Trinity Football Bantam Blog by Matt Glasz'04: Entry #7
Winner Take All
It’s finally here. For several weeks NESCAC football fans have been anticipating the matchup between Trinity and Amherst. Ever since Williams lost its second game of the season, it has been speculated that the November 5 contest could determine the NESCAC championship. Each week the Bantams and Lord Jeffs have disposed of their opponents and brought us that much closer to Saturday’s dream match-up.
Trinity and Amherst have clearly established themselves as the class of the NESCAC this season. They sit atop the league standings with matching 6-0 records. Because the NESCAC’s third place team (Williams) already has two losses, Saturday’s tilt will, indeed, serve as a de facto “NESCAC Football Championship Game”. (If both teams finish at 7-1, they will share of the “official” title given by the league office, however).
Trinity and Amherst have a very similar style of play. In an age of pass-happy spread offenses both the Bantams and Jeffs are content running the ball. This is partly out of necessity (both have used multiple quarterbacks and rank in the bottom four in the NESCAC in yards per game and completions) but also because they have very talented backfields.
In what is easily the most glaring similarity, both squads are led by running backs named Bunker. Eric, a senior at Amherst, is second in the NESCAC in rushing while his younger brother Evan, a Trinity sophomore, ranks third. The younger Bunker benefits from an equally dangerous teammate, sophomore Ben Crick, who leads the league averaging 6.7 yards per carry and has scored seven touchdowns.
Similarly, on defense Trinity and Amherst are mirror images and rank either first or second in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense and sacks. The Jeffs allow more yards through the air but also force more interceptions (13 on the season).
So who holds the advantage in game between teams this similar? Let’s break it down:
Offense - Amherst may lead the league in scoring but I’m going to give a slight edge to Trinity. The Bunker brothers are equally scary but Trinity has the big play threats of Crick and sophomore wide receiver A.J. Jones.
Defense - These are two of the best NESCAC defenses in recent history. The Bantams have allowed just seven points over their past four games and lead the nation in rushing defense. The Amherst defense is great, but Trinity has been just a bit more dominant.
Special Teams - This is by far the easiest call to make. The Jeffs are ranked ahead of Trinity in every special teams category and, despite an improved kicking game performance by the Bantams against Middlebury, the edge goes to Amherst and their senior place kicker Matt Rawson who leads the league with nine field goals and 20 PATs.
Intangibles: The Amherst seniors will be playing in their final home game at Pratt Field on Saturday. Trinity played well on the road last week but day trips can often lead to a slow start. Another key factor that could decide the game is turnovers and Amherst, once again, holds the advantage with a +8 turnover margin compared to +3 for Trinity.
Trinity and Amherst have provided some memorable moments and exciting finishes in recent years. I’m certain that this year will be no different and that the best team will come out on top. My prediction: Trinity wins 17-16.
- Matt, I have enjoyed the blog all season. Well done. I particularly think your comment about Crick this Saturday is spot on. I suspect that he will be the difference since both Bunkers will likely see limited success in the 'ground and pound', Crick has more capability to hit a home run, and I believe we may need one (or two) on the road Saturday. Go Bantams, and thanks for the entertaining posts all season long. (John Carlson)
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