Football Shutout of Hamilton College
Saturday, October 24, the Colby College football team accomplished something it could not do for seven years.
The Mules utterly dominated Hamilton College (1-4) to deliver Colby's first road shutout victory since a 9-0 win against Tufts University in 2002. The Continentals were overwhelmed by a swarming Colby defense that left Steuben Field with a 16-0 victory and now a 2-3 record for the Mules in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). In the one-sided affair, the Mules allowed Hamilton just 87 yards of total offense, intercepted three passes and forced three fumbles. Unfortunately for Hamilton, it is possible the most impressive statistic of the day was that Colby held the Continentals to -14 net yards rushing; the top Hamilton rusher had four yards on four carries.
"Defensively we dominated in every way, our entire defensive unit was suffocating," Head Coach Ed Mestieri said.
Hamilton could not muster any solid offensive drives primarily because the Mules would not let an opposing player with thoughts of forward progress escape from the backfield. The Mules had nine tackles for a loss (TFL) in the game. Defensive tackle Casey Sullivan '10 and Nick Tucker ´10 each had 1.5 TFL. Colby logged interceptions from defensive backs Chris Copeland '10 and Sam Nuber '12 as well as from inside linebacker Lamont Henry '10.
Senior defensive tackle Peter Scheve was awarded the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week award for his effort on the d-line. Scheve had perhaps his best collegiate performance as a Mule with five tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery. On back-to-back offensive possessions for Hamilton at the end of the fourth quarter, Scheve was involved in two important plays. With 7:33 left to play, he recovered a forced fumble on Hamilton's 6-yard line. Subsequently, after a Colby turnover-on-downs, Scheve effectively sealed the shutout for the Mules when he sacked Hamilton quarterback Dan Peters in the end zone with 5:18 to play.
"Anytime you shut someone out, it is special," Mestieri said. "It becomes a tremendous source of pride for the defensive unit." The pride Mestieri notes is duly warranted, as Colby has now only allowed a total of 93 rushing yards over its last three games. The Mules now rank third in run defense and second in total defense within the NESCAC.
While the Colby defense stole the spotlight, another solid offensive performance should not be overlooked. The Mules put together 333 yards of total offense to Hamilton's 87. Sophomore quarterback Nick Kmetz had another solid afternoon with 200 yards passing along with two long touchdown passes. Colby's QB has averaged over 200 yards passing in his last three games. In the second quarter Kmetz hit wide receiver Matt Hellinger ´11 (2 catches, 38 yards) with a 25-yard touchdown strike, and with 5:46 to play in the third quarter Kmetz slung another pass out to Patrick Burns ´11 (5 catches, 119 yards) who kept running for a 64-yard scoring play. In regards to the backfield, Conor Tidgwell ´10 rushed 16 times for 53 yards and Kmetz added 36 more yards of his own on nine carries.
¨We have always preached balance between the run and pass, and it was good to see the run game come around a little bit," Mestieri said. ¨Particularly against an eight man front designed to stop the run. Balance is important so that a team doesn't become one dimensional."
The Mules seem anything but one-dimensional right now. In fact, Colby seems to be hitting its stride over the last three games in which it is 2-1 with a win against Wesleyan University and a close loss to Amherst College.
¨Our confidence as a football team has grown in the past three weeks, and we are playing free and easy, not afraid to lose," Mestieri said. This unflappable mentality should work to the Mules advantage as they head into hotly contested Colby, Bates, Bowdoin (CBB) play beginning with this Saturday's game against Bates College. Ultimately, the CBB revamps the fans and makes for a season within a season.
¨To have such a historic series at the conclusion of the schedule is fitting," Mestieri said. ¨The CBB is high on the list of goals for all three schools as it is one of the few tangible measures of success."
Colby will look to continue its hot streak this weekend at home against a winless Bates (0-5) team.