Football Travels to Trinity Looking for Upset Against #4 in New England Bantams

MEDFORD - After taking their first loss of the season last Saturday at Bowdoin College, the Jumbos will look to get back on track this Saturday when they travel to play the Trinity College Bantams.

Tufts will bring the top passing attack in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) into Hartford on Saturday. Jumbo senior QB Jack Doll leads the league with 243 passing yards per game and a 72.3-percent completion percentage (73 for 101). Sophomore receiver Ben Berey is NESCAC’s leader in receptions with 26 catches for 256 yards and a touchdown through three games. 

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Doll connected on 30 of 42 passes for 349 yards at Bowdoin last week, including nine balls for 101 yards to Berey. However, the success through the air wasn’t enough as the Jumbos lost 33-20 to the Polar Bears. Bowdoin countered Tufts’ passing game with a strong running attack including 208 yards and four touchdowns from sophomore Tyler Grant.

Jumbo senior Zack Trause continued to be NESCAC’s top all-purpose back and one of its leading scorers at Bowdoin. He compiled 188 all-purpose yards against the Polar Bears, including two touchdowns rushing, five receptions for 67 yards and three kickoff returns for 91 yards. His 60-yard kickoff return early in the second quarter led to a touchdown that gave Tufts a 14-13 lead. Trause currently leads NCAA Div. III players in kickoff returns with a 43.3-yard average (4 for 173 yards).

Sophomore Chance Brady and the Jumbo rushing attack will go against Trinity's #1 run defense in the league

With seven touchdowns in the first three games, Trause is sixth in the NCAA Statistics averaging 14 points per game. He’s rushed for four touchdowns, has a receiving score and brought both a kickoff return and a punt return all the way back in Tufts’ win over Bates on September 27. Trause’s seven total touchdowns are the most at Tufts since Pat Bailey had seven in 2010. Likewise, the four rushing scores by Trause this fall match Bailey’s four in 2010 as the most in recent team history.

Another Jumbo leader in the conference is sophomore cornerback Mike Stearns. With 13 tackles at Bowdoin, including seven solos and one for a loss, he kept pace atop the conference with 45 total tackles (34 solos). Senior linebacker Tommy Meade is tied for third in the NESCAC with 33 tackles.

The Jumbos will have their work cut out for them this weekend, as the host Bantams enter the game with a 52-game winning streak at home on Jesse / Miller Field. The streak goes back 13 years to 2001 when the Bantams fell 31-10 against Williams at home. The Bantams this fall are ranked #4 in New England with a 3-0 mark including victories over Colby (32-7), Williams (38-0) and Hamilton (19-7). Their 29.7 points per game offensively trail only Wesleyan (31.0) in the league, while they’ve yielded a scant 4.7 points per game defensively which is second behind Amherst (4.3).

Trinity is the #1 rushing offense in NESCAC with an average of 261.7 yards per game. They are gaining five yards per rush with a total of 785 yards and eight touchdowns on 157 carries. The Bantams are led on the ground by senior Chudi Iregbulem, who is second in the conference averaging 100.7 yards per game (61 carries, 302 yards). His six rushing touchdowns lead NESCAC and he is tied with Trause for the overall scoring lead with seven touchdowns. Trinity also has sophomore Gus Ackley, averaging 7.5 yards per rush, in its offensive backfield.

Trinity has run the ball 157 times while passing it just 35 times through the first three games. When they do throw the ball, the key players are junior quarterback Henry Foye (34 for 63, 151 yards per game), junior WR Ian Dugger (10 receptions, 100 yards) and senior WR Chris Ragone (five receptions, 126 yards).

The Bantam defense is stingiest in NESCAC thus far in regards to yardage allowed at 204.3 per game. They are the only conference team allowing less than 100 yards rushing per game with a 76.7-yard average against. Their 127.7 passing yards allowed per contest is the second best mark in the league. Senior linebacker Tom Szymanski is the leading tackler averaging 7.3 per game. Junior linebacker Frank Leyva has been best at getting into the backfield with three tackles for losses, a sack and two forced fumbles. Senior CB Joe Diaz leads Trinity with three pass break-ups.

The Trinity kicking game is productive. Sophomore kicker Ben Rosenblatt is the leading kick scorer in the league with 19 points, including a 41-yards field goal. Among three NESCAC punters averaging better than 40 yards, Trinity junior Kyle Pulek is second with a 41.3 average.

Tufts and Trinity’s offense are the two best in the league on third down this year. The Bantams enter at 51 percent success on third down (24/47), while Tufts is next converting 21 of 44 third-down attempts for a 48-percent success rate.

Jumbo head coach Jay Civetti is a 2001 graduate of Trinity, where he was an anchor on the Bantam offensive line for four seasons. He’ll bring the Jumbos in to Jessee / Miller Stadium looking to snap the program’s six-game losing streak in the series.

Tufts will return home to face Williams College during Parents Weekend at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field next Saturday.