SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Senior captain and running back Chance Brady of the Tufts University football team found the back of the end zone three times, en route to breaking the program record for career touchdowns during a 44-12 victory over Colby on Saturday afternoon at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field in Somerville, Massachusetts.
|Dominic Borelli posted his first rushing touchdown of the season.|
The Haverhill, Massachusetts, native now has 30 career TDs, while the previous program record was 28 from Mike Krueger (1979-82). He also shattered the program's record for rushing touchdowns in a single season, as he now has 14 during his senior campaign. The previous record for single-season rushing TDs was held by Paul Dresens, who scored 13 rushing TDs in the 1988 season.
The senior standout also broke the program's record for career rushing TDs two weeks ago during a 35-16 victory over visiting Williams on Oct. 22. All of Brady's 30 touchdowns have been on the ground, while the previous record for career rushing TDs was 24. During the victory over Williams, he also tied the program record for rushing TDs in a single game with four.
The Jumbos (6-1 in NESCAC) are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the NESCAC standings with Middlebury and Wesleyan. Trinity is in first place with a perfect 7-0 record. The Jumbos have a chance to accomplish a couple impressive feats heading into their final game next Saturday (Nov. 12) against host Middlebury at 12:30 p.m. Those possibilities include earning a share of the NESCAC Championship and a seven-win season for the first time since the 1998 season.
The 2016 Jumbos have achieved a perfect 4-0 record at home for the second time in the last three seasons. The 2014 Jumbos went undefeated on their home field, en route to finishing .500 for the first time since the 2008 season.
The Jumbos raced out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter Saturday. Brady (26 rushes, 174 yards) posted a 5-yard rushing TD on the Jumbos second drive of the game during a third-and-goal play. Senior Willie Holmquist added the PAT, giving the hosts a 7-0 lead with 10:18 remaining in the opening frame.
The Mules (2-5 in NESCAC) received the ensuing kickoff and started from their own 15-yard line. Six plays later, on a fourth-and-5 from the Colby 35-yard line, the Jumbos were guilty of roughing the kicker, which extended the Mules' drive. Junior quarterback Christian Sparacio (13 of 31 passing, 125 yards, 1 INT) then connected with sophomore wide receiver Sebastian Ferrell (four receptions, 102 yards) for a 56-yard gain, bringing the visitors to the Jumbos' 4-yard line.
The Jumbos defense stood tall, as sophomore defensive back Tim Preston intercepted Sparacio on first and goal, and returned the pick 99 yards for a TD, extending the Jumbos' lead to 13-0 with 7:13 left in the first quarter.
The Mules returned the next kickoff to their own 33-yard line, and then the Jumbos defense forced a three-and-out. The Jumbos started from their own 49-yard line with 5:36 left in the opening quarter. Holmquist connected on a 45-yard field goal seven plays later, expanding the hosts lead to 16-0 with 3:29 remaining in the first.
Junior John Baron tried to change the momentum of the game, as he went 4-for-4 on field goals for the Mules. He connected on three in the second quarter, as the visitors closed the gap by outscoring the hosts, 9-0, in the frame. Baron drove a 23-yard field goal through the uprights with 7:52 left in the half, which capped a 10-play drive and trimmed the Jumbos' lead to 16-3.
The Mules defense made a statement on the following Jumbos' possession. On a fourth-and-4 from the Jumbos' 34-yard line, Mules junior defensive back Ian Dickey forced a Holmquist fumble and Jumbos freshman Andrew Sanders recovered and was tackled at the Jumbos' 22-yard line. Four plays later, the visitors cut the deficit to 10 points with 4:52 left in the half, as Baron made a 36-yard field goal.
The Mules defense stood tall again and forced the Jumbos into a three-and-out, as the Mules received the ball at the Jumbos' 16-yard line with 3:20 left in the half. The Jumbos defense tightened up in the red zone and forced a field-goal attempt. Baron came to the rescue again, by connecting on a 27-yard field goal with 1:46 left, making the score 16-9 in favor of the Jumbos heading into intermission.
The Jumbos controlled all facets of the game in the second half, as they outscored the visitors, 28-3. Baron nailed a 31-yard field goal on the Mules first possession of the second half, which capped a 12-play, 61-yard drive, and cut the Jumbos' lead to 16-12 with 10:14 remaining in the third.
Brady responded with a 1-yard TD run with 7:39 left, which concluded a 65-yard drive, spanning two minutes, 35 seconds. Holmquist added the PAT, giving the hosts a 23-12 advantage. A crucial play on the drive was a 31-yard run by Brady, which brought the squad to the Mules' 24-yard line.
The Jumbos defense responded with a timely three-and-out, and then sophomore running back Dominic Borelli found the end zone from 1 yard out on fourth and goal during the Jumbos ensuing possession. Holmquist added the PAT, as the Jumbos held a 30-12 advantage.
The Jumbos ran away with the game in the fourth, as Brady tallied a 7-yard rushing TD and Holmquist added the PAT with 12:31 remaining in the game, giving the Jumbos a 25-point cushion. The scoring ended with 5:30 remaining, when senior running back Max Athy ran into the end zone from 2 yards out. Holmquist sent the PAT through the uprights, giving the hosts a 44-12 victory.
The Jumbos led the first-downs category (22-13), rushing yards (347-48) and total offensive yards (437-213). The Mules posted 165 passing yards, while the Jumbos recorded 90. The Jumbos were 7 of 15 on third down and 2 of 4 on fourth down, while the Mules were 3 of 15 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.
The Jumbos honored their outstanding senior class prior to the game, as the group turned around the fortunes of the program. The unit suffered through a winless first year, and then posted a sensational turnaround in 2014 with a 4-4 record. The tight-knit group of athletes continued to work, and boasted a 6-2 season in 2015, which was the most successful season in program history since 2001 (6-2). The group has led the Jumbos to 17 wins over the past three seasons.