BRUNSWICK, Maine – The Amherst College football team mounted a pair of goal line stands to hold off Bowdoin, 24-14, in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) action on Saturday at Whittier Field.
The Mammoths remain perfect at 3-0 this season while the Polar Bears fall to 0-3.
Bowdoin took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, using 15 plays to reach the Amherst one yard-line. The Mammoths stood tall defensively, stopping the Polar Bears on four straight plays, taking over on a Bowdoin fumble on fourth and goal, which was recovered by Matt Durborow '21.
The teams traded possessions until later in the quarter when Amherst covered 81 yards in eight plays, scoring on a screen pass from Ollie Eberth '20 to Jack Hickey '19 from 22 yards out to take a 7-0 lead.
Hickey rushed for 64 yards in the win, in which Amherst outgained Bowdoin 212-6 on the ground.
The Mammoths extended their advantage to 10-0 early in the second quarter on a 41-yard field goal by Andrew Ferrero.
Bowdoin responded with their best drive of the day, a seven-play, 69-yard drive that ended in a Austin McCrum touchdown pass in the flat to Bo Millett to cut the lead to 10-7 with 5:15 to go before the break.
Amherst answered in turn with a big drive right before halftime, covering 83 yards in ten plays and scoring on an Eberth pass to Justin Berry '20, who dove to the pylon for the touchdown with 51 seconds left in the half, making it 17-7. Berry racked up 42 yards on just two catches, while Joe Masterson '21 caught three balls for 47 yards and James O'Regan '20 caught four passes for 30 yards.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Amherst looked to put the game away early in the fourth quarter but a couple stops by the Bowdoin defense gave the Polar Bears the ball back with 9:47 to go. Bowdoin moved to the Amherst 4, but the Mammoth defense came up big for the second time, holding the Polar Bears scoreless with their second goal-line stand of the game.
A tackle for a loss by Greg Franklin '20 was one of the key plays of that goal-line stand, which saw Amherst take over on downs.
The Mammoths put the game on ice from there, covering 96 yards in ten plays to score an insurance touchdown with 2:56 to go on a spectacular grab by Bo Berluti '19 in the back of the end zone, making it 24-7.
Bowdoin scored a late touchdown on a three-yard pass from McCrum to Griff Stalcup with 1:21 left to cut into the final margin.
Amherst totaled 463 yards of total offense, with 251 coming through the air courtesy of Eberth, who also tossed three touchdowns, and 78 more coming on the ground for the quarterback.
McCrum threw for a 242 yards and two touchdowns while Stalcup caught 11 passes for 75 yards. Millett also had 75 yards receiving on just five catches.
Berluti was the leading receiver on the day, catching eight passes for 97 yards for the Mammoths.
Franny Rose led Bowdoin with 11 tackles while John Ballard '20 had eight for Amherst.
Amherst owned a 34:35 time of possession to 25:25 for Bowdoin.
Bowdoin will host Tufts in their Homecoming Weekend game next Saturday, October 6, at 1:30 p.m.
Amherst heads to Vermont to play at Middlebury next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.