SOMERVILLE – Down 14-10 at the half, the Jumbo football team exploded for 37 unanswered points in the second half to take a 47-14 win over Bates on Homecoming Day at Tufts Saturday afternoon.
The Jumbos gained 545 yards of total offense, including 316 on the ground as they improved to 3-0. Bates, which scored twice within two minutes late in the first half, dropped to 0-3.
Senior Frank Roche made a spectacular touchdown grab in the third quarter
Tufts had taken a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 25-yard field goal by sophomore Matt Alswanger and a nine-yard run by Mike Pedrini. However, the Bates defense was keeping it close and then provided a pair of turnovers to spark the offense.
On a fourth and six play from the Bobcat 26, Bates senior defensive lineman Walter Washington sacked Tufts QB Ryan McDonald to turn the ball over on downs. After a 33-yard completion from Bobcat sophomore QB Brandon Costa to freshman WR Jackson Hayes, Bates scored on a five-yard run by sophomore Christian Sanfilippo at 3:19 of the second quarter to pull within 10-7.
During the next Tufts possession, Bates sophomore Anthony Costa intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards to the Jumbo 31-yard line. Then on third down and eight, Costa completed a 29-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to junior WR Kody Greenhaigh putting the guests up 14-10.
The Jumbos turned it around in the second half, scoring on their first four possessions with a field goal and three touchdowns. Tufts would have five touchdowns in their seven second-half possessions overall as they pulled away for the victory.
Alswanger capped a 13-play, 59-yard drive on the Jumbos' opening possession of the third quarter with a 34-yard field goal making it 14-13 Bates. Taking over after forcing a punt, Tufts had a 17-yard McDonald to Jack Donohue gain extended by a 15-yard Bates personal foul penalty. McDonald soon had the go-ahead score as his 18-yard run put Tufts ahead 19-14 when the extra point was missed.
The Jumbo defense then pinned Bates deep in its own territory and the offense took over after a punt on their own 48. Following a 17-yard pass from McDonald to senior Jack Dolan, Jumbo senior Frank Roche had a spectacular 16-yard touchdown reception diving forward to haul in a McDonald throw and give Tufts a 26-14 advantage.
Tufts would keep it rolling on their next possession. Senior Dan de Leon and McDonald converted a third and 15 early in the drive with a 15-yard connection on the final play of the third quarter. Those two had a 16-yard hook-up down to the one-yard line later on and Jumbo senior Dom Borelli did the rest for a 33-14 Tufts lead.
The Tufts defense would limit Bates to just 45 yards total in the second half. Junior Greg Holt and sophomore Jack Walton combined on an 11-yard sack in the middle of the fourth quarter and the Jumbos took over after the ensuing Bates punt at the Bobcat 31. The drive was capped with another great play, as Tufts sophomore OJ Armstrong caught a pass that deflected off a Bates defender for a 24-yard touchdown from McDonald giving the hosts a 40-14 lead.
Jumbo junior running back Jay Tyler provided the icing on the cake with 53 yards rushing on four carries including a 13-yard touchdown run at 1:41 of the fourth to finish the scoring.
McDonald finished with 368 yards of total offense, passing for 207 and two scores and running 23 times for 161 yards and another touchdown. Four of the Tufts touchdowns came on the ground, where they averaged 5.6 yards per rush. De Leon and Dolan, who returned to the field after missing the first two games, led the Jumbos with five catches each for 56 and 53 yards, respectively. The Jumbos were 11 for 19 on third down and finished with 32 first downs.
Junior Miles Shipp and Holt made eight tackles each to lead Tufts, who held Bates to 198 total yards. Senior defensive end Jared Ahsler had two sacks and junior LB Stephen Timmins made two tackles for losses. Bates earned just 10 first downs and was 3 for 16 on third down.
Costa completed 16 of 30 balls for 160 yards and a touchdown for Bates, while also finishing as the leading rusher with 30 yards. Greenhaigh made six receptions for 77 yards and the TD.
Bobcat junior linebacker Conner Suraci led all tacklers with 13, including 12 solo stops. Sophomore Devin Clyburn broke up three passes, while Washington and sophomore Shane Collins both had sacks. Bobcat senior Justin Foley punted 11 times for 408 yards.
Coach Civetti Post-Game Comments ...