Football Downs Tufts - Places Second in NESCAC With 7-2 Mark

Frank Cosolito caught nine passes for 100 yards with three touchdowns in the win.
Frank Cosolito caught nine passes for 100 yards with three touchdowns in the win.

Middlebury ended its nine-game season with a 35-24 road win over Tufts at the Ellis Oval. With the victory, the Panthers end the season with a 7-2 mark, placing second only to Trinity (8-1) in the NESCAC.

Tufts fumbled the opening kickoff, as the Panthers led 7-0 two plays later on a four-yard touchdown pass from Jack Meservy to tight end Frank Cosolito.

Middlebury scored again on its next possession on a one-yard rush from Meservy for a 14-0 lead at the 9:50 mark. Cosolito's 26-yard reception was the big play on the drive.

The Jumbos cut the lead to 14-7 before knotting the game on a five-yard rush from Mike Pedrini at the 12:11 mark of the second quarter. The drive was set up by a blocked punt by Stephen Timmins.

Middlebury fumbled the ensuing kickoff as the Jumbos scored three plays later on a 23-yard rush from Ryan McDonald, making it a 21-14 game with their third-straight touchdown.

Later in the quarter, the Panthers answered on Meservy's second one-yard scoring rush of the game. The score was set up by a 27-yard connection from Meservy to Conrado Banky. A failed extra point left Tufts with a 21-20 lead heading into the halftime break.

Middlebury went on top for good on its first drive of the second half, going 67 yards on five plays. Cosolito caught two passes for 34 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass. The Jumbos answered with a 41-yard field goal from Matthew Alswang, cutting the lead to 26-24 at the 9:21 mark of the third quarter.

The Panthers answered when Meservy and Cosolito hooked up for the third time for points, this one from 18-yards out for a 33-24 lead with 7:50 left in the third.

Wesley Becton recorded the final points of the game for the Panther defense, earning a safety with 3:05 left in the contest for a 35-24 final.

Meservy finished the day 26-45 for 275 yards with three touchdown passes. Cosolito made nine catches for 100 yards with three touchdowns, all career highs. Banky caught six passes for 77 yards, while Jimmy Martinez earned 68 yards on four receptions. Diego Meritus gained 33 yards on nine carries to give him 1,032 career rushing yards. Becton finished with 11 tackles and 3.5 sacks to go along with his safety, while Kevin Hartley picked off a pass. John Jackson earned eight stops with 1.5 sacks, finishing his career with 14 sacks, third all-time at Middlebury.

McDonald completed 11-25 passes for 121 yards with an interception for the Jumbos, while gaining 125 yards on 29 carries on the ground with a touchdown. Steve DiCienzo and Brett Phillips each had nine stops for the Tufts defense.