Big First Half Lifts Football Past Hamilton
Middlebury scored touchdowns on five straight first half possessions, on its way to a 40-13 win over Hamilton (0-7) on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers (6-1) have won 15 of their last 17 games, including eight straight at home. The game also marked the 34th meeting of the "Rocking Chair Classic", with Middlebury retaining the chair for the 18th-straight year (26-8 overall). The Panthers wrap up their season next Saturday at Tufts, needing a win and a Wesleyan loss at Trinity to clinch a share of the NESCAC title.
Quarterback McCallum Foote had an outstanding day, throwing more touchdown strikes than incomplete passes. He finished the day 25 of 29 for 332 yards adding to his school-record 70 touchdown passes with five in the game. Foote played just one possession in the second half before watching the rest of the game from the sideline.
Middlebury got things going on its second possession of the day, driving 70 yards on seven plays for a 6-0 lead after a blocked extra point. Grant Luna was Foote's top target on the drive, catching three passes for 49 yards. Following a 16-yard strike to tight end William Sadik-Khan, Foote found running back Ryan Hislop for a five-yard touchdown pass.
Middlebury's Addison Pierce picked off a pass on Hamilton's ensuing drive, with an eight-yard return leaving the Panthers the ball on the one. Hislop scored his second of the game on the next play, making it a 13-0 game.
After forcing a punt, Foote hit Brendan Rankowitz twice, including a 42-yard strike as Middlebury marched down the field. Foote found Sadik-Khan streaking across the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown to put the Panthers ahead 20-0 early in the second quarter.
The Continentals then went three-and-out, leaving Middlebury the ball at their own 48. Two receptions by Matthew Minno, including a 29-yard touchdown catering gave the Panthers a 27-0 advantage.
The defense held once again, as Middlebury increased its lead to 34-0 as Foote connected with Sadik-Khan from 25 yards out with 5:49 left in the half.
Hamilton got on the board on its next possession, driving 48 yards on 11 plays. James Stannell rushed for 25 yards on the drive, with an 18-yard connection from Chase Rosenberg to Patrick Donahoe. Rosenberg earned the touchdown on a quarterback draw, scoring from six yards out with 37 seconds left in the half.
Middlebury opened the second half with a seven-play, 74-yard scoring drive to make it a 40-6 game. Foote found Sadik-Khan three times on the drive for 53-yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass over the middle.
The Continentals answered with a 78-yard drive that ended with a four-yard rush into the end zone from Stanell. A 31-yard gain from Stanell and a 16-yard strike from Rosenberg to Pat Donadio were the big plays on the drive. Middlebury now led 40-13 with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Neither team scored for the remainder of the game, with Panther Tim Patricia picking up an interception early in the fourth quarter.
Sadik-Khan finished the day with eight receptions for 124 yards and three touchdown, while Luna caught seven passes for 92 yards. Minno (49 yards) and Rankowitz (76 yards) each had four receptions, with Minno scoring a touchdown. Patricia paced the defense with 12 tackles, an interception and a sack. Matthew Benedict added 11 stops in the win.
Stanell gained 142 yards on the ground on 26 carries with a touchdown. Rosenberg completed 13 of 21 passes for 102 yards with a pair of interceptions. Andrew Austin led the Hamilton defense with seven tackles, 1.5 for lost yardage.
Middlebury outgained Hamilton 442-237 on the day, with the Continentals holding a 135-68 edge on the ground.