Amherst Lord Jeffs Put It All Together and Down Wesleyan in Overtime Thriller

Honig, Byrne, and Daoust Ignite Jeffs to Victory in First Overtime Game in NESCAC History

Amherst (4-1) 7 7 0 14 6 34
Wesleyan (4-1) 7 7 7 7 0 28


Wesleyan 4:54/1 Tom Themistocles 1 Run (Conversion) 7-0
Amherst 1:02/1 Bob DiSabato 3 Run (Conversion) 7-7
Amherst 13:30/2 Brian Daoust 32 Fumble Return (Conversion) 14-7
Wesleyan :08/2 John Pascucci 1 Run (Conversion) 14-14
Wesleyan 2:50/3 Tom Themistocles 1 Run (Conversion) 21-14
Amherst 12:32/4 Darin Byrne 1 Run (Kick Blocked) 21-20
Wesleyan 8:00/4 John Pascucci 3 Run (Conversion) 28-20
Amherst 4:11/4 Darin Byrne 20 Run (Honig Pass to Henderson) 28-28
Amherst OT Darin Byrne 22 Run 34-28


MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut -- The Amherst College football team went down to Middletown yesterday and sent a message to the rest of the NESCAC. The sounds of the Lord Jeffs overtime victory over the previously unbeaten Wesleyan Cardinals are ringing off the walls in Medford and Williamstown on this fine Sunday morning. The Lord Jeffs are a force to reckon with this year and, as sophomore quarterback Peter Honig (Bronxville, NY) showed on the field against the Cardinals, the Jumbos, Bantams, and yes, the Ephs better take notice.

In his first career start, Peter Honig stepped behind the center with an undeniable air of confidence. On the first play of the game, Honig ran an option play around the left end, juked the defensive end and scampered untouched through the heart of the Wesleyan defense for an 18 yard gain. On that play, Honig and the Jeffs offense let the Cards know that this was not the same Amherst team they had watched on film. Honig, who completed 15-20 passes for 169 yards, used his ability to threaten the defense both on the ground and in the air to open up the offense for the rest of the Jeffs weapons.

Senior tailback Darin Byrne (Winchester, MA) knocked off one of the best days of his Amherst career. Byrne ran the ball 21 times for 134 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. With the defense on its heels all afternoon, Byrne was able to pick his way through the Cardinal line with ease. Sophomore receiver Matt Hall (Lincroft, NJ) also had a career day. Hall, who has been the Jeffs go-to man all season, hauled in 7 catches for 110 yards and no play was bigger than his 42 yard catch on a post pattern late in the fourth quarter when the Jeffs were down 28-20. After the completion that brought Amherst to the Wesleyan 24 yard line, Offensive Coordinator Don Faulstick, once again, pulled a play from his ever-growing bag of tricks. Just like Santa Claus and his sack of presents on Christmas day, Faulstick pulled out the bag and gave Wesleyan a gift they will never forget. With just 5:12 remaining on the clock, Honig pitched the ball left to Byrne who ran towards Matt Hall, coming across the backfield looking for a reverse. With amazing precision and deceit, Byrne faked the handoff, literally stopped and watched Hall as if he had given him the ball, and took off towards the corner of the endzone with the ball safely tucked under his left arm. The Wesleyan secondary bit on the fake and Byrne jaunted into the endzone untouched. The touchdown brought the score to 28-26 before Honig hit Harold Henderson (Oakton, VA) at the back of the endzone for the two-point conversion.

Wesleyan threatened before the end of regulation, but sophomore cornerback Brian Daoust (Dover, MA) picked off Cardinal quarterback Jake Fay for the second time of the day and sent the game into overtime-- the first overtime game in the history of the NESCAC. Daoust also took a pitch from Todd Nichols (Skaneateles, NY) off a fumble recovery and took it 32 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to give the Jeffs a 14-7 lead.

In overtime, the Amherst defense dug in and shut down the Cardinals potent offensive attack. On a 4th and 12 attempt, outside linebacker Alex Neifer (Williamsville, NY) broke free of his blocker and forced Fay to slip as he threw the ball into the ground. The Amherst offense, behind Honig and Byrne, knew exactly what to do. After a three yard run by fullback Bob DiSabato (Westwood, MA), Byrne got the handoff and cut back through the Cardinal line and ran untouched 22 yards for the winning score. Byrne actually fumbled the ball at the one, but with the luck he was having, the ball took a perfect bounce right back into his arms. The Lord Jeffs raced off the sidelines and mobbed Byrne in the endzone as the Cardinals watched in disbelief. Wesleyan had been enjoying a 7 game unbeaten streak-- oddly enough, the last time they lost was a year ago in Amherst.

For his efforts on Saturday, Darin Byrne was named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week. The Jeffs head home to take on the Tufts University Jumbos (4-1) next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Jumbos suffered a 42-7 defeat yesterday at the hands of Williams.


Individual Stats

Rushing: (A) Darin Byrne 21-134 (3 TD), Peter Honig 14-29, Bob DiSabato 7-24 (1 TD), Jeff Coviello 3-5, Harold Henderson 1-0; (W) Tom Themistocles 20-100 (2 TD), John Pascucci 19-84 (2 TD), Jake Fay 5--8

Passing: (A) Peter Honig 15-20-1 169 Yards; (W) Jake Fay 12-30-2 144 Yards

Receiving: (A) Matt Hall 7-110, Derrell Wright 3-22, Chris Ricciardi 3-14, Darin Byrne 1-15, Matt Hunt 1-8; John Pascucci 5-45, Matt Perceval 4-41, Luke Kephart 1-23, Nate Moore 1-20, Tom Themistocles 1-15



Team Stats

1st Downs 21 20
Rushes-Yards 47-178 44-166
Passing Yards 169 144
Return Yards 110 44
Pass-Com-Int 15-20-1 12-30-2
Punts-Avg 2-29.0 4-38.8
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-37 4-29
Possession 31:37 28:23