Hamilton Scores Eleven Points in Final Minute to Stun Amherst Football
CLINTON, N.Y. – Four different Mammoths rushed for touchdowns, but Hamilton College scored fourteen unanswered points in the second half, including eleven in the final minute of regulation to shock Amherst College 31-28 in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football action on Saturday afternoon at Steuben Field.
Today's game marked the 31st meeting between the two schools, and the result is just the second ever win for Hamilton in the series, and the first since 1992.
Sam Thoreen kicked three field goals for Hamilton, including a 40-yarder with four seconds left, which served as the game winner for the Continentals (3-3).
Eberth rushed for 130 yards on 12 attempts, including a 68-yard scamper. He also threw for 220 yards on 10-19, though he was picked off twice by the Hamilton defense. His favorite target was James O'Regan '20, who had five receptions for 130 yards. Huff registered 75 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
Matt Durborow '21 paced the Amherst defense with eight stops and Ricky Goodson '21 chipped in seven and broke up two passes. Brett Bates '21 also recorded seven tackles including two sacks and forced a fumble.
Amherst (4-2) took a 28-17 lead early in the third quarter and the score stayed that way until late in the fourth, when Thoreen ended a 53-yard drive with a 44-yard field goal to cut the lead to 28-20.
The Continentals forced a three-and-out and Sam Robinson ripped off a 35-yard punt return to set Hamilton up on the Amherst 23. David Kagan punched it into the end zone five plays later to cut the lead to 28-26, and Hamilton quarterback Kenny Gray hit on the two-point conversion to tie the score with 58 seconds left.
Amherst was once again unable to convert a third down, and Zach Weinstein blocked a punt out of bounds, setting Hamilton up at the 27. The Continentals only gained 5 yards before Thoreen booted through his third long field goal of the game with four seconds left for the win.
The Continentals took a 7-0 lead on a 15-yard run by Joe Park with 5:07 to go in the first quarter. Park rushed for 55 yards on the 80-yard drive.
The Mammoths got on the scoreboard with 13:48 left in the second quarter on a 7-yard run by Jackson. A 42-yard catch by O'Regan was the big play of the drive, which was aided by a 15-yard defensive pass inteference penalty.
Hamilton went back in front on its next possession. Robinson had a 29-yard reception on third-and-six and Gray scrambled 21 yards on third-and-long to the Amherst 15. Gray found Will Budington in the end zone on the next play for a 13-7 advantage with 10:20 remaining. Budington caught the pass as he was falling to the turf after the ball was tipped twice and nearly intercepted.
Amherst struck quickly and tied the score again at 14-14. Eberth scampered 68 yards to the Continentals 9 on the first play of the Mammoths' next drive and scored on a quarterback sneak from the 1 on fourth-and-goal with 7:52 to go.
Amherst took its first lead on the Mammoths' next drive. Eberth found O'Regan for a 47-yard gain to the Hamilton 15 on the first play. Six plays later, Huff powered into the end zone from the 1, and Amherst led 21-14 with 3:13 left.
Esliker set up the Continentals' next scoring drive with an interception at his own 36. Hamilton converted three third-down situations including a 14-yard pass to Donahoe at the Mammoths 28 with 25 seconds remaining in the half. Gray's next pass -- a 20-yard completion to Donahoe -- was wiped out because Gray had crossed the line of scrimmage before he threw the ball. He was flagged for intentional grounding on the next play and the Continentals were moved back to the Amherst 36. Gray threw a Hail Mary into the end zone and the ball was knocked away as time ran out on the first half, but the Mammoths were guilty of roughing the passer and Hamilton was awarded another play. Thoreen hammered a 39-yard field goal and sent the Continentals to the locker room with just a four-point deficit at 21-17. The teams combined to score 31 points in the second quarter.
Hamilton thought it had stopped Amherst on its opening drive in the third quarter, but senior Henry Atkeson's punt bounced backwards and struck the back of a leg on one of the Continentals and Logan Shooster '22 recovered the loose ball for the Mammoths at the Hamilton 16. Eckelkamp sprinted 16 yards into the end zone on the next play and gave Amherst a 28-17 cushion with 11:28 to go in the third.
Gray was 18 of 34 passing for 193 yards with one touchdown for the Continentals. Gray moved into second place on the program's all-time list with 5,471 career passing yards. He also handled punting duties and averaged 48.8 yards on five boots. He landed three of those five punts inside Amherst's 20-yard line.
Will Budington '21, Christian Donahoe '20 and Sam Robinson '20 caught five passes each, and Budington led the trio with 68 yards. Joe Park '22 topped the Hamilton running backs with 61 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. The Continentals were 11 of 19 on third-down conversions.
Christian Snell '22, Carmine Bruno '20 and James Ball '21 were credited with nine tackles each for Hamilton. Bruno returned an interception 32 yards and Ball finished with 4.5 tackles for a total loss of 12 yards. Ian Esliker '21 came up with his second pick this year and the third of his career with the Continentals.
Amherst returns home for the next two weekends, beginning with next Saturday's Homecoming game against Wesleyan, set for 1:00 PM at Pratt Field.