Hartford, Conn., Oct. 31, 2012 –The Trinity College football team, which won, 45-7, against previously-undefeated Middlebury on Saturday to take sole possession of first place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) at 6-0, will host the Amherst College Lord Jeffs on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 12:30 p.m. The Bantams, coached by Jeff Devanney (7th Season, 47-7) are seeking to extend their nation-best, regular-season winning streak at the friendly confines of Jessee/Miller Field to 47 games in a row. Trinity trails the all-time series against Amherst, 56-42-9, but owns an 8-4 record against them this millennium. Today's game will be the fifth in a row that sees at least one of the teams with an undefeated record on the line. Trinity spoiled Amherst's undefeated season two autumns ago in Hartford, but fell short of accomplishing that feat on the road both last season and in 2009. Amherst was unable to end Trinity's eventual perfect campaign in the 2008 game on Jessee/Miller Field.
Amherst, which defeated Trinity, 35-28, last fall, trounced Tufts, 51-7, last weekend to stay one game behind the Bantams in the league standings at 5-1. In last year's game, Trinity nearly staged a heroic comeback, scoring three touchdowns in the final 18:07 of the game after falling behind, 35-7. Senior QB Ryan Burgess (Dracut, Mass.) threw one touchdown pass and scored another on a 56-yard run, while junior RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) scored twice in the fourth quarter in that game.. The game, Trinity's final home game of the fall, is part of Trinity's Homecoming Weekend. Trinity is ranked No. 1 in the New England Poll and No. 6 in the ECAC Lambert Meadowlands Poll, while Amherst is ranked No. 5 in New England.
Bunker and fellow junior RB Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.) combined for 303 rushing yards and five touchdowns against Middlebury last week in a lopsided victory over the only other undefeated team in New England. Senior K Tim Costello (Solana Beach, Calif.) opened the scoring with a 22-yard field goal, and an early interception by junior LB Steve Goniprow (Barrington, R.I.) led to a 59-yard touchdown pass from Burgess to sophomore WR Chris Ragone (Sarasota, Fla.) to get the rout started. After a goal-line pick by senior CB Nick Campbell (New Albany, Ohio), Crick scored once on a 40-yard reception and again on a 49-yard run, and Bunker added a six-yard scoring scamper for a 31-7 Trinity lead at the break. Crick scored a third time, helping him land NESCAC and ECAC Division III Offensive Player of the Week honors, and Bunker added an 11-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring. Burgess finished 9-for-16 for 193 yards, while Goniprow had seven tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, and an interception.
Trinity leads the NESCAC in total offense (492.3 ypg, 13th in nation), scoring offense (36.5 ppg), rushing offense (309.3 ypg, 5th in nation) and pass efficiency (162.7 eff.), and tops the league in pass defense (133.8 ypg, 5th in nation), pass efficiency defense (76.2 eff., 3rd in nation), scoring defense (11.2 ppg, T4th in nation), and total defense (236.7 ypg, 7th in nation). Bunker is the conference's top rusher with 921 yards (3rd in nation), 262 yards more than the No. 2 rusher, and ranks second in all-purpose yards with 1,052 (11th in nation) to go with eight touchdowns, while Crick ranks third on the rushing list with 515 yards on the ground and fifth in all-purpose yards with 783. Burgess leads the NESCAC signal callers with a 173.0 efficiency rating (8th in nation), having completed 64 of 110 attempts for 1,040 yards with 13 touchdowns and just two picks. Senior WR Drew Grombala (Cincinnati, Ohio) leads the Trinity pass catchers with 14 receptions for 190 yards, while junior WR A.J. Jones (Freetown, Sierra Leone) ranks 10th in the conference with 263 receiving yards on nine grabs. The Bantam offensive line, consisting of senior tri-captains Mike Valenti (Bethel, Conn.) and Andrew Weiss (New York, N.Y.), seniors Gino Arnold (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Tim O'Brien (White Plains, N.Y.), and sophomore Joe Magardino (Chappaqua, N.Y.) has helped Trinity ball carriers average 5.7 yards per carry while yielding just seven sacks. Sophomore LB Tom Szymanski (Dracut, Mass.) has a team-high 31 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss, while classmate Rob Gau (Westport, Conn.) adds 30 tackles, four tackles for loss, and three pass breakups, senior tri-captain S Rae Haynes (Hartford, Conn.) has 28 hits, four pass breakups. First-year Kyle Pulek (Cheshire, Conn.) is the second-leading punter in the league with an average of 36.8 per boot.
The Amherst football squad, under the direction of Head Coach E.J. Mills (20th season), is 5-1 after a 51-7 win against Tufts on Saturday. The Lord Jeffs are tied with Middlebury and Wesleyan, Trinity's opponent in the season's final weekend next Saturday, for second place in the NESCAC with The Lord Jeffs have won three games in a row, after suffering their first defeat in over a year, 24-3, at Middlebury on October 6. Sophomore QB Max Lippe has been efficient with five touchdowns and just one interception, while Steve Jellison and Tyler Jacobs have combined for 495 rushing yards. Amherst has the top-ranked rushing defense in the league (82 ypg), and is tied with Trinity for the conference's top scoring defense. Travis Dickenson leads the Lord Jeffs with 39 tackles and 12 tackles for loss, while Rob Heflin adds four interceptions and three pass breakups.