Football Edges Bates for 12-7 Win on Homecoming Day

SOMERVILLE - Sophomore quarterback Ryan McDonald ran for a 15-yard touchdown at 9:04 of the fourth quarter lifting the Tufts football team to a 12-7 win over Bates on a soggy Homecoming Day at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field Saturday. 

Freshman linebacker Greg Holt was in on 20 tackles for the Jumbos

The win was the second straight fourth-quarter comeback for Tufts (2-0), who erased a 14-3 deficit in a 17-14 win at home against Wesleyan last Saturday. Senior kicker Willie Holmquist booted field goals of 22 and 48 yards today for the Jumbos.

Bates (0-2) had taken a 7-6 lead in the third quarter after recoving a fumbled punt return by the Jumbos. Sophomore QB Sandy Plashkes threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to junior Brian Daly at 11:58 of the third giving the visitors the lead.

Both defenses dominated the majority of the game with the teams combining for 23 punts. Tufts freshman Greg Holt finished with 20 tackles while junior teammate Steve DiCienzo had 17. Bobcat senior Mark Upton recorded 17 (11 solo) including four for losses.

With at least a steady drizzle falling throughout most of the afternoon, a fumbled snap on a 20-yard field goal attempt by Bates in the middle of the first quarter left the score at 0-0. Bobcat Trevor Lyons intercepted Jumbo senior QB Alex Snyder on the ensuing possession, but Bates couldn't turn it into points.

The Jumbos mounted a 10-play, 71-yard drive for the game's first score early in the second quarter. Senior running back Chance Brady had a 35-yard run during the drive, while Snyder passed for 17 yards to junior Kevin Lovaincy on a third and seven play. Holmquist delivered the 22-yard field goal at 11:06 of the period.

After the teams traded several punts, Holmquist would drill the 48-yard field goal with just 35 seconds on the clock until halftime. It was just one yard shy of the Jumbo program record for a place-kick field goal. Tufts converted two third-down plays on the possession and took a 6-0 lead into halftime.

Into the third quarter, Bates' Luke MacDonald recovered a punt that Jumbo Mike Rando couldn't field off the ground setting the visitors up at the Tufts 30. On third and 10, Plashkes found Daly for a 30-yard score at 11:58 putting the Bobcats up 7-6. The touchdown was Bates' only pass completion of the game.

The teams would combine to punt on the next 10 possessions as Bates had their 7-6 advantage into the fourth. At 12:26 of the final quarter, the Jumbos took over at the Bobcat 37. McDonald, who had entered at QB in the third, and Brady covered all 63 yards on the ground, converting a third-down and surviving a fumble along the way. McDonald's 15-yard TD at 9:04 put Tufts back on top 12-7.

A 30-yard kickoff return by Mickoy Nichol gave Bates the ball at the Jumbo 38 on their next possession. The Tufts defense held firm and turned the ball over on downs. Bates wouldn't get near the end zone again as the Jumbos finished off the win.

Tufts rushed for 206 yards with Brady submitting a hard-earned 140 on 32 carries. McDonald had 75 yards on 11 rushes from the QB position. Tufts had just 44 yard passing, finishing with 250 yards of total offense.

Bates rushed for 188 yards on 63 carries. Mickoy led the visitors with 51 yards on nine attempts, while Peter Boyer had 15 rushes for 45 yards. Bobcat Frank Williams returned two kickoffs for 63 yards and carried six times for 33 more. 

Tufts' defense limited the Bobcats to 218 total yards and nine first downs. The Bobcats were just 3 for 20 on third down. Zach Thomas, NESCAC's sack leader last fall, had his first of the year for Tufts today as well as a QB hurry.

The Bobcats sacked Tufts quarterback three times, including solos by Upton and Max Breschi (eight total tackles).

The game featured 875 yards in punts, with Bates' Justin Foley sending 12 punts 440 yards (36.7 average) and Holmquist punting 10 times for 435 yards (43.5).

The victory is Tufts' third straight on Homecoming and third in a row over Bates. The Jumbos have now won eight of their last 10 games.

Tufts hits the road for the first time this season when they travel to Bowdoin next Saturday. Bates plays its home opener versus Williams that day.

Coach Civetti Post-Game Reaction

#