Score: Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
Records: Wesleyan (0-1), Tufts (1-0)
Location: Somerville, Mass. (Ellis Oval/Zimman Field)
Date: Saturday, September 24th
Time: 6 p.m.
The Lead: The Wesleyan University football team held a 14-3 halftime lead, but a late rally by Tufts University erased the deficit as the Cardinals fell short in their 2016 season-opener Saturday night under the lights, 17-14.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Wesleyan received the ball first, and fumbled on just the second play of the game. The Jumbos recovered at the Cardinals 41-yardline. However, they were unable to capitalize on the miscue as they missed a 44-yard field goal wide left.
- On Tuft's next series, the Jumbos started at their own nine-yard line and drove to the Wesleyan-20, this time connecting on a 36-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
- Opening the second quarter with possession, Wesleyan rushed the ball eight consecutive times as Devon Carrillo '17 capped off the drive with a two-yard run at the 9:58 mark to put the visitor's ahead, 7-3. The drive went 51 yards on 10 plays in 5:23.
- Wesleyan added to its lead on its next series, and wasted no time finding the back of the endzone. After a 29-yard completion from quarterback Mark Piccirillo '19 to wide receiver Sebastian Canizares-Fernandez '17, the sophomore QB then rushed 23 yards on the following play for the score. The drive went just four plays in 1:31 as the Cardinals took a 14-3 lead with 6:50 to play in the half.
- Tufts punted on its next possession to give Wesleyan the ball back. After driving 75 yards in 4:10, the Cardinals missed a field goal wide left and would go into the break with an 11-point lead.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Neither team could get anything going offensively in the third quarter as both defenses held strong and forced a total of seven punts.
- After a missed field goal by the Cardinals early in the fourth, Tufts drove 80 yards as Chance Brady punched in the home team's first touchdown of the game from three yards out, as the Jumbos trailed 14-10 with 12:10 to play in regulation.
- Wesleyan was forced to punt on back-to-back drives and Tufts capitalized on its opportunity beginning at the 6:22 mark. Starting its drive on the Wesleyan-45, Brady rushed three times for 45 yards, including the 31-yard game-winning touchdown with 5:24 left on the clock.
- The Jumbos defense held strong and forced another Cardinals punt, as they took over with 2:58 to play and ran out the clock en route to the win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Despite the loss, Wesleyan held the advantage in several categories: total offense (310-259), time of possession (34:34-25:26), first downs (16-12) and total return yards (176-73).
- Piccirillo threw for 189 yards on 20-of-32 attempts, while also rushing for 84 yards on 18 carries, including a touchdown. Mike Breuler '18 led the team in receiving yards with 60 on four catches.
- On the defensive side of the ball, Jordan Stone '17 recorded a team-high eight tackles and registered half a sack. Brandon Morris '19 and Shayne Kaminski '18 recorded six tackles each, while Grant Williams '19 recorded five, half a sack, and forced a fumble.
- Alex Synder threw for 72 yards on eight attempts for Tufts, and Ryan McDonald went 6-of-18 for 65 yards. Brady rushed 22 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Mike Rando added 111 receiving yards on four catches.
- Greg Holt and Steve DiCienzo led the Jumbos with 14 and 11 tackles, respectively. DiCienzo also recorded a sack, and Doug Harrison recovered a fumble.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- Tufts now leads the all-time series against Wesleyan, 23-22-2. Saturday's game was the first meeting between the two teams since 2013, when the Cardinals won 52-9.
- Today's loss snapped Wesleyan's three-game winning streak over Tufts, and it marked the Cardinals first loss against the Jumbos since 2008.
- Wesleyan is back in action next Saturday, Oct. 1 and will host its 2016 home-opener against Hamilton. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
- Tufts remains home next Saturday and will host Bates at 1 p.m.