MEDFORD – The Tufts University football team is challenging for its first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship after placing second last year with a 7-1 record. The 2017 Jumbo team is scoring 29.7 points per game and averaging over 400 yards of total offense through three games thus far.
This high-powered offense is led by junior quarterback Ryan McDonald, who is averaging 222.3 passing yards per game and adding 98.3 yards per game on the ground for 320.6 yards of total offense per contest. With six passing touchdowns and two on the ground, the 6'3" native of Annandale, New Jersey has been responsible for eight touchdowns through the team's first three games.
As a sophomore in 2016, McDonald played in all eight games for the Jumbos and carried the ball 104 times for 647 yards, finishing third in the league. He rushed for five scores while also completing 44 of 83 passes for 487 yards and adding five passing touchdowns. The team has posted a 16-4 record so far in McDonald's time at Tufts.
The NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 37-17 win at Bates last Saturday, McDonald will next lead the Jumbos in their Homecoming Game against Bowdoin College at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field on Saturday.
McDonald took the time to answer a few questions for us to get to know him a little better:
Question: What are the team's main goals this season?
Answer: The main goals this season are to win a NESCAC Championship and to establish a championship culture. This year specifically we feel we have a very good chance at winning the 'CAC because of the experience and talent we have on both sides of the ball. Complimented by the leadership we've had in the previous years and leaders we have on the team now we are a very difficult team to beat.
Q: What is your greatest memory on the field thus far in your career?
A: My greatest memory thus far in my career would be back in 2007 when my Jr. Pee Wee football team won the national championship down in Florida. My teammates and our families all stayed in the Walt Disney resort for a week and we got to play a nationally televised game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Fun fact, I was an offensive/defensive lineman at the time.
Q: Other than football what are your hobbies?
A: I play a lot of fantasy football, and enjoy going to professional and collegiate sporting events. When I find a good TV show I normally watch it with every second of free time I have.
Q: Is there anyone you model your game after? If so, who and why?
A: There isn't anyone I model my game after, but in high school one of my friends mentioned I play similarly to Aaron Rodgers. Specifically, the way he extends plays with his feet when nothing is there, so now I like to watch Packers' games to see what he does and how he does it to pick up a trick or two while evading rushers.
Q: What is the best praise or advice you've ever received?
A: The best advice I was ever given was to remember to just have fun out there. When everyone is flying around and your brain is going a mile a minute trying to make sure we have the right play called, it is important to me to take a step back, take a deep breath and remember why I'm out there. I love the game and have fun playing it.
Q: If you could have one wish come true what would it be?
A: To win the NESCAC Championship this year playing alongside my best friends, and to bring some hardware back to Medford.
Q: What is the craziest thing on your bucket list?
A: The craziest thing on my bucket list is to run with the bulls in Spain.
Q: Where would you go on your dream vacation? Why?
A: I would go to a Super Bowl or NCAA National Championship game. I want to experience the atmosphere of playing in the biggest game in front of a hundred thousand screaming fans.
Written by Will Ferreira, Athletic Communications Intern