MEDFORD – Led by Co-Offensive Player of the Year Ryan McDonald, seven members of the Tufts University football team were announced as 2018 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) All-Conference selections today.
This is the second straight season that Tufts has earned seven All-NESCAC spots. That matches the team's second-best total of recipients since 2008. Coach Civetti's team also had seven All-NESCAC players in 2015 and nine in 2016.
McDonald, the senior tri-captain and quarterback, led the league with 167 completions, a 61.6 completion percentage, 1,811 passing yards (201.2 per game) and 17 touchdown passes this fall. His 133.3 efficiency rating was second in the NESCAC. McDonald also led the Jumbos in rushing with 458 yards and had nine touchdowns, which were the second-most on the ground in NESCAC. Rushing and passing combined, the All-Conference first team QB accounted for 26 touchdowns. A two-time NESCAC Player of the Week this fall, he shares the Offensive Player of the Year award with Trinity running back Max Chipouras.
Joining McDonald on the All-Conference first team is senior offensive tackle Tim Reitzenstein, junior linebacker Greg Holt and senior cornerback Tim Preston. Senior offensive tackle Josh Thibeault, junior defensive lineman Kevin Quisumbing and senior safety Alexander LaPiana made the second team.
Preston and Holt both earned All-Conference honors for the third straight year. Preston was first team as a sophomore in 2016 and second team last year. Holt has been placed on the first team in each of his three seasons. Reitzenstein repeated as a first team selection. The honor is the first for the others.
Part of a Tufts pass defense that allowed just two touchdowns through the air this fall, Preston tied for third in NESCAC with three interceptions that returned 34 yards while also breaking up six passes. His 32 solo tackles were a top 20 mark in the league and he was fourth on the team with 37 total tackles. The Jumbos were third in NESCAC allowing 161.8 passing yards per game.
Holt was fourth in the league with 72 tackles, including 8.5 for losses totaling 24 yards. He added 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, an interception and two pass break-ups. In a win over Williams, he finished with 13 tackles (nine solo) with two TFL's and forced a fumble that led to a Tufts touchdown. Holt won the New England Football Writers Association Gold Helmet Award for that performance.
Reitzenstein and Thibeault did the dirty work up front leading an all-senior offensive line that was the catalyst for one of the best offenses in team history. Head coach Jay Civetti's Jumbos finished second in NESCAC averaging 29.8 points per game and they were third in yards per game at 379 per contest. Tufts' 210 passing yards per game was the league's second-best mark and their 169 yards per game on the ground was third. The Jumbos scored 37 touchdowns in their nine games, second in NESCAC.
In his first season as a starter, Qusiumbing was a playmaker at defensive end. His 7.5 tackles for losses amassed 48 yards and included three sacks for 24 negative yards. He finished with 33 tackles and also forced a fumble. He opened the season with an 11-yard sack at Hamilton and closed it with a 12-yard sack at Middlebury. He had a season-high nine stops in a close victory over Wesleyan.
LaPiana joined the other All-Conference honorees to lead a Tufts defense that allowed just 13.3 points per game (third in NESCAC). They posted two shutouts and had another game in which the opponent scored only a safety against the offense. LaPiana had two interceptions, including one he returned 64 yards at Trinity, as well as two pass break-ups. He finished with 24 tackles, helping the Jumbos allow just 257. 9 yards per game.
Tufts finished 7-2 for third place in the NESCAC. It was just the sixth time since 1960 that a Jumbo team won seven or more games. They were undefeated at home (4-0) and were ranked #7 in the final New England Division III poll.