MEDFORD – For the second time this season and the fourth time of his career, senior quarterback Ryan McDonald of the Tufts University football team has been selected as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Week.
In the final game of his career, McDonald helped lead the Jumbos to a 35-13 victory at Middlebury College on Saturday. The win gave Tufts a 7-2 final record, just the sixth time since 1960 that a Jumbo team has won seven or more games.
McDonald tied a 35-year old Tufts record by throwing five touchdown passes in the game. The Jumbo tri-captain completed 25 of 31 passes (80.6 percent) for 262 yards and also ran 10 times for 23 yards.
With Tufts trailing 13-7 late in the first half, McDonald converted a fourth down and two play with a two-yard run. He then threw a one-yard TD pass to senior Jack Dolan with five seconds left until halftime to give the Jumbos a 14-13 advantage heading into intermission. That started a run of 28 unanswered points for the Jumbos including three more touchdown passes in less than six minutes during the third quarter as Tufts pulled away from the Panthers (5-4).
The Jumbo tri-captain broke four Tufts records in the game overall. The five TDs by McDonald matched the record originally set by Dave Piermarini against Wesleyan in 1983. McDonald also set a new passing TDs in a season record (17) as well as the program's career marks for passing TDs (33) and completions (369). Already Tufts' all-time leader in total offense, he eclipsed 6,000 yards (6,004) in three years as the Jumbos' starter.
McDonald has previously been Offensive Player of the Week on September 30 of this season, and on October 1 and October 22 of last year. This is the third conference weekly honor earned by the Jumbos this season including junior linebacker Greg Holt receiving Defensive Player of the Week on October 21.
For the 2018 season, McDonald led NESCAC passers in completions (167), completion percentage (61.6), yards (1811), and touchdowns (17), and was second in pass efficiency (133.3). He also tied for second in NESCAC with nine rushing touchdowns and was 11th in the league with 458 rushing yards. He compiled 2,269 yards of total offense in nine games (252.1 per game).