SOMERVILLE - Senior Zack Trause caught a touchdown pass and ran for another, and the Tufts defense came up with big plays when needed, as the Jumbos opened the 2014 NESCAC football season with a 24-17 victory over Hamilton on Saturday at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field.
The win stops a 31-game losing streak by the Jumbos that dates back to September 25, 2010. It came in front of a herd of 3,524 fans at the Oval, with many rushing the field at the conclusion of the game.
Trause caught an eight-yard scoring pass from senior QB Jack Doll and also had a one-yard rush for a touchdown. Sophomore Chance Brady opened the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown scamper and junior kicker Vince Falk added a 30-yard field goal for Tufts (1-0). Sophomore Mike Rando accumulated 199 all-purpose yards, including 126 on two long kickoff returns.
|Fans celebrate the victory with the Jumbos|
Tufts sophomore cornerback Mike Stearns recorded a game-high 18 tackles, including 16 solos. Junior DE Evan Anthony contributed six stops including three for losses and two sacks. The Jumbos held the Continentals to 6 of 18 on third down and 1 for 8 on fourth-down conversions.
Hamilton sophomore quarterback Chase Rosenberg passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns, completing 30 of 50 attempts. He also ran 13 times for 62 yards. Sophomore WR Charles Ensley finished with 14 receptions for 175 yards and a score. Junior LB Cade Larabee led the visitors with nine tackles as Hamilton held Tufts to 236 total yards.
One of Anthony's sacks led to Tufts' first score. His eight-yard sack on third down set up a fourth and 14 which Hamilton could not convert. The Jumbo offense took over and went 85 yards in 15 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Brady's touchdown at 3:20 of the first. Doll and Rando hooked up for a 25-yard completion early in the drive. The Jumbos also converted a fourth down and three during the possession with a four-yard Brady run.
Rosenberg's 45-yard run on the next Hamilton opportunity set up first and goal on the Jumbo five. The Continentals would have a touchdown nullified by a holding penalty, and then the Jumbo D stopped them on fourth down. The first quarter ended with Tufts leading 7-0.
After Tufts took over at its own 2, the Hamilton defense stepped up and forced the hosts to punt out of their own end zone. After getting the ball on the Jumbo 30, the Continentals needed just two plays to tie the score at 7-7 on a 24-yard Rosenberg to Ensley pass play at 13:05 of the second.
|Junior DE Evan Anthony records one of his two sacks in the game|
Rando, who had opened the game with a 59-yard kickoff return, brought one back 67 yards to the Hamilton 16 setting up Falk's field goal. The Jumbos led 10-7 at 11:41 of the second and wouldn't trail again.
An 11-yard sack by Anthony forced a Hamilton punt and the Jumbos would score for the second straight possession. They went 45 yards in nine plays, including a 15-yard Rando reception from Doll to convert a third down. Trause scored from eight yards out on third and goal with 7:43 on the clock. The extra point hit the upright and missed, putting Tufts' lead at 16-7.
With time winding down in the half, Hamilton moved to the Jumbo 18 with junior Nick Caso twice coverting third downs on 16- and 12-yard catches. However, the Jumbo defense held up again as senior LB Tommy Meade sacked Rosenberg for a 12-yard loss on third down. Hamilton couldn't convert on fourth down and the Jumbos went to halftime leading 16-7.
The Continentals would pose the first scoring threat of the third quarter, moving to the Jumbo 24 with a 48-yard reception by Ensley and an additional 15 yards on a Tufts face-masking penalty. However, Tufts made another fourth-down stop as junior LB Matt McCormack tackled Continental senior Jeff Hopsicker for a three-yard loss on fourth down.
Hamilton would close within 16-10 after a Jumbo fake punt failed. The Continentals took over at the Jumbo 28 and scored with a 28-yard field goal from freshman Zach Altneu with 2:02 remaining in the third.
Brady returned a short Continental kickoff 24 yards to midfield. Early in the in the drive, a 30-yard pass from Doll to sophomore Ben Berey converted a third and 11 to the Hamilton 20 as the third quarter ended. An eight-yard run by Trause on third and five put the Jumbos at the 7 and a pass interference call against Hamilton gave the Jumbos first and goal on the 1. Trause took it in with 13:08 left in the fourth, the Doll connected with junior TE Xavier Frey on a two-point coversion for a 24-10 Jumbo margin.
Hamilton would make it interesting. Jumbo senior Michael DeFeo intercepted Rosenberg deep in Tufts territory on the next drive. With Tufts trying to run clock, the Hamilton defense did its part and gave the offense three more shots. A QB hurry by Tufts senior James Brao and a pass break-up by Jumbo sophomore Quinn Metoyer stopped the Continentals on fourth downs.
Taking over with 2:35 left in the fourth, Hamilton went 57 yards in eight plays to cut the gap to 24-17. Rosenberg had an 18-yard run during the drive. He then found senior Pat Donadio in the end zone from three yards out with 25 seconds remaining.
That forced an on-side kick, which Jumbo junior Jack Cooleen recovered to seal the victory.
Brady finished with 69 yards on 17 carries for Tufts, while Doll completed 13 of 19 passes for 107 yards. Rando's seven catches for 53 yards led the winners. The Jumbos scored on four of their five trips into the red zone, while the defense recorded four sacks for 36 yards in losses.
Hamilton, which earned 23 first downs to 12 by Tufts, got 54 rushing yards on 13 totes and eight receptions for 44 yards by Hopsicker. They possessed the ball for 34:39 compared to 25:21 by the hosts. The Continentals hurt themselves with 12 penalties for 117 yards. Hamilton (0-1) has lost 13 straight dating back to 2012.
Game Photos by Kelvin Ma & Alonso Nichols / Tufts