AVG/7 TD)
Eric Meyreles (17 REC/197 YDS/11.6 AVG/2 TD)
DEFENSE
Andrew Sommer (38 TKL/24 SOLO/2 SCK/1 FF/1 INT)
Andrew Yamin (23 TKL/12 SOLO/5 SCK/2 FF)
John Rak (23 TKL/15 SOLO/1 TFL/1 FR/1 BRUP)
DEFENSE
Brandon Morris (55 TKL/30 SOLO/2 SCK/1 FF)
Shayne Kaminski (39 TKL/18 SOLO/3 SCK/1 INT)
Ben Thaw (17 TKL/14 SOLO/3 INT/4 BRUP)

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