JT Rinciari was in on 11 tackles for the Jumbos

CLINTON, N.Y. -- Junior Jordan Eck threw for two touchdown passes and ran for another to lead Hamilton College to a 24-16 win against Tufts University in the NESCAC opener for both teams at Hamilton's Steuben Field on Saturday.

The Continentals (1-0 overall, 1-0 NESCAC) won their season opener for the first time since 1992, when they routed Amherst College 41-0. Tufts had won its last nine meetings with Hamilton. The Continentals last defeated the Jumbos in 1991. Tufts still leads the all-time series, 13-5.

Eck finished 29 of 33 for 260 yards with no interceptions. He capped the game's first drive with a four-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw early in the first quarter. Eck also threw 14-yard scoring tosses to sophomore James Stanell and junior Kevin Petrick.

Stanell ran for 87 yards on 24 carries, and caught seven passes for 49 yards. Junior Garrett Hoy also had seven catches for 61 yards, and kicked a 33-yard field goal with three seconds left in the first half. Petrick ended up with a team-high 63 yards receiving

Junior Mike MacDonald paced the Hamilton defense with a game-high 12 tackles, and senior Ted Finan chipped in 10. Freshman Ian Milne added six solo stops, including a sack, and broke up two passes in his first collegiate action.

Senior QB Johnny Lindquist (Highland Park, IL) threw for 215 yards and a touchdown and ran for 46 yards for the Jumbos. Lindquist completed 19 passes on 32 attempts, and didn't throw an interception. Sophomore Ryan Pollock (Reading, MA) carried the ball 20 times for 70 yards and one score. Sophomore Pat Nee (Essex Junction, VT) had a team-high five receptions, and junior Dylan Haas (Yorktown Heights, NY) led all players with 82 yards receiving.

Tufts' senior J.T. Rinciari (Congerst, NY) was credited with 11 tackles, and Nick Croteau (Pepperell, MA) recorded a sack. Senior Zack Skarzynski (Hinsdale, IL) added eight tackles.

The Continentals drove 68 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive. Stanell put Hamilton in the red zone with a 24-yard run to the Tufts' 11. Eck ran it in two plays later, and Hoy added the extra point with 10:41 left in the first quarter.

The Jumbos (0-1, 0-1) pulled within 10-3 on a 30-yard field goal by senior Adam Auerbach (Glen Rock, NJ) with 1:54 remaining in the first. Tufts started the drive at its own 3-yard line. The big play was a 37-yard pass from Lindquist to Haas that moved the ball to the Continentals' 18.

Hamilton responded on the ensuing drive. On fourth-and-2 from the Tufts' 36, Eck found Stanell for 19 yards to keep the drive alive. The next two plays generated three yards, and the Continentals called a timeout. On the next play from the 14, Eck found Stanell near the left sideline at the 10, and Stanell ran untouched into the end zone. Hoy's extra-point made it 14-3 with 11:45 left in the half.

The Jumbos responded right away after junior Sam Diss (Ridgewood, NJ) returned the ensuing kick 39 yards to the Hamilton 45-yard line. Tufts was 3-for-3 on third down conversions during the 11-play drive, which ended with a Lindquist 3-yard scoring toss to 6-foot, 6-inch junior tight end Nick Kenyon (Norwich, VT). Auerbach's PAT pulled the Jumbos within 14-10 with 6:49 remaining.

Neither team scored on their next possession, but the Continentals struck one more time just seconds before the half. The drive started at Hamilton's own 36 with 2:51 left. Eck was a perfect 7-for-7 on the 10-play drive, but the big play was Stanell's 3-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Tufts' 27. After Eck completed a 13-yard pass to Hoy, Hoy stayed on the field and nailed his first field goal for the Continentals from 33 yards out. Hamilton led 17-10 at the break.

The Continentals increased their lead midway through the third quarter on a 10-play drive that started on their own 8. Hamilton was 3-for-3 on third-down conversions during the drive. Eck completed a 32-yard pass to senior Ryan Cray  on first down to the Tufts' 48. Later in the drive, Stanell gained four yards on third-and-1, and the Jumbos were hit with a personal foul to put the ball at the 20. Three plays later, Eck found Petrick from 14 yards out. Hoy added the PAT for a 24-10 advantage with 7:52 left.

Tufts pulled back in it with an 85-yard drive that took just 2 minutes, 4 seconds, early in the fourth quarter. Lindquist ran or threw for 63 yards on the drive, which was helped by a personal foul penalty on the Continentals. But Pollock finished it off with a 7-yard touchdown run with 10:00 remaining. Auerbach's extra-point attempt was wide right, and the Jumbos still trailed 24-16.

Tufts' next drive stalled at the Hamilton 36 as the Jumbos turned the ball over on downs. Tufts forced the Continentals to go three-and-out, and Hoy's punt traveled 39 yards to the Jumbos' 29 with 2:05 left.

Five straight completions by Lindquist moved Tufts from its 29 to the Hamilton 20. Lindquist's next three passes were incomplete, and it was fourth down. The Jumbos called timeout with 15 seconds left. Lindquist tried to throw over the middle to junior Marty Finnegan (Oak Park, IL), but senior Dylan Isenberg knocked the ball to the turf at the 5-yard line, and the Continentals clinched the victory.

Hamilton hosts Wesleyan University on Saturday, Oct. 1. Tufts travels to Bates College on Saturday for another NESCAC game.

Game statistics