Middlebury improved to 3-0 on the season, as the Panthers defeated Trinity 32-27 before a crowd of 2,850 on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. Middlebury is back in action next Saturday when it travels to 3-0 Amherst for a 2:00 p.m. start, while the Bantams (1-2) will host Hamilton.
Carter Massengill gave Middlebury a 3-0 lead on its first possession of the game, booting a 33-yard field goal. The Panthers went up 10-0 at the 10:34 mark of the second quarter on a three-yard keeper by quarterback Will Jernigan. The drive was set up by a 45-yard punt return by Wyllis McKissick. The lead grew to 12-0 when a bad snap on a punt led to a Panther safety.
Trinity battled back late in the half with a pair of touchdowns on four and one-yard runs by quarterback Seamus Lambert to take a 14-12 lead into the break.
The Panther defense added to the team's lead on Trinity's first possession of the second half, as Kevin Hartley returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown.
Middlebury increased its lead to 22-14 after a 23-yard field goal by Massengill, as the short drive was set up by another poor snap on a punt.
The Bantams made it a 22-20 game (missed two-point conversion) when Draquan Jones scored on a 16-yard rush with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
On Middlebury's next possession, Massengill kicked his career-high third field goal of the contest, this one from 33 yards out to put his team up 25-20 at the 12:21 mark of the fourth quarter.
The home team gained some breathing room with 5:57 left on the clock, increasing its lead to 32-20. The drive was set up by a 62-yard connection from Jernigan to Maxwell Rye, before Jernigan lofted a 20-yard pass over the top to Aidan Power for the touchdown.
Trinity drove to the Panther 13-yard line on its ensuring possession, but Zander Bailey picked off a pass at the 16 to end the scoring threat with 3:47 remaining.
After the defense held, Colin Beaulieu returned a punt 32 yards to the Middlebury 16 with just 1:33 remaining. Three plays later, Jones scored from three yards out, making it a 32-27 game.
The Bantams attempted an onside kick, but Power recovered the boot to seal the Panther victory.
Alex Maldjian carried the ball 24 times for 90 yards on the ground to lead all rushers. Jernigan completed 13-29 passes for 197 yards with a touchdown, while gaining 44 yards on the ground with a touchdown on a dozen carries. Rye finished with three catches for 82 yards, while Frank Cosolito gained 38 yards on three receptions. Maxim Bochman had one catch in the game, giving him 50 for his career. Jack Pistorius finished with 10 tackles and a sack, Coltrane Marcus also made 10 stops, while Alex Norton earned seven tackles, three for lost yardage, including a pair of sacks. Michael Carr, Bailey, Hartley and Finn Muldoon each had interceptions for the Panthers.
Lambert completed 20-32 passes for 333 yards on the day, suffering four interceptions, while gaining 80 yards on 25 carries with two scores. Jones rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Jonathan Girard led all receivers with 103 yards on six catches, while DeVante Reid caught seven passes for 84 yards. Brian Casagrand and Matt McCarthy each had 10 stops for the Bantam defense.
The 32 points surrendered by the Bantams today are the most since November 11, 2011 when Trinity lost 35-28 at Amherst. The Panthers have now won four of the last seven games against the Bantams on Youngman Field. Trinity held a 422-332 advantage in total yards, but the Panther defense (5 sacks) forced four turnovers, while the Bantams suffered 11 penalties for 107 yards.
With his three field goals today, Massengill now has 13, moving him into a tie for fourth place on the school's all-time list.