AMHERST, Massachusetts -- In a game dictated from start to finish by the Lord Jeffs' swarming defense, Amherst outlasted the Middlebury Panthers 22 -17 thanks to an interception by senior defensive lineman Dave Cippoletti (Seaford, NY) with just 1:31 left to play. The Jeff defense allowed just 11 yards on the ground and recorded 6 sacks, including a 19-yard loss at the hands of Alex Niefer (Williamsville, NY) at the final whistle.
Amherst started strong, backing the Panther offense back to their own goal line on the opening drive and tallying a safety on a blown punt snap. After the 2-0 lead, both teams relied on defense to jockey for position until the Jeffs broke through in the second quarter with a 32-yard strike from QB Rich Willard (Johnstown, NY) to Darin Byrne (Winchester, MA). Following an Amherst interception by Todd Nichols (Skaneateles, NY), Byrne carried the ball one yard into the endzone, giving the Jeffs a 15-0 lead. Middlebury added a 23-yard field goal just before the half, bringing the score at the break to 15-3.
Defense took over again in the third quarter as both team s failed to move the ball into scoring position. Then at the outset of the fourth quarter, Willard hit a streaking Shawn Quigley (Chicopee, MA) for a 47-yard touchdown and a 22-3 Amherst lead. The Panthers held strong and made a late comeback attempt thanks to the heroics of wideout A.J. Husband (Springfield, VT), who reeled in a crisp 35-yard pass for a touchdown and caught another 35-yard bomb en route to a 1-yard touchdown run by QB Brian Coates (Brookfield, CT). The two scores left Middlebury down 22-17 with 3:42, but that was all the closer the Panthers would get.
Amherst improves to 3-0 on the victory and will travel to Maine next week to take on the White Mules of Colby College. Middlebury falls to 2-1. Husband's 14 receptions left him just one shy of the school record.
Middlebury (2-1) 0 3 0 14 -- 17 Amherst (3-0) 2 13 0 7 -- 22 First Quarter 13:28 A Automatic Safety. Second Quarter 13:36 A Darin Byrne 32 pass from Rich Willard (Liam Fleming kick blocked). 7:15 A Byrne 1 run (Fleming kick good). 2:16 M Scott Dudley 23 field goal. Fourth Quarter 11:37 A Shaun Quigley 37 pass from Willard (Fleming kick good). 9:26 M A.J. Husband 35 pass from Brian Coates (Dudley kick good). 3:42 M Coates 1 run (Dudley kick good). Attendance: 1,530. Middlebury Amherst First Downs 11 14 Rushes-Yards 28-69 49-152 Passing Yards 244 220 Return Yards 84 80 Passes 39-23-4 30-10-2 Punts 6-222 9-312 Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1 Penalties-Yards 7-65 8-54 # # # 10/4/97