Saturday, November 10, 2012
At Yougman Field/Alumni Stadium, 12:30 pm
|Freshman linebacker Wes
Hartmann had his second intereception of the season last week
The Jumbos play their final game of the 2012 season at Middlebury College on Saturday afternoon. Tufts (0-7) will be looking for the upset to avoid a winless season. The Panthers (6-1) are still in contention for a share of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title.
Tufts came very close to ending its losing streak last week in their final home game against Colby College. However, the Mules prevailed 21-14 in overtime on a trick play. Colby senior Ryan Veillette, a defensive end who led NESCAC in sacks entering the week, was lined up at fullback on what looked to be a bull rush for the Mules. However, Veillette took a hand-off and dumped a two-handed chest pass into the arms of a wide-open Derrick Beasley in the back right corner of the end zone. After a good run by Jumbo freshman Justin Weaver (Salt Lake City, UT), the Mules' defense stopped Tufts on its overtime attempt to win the game.
The Jumbos keep on fighting, and will look to end 2012 on a positive note against a strong Middlebury team. At 6-1, the Panthers need to defeat the Jumbos on Saturday and hope for a Trinity College loss at Wesleyan University. With that scenario, both Middlebury and Trinity would finish 7-1 and share the conference crown. It would be Middlebury’s third conference title, including sharing it in 2000 and winning it outright in 2007.
With the Colby game tied 14-14 at the half, the Tufts defense was outstanding for the majority of the second half. In the third quarter, Colby gained just 23 yards on 14 plays in three possessions against the Jumbos. Into the fourth quarter, the Mules had to punt on their next two possessions after gaining a total of 25 yards on eight plays.
Freshman Patrick Williams (Moncks Corner, SC) had two sacks in the game for Tufts, including one in the third quarter for an eight-yard loss. Sophomore linebacker Tommy Meade (Wakefield, MA) finished with a game-high 12 tackles for the Jumbos, while junior LB Sean Harrington (Chelmsford, MA) was also in double-figures with 10 stops. Rounding out the good linebacker play for Tufts in the game, freshman Wes Hartmann (Trabuco Canyon, CA) intercepted his second pass of the season. Meade ranks fifth in the conference with 62 total tackles.
The Jumbo rushing game was productive again with 124 yards in the game. Sophomore Zack Trause (Carlstadt, NJ) carried 20 times for 75 yards and had a seven-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the game for the Jumbos. He had seven rushes for 45 yards during the touchdown drive.
After Colby surged to a 14-7 lead, and with halftime approaching - Colby would be receiving the second-half kickoff - Tufts answered with an impressive late scoring drive. Dylan Haas (Yorktown Heights, NY), one of 17 Jumbos honored before the game on Seniors Day, returned the kickoff 34 yards to the Colby 48. On third and two, Jumbo senior QB John Dodds (Mount Pleasant, SC) passed for 28 yards to freshman Jack Cooleen (Falmouth, ME). Three plays later, with 23 seconds on the clock, Dodds found Haas for a three-yard TD connection that made it 14-14.
Middlebury features a prolific passing attack led by junior quarterback MacCallum Foote. He was named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season after completing 40 of 58 passes for 456 yards and five touchdowns in a 50-21 win at Hamilton last Saturday. In the process, he established new program and NESCAC records with 27 touchdown passes this season. In seven games, Foote has completed 220 of 349 attempts (63 percent) for 2,508 yards (358.3 per game).
Senior Zach Driscoll, Foote's favorite target, has put together one of the best receiving seasons in conference history this fall. He enters Saturday with 73 receptions for 1,010 yards and 13 touchdowns in seven games. Senior tight end Billy Chapman has 54 catches for the Panthers gaining 588 yards and scoring seven touchdowns. The Panthers also have a good back in senior Remi Ashkar, who has gained 350 yards on 96 rushes this fall.
Defensively, Middlebury is ranked in the middle of the conference pack allowing 343 yards and 19.4 points per game. Freshman linebacker Tim Patricia is the league’s third-leading tackler with 75, while senior LB John Wiet has 61 stops, including three sacks. In the defensive backfield, senior Daniel Kenerson has four interceptions.
The Panthers have won 10 straight games in the series against Tufts, including last year's 19-17 thriller on the last play of the game. Ashkar (23 rushes, 105 yards) scored from two yards out on fourth down with two seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers a dramatic come-from-behind victory. The host Jumbos had led 17-7 after a 35-yard touchdown reception by Haas with 10:30 remaining in the fourth. However, the Panthers answered with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Foote to Chapman to make it 17-13 at 8:23 of the fourth. The extra point attempt failed after a bad snap. The Middlebury defense then stopped the Jumbos, leading to a 19-play, 79-yard game-winning drive for the Panthers. Jumbo RB Ryan Pollock (Reading, MA) rushed for 104 yards on 27 carries in the game.
Series Record: Tufts, 27-27
First Game: 1915, Tufts 34-0
Last Tufts Win: 2001, 20-6
Last Middlebury Win: 2011, 19-17
Current Streak: Middlebury, 10 games
Large Margins: Tufts 47-6 in 1953; Middlebury College 41-0 in 1977