Big Third Quarter Lifts Tufts Past Middlebury

Kevin Maxwell made eight stops and picked off a pass.
Kevin Maxwell made eight stops and picked off a pass.

Tufts scored 21 third-quarter points on its way to a 35-13 win over Middlebury in the season finale for both teams. The Jumbos (7-2) finish the season in third place in the NESCAC standings, while the Panthers (5-4) placed fourth overall.

Middlebury scored on the game's opening possession as quarterback Will Jernigan found the end zone rolling to his right from seven yards out. The drive was aided by an 18-yard connection from Jernigan to Aidan Power and a pair of Tufts penalties.

The Jumbos answered when Ryan McDonald scrambled to his left and found Spenser Clouse on a 17-yard scoring strike, making it a 7-7 game at the 6:12 mark of the first quarter.

The Panthers went back on top in the second quarter after taking advantage of a turnover. Coltrane Marcus picked off a pass, leaving the hosts good field position at midfield. Jernigan connected with Jimmy Martinez for 28 yards before scoring on a nine-yard rush of his own, giving his team a 13-7 lead after a missed extra point.

Tufts took its first lead of the game (14-13) after a 12-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a short one-yard pass from McDonald to Jack Dolan just before the half.

The teams exchanged punts to start the second half before the Jumbos extended their lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from McDonald to Dom Borelli. The score came on a fourth-and-five play from the Panther 25.

The lead grew to 28-13 on a five-yard screen pass from McDonald to Borelli with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter.

Tufts scored on its third-straight possession when McDonald found Dan De Leon (19 yards) on the first play from scrimmage after an interception by Greg Holt at the Middlebury 27.

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, as the Jumbos went on to the 35-13 win.

Jernigan finished the game 17-28 for 187 yards with one interception for the Panthers, while Conrado Banky caught six passes for 60 yards. Kevin Maxwell earned eight tackles, two tackles for lost yardage and a sack for the defense.

McDonald went 25-31 for 262 yards with five touchdown passes for the Jumbos, tossing one interception. Mike Pedrini led all rushers with 85 yards on 13 carries, while Borelli caught 12 passes for 121 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Tim Preston paced the Tufts defense with eight tackles and one interception.

Tufts held a 397-238 lead in total yards, as the teams combined for 16 penalties for 174 yards.