Jumbo Football Hosts Bates College Bobcats on Homecoming Day at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field Saturday
|Senior TE Nick Kenyon hauled
in two touchdown passes against Wesleyan last
The Jumbos host Bates College on Homecoming Day at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field Saturday afternoon. Both squads are looking for strong restarts on Saturday after losing their season openers last weekend.
Tufts was defeated 35-14 by Wesleyan at home on opening day last Saturday. The Bobcats fell 37-16 at Trinity College last week. As both programs aspire to climb in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) standings this fall, winning Saturday would provide momentum.
The Jumbos fell into a 21-0 hole in the first quarter last week, but were able to close the margin to 28-14 at halftime. Senior quarterback John Dodds and senior Nick Kenyon connected on a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes of 17 and five yards. Kenyon, the 6'6", 245-pound tight end, led Tufts in touchdown receptions last year and should be a force this season. He caught seven passes for 80 yards overall against Wesleyan.
Sophomore Jack Doll started at quarterback for the Jumbos, but had to come out with an injury. Dodds, who gives the Jumbos a solid, veteran back-up, came on and threw for 170 yards which was third-most in the conference last week. Jumbo fans also got the first true display of sophomore Zack Trause's talents. The exciting back ran for 47 yards on nine carries (5.2 yards per carry) and caught seven passes for 57 more yards.
The Tufts defense also exhibited new leaders. Sophomore Tommy Meade, now the man in the middle at linebacker, finished with a game-high 11 tackles. Freshman Matt McCormack was right behind him with 10 stops, while junior linebacker and new starter Sean Harrington had eight. Freshman LB Wes Hartmann intercepted a pass in the first quarter and finished with six tackles. Freshman Patrick Williams recorded a sack late in the game.
Senior defensive backs Sam Diss, Tommy Castle, and Vincent Lee were also defensive leaders against the Cardinals. Diss finished with seven tackles (six solo), Castle had an interception with a 21-yard return, and Lee recorded two pass break-ups.
Bates was within 21-16 early in the third quarter at Trinity (7-1 last season) last week after a one-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Trevor Smith. An interception with a 46-yard return by sophomore Gilbert Brown had set up the score. However, the Bantams ran off 16 straight points over the final 20 minutes of play to pull away. The victory was Trinity's 44th straight at Jessee/Miller Field.
It's difficult to gauge the Bobcat offense based on last week's performance against the Bantams, always one of the toughest defenses in the conference. Bates did not turn the ball over last week. Senior running back Patrick George managed to ground out some yardage, gaining 51 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown. He also returned four kickoffs for an average of 20.5 yards.
Smith, who ranked third in NESCAC with 211 yards of total offense per game in 2011, figures to be one of the more productive QBs again this season. Junior receiver Ryan Curit was one of his favorite targets last year, ranking fifth in the league for receptions per game after catching 44 balls for 350 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown is joined as a leader of the Bobcat defense by senior Kyle Starr, who tied for the conference lead with five interceptions last fall. Sophomore Mike Kelleher also intercepted a pass at Trinity last weekend. Senior linebacker Evan Dowd and junior safety Andrew Kukesh paced the Bates defense with nine tackles apiece.
Tufts used to dominate the series between these teams, winning 24 straight games over Bates from 1985-2009. However, the Bobcats have turned the momentum to their side with wins in the last two seasons. George had a rushing touchdown when Bates defeated Tufts 21-20 with a late field goal on Homecoming Day at Ellis Oval in 2010. Current Jumbo senior WR Dylan Haas had a 24-yard touchdown catch in that game. Last fall in Lewiston, Maine, George and Smith had a combined 167 yards on the ground and both ran for touchdowns in a 28-9 Bobcat win. Curit also caught a touchdown pass. Current Tufts junior Ryan Pollock had a rushing touchdown in the game.
To kick off Homecoming Weekend at Tufts on Friday night, the Athletics Department is presenting its Annual Awards Ceremony at Cohen Auditorium on campus. For the second straight year, Diss is receiving the Rudolph J. Fobert Award as the best male multi-sport athlete at Tufts. He is also an All-American lacrosse player. Tufts will also honor Boston sportswriter and radio/TV personality Tony Massarotti, a 1989 Tufts grad, with its Distinguished Achievement Award on Friday night. Massarotti is co-host of the popular Felger & Mazz program on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub and Comcast Sportsnet.
After opening the 2012 season with two games at home, the Jumbos hit the road for the next two weeks. Next Saturday they travel to Brunswick, Maine to face the Bowdoin College Polar Bears. Bates will play its first home game of the season next weekend against Williams.
Series Record: 57-15-3 Tufts
First Game: 1875, Tufts 1-0
Last Tufts Win: 2009, 15-7
Last Bates Win: 2011, 28-9
Current Streak: Bates, 2 games
Large Margins: Tufts 61-7 in 1914; Bates 23-0 in 1904