AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Matt Hall (Lincroft, NJ), a first-year wide receiver and return specialist for the Amherst College football team, was named both the ECAC and NESCAC Rookie of the Week along with Colin Vataha (Lincoln, MA) of Williams College. Both student-athletes played critical roles in the 112th meeting of the archrival teams, though Williams emerged with a 48-46 victory in Williamstown.
Hall racked up 150 all-purpose yards on three punt returns for 25 yards and six kickoff returns for 91 yards. His only reception of the game and second of the entire season was a 34-yard bomb by ECAC Offensive Player of the Week Rich Willard (Johnstown, NY) in the endzone to bring Amherst within a single point late in the game. As the Jeffs' extra point kick holder, Hall lined up for the PAT, but rose on the snap to throw Amherst's only two-point conversion of the season to Todd Haggerty (Albany, NY) deep in the endzone to give the Jeffs a 46-45 lead with 1:49 left on the clock.
Fellow rookie Vataha spoiled Amherst's dreams of its first undefeated season since 1984 and first victory over the Ephs since 1986 with the game-winning field goal on the next possession with just two ticks left in the game. Amherst finishes the 1997 campaign with its second straight 7-1 season.
Senior quarterback Willard also was recognized for his offensive leadership, completing 26 of 44 passes for 378 yards and five touchdowns. The Co-Captain rallied Amherst from a 24-7 deficit late in the first half toward a 31-24 lead in the third, and again to the Jeffs' precarious 46-45 comeback in the fourth quarter. The English major graduates with four passing records to his credit after challenging three more with his performance yesterday.
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