Saturday, October 27, 2012
At Pratt Field (Amherst, MA), 1 pm
|Freshman Jack Cooleen is an
up-and-coming receiver for the Jumbos
The Jumbos travel to Amherst College on Saturday for week six of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season. Tufts (0-5) will have its work cut out for them against the defending conference champions, who are 4-1 this season and ranked sixth in New England Division III.
Tufts played host to Williams College last Saturday during Parents' Weekend at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field. The Ephs, whose 1-3 record entering the game was the worst by a Williams team at the halfway point of the NESCAC season since 1987, used several big passing plays and took advantage of five Tufts turnovers to earn a 25-7 victory.
The Jumbos got off to a good start in the game, led by the defense. They forced a three-and-out on Williams' first possession, and then caused Williams to punt from its own 28-yard line the next time they had the ball. When Tufts fumbled the punt and the Ephs took over at the Jumbo 33, the defense held tight and limited Williams to a 43-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Tufts answered the three-pointer with one of their best drives of the season, covering 75 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. Senior QB John Dodds (Mount Pleasant, SC) hit classmate Marty Finnegan (Oak Park, IL) with a 13-yard pass for the score at 13:49 of the second quarter. The Jumbos converted a fourth and one from the Williams 38 with a four-yard rush by junior Marcel Pitre (Chula Vista, CA) to keep the drive alive.
That's when Williams began to make big plays to get the lead by halftime. Two long passes from sophomore QB Tom Murphy ate up 48 yards and led to a three-yard TD run senior Tom Wohlwender that resulted in a 9-7 Eph lead with 8:20 on the clock. On the next Williams possession, Murphy found junior Greg Payton streaking down the middle of the field behind the Jumbo secondary for an 82-yard catch and run for a score making it 15-7 Ephs.
The Ephs added a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half to go up 22-7. Tufts took over and mounted a 20-play drive that ultimately did not lead to any points. The hosts converted four third-down plays during the drive, including a Dodds to Finnegan pass on a third and 14. However, the drive stalled and a field goal attempt was wide left.
Williams added a fourth-quarter field goal to push their lead to 25-7. Dodds (25 for 45, 215 yards) and Finnegan, who would connect seven times for 91 yards in the game, had another long third-down conversion in the fourth. Late in the game, the Tufts future took over and freshman quarterback Drew Burnett (Needham, MA) completed a 25-yard pass to classmate Jack Cooleen (Falmouth, ME).
Freshman linebacker Wes Hartmann (Trabuco Canyon, CA) led the Jumbos with 10 tackles on the day. Senior cornerback Austin Crittenden (Deerfield, IL) intercepted a pass and freshman Evan Anthony (Malibu, CA) recorded a sack.
In a Little Three game last Saturday, senior James Durham turned a screen pass into a 64-yard touchdown, while the Amherst defense came up with a pair of fourth quarter interceptions to power the Jeffs to a 17-9 win at Wesleyan University. Both teams were ranked in the New England Division III top 10 entering the contest.
Surrendering a league-low 63.2 rushing yards entering the game, Amherst allowed its first 100-yard rusher of the season, with the Cardinals' Kyle Gibson picking up 107 yards on 32 carries. Missing starter Ryan Silva for a second-straight game, the Jeffs once again relied on a running back-by-committee, with Steven Jellison leading the way with 36 yards on 11 touches. Logging 172 yards through the air, the Amherst passing game outgained the rushing attack for the first time in 2012. Jonathan Pieterse finished 6 of 12 for 67 yards and a touchdown, while Max Lippe went 3 of 10 for 105 yards and a score. Durham led the Jeffs with two catches for 74 yards.
Ned Deane, Sam Clark, Danny Chun, and Travis Dickenson each recorded nine tackles, while Michael Aldo and Chris Tamasi both had an interception for the Lord Jeffs. Robbie Heflin is tied for the NESCAC lead with four interceptions in 2012.
Amherst is one of the top defenses in the conference. They are tied with Trinity for tops in the league allowing 12 points per game. They are especially good against the run, allowing 77.8 yards to lead NESCAC. Overall, the Lord Jeffs are second in the league giving up 267.8 yards of total offense per game.
The Jumbos have more successful statistics on both sides of the passing game. They are #2 in the conference throwing for 214.8 yards per game. On defense, their 154.4 passing yards allowed per game is third in the NESCAC.
Tufts hosts its final home game of the season at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field next Saturday against Colby. Amherst is at Trinity next Saturday.
Series Record: Amherst 50-27-4
First Game: 1877, Amherst 8-4
Last Tufts Win: 2007, 29-10
Last Amherst Win: 2011, 30-0
Current Streak: Amherst, 4 games
Large Margins: Tufts 42-7 in 1958; Amherst 49-0 in 1973