AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Todd Nichols (Skaneateles, NY) was named the Defensive Player of the Week by both the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) for his performance in a 22-17 victory over Middlebury yesterday. The Lord Jeffs are currently 3-0 for the 1997 season.
Nichols posted his second three-intereception game against the Panthers, picking passes deep in Middlebury territory. The free safety registered a five-yard return on his first interception to the Middlebury 13, from which the Jeffs scored for a 15-0 lead late in the second quarter. Shortly after halftime, Nichols downed his second pick in the endzone to shut out the Panthers in the third quarter. Two possessions later, the Political Science major spoiled another Brian Coates (Brookfield, CT) attempt at the Panther 45.
The junior now has eight career interceptions as a three-year starter. The last time Nichols posted a three-interception game was in a 24-7 victory at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut last November. His efforts had helped Amherst end the seven-year reign by the Bantams over Lord Jeff football.
In addition to disrupting the passing game, Nichols recovered a fumble with a 15-yard recovery early just 10:12 after the opening whistle. He also posted five tackes (three solo) and broke up a Panther pass. As a unit, the defense allowed Middlebury only 11-yards rushing as Amherst leads the NESCAC in both yards allowed (481) and point allowed (17).
Teammate Darin Byrne (Winchester, MA) also received ECAC recognition on the New England Division III Honor Roll. The running back catalyzed the Amherst offense with 29 carries for 129 yards and a pair of catches for 48 yards. The junior scored his first two touchdowns of the season with a 32-yard reception and a 1-yard run in the second quarter. Byrne is currently Amherst's leading rusher, averaging 74-yards per game and 4-yards per carry. The Jeffs compiled 152 yards rushing and 372 total against the Panthers, upping Amherst's three-game total to 1,157.
The Jeffs travel to Waterville, Maine on Saturday, October 11 for a meeting with Colby College. Last year Amherst blanked the White Mules 34-0 in Massachusetts. Amherst leads the series 15-4-1.
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