November 8, 2010

            The Middlebury College football team gained 426 yards of total offense on its way to a 30-26 road win at Hamilton. The Panthers (3-4) won the Old Rocking Chair Classic for the 15th straight year, and has captured it 23 times out of 31 meetings since the first game was held in 1980. The Panthers won on the road for the first time this year, while Hamilton (1-6) lost its third straight game.

            Senior Donald McKillop (Poway, Calif.), who ranks second in the conference in passing yards and total offense, was 30 of 46 with one interception. Junior Nick Resor (Westwood, Mass.) caught a game-high 10 passes for 146 yards. Sophomore Zach Driscoll (Concord, Mass.) and senior David Reed (New Canaan, Conn.) hauled in one touchdown reception apiece. Senior Andrew Plumley (Burlington, Vt.) ran for 69 yards and one touchdown, while catching five passes for 58 yards in the contest for 127 yards of total offense. Senior Anthony Kuchan (Wauwatosa, Wis.) made 3-4 field goal attempts, including a 34-yarder in the fourth quarter that gave the Panthers a 30-20 lead with 5:50 left.

            Middlebury senior Andrew Poulin (Irvington, N.Y.) was credited with a game-high 12 tackles (nine solo), including one sack. Senior Connor Green (Wellesley, Mass.) helped set up a touchdown with a 33-yard interception return, while rookie Jared Onouye (Los Angeles, Calif.) set up another with a blocked punt.

            James Stanell ran for a season-high 151 yards on 22 carries (6.9 yards per rush) and two touchdowns for the Continentals. Stanell also caught three passes for 32 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown reception, and recorded 115 yards in kick returns. Jordan Eck was 21 of 30 for 224 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and McCullough Shriver had a touchdown catch.

            The Panthers scored the first 10 points and never trailed. Kuchan gave Middlebury a 3-0 lead on a 21-yard field goal with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter. The kick capped a 15-play drive that started at the Panthers' 15. McKillop connected with junior Matt Rayner (Andover, Mass.) for 23 yards on third-and-nine to keep the drive alive early. McKillop was 8-10 passing on the drive.

            The first break went the Panthers' way as Onouye blocked a punt by Hamilton's George Taylor, and sophomore John Wiet (Morristown, N.J.) recovered at the Hamilton 24. McKillop hit Resor for 19 yards on the next play, and then found Reed for a five-yard scoring toss with 57 seconds left in the first.

            Kuchan missed a 23-yard field goal attempt wide left with 10:00 remaining in the second quarter that would have given Middlebury a 13-0 cushion. Instead, the Continentals went 80 yards the other way in 10 plays for their first touchdown. Eck's 15-yard toss to Shriver and Taylor's extra-point pulled Hamilton within 10-7 with 3:18 left in the second. Eck was a perfect 6-6 and ran for 14 yards on the drive. The play before the touchdown, he completed a 19-yard pass to Kevin Petrick on third-and-five.

            The Panthers marched right back down the field and went up 13-7 on a 29-yard field goal by Kuchan with 34 seconds remaining in the half. McKillop's 25-yard pass to Resor at the Hamilton 15 put Middlebury in position for the kick. The second and final turnover of the afternoon proved to be costly for the Continentals. On first-and-10 from his own 31, Eck was picked off by Green at the Panthers' 44, and Green returned it 33 yards to the Hamilton 23. On the next play, McKillop completed a 23-yard strike to Driscoll, and Middlebury had a 20-7 lead with 7:56 left in the third quarter.

            The Continentals responded on the next drive as they went 67 yards in 11 plays. The key play was a holding penalty on the Panthers after an Eck incomplete pass that would have forced fourth down from the Middlebury 8. Instead, Hamilton had first-and-goal from the 4, and Stanell ran over left tackle to score the touchdown with 2:06 remaining in the third.

            The Panthers started their next drive from their own 42 after a 22-yard kick return, and took advantage of the good field position. McKillop completed three straight passes for 45 yards, and Plumley rumbled in from the 15 with 11 seconds left in the third. Kuchan's PAT made it 27-14.

            The Continentals answered right back with a 12-play drive that went 72 yards and was capped by a three-yard TD run by Stanell with 10:06 remaining in the fourth. Stanell gained 43 yards on the ground during the drive, and Middlebury was called for pass interference in the end zone on fourth down, which gave Hamilton a first down at the Panthers' three. Taylor missed the PAT, and the score was 27-20.

            After Kuchan's third field goal, the Continentals embarked on one last long scoring drive. Eck was 7 of 7 for 79 yards as Hamilton covered 85 yards in eight plays and 3:10. Eck found Stanell over the middle for a 22-yard touchdown with 2:34 left. However, Taylor missed another extra-point, and the Continentals trailed by four.

            Hamilton tried an onside kick, but Middlebury recovered at the Continental 38. Hamilton called timeout with the Panthers facing fourth-and-three from the 31, but McKillop calmly tossed a strike to Rayner for a first down at the 24, and the Panthers ran out the clock.
• Football team record: 3-4
• Up next: 11/13 vs. Tufts - 12:00