Hamilton tripped up by Middlebury in Old Rocking Chair Classic

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McCallum Foote '14 threw five touchdown passes and ran for another and Middlebury College defeated Hamilton College 50-21 in a NESCAC game at Hamilton's windy and cold Steuben Field on Nov. 3.

The showdown between the two programs was the 33rd playing of the "Old Rocking Chair Classic," which Middlebury won for the 17th straight year. The Panthers lead the Classic, 25-8, and own a 40-15 advantage in the all-time series. The 50 points are the most by Middlebury since the Panthers routed Hamilton 55-31 at home in 2003.

Foote set NESCAC and school records with his 27 touchdown passes this season. Donald McKillop held the old school record of 22 touchdown passes in 2009. Foote finished the day 40 of 58 for 456 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown five touchdown passes in a game four times this year.

Zach Driscoll '13 made his mark on the Middlebury record book as well after his 14-catch, 177-yard performance. Driscoll is the school's all-time single-season leader with 73 receptions, surpassing James Millard and his 64 catches in 2009. Driscoll also owns the single-season yardage mark with 1,010, moving past Tom Cleaver's 943 yards in 2004. Driscoll's career yardage record is now 2,133 yards. Cleaver had 1,974 yards from 2001 to 2003. Driscoll already has the career receptions record (162) and touchdown mark with 27.

Matthew Minno '16, who entered the afternoon with one reception for the Panthers this season, caught eight passes for 106 yards with three touchdowns. Billy Chapman '13 caught eight passes for 94 yards with a touchdown, and Matt Rea '14 led the ground game with 58 yards and a touchdown on a dozen carries. Jake Feury '16 made a 25-yard field goal and was 5-for-7 on extra-point attempts.

Tim Patricia '16 paced the Middlebury defense with a game-high 12 tackles, followed by Matthew Benedict '15 and Bryant Adams '14 with eight apiece. Matt Crimmins '14 forced two fumbles, Daniel Kenerson '13 had an interception and Zachary Faber '15 recorded the game's lone sack.

James Stanell '14 ran for a game-high 129 yards with a touchdown on 24 carries for the Continentals. Stanell moved into fifth place on the program's all-time list with 1,486 career rushing yards. He finished the day with 269 all-purpose yards.

Jordan Eck '13 was 16 of 31 for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Eck also ran for 36 yards and a score. Hamilton gained 202 yards on the ground as a team. Joe Jensen '15 led the receiving corps with six catches for 70 yards. Jensen caught a touchdown pass for the fourth straight game and has five total this year. Simon Jia '16 added five catches for 42 yards. Garrett Hoy '13 made all three of his PATs.

Mike MacDonald '13 was credited with a team-high 10 tackles and blocked an extra point. Jared Kochenash '13 chipped in nine tackles and Austin Fisher '15 had his first interception.

The Panthers (6-1 overall, 6-1 NESCAC) went three-and-out on their first drive, but Driscoll pinned the Continentals at their own 1-yard line with a 40-yard punt. Hamilton moved the ball just four yards and Hoy's 31-yard punt was fair caught by Driscoll at the Hamilton 34. On the next play, Foote found Chapman wide open at around the 20 in the middle of the field, and Chapman bowled over a couple of tacklers near the goal line before he fell into the end zone with 11:16 left in the first quarter.

The Continentals (1-6, 1-6) answered late in the first. On third-and-2 at the Hamilton 44, Stanell ran straight ahead into the pile, made it through the line of scrimmage and outraced the Middlebury defenders for a 56-yard touchdown that tied the score with 1:55 remaining. Hamilton had the ball for 11 minutes in the first quarter.

The Panthers put the game out of reach with 30 unanswered points that spanned the second and early part of the third quarter. Minno started the run with 8:46 left in the half when he caught a 19-yard pass from Foote on a fade route to the right side of the end zone. Minno scored again on a 24-yard pass-and-catch with 5:24 remaining. He cut towards the middle of the field and caught the ball at the 5, juked a defender near the goal line and spun into the end zone. Feury capped an 11-play, 72-yard march with his 25-yard field goal with 46.8 seconds left. Middlebury led 24-7 at the break.

The Panthers also scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter. Foote dropped back to pass and scrambled 4 yards up the middle into the end zone with 12:28 remaining. Minno hauled in his third touchdown catch on a 16-yard play with 9:17 left. Foote found Minno on the right side and he toe-tapped in the end zone before he was pushed out-of-bounds for a 37-7 advantage. At that point, Middlebury had scored on five possessions in a row.

The Continentals attempted to answer the offensive barrage with a pair of quick touchdowns. Eck found Jensen in the front-right corner of the end zone for a 19-yard score with 4:44 remaining in the third. On Hamilton's next drive, Eck faked a roll out, and ran up the middle 11 yards into the end zone untouched to pull the Continentals within 37-21 with 1:11 left.

The Panthers countered with touchdowns on their next two drives to round out the scoring. Driscoll caught a 7-yard scoring toss from Foote with 13:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. Rea scored his touchdown from 20 yards out with 8:15 left when he scampered around right end and dove across the goal line just inside the pylon.

Middlebury racked up 28 first downs and 530 yards of total offense. The Panthers were 6 of 14 on third down and 2-for-2 on fourth down conversions. Hamilton honored its 11 seniors prior to the game, the team's last home contest this year.

The Continentals wrap up 2012 at Bates College on Saturday, Nov. 10. Middlebury attempts to go 7-1 as the Panthers host winless Tufts University on Saturday.

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