Amherst Uses Big Third Quarter To Pull Away From Bowdoin in Home Opener

Daniel Barone had seven catches for 61 yards against Amherst
Daniel Barone had seven catches for 61 yards against Amherst

BRUNSWICK, Maine  - The Amherst College football team scored twice in a span of 47 seconds in the third quarter to pull away from Bowdoin in a 30-7 victory Saturday at Whittier Field.

The Jeffs improve to 2-0 on the season while the Polar Bears drop to 0-2.

Alex Berluti went 11-15 for 187 yards passing, including a 97-yard touchdown strike to Jackson McGonagle, the longest passing play in Amherst school history. Raheem Jackson had 59 yards rushing for the Jeffs, who had eight different players combine for 163 yards on the ground. McGonagle finished with 124 yards receiving.

Bowdoin's Tim Drakely went 13-24 for 96 yards passing while Mac Caputi went 14-21 for 102 yards through the air. Tyler Grant rushed 25 times for 86 yards in the loss. Daniel Barone had seven catches for 61 yards.

The Jeffs dominated the first quarter of play, but could only muster a single touchdown as McGonagle took an end-around run 14 yards, capping an eight-play, 56-yard drive to give the visitors a 6-0 lead following a missed PAT. Phillip Nwosu booted a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter to give Amherst a 9-0 advantage.

The Polar Bears had a great chance to cut into the Amherst lead before halftime as Bowdoin recovered a fumble at the Amherst 44 with just 2:02 remaining. Drakely steered the Polar Bears down to the Amherst 1 but, with less than ten seconds left in the half, fumbled short of the goal line. Amherst recovered and maintained their 9-0 advantage into the break.

Again Bowdoin had a solid chance to get on the scoreboard early in the third period as an Andrew Murowchick punt was downed at the Amherst 1 by Ethan Drigotas. The Polar Bears appeared to have stuffed Amherst tailback Kenny Adinkra in the end zone on the first play of scrimmage, but the Jeffs were narrowly able to avoid the safety. Two plays later, Berluti found McGonagle behind the Bowdoin secondary and the junior wideout traveled 97 yards to paydirt to give Amherst a 16-0 lead.

On Bowdoin's ensuing possession, Mac Caputi was intercepted on the second play from scrimmage by Jaymie Spears. Gene Garay took an end-around carry 18 yards on the very next play, just 47 seconds later, to give the visitors a commanding 23-0 lead with 9:26 to go in the third quarter.

Amherst added another score before the end of the third quarter as Berluti found Nick Kelly for a 26-yard touchdown pass to make it 30-0. Bowdoin was able to get on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter, going 79 yards in 11 plays with the key play coming on a 28-yard pass from Mac Caputi to Drew Prescott. Caputi plunged the final yard for the score with 45 seconds remaining to make it a 30-7 final.

Bowdoin totaled more first downs (22-18) and time of possession (32:40-27:20) than Amherst, but surrendered three turnovers and were sacked three times. The Jeffs totaled 390 yards of offense to 316 for the Polar Bears.

Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn led Amherst with nine tackles and a fumble recovery in the win for the Jeffs. Branden Morin had seven tackles, as did Brendan Lawler in the loss for Bowdoin. Tom Wells had six tackles, including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. 

Amherst will look to remain unbeaten next weekend as they travel to Middlebury for a 12:30 kickoff. Bowdoin will host Tufts next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.