CLINTON, NY – Junior Willie Holmquist booted a 28-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Tufts Football team to a 24-21 season-opening victory at Hamilton College on Saturday afternoon.
|Willie Holmquist kicked three field goals including the game-winner|
Junior Chance Brady rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Jumbos (1-0), who gained 169 yards on the ground and 386 total. Holmquist, who missed last season with an injury, returned to action by kicking three field goals including the game-winner.
The Jumbos had to withstand a furious comeback by the host Continentals. Junior QB Chase Rosenberg threw three touchdown passes in the second half as Hamilton erased a 21-0 halftime deficit. Rosenberg completed 14 of 23 passes for 301 yards in the game.
The Jumbos got the season off on the right foot with a 12-play, 75-yard opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. Brady rushed for 25 yards on the drive and finished it with a three-yard touchdown run at 10:21 of the first quarter. Junior QB Alex Snyder rushed for 16 yards of his own, had a 19-yard completion to senior TE Xavier Frey and completed a 15-yard pass to junior WR Ben Berey during the series.
Freshman Dominic Borelli helped get the Jumbos into field goal range with 35 rushing yards and a 10-yard reception during the second quarter. Holmquist converted a 43-yard field goal – the longest by a Jumbo since 2009 – and Tufts led 10-0 with 8:37 left in the second quarter.
A sack by Tufts sophomore DL Micah Adickes helped force a punt on the Continentals' next drive. The Jumbo offense moved swiftly down the field, scoring on a seven-play, 86-yard touchdown drive covering 2:24 of clock time. The drive featured a 12-yard rush by Brady, a Hamilton personal foul penalty, a 20-yard gain by Borelli, a 13-yard connection between sophomore QB Jonathan DiBiaso and junior WR Mike Rando and a 13-yard touchdown run by Brady. The Jumbos added a two-point conversion on a pass by Borelli to senior Patrick Williams to lead 18-0 with 3:26 remaining in the second quarter.
The Jumbos would put more points on the scoreboard before the half as sophomore DB J.P. Garcia intercepted a pass by Hamilton QB Brandon Tobin and returned it 30 yards to the Continental 34. Tufts turned that into a 28-yard Holmquist field goal for a 21-0 advantage at halftime.
Tufts' dominant first half included a 223-73 advantage in total yards. The Jumbos gained 130 on the ground and 93 in the air while holding the Continentals to 13 and 60, respectively. Tufts had 16 first downs in the opening 30 minutes compared to five for Hamilton, who only once crossed into Jumbo territory in the first two periods. Brady had 71 yards and two touchdowns while Borelli accumulated 52 yards on six totes.
A 19-yard sack by Williams on Hamilton's first drive of the third quarter kept Tufts' momentum going, but it would soon change dramatically.
Junior DB James Taylor intercepted a DiBiaso pass at the Hamilton 32. Three plays later, Rosenberg connected with junior WR Charles Ensley down the right sideline for a 53-yard touchdown pass cutting the margin to 21-7 with 3:52 on the third-quarter clock.
On Tufts' next possession, Borelli took a screen pass 48 yards to the Hamilton 43 on a second and 24 play from the Tufts 9. . The Jumbos also converted a fourth down with a 15-yard Snyder to Rando pass. They would get to the Continental 17, but could not come away with points after missing a 34-yard field goal.
The Continentals would go long again on their first play after taking over with an 80-yard touchdown pass from Rosenberg to senior WR Patrick Donahoe, who broke a tackle and dashed to the end zone narrowing the margin to 21-14 at 11:57 of the fourth quarter.
The Jumbos went three and out on their next drive and Hamilton put together a 10-play, 72-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 21-21 on an 18-yard pass from Rosenberg to Jordan Jenkins. Rosenberg was 5 for 6 totaling 66 yards on the possession. He found Jenkins wide open on the left side of the field for the tying score at 5:07.
After punts on the next three possessions, Hamilton missed a 47-yard field goal with 42 seconds left in regulation. The Jumbos ran two plays before allowing the game to go to overtime.
Hamilton had the ball first in the extra session, but missed a 37 yard field goal. Rushes by Brady and Snyder set up Holmquist at the Continental 11 for the game-winning kick.
Snyder completed 13 of 23 passes for 188 yards, including six for 53 yards to Rando. Borelli gained 110 yards rushing and receiving combined. The Jumbos had four sacks on defense, with junior Zach Thomas and senior Corey Burns joining Adickes and Williams. Senior LB Matt McCormack led Tufts with eight total tackles. Holmquist also punted five times with a 40.2-yard average.
Ensley (7 receptions, 107 yards) and Donahoe (6 catches, 174 yards) help the hosts out-gain Tufts with 395 yards of total offense. Ensley also averaged 25.8 yards on four kickoff returns. The Hamilton defense also had four sacks as Tyler Hudson, Brent Lobien, Matt Glebus and Poppy Green got to Jumbo quarterbacks. Hudson's 15 stops overall were the game-high. Jimmy Giattino had 14 and two pass break-ups.
The Jumbos won on the road for the first time since October 3, 2009 at Bates (15-7). They are on the road again next Saturday at Bates for a 1 pm start. Hamilton (0-1) is home again versus Wesleyan at 1 pm.