Thursday, October 11, 2007

Middlebury/Williams preview

Just remember, you can catch the game live on ESPN 1490 WFAD starting at 1:05 Eastern Time and on the web at

Williams at Middlebury—Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium

Middlebury comes in to this afternoon’s game with a record of 3-0 on the season after last week’s 19-13 victory over Amherst. David Randolph had 18 carries for 68 yards and a pair of scores, and Donald McKillop had another solid game going 15-34 for 168 yards and did not throw an interception. On the defensive end, Eric Woodring had 15 tackles and an interception and Nathan Clancy had eight tackles for the Panthers.

Middlebury opened up the scoring on their first drive as David Randolph capped off a nine play 60 yard drive with a 32 yard TD run to make it a 7-0 game. Jack Britton then kicked a 24 yard field goal with 3:33 to go in the first and it was a 10-0 Middlebury lead. Amherst got on the board with 1:18 to go in the quarter as Guy Matsis tackled David Randolph in the end zone for a safety and at the end of one it was 10-2.

The Amherst offense got on the board two minutes into the second as Lucas Loeffler connected with Brandon Bullock on a nine yard TD strike, with the PAT it was a 10-9 game. Then with 5:39 to go in the half, David Randolph ran one in from ten yards out, his second TD of the game to make it 17-9. Middlebury tacked on a safety a minute later and at the half it was a 19-9 game.

The defenses took over in the second half as we were scoreless until the last minute of play as Bullock and Loeffler connected again on a seven yard TD pass to make it 19-16, but the ensuing onside kick failed, Middlebury ran out the clock as the Panthers moved to 3-0 with a 19-16 victory.

For the season, Middlebury is among the top of the list in most defensive categories and that defense will be put to the test against the Ephs passing attack. The Panthers are second in the NESCAC in scoring defense and fifth in the nation in that department. Middlebury is also second in the nation in turnover margin with a plus seven. The Panthers are outscoring their opponents 84-26 and are converting third downs at a rate of 45 percent. One of the stats that stands out is that the Panthers have outscored their opponents 38-2 in the first quarter and 21-0 in the third. In other words, Williams defense will have to start out strong as the Panthers can get on the board early. Middlebury leads the conference in rushing offense at 197 yards a game, are third in scoring offense at 28 points a contest and are third in total offense at 363 yards an outing. One note on the offensive end is that the Panthers have attempted the fewest passes in the NESCAC.

Williams—1-2 on the season after a come from behind 31-26 victory over Bates to win their first game of the year. Patrick Lucey went 31-44 for 348 yards and four scores and Brian Morrissey carried the ball 24 times for 130 yards and a score. Nick Caro caught six passes for 115 yards and Craig Sundberg had a pair of TD receptions. Kevin Flynn earned NESCAC Player of the Week honors as he had 276 all purpose yards against Bates. He carried the ball 11 times for 66 yards, had two receptions for 42 and had 123 yards in kick returns.

Williams has struggled this year as in the opener they were upset by Bowdoin in a game that saw the Ephs turn the ball over seven times. Many say that the Ephs have not lived up to expectations this season, but this is a Williams team that can put up points behind Morrissey, Lucey and the talented bunch of Williams receivers. Defense has been an issue for the Ephs this year as they are last in the NESCAC in scoring defense allowing 33 points an outing.

Keys to the game:

Williams will have to keep their hands on the football as they have the worst turnover margin in the NESCAC and with Middlebury having the best. Pat Lucey will have to be careful with the ball as the Panthers throw many different sets at their opponents which could confuse Lucey and the offense. They will have to contain the running attack of David Randolph, Gary Cooper and Eric Rostad as they can be deadly. With a freshman quarterback in Donald McKillop, I expect to see the Ephs throw different sets at the rookie to see if they can force him into bad decisions.

For the Panthers, they will have to stop the passing attack of Pat Lucey. Lucey is the leading passer in the NESCAC and is very well known for burning teams with his strong fleet of receivers. On offense, the Panthers will have to control the clock as they do not want the ball in Pat Lucey’s hands.


The Ephs lead the all-time series 61-17 and have not lost to the Panthers since 2000. Middlebury has not defeated Williams at home since 1987.

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