Defense Keeps Bowdoin Out of End Zone in Football's 31-3 Homecoming Victory

SOMERVILLE – The Tufts University defense did not allow a touchdown for the first time since 2006 and the offense rushed for 227 yards and three scores as the Jumbo football team defeated Bowdoin College 31-3 in Saturday afternoon NESCAC action.

Jay Tyler scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter

Playing in front of a Homecoming Day crowd in excess of 6,500 at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field, the Jumbos improved to 3-1 while gaining 462 total yards and allowing just 216. The Polar Bears, led by 109 yards rushing from sophomore halfback Nate Richam, fell to 0-4.

The Jumbo defense held Bowdoin to 88 yards passing and sacked Polar Bear quarterback Griff Stalcup five times. Senior Doug Harrison had a 12-yard sack and the first interception of his career for Tufts, which held an opponent without a touchdown for the first time since the 2006 team's 17-0 win over Hamilton. Bowdoin had the ball inside Tufts' red zone just once all afternoon.

The teams traded field goals early. The Jumbos got theirs after Bowdoin fumbled a punt and senior Zach Thomas recovered on the Polar Bear 22. The Bowdoin defense held, but Jumbo freshman Matthew Alswanger kicked a 31-yard field goal at 4:04 for a 3-0 lead.

On Bowdoin's ensuing possession, they marched 62 yards on 18 plays and settled for a 30-yard field goal by senior Andrew Sisti at 10:14 of the second quarter. The Polar Bears converted a fourth and two from the Tufts 30 during the drive with a three-yard run by sophomore Christopher Markisz. 

Jumbo junior QB Ryan McDonald would run for a touchdown and pass for another in the final 6:22 of the first half to put the hosts ahead 17-3 at intermission. He took Tufts on a 74-yard drive to notch the game's first touchdown. Sophomore RB Andrew Sanders and McDonald covered 36 yards on back-to-back runs to cap the drive. Sanders ran 22 yards down to the Bowdoin 14 and then McDonald scored from there giving Tufts a 10-3 margin.

Thomas helped force a Bowdoin punt on the next possession with a nine-yard sack. The Jumbos then mounted a 62-yard scoring drive on just five plays. McDonald passed to sophomore TE Winton Blount for 21 yards early in the drive, and then threw a 22-yard TD pass to Daniel de Leon for a 17-3 Jumbo margin at 1:38 of the second quarter. That's how it went to the half.

After the defense stopped Bowdoin on its opening possesion of the second half, freshman running back Mike Pedrini scored his first career touchdown as Tufts picked up where it left off. He carried four times on the drive for 37 yards, including runs of 17 and 15 yards leading up to his five-yard touchdown run at 9:31 for a 24-3 score. McDonald and de Leon had a 25-yard hook-up two plays prior to the touchdown run.

Neither team moved into the opponent's territory for the remainder of the third quarter and the game went to the fourth with Tufts leading 24-3.

Tufts missed a field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, but got the ball back on Bowdoin's next possession when Harrison reached back to intercept a pass that was deflected at the line. The Jumbos couldn't capitalize on the turnover, but later added a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore Jay Tyler to take a 31-3 lead at 1:41 of the fourth. Tyler opened the drive with a 22-yard run and carried eight times for 55 yards overall on the possession leading up to his first career touchdown. 

McDonald led the Jumbos with 76 yards rushing on 13 carries, while Tyler (8-55), Pedrini (7-55) and Sanders shared the load. Tufts averaged 6.1 yards per carry overall, gaining 227 yards on 37 rushes. McDonald completed 18 of 25 passes for 215 yards, including five balls for 86 yards to de Leon. Eight Jumbos caught passes overall, including junior Spenser Clouse with five receptions for 48 yards.

Richam averaged 5.7 yards on his 19 carries for Bowdoin including a long of 28. Stalcup was 12 for 22 passing for 88 yards with three connections for 31 yards to senior Nick Vailas.

Sophomore LB Greg Holt led Tufts with 12 tackles, while senior LB's Steve DiCienzo (seven tackles) and Chuck Calabrese also had sacks. 

Bowdoin junior Cam Rondeau led the visitors with 11 tackles and three pass break-ups. Sophomore LB Christian Pridgen finished with 1.5 sacks for eight yards in losses.

The Jumbos are home again next Saturday when they host undefeated Trinity College at 1:30. Bowdoin hosts Hamilton next Saturday at noon.

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Head Coach Jay Civetti Post-Game Comments