AMHERST WINS SECOND HALF SHOOTOUT OVER MIDDLEBURY
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – After being held scoreless in the first half, Amherst put 38 points on the board in the second session on its way to a 38-31 victory over Middlebury (1-2) on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Jeffs (3-0) have now won 11 straight games after a perfect 8-0 mark a year ago. Middlebury quarterback Donald McKillop became New England Division III college football's all-time leader in completions with 666, overtaking James Williams of W. Connecticut (628 from '06-'09). He also tied his own school record with 47 completions in the game.
Middlebury took a 3-0 lead on its first possession, driving 77 yards on 17 plays over 6:35 seconds. Anthony Kuchan booted a 20-yard field goal, after earlier keeping the drive alive by gaining a first down on a fake punt play.
Amherst had a chance to tie the game early in the second quarter, but a 31-yard field goal from Matt Rawson went wide right. The Panthers drove 78 on yards on their next drive to the Amherst two, before turning the ball over on a fumbled snap.
Middlebury made it a 9-0 game with 22 seconds left in the half, with another long drive (15 plays, 81 yards) as McKillop hit Nick Resor for an eight-yard scoring strike. The duo hooked up four times for 48 yards on the scoring drive.
The Jeffs got on the board on their first drive of the second half, when Rawson booted a 37-yarder to cut the lead to 9-3. Evan Rosenstein intercepted McKillop on the ensuing drive, leaving the ball at the Middlebury 32. Four plays later, Alex Vetras hit Will Reed for a 26-yard touchdown pass that gave Amherst its first lead of the game at 10-9.
After a three-and-out and a short punt, Amherst took over on the Middlebury 30 yard line – wasting no time with a 30-yard scoring strike from Vetras to Ben Kettering to make it a 17-9 game.
Middlebury answered with a three-yard rush from Andrew Plumley, driving 81 yards on 14 plays to cut the lead to 17-16 with 3:10 left in the third.
The second half shootout continued as Amherst drove 68 yards on just five plays on its ensuing drive. Vetras hit Brian Murphy three times for 39 yards before scoring on a bootleg from 25 yards out.
The Panthers covered 73 yards in 2:44 on their next possession to tie the game at 24. McKillop hit Zach Driscoll on a 39-yard scoring strike on the seven-play drive.
Amherst's Eric Bunker scored on a 12-yard rush before Plumley did the same for Middlebury from 11 yards out to make it 31 all with 7:47 remaining.
The Jeffs decisive drive covered 67 yards on 17 plays, taking 5:09 off the clock. Vetras hit Bunker twice for 26 yards and Murphy once for 16 before Bunker found pay dirt from a yard out.
Middlebury had the ball on their own 20 with 2:28 remaining, but went four-and-out, turning the ball over on downs.
McKillop finished the day going 47 of 62 for 421 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of picks. Plumley was one reception shy of tying the school record, pulling down 14 balls for 97 yards, while rushing for 49 yards on 17 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Resor and Rayner each caught 13 passes, with Resor gaining 148 yards with a TD, while Rayner picked up 84 yards. Michael Bilodeau led the Middlebury defense with 10 tackles, followed by John Wiet with nine.
Amherst scored in every possession they had in the second half, with the exception of their final opportunity when they ran the clock out. Vetras went 26 of 49 for 278 yards with two touchdowns, while Bunker gained 88 yards on the ground on 18 carries, scoring twice. Murphy caught a team-high eight passes for 67 yards, while Kettering had six receptions for 93 yards with a touchdown. Kevin Ferber finished with a game-high 13 tackles, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery, while Greg Kutzin had 13 tackles, 1.5 for lost yardage.