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Middlebury College football wins, remailns in title hunt

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College football team on Saturday kept its hopes alive for a share of the NESCAC title by defeating visiting Hamilton, 40-13.
The Panthers are 6-1, trailing only Wesleyan (7-0) and tied with Amherst, also 6-1. Wesleyan has to play at rival Trinity (5-2) on Saturday, while Amherst also has its rivalry game vs. Williams (2-5). The Panthers travel to meet Tufts (0-7).
In 2012 the Panther finished at 7-1, a game behind undefeated Trinity, when the Bantams rallied to win at Wesleyan in overtime on the season’s final Saturday. 
On this past Saturday, the Panthers scored touchdowns on five straight first-half possessions in their 40-13 win over Hamilton (0-7). The Panthers (6-1) have won 15 of their last 17 games, including eight straight at home. 
Middlebury quarterback McCallum Foote threw more touchdown strikes than incomplete passes. He finished the day 25 of 29 for 332 yards while adding to his school-record 70 touchdown passes with five. Foote played one possession in the second half before watching the rest of the game from the sideline.
On its second possession of the day, Middlebury moved 70 yards on seven plays for a 6-0 lead. Grant Luna was Foote’s top target on the drive, catching three passes for 49 yards. Following a 16-yard strike to tight end William Sadik-Khan, Foote found running back Ryan Hislop for a five-yard touchdown pass.
Middlebury’s Addison Pierce picked off a pass on Hamilton’s ensuing drive, with his eight-yard return putting the Panthers the ball on Hamilton 1. Hislop ran it in on the next play to make it 13-0.
After forcing a punt, Foote hit Brendan Rankowitz twice, including a 42-yard strike, before he found Sadik-Khan for a 13-yard touchdown to put the Panthers ahead 20-0 early in the second quarter.
The Continentals then went three-and-out, leaving Middlebury the ball at their own 48. Two receptions by Matthew Minno, including a 29-yard touchdown, gave the Panthers a 27-0 advantage.
Middlebury increased its lead to 34-0 as Foote connecting with Sadik-Khan from 25 yards out with 5:49 left in the half.
Hamilton got on the board on its next possession, driving 48 yards on 11 plays. James Stanell rushed for 25 yards on the drive, which included an 18-yard connection from QB Chase Rosenberg to Patrick Donahoe. Rosenberg scored the touchdown on a six-yard quarterback draw with 37 seconds left in the half.
Middlebury opened the second half with a seven-play, 74-yard scoring drive to make it 40-6. Foote found Sadik-Khan three times on the drive for 53-yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass over the middle.
The Continentals answered with a 78-yard drive that ended with a four-yard rush into the end zone from Stanell at 6:54 of the third that concluded the scoring. A 31-yard gain from Stanell and a 16-yard strike from Rosenberg to Pat Donadio were the big plays on the drive. Middlebury now led 40-13 with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Sadik-Khan finished the day with eight receptions for 124 yards, while Luna caught seven passes for 92 yards. Minno (49 yards) and Rankowitz (76 yards) each had four receptions. Tim Patricia paced the defense with 12 tackles, an interception and a sack, while Matthew Benedict added 11 stops.
Stanell gained 142 yards on the ground on 26 carries for Hamilton. Rosenberg completed 13 of 21 passes for 102 yards with a pair of interceptions. Middlebury outgained Hamilton, 442-237.

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