SOMERVILLE – Senior running back Dom Borelli threw the first touchdown pass of his career and also ran for a score as the Tufts University football team earned a 28-21 NESCAC win over Williams College on Saturday at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field.
|Miles Shipp had 10 solo tackles for Tufts|
A fumble recovery in Williams territory by the Jumbo defense helped set up the 13-yard TD from Borelli to senior WR Jack Dolan at 9:51 of the third quarter, which made the difference in the final margin. The Tufts D then held the lead by shutting out the Ephs in the second half, including a goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter. Williams had first and goal at the Jumbo 4, including three plays from the one-yard line, and did not score.
Tufts improved to 5-1, tied for second place in NESCAC with Trinity College. The Jumbos travel to undefeated and first-place Amherst College (6-0) next Saturday. Williams, who had two touchdowns by freshman RB Carter Begel, dropped to 4-2 with their second loss in a row.
The game was a tale of two halves, as the offenses went back and forth over the first 30 minutes, but the defenses took over in the third and fourth quarters.
Williams sophomore QB Bobby Maimaron, who rushed for 135 yards in the game, snuck over the goal line for a one-yard TD run at 7:50 of the opening quarter to start the scoring. The drive started at the Tufts 44 after the Williams defense had stopped the Jumbos at their own 17 and forced a punt. Maimaron scored on a fourth-down play after an earlier Tufts defensive holding penalty on third down gave the Ephs a first down.
Borelli, who Tufts used in a Wildcat formation this afternoon, evened things up at 7-7 with a three-yard TD run at 3:11 of the first. Jumbo senior QB Ryan McDonald had pass completions of 22 yards to OJ Armstrong and 25 yards to Jack Donohue to convert third downs during the drive.
Maimaron engineered another Williams TD when the visitors got the ball back. Had ran twice and completed a pass to convert third downs during the drive. A Tufts pass interference penalty gave the Ephs the ball at the Jumbo 3-yard line. Begel took it in from there and the guests led 14-7 at 12:58 of the second quarter.
Tufts kept pace with a massive 13-play, 86-yard scoring drive on their next possession. Sophomore RB Mike Pedrini converted two third downs on the drive with a two-yard rush and an eight-yard reception. McDonald passed six yards for the score to Donohue, who stayed with the deflected pass to grab it for the touchdown.
A 29-yard run by Maimaron set up the next Williams score, moving the ball to the Jumbo 30. On a third and two later in the possession, Begel went around the left end and scored a 10-yard touchdown rush to put Williams back in front 21-14 at 1:37 of the second.
Tufts would cap the high-scoring first half with the sixth consecutive touchdown drive by both teams combined. Junior Robert Jones returned the kickoff 53 yards to the Williams 32. The Ephs took a roughing the passer penalty on third down from the 32 to give Tufts a first down. A defensive holding call on Williams gave Tufts the ball at the 8 and McDonald threw a touchdown pass to senior Dan de Leon from there to even the score at 21-21 just 38 seconds after the Ephs' TD.
After just one punt in the first half, both teams punted on their first possession of the second half. On Williams' next drive, Tufts junior tri-captain Greg Holt forced a fumble and sophomore Nolan Ostmo recovered it at the Williams 13. On the very next play, McDonald lateral passed to Borelli who took the ball and darted it to Dolan in the end zone to give the Jumbos a 28-21 advantage.
The defenses took over from there. On the last of four straight punts, Williams sophomore Frank Stola had a 39-yard return to give the visitors the ball at the Tufts 39. Maimaron ran 17 yards to the 22 on the first play. A Jumbo pass interference penalty gave Williams a first down at the 4. However, the Jumbo defense stood firm led by a pair of tackles by Holt, including on fourth down, forcing the Ephs to turn the ball over on downs.
After a Jumbo punt, Williams would go for it on fourth and five from the Tufts 46. However, Maimaron's pass intended for Stola was incomplete. The Jumbos got the ball with 4:25 remaining and Borelli rushed for two big first downs allowing Tufts to run out the clock as Williams had exhausted its timeouts.
Borelli's numbers were modest (9 rushed, 31 yards), but his fingerprints were all over the win offensively for the Jumbos. He also caught three passes for 40 yards incuding a 27-yard gain. McDonald, hobbled by a bad ankle, completed 17 of 28 passes for 187 yards and the two TDs. Pedrini added 62 rushing yards on 16 carries. Donohue's four catches for 72 yards and the touchdown led Tufts' receivers.
Holt's 13 tackles, including two for losses, and the forced fumble led the Jumbo defense, who limited Williams to 283 yards. Junior Miles Shipp was active for the Jumbos with 10 solo stops.
Williams' Maimaron was 18 for 29 passing for 107 yards, with nine balls going to Stola for 44 yards. Begel finished the afternoon with 39 yards and the two TDs on 12 rushes. Junior Ben Anthony led the visitors defensively with 10 tackles, while sophomore Jarrett Wesner had eight including a sack.
The victory was the fifth in a row for Tufts in the series against Williams.
Post-Game Comments by Tufts head coach Jay Civetti ...