Behind a 107-yard rushing day by Kyle Gibson '15 (#24, right side photo) and a 220-yard passing game by Jesse Warren '15, the Cardinals outgained Amherst on the ground (136-131) and through the air (220-172) to amass 53 more yards of total offense than its visitor but three turnovers proved very costly as the Lord Jeffs outscored the Cardinals, 17-9, during Homecoming/Family Weekend in Middletown Sat., Oct. 20.
Perhaps the most frustrating sequence of events happened on offense for the Cardinals in the third quarter when an apparent go-ahead TD was negated by a surprise penalty for illegal touching by receiver Dan D'Arcy '13 after his spectacular leaping catch at the goal line seemed to give Wesleyan a 10-7 edge midway through the period. With the 23-yarder cancelled and a loss of down, Wesleyan attempted a 40-yard field goal, which came up short. Earlier in the game, Sebastian Aguirre '14 made good on a 24-yarder to make it 7-3 on the last play of the first half, completing an amazing march from the one-yard line in the final 4:23 of the second quarter. The series involved 18 plays, including a big 22-yard run by Gibson on 3rd-and-3 at the Amherst 34.
Amherst went ahead 10-3 at 5:21 of the third quarter after being forced to settle for a 33-yard field goal when the Cardinals stiffened to hold the Lord Jeffs to four yards on three downs after Amherst got a 1st-and-10 at the Wesleyan 20. Prince Emenalo '13 (#23, left side photo) made two of the three stops at the end of the series, helping him to a game-high 11 tackles, eight of them solo.
Wesleyan scored its TD on a 62-yard pass from Warren to Josh Hurwitz '15 as Hurwitz got behind the Amherst defense 30 yards downfield and caught the pass in stride, then raced the final 30 yards to the endzone. That came with 1:42 to go in the third quarter. But Aguirre's potential tying extra point glanced off the right upright no good.
Amherst then tacked on its second TD early in the fourth quarter with a 64-yard screen pass to the left. Wesleyan came right back to move from its own 35 following the kickoff to the Amherst 30, looking for a second TD and possible tying two-point conversion. But a 1st-and-10 toss from the 30 was intercepted by the Lord Jeffs with 7:10 left to play.
Wesleyan dodged a bullet after holding Amherst on downs and getting the ball back on a punt, only to throw another interception on a pass that deflected off the Cardinal receiver into the arms of a diving Lord Jeff defender at the Wesleyan 32. Another field-goal attempt, this time from 30 yards, followed but missed wide, giving Wesleyan a final posession with 1:29 to go and no timeouts. Wesleyan got a 22-yard completion from Warren to Hurwitz, who had four catches for 99 yards, but the drive ended on a 4th-down incompletion, allowing Amherst to run out the clock.
Amherst used a forced fumble and recovery at the Wesleyan 40-yard line in the second quarter to take its 7-0 lead. Jay Fabien '15 made a nice catch to the left and was battling for extra yardage when a bevvy of Lord Jeff tacklers loosened Fabien from the ball. Fabien had six receptions for 37 yards. Also with six catches for Wesleyan was Kevin Hughes '14, good for 48 yards. The Lord Jeffs then scored its TD on a 30-yard screen pass with 11:58 to go in the period.
Gibson was the first runner to gain 100 yard or more vs. Amherst this season as the Lord Jeffs came into the contest allowing a mere 63.2 yards a game on the ground, ranking them seventh nationally in that department.
Amherst posted its 10th straight win over Wesleyan and got the leg up on the Little Three race. Ahead for the Cardinals is a home matchup with Bowdoin Sat., Oct. 27. As usual, the game will be webcast and can be viewed at 1 p.m. by clicking < here >.
(photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)