Football Improves to 5-1 with 1st Win Over Amherst Since 2007, 27-10

Portions of recap courtesy of Amherst College

AMHERST, Mass. - Senior running back Chance Brady rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Ryan McDonald added 104 yards on the ground and a score as the Tufts University football team earned a 27-10 win at Amherst College on Saturday afternoon.

Ben Berey's 4-yard TD catch opened the scoring for Tufts

The victory is the first for the Jumbos over Amherst since 2007 and the first at Pratt Field by a Tufts team since 2004. The win assured the Jumbos (5-1) of their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1990-91. Tufts went 6-2 last year and has won 11 of its last 14 games overall.

Head coach Jay Civetti's Jumbos stayed in the hunt for a NESCAC Championship. Tufts, Middlebury and Wesleyan are tied for second in the league at 5-1 behind 6-0 Trinity, who won 49-13 over Middlebury in a battle of previously unbeaten teams today. Two weeks remain in the NESCAC season.

The Jumbos rushed for 252 yards today against an Amherst team that was ranked second in the nation allowing just 25 rushing yards per game entering the contest. Leading just 13-10 in the fourth quarter, Tufts pulled away with a 6-yard TD run by McDonald and a 49-yard score from Brady.

Meanwhile, the Tufts defense stood tall late in the game after the hosts had pulled within three. Interceptions in the final three minutes by Chuck Calabrese and Tim Preston helped lock down the victory. Greg Holt once again led Tufts in tackles with 15, including 2.5 for losses. Junior Micah Adickes had 2.5 sacks in the game as Tufts got to Amherst quarterback Alex Berluti four times.

With the loss, Amherst moves to 3-3 on the season. It marks the first time Amherst has lost three games in a season since 2008, which was also the last time the Purple & White have lost back-to-back contests. They fell 20-0 to Wesleyan last week.

Midway through the first quarter today, Tufts began its third drive of the game from its own 24-yard line and used a 16-yard run by Brady and a 23-yard pass play from McDonald to Jack Dolan to help the Jumbos advance to the Amherst 21-yard line. On a third-and-3 play, McDonald found Dolan for an 11-yard completion before Amherst's Parker Chapman knocked the ball out of Dolan's hands. The ball bounced into the end zone and out of bounds giving the Purple & White a touchback.

After forcing Amherst to go three-and-out, Tufts got the ball back on the Amherst 45-yard line and orchestrated a seven-play drive that featured a 22-yard run by Brady. On second and goal from the Amherst 4-yard line, McDonald connected with Ben Berey for a TD to give the Jumbos a 6-0 lead. The ensuing PAT was missed, keeping the advantage at 6-0.

Still down by six midway through the second quarter, Amherst received a punt at its own 43-yard line. Myles Gaines burst up the middle for a 9-yard gain on first down, and Alex Berluti later hit Devin Boehm for a 28-yard gain to the Jumbos' 22-yard line. An 11-yard pass to Bo Berluti put the Purple & White at the Tufts 11-yard line. Amherst got down to the 1-yard line, following a rush by Alex Berluti. After the Jumbos held on third down, with Preston and Holt sharing the tackle, Andrew Ferrero drilled a 19-yard field goal to make it 6-3 with just 26 seconds to play in the first half.

Tufts added to its lead with a 10-play, 70-yard drive on its first possession of the second half, as McDonald posted runs of 10 and 11 yards to set up Brady for a 1-yard scoring play at the 8:56 mark of the third quarter, giving the visitors a 13-3 advantage.

Amherst was quick to answer as Alex Berluti broke free for an 18-yard dash on the Purple & White's following drive, and then hit Boehm for passes of 12 and 13 yards, and connected with Nick Widen for 10 yards. Another 13-yard rush by the quarterback put Amherst inside the Tufts' 5-yard line and Craig Carmilani pounded it in for a 2-yard touchdown score to pull Amherst back to within three at 13-10 with 4:35 on the clock in the third quarter.

Still holding its 13-10 advantage, Tufts received the ball at its own 49-yard line, and on third-and-7, Alex Snyder threw a pass that was picked off by Amherst's Evan Boynton at the line of scrimmage. Boynton raced 11 yards to the Tufts 38-yard line where he was stripped by Brady, but Chapman was there to fall on the ball at the 23-yard line. The Jumbo defense held and forced Amherst into a 36-yard field goal attempt that was pushed just right of the goal post keeping the score at 13-10 with 8:11 remaining in the contest.

Tufts turned the missed field goal into seven points as McDonald capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run to make it 20-10 with 3:11 to play. After an interception by Calabrese on the next drive gave the visitors the ball back at midfield, Brady exploded for a 49-yard TD run, sealing the 27-10 win for Tufts.

Tufts held the advantage in total offense, posting 415 yards of offense to Amherst's 274. The Jumbos also converted 43 percent of their third-down plays (6-for-14), while Amherst was 7-of-19 (37 percent). Tufts edged the Purple & White, 19-18, in first downs, while the hosts held a 30:37-29:23 edge in time of possession.

McDonald led Tufts under center and was 8-for-11 for 108 yards and the TD to Berey. Dolan pulled in three catches for 49 yards, while Berey finished with a team-best four receptions for 32 yards and a TD.

The Tufts defense had 10 tackles for losses overall, including 2.5 by Steve DiCienzo, who finished with nine stops. Preston's interception was his league-best fourth of the season and 10th in 13 career games.

Amherst's Alex Berluti was 10-of-43 for 193 yards and two interceptions. He added a team-high 27 yards rushing on 15 carries, while Carmilani scored the team's lone TD. Boehm led the receiving unit with six catches for 93 yards, while Widen and Bo Berluti followed with seven catches for 49 yards, and five catches for 44 yards, respectively. Nick Kelly racked up 104 yards on kickoff returns, including a long scamper of 30 yards to go along with 18-yards rushing.

Defensively for Amherst, Andrew Yamin led the effort with 11 tackles and almost intercepted a pass, while John Callahan and Chapman posted nine tackles each. Boynton and Paul Johnson added eight tackles apiece with Boynton registering Amherst's only sack in the game in addition to picking off a pass.

Tufts plays its home final next week against Colby. Amherst is at Trinity.