Football struggles against Wesleyan and Amherst

Despite massive improvements against formidable opponents, the Mules dropped their last two games to Wesleyan and Amherst. The two losses put Colby Football at 0-4 overall and at the bottom of the NESCAC standings. The first game, against the Cardinals in Middletown, CT, saw the Mules lose a fourth-quarter lead in what became a 24-21 defeat. The second game, at home against the defending league champion Lord Jeffs, saw Colby total 400 yards to Amherst’s 307. Still, the Mules could not overcome Amherst and suffered another loss by a score of 31-13.
While most Colby students relaxed at home during fall break, the football team was hard at work in central Connecticut. The game was a back-and-forth affair from the start, with Colby having the upper hand in the first-half. Unfortunately, a bad snap on a field goal attempt and a missed extra point caused the Mules to go down 10-9 after two quarters. The highlight of the first half was a bad pass from Cardinals quarterback Gernald Hawkins straight into the arms of Patrick Yale ’19, who took it to the house for a pick-six.
After a scoreless third quarter, Wesleyan opened the scoring in the second half with a nine-yard touchdown run. Colby drove straight back down the field in an excellent team drive that Jabari Hurdle-Price ’17 capped with a one-yard touchdown run. The team’s attempt at a two-point conversion then fell incomplete. Colby’s defense kept the Cardinals off the board, and Hurdle-Price rewarded his team with a 63-yard touchdown run down the right sideline with just 4:09 left in the game. Wesleyan kept their cool, however, and marched the entire length of the field due to some impressive play from Hawkins, who had a long 31-yard run on the drive and connected with an open receiver on a 35-yard game-winning touchdown. Colby left plenty of points off the board in their special teams play, which proved to be crucial in the loss.
The Mules held the edge in both first-downs and total yards in their most complete game of the year. Ian Dickey ’18 led the way on defense with 12 tackles. Hurdle-Price carried the offense by rushing for 202 yards in the contest, which was enough to earn him NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He had an incredible seven point eight yards per carry, and his total yards were the most by a single player in 12 years.
Colby continued their total team improvement this past Saturday at Harold Alfond Stadium against league powerhouse Amherst. Colby had 100 more yards than the Lord Jeffs in the contest, but was unable to translate that advantage into a victory.Amherst has been nearly unbeatable as of late: they have won 15 straight games and have a record of 33-3 in the past five years.
After a scoreless first quarter, Amherst took control in the second with 17 straight points, highlighted by a huge interception from Jaymie Spears off quarterback Gabe Harrington ’17.
The interception proved to be a major play, because Colby started the third quarter firing on all cylinders. The Mules drove 85 yards on 12 plays, and Hurdle-Price capped the drive with a one-yard score. Like true league champions, Amherst responded with a 60-yard drive of their own, and they held a comfortable lead for the rest of the game.
Dickey had another solid game at safety with eight tackles and a forced fumble, and middle linebacker Stephen O’Grady ’16 had a team-high nine tackles. Hurdle-Price had another big day, with 102 yards on 27 carries. He also had seven catches for 73 yards. Harrington had one of his better games, going 23 for 38 with 221 yards and two interceptions, while Mark Snyder ’18 led the way at wide receiver with eight catches for 73 yards. The Mules put on a good show in front of their home crowd against a more-than-formidable opponent.
This weekend, the Mules travel to Clinton, New York to face off against Hamilton College, another winless team. At 12 p.m. on Saturday, Colby will have another oppourtunity to earn thier first win.