MEDFORD - For their roles in the Tufts University football team's 37-17 victory at Bates College on Saturday, Jumbo junior QB Ryan McDonald and junior punter Alex LaPiana were selected as New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCASC) Players of the Week.
McDonald, who threw four touchdown passes in the game, was named NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week. LaPiana, also a starting safety for the Jumbos, averaged 43.2 yards per punt helping Tufts in the field-position battle. Head coach Jay Civetti's team improved to 2-1 with the win.
Along with passing for 245 yards (21 for 36) and the career-high four touchdowns, McDonald also ran 21 times for 81 yards in Tufts' win at Bates. He finished with 326 yards of total offense. McDonald connected three times with junior WR Jack Dolan for touchdowns in the first half (11, 29, 59 yards) as Tufts took a 30-10 lead. The Jumbos scored 23 points in the second quarter alone. After Bates closed to within 30-17, McDonald passed 27 yards to junior WR Daniel de Leon on the first play of the fourth-quarter to put the Jumbos up 37-17. He's the first Tufts QB with four touchdown passes since 2013.
LaPiana had two punts of more than 50 yards among his five kicks in the game. He sent one 51 yards late in the first quarter and then topped that with a 58-yarder that was downed at the Bates two-yard line in the third quarter. That was one of two punts that LaPiana landed inside the 20-yard line for the game. In all he totaled 216 yards on five punts.
This is the first conference Player of the Week honor for both Jumbos. The honors are the fourth and fifth that Tufts players have received dating back to the start of last year. Running back Chance Brady was Offensive Player of the Year twice last fall and kicker / punter Willie Holmquist was recognized once in 2016.
McDonald currently ranks second in the league with 295 yards rushing, and is third in NESCAC with a 64.9 pass completion percentage (61/94). LaPiana is third in the conference averaging 38.8 yards per punt overall. He also has a fumble recovery and two pass-breakups at cornerback.