Trinity College Football Hands Jumbos First Defeat 38-24 in Hartford

HARTFORD – Trinity College junior quarterback Jordan Vazzano threw for 220 yards and a touchdown and added 71 yards rushing and two scores as the Bantam football team knocked Tufts from the unbeaten ranks 38-24 on Saturday at Jessee/Miller Field.

Jack Dolan finished with 104 receiving yards and two TDs

The Jumbos scored the first 14 points, but Trinity (4-1) turned the game around with a 20-point second quarter. They added a touchdown to start the second half, building a 27-14 lead that the Jumbos (4-1) could not overcome.

Senior running back Max Chipouras added 164 rushing yards and a touchdown on 29 carries as Trinity gained 470 yards of total offense. The Bantams continued their series winning streak to 11 games over the Jumbos starting in 2008. They have not lost to Tufts in Hartford since 1998.

Jumbo senior QB Ryan McDonald passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns, completing 25 of 40 attempts. Tufts had two 100-yard receivers as senior Frank Roche made seven catches for 116 yards and classmate Jack Dolan had eight receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

After a 33-yard return of the opening kickoff by Tufts junior Robert Jones, a completion of 30 yards from McDonald to Dolan converted a third and 10 to the Bantam 19. Senior Dom Borelli got the Jumbos to the 1 with a succession of carries and then McDonald scored at 9:31 of the period to cap a 12-play, 61-yard drive.

Tufts' strong start continued on their first defensive series. With Trinity driving, Jumbo senior Alexander LaPiana intercepted a Vazzano pass at the Tufts 22 and returned it 64 yards to the Trinity 14. A Tufts unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the Jumbos back to the 29. McDonald and Dolan connected again on a 19-yard pass early in the drive. Two plays later Dolan caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from McDonald and Tufts was up 14-0 at the 4:25 mark.

The Jumbo defense forced a punt on the next Trinity series. On a third and 20 play from the Bantam 28, a 19-yard Vazzano to Jonathan Girard completion was one-yard short of converting. Tufts senior McCoy Berger had a sack for Tufts during the possession and Tufts led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The momentum would shift quickly in the second. The Trinity defense forced the first Tufts punt of the day. The ensuing Bantam possession started near midfield and on the first play Devante Reid went for 17 yards to the Tufts 32. A 19-yard Vazzano to Kody Schofer pass put Trinity at the Jumbos' 7 and three plays later Reid took it in from three yards out pulling the hosts within 14-7.

The Bantams forced another Jumbo punt and took over at their own 41. A 38-yard pass play from Vazzano to Schofer set up a first down at the Tufts 20. Vazzano and Schofer soon hooked up again on a 19-yard scoring play and the game was tied 14-14 at 7:19 of the second stanza.

Both teams punted on the next attempts, then Jumbos went for it on fourth down from the Trinity 43 and threw an incomplete pass. Trinity took over and would continue having success passing the ball. Vazzano threw a 37-yard completion to Girard setting up first and 10 on the Tufts 21. Vazzano's 10-yard run followed by an 11-yard touchdown jaunt by Chipouras put Trinity ahead. However, Jumbo Tim Preston blocked the extra point and it was 20-14. The failed extra point was Trinity's first in 22 attempts this season.

At halftime, Trinity had gained 255 yards including 141 through the air. Tufts had just 116 total.

Taking possession after halftime, Trinity continued to hit it big through the air. Vazzano passed for a 59-yard gain to Girard down to the Tufts 7. The quarterback scored on a six-yard run at 13:17 of the period and the hosts had a 27-14 lead.

The Jumbos put together a sustained drive on their next possession after a 30-yard kickoff return by sophomore OJ Armstrong. McDonald had completions of 13 yards to junior TE Jack Donohue and 15 more to senior Dan de Leon putting Tufts on the Trinity 9. However, Bantam James Christiano intercepted McDonald at the line of scrimmage and returned the ball 52 yards to the Tufts 39. McDonald made the tackle.

Trinity turned that into a 25-yard field goal by Eric Sachse for 30 unanswered points and a 30-14 lead at 5:41 of the third.

The Jumbos would get the ball down near Trinity's goal line again on their next drive. On a fourth and three from the 5, Jumbo sophomore RB Mike Pedrini got three for the first down. However, Tufts could not get it into the end zone, with Trinity's Dan Negron making a five-yard tackle for a loss on third down. Tufts settled for a 23-yard field by sophomore Matt Alswanger.

Trinity added salt to that wound with a six-play, 78-yard scoring drive to take a 38-17 advantage at 9:32 of the final quarter. Chipouras had a 61-yard run during the possession and Vazzano finished it off with a one-yard TD run.

Tufts stuck with and pulled within 38-24 on Dolan's second TD reception of the game (2 yards) from McDonald at 6:53 of the fourth. McDonald and Roche had a 40-yard hook-up on the drive to convert a third and 10.

The Jumbos tried an on-side kick, but the sure-handed Girard recovered it for Trinity. Tufts forced a Trinity punt, but could not do anything with their next possession. Trinity took over and drained the clock down to four seconds to seal the victory.

Girard finished with 127 yards receiving on four catches, an average of 31.8 per reception. Schofer caught five balls for 88 yards. Jacob Martillotti led Trinity with eight tackles. Matt Patry broke up two passes. The Trinity defense limited the Jumbos to 68 yards on the ground.

Tufts finished with 307 yards passing and 375 total. Jones and Preston both had six tackles to top Tufts. Senior defensive end Jared Ahsler made two tackles for losses totaling to six yards. Miles Shipp broke up two Bantam passes.

Previously unbeaten Williams College also lost today to Middlebury 21-10. That leaves Amherst as the only 5-0 team in NESCAC. The Jumbos, Trinity and Wililams are all 4-1. Tufts hosts Williams next week and then goes to Amherst on October 27.