Football stomps Jumbos, 34-13

Thanks to football’s efforts on Saturday, no NESCAC team will be able to do what the Ephs did last year: complete a perfect season. Williams (3-2) upended Tufts, the last undefeated team in the conference, with a convincing 34-13 win on Weston Field. Saturday’s result marks the 600th win in team history, making Williams the fifth winningest team in Div. III. The Ephs are currently 600-347-47.

As they did in last weekend’s victory over previously undefeated Middlebury, turnovers proved to be the difference-maker. With a total of eight turnovers, the Jumbos came out the giant losers in that category. They fumbled five times and surrendered three interceptions. Williams only lost the ball once on a fumble.

An inability to maintain possession stymied the Tufts offense and provided the potent Williams offense with opportunities throughout the day. The Ephs wasted little time in getting on the board, marching 57 yards downfield on their first drive of the game to take an early 7-0 lead. Brian Morrissey ’09 capped the series with a two-yard touchdown run.

On the ensuing drive, the Ephs used a little old-fashioned trickery to expand on their lead, as receiver Stew Buck ’09 took a reverse and fired a pass to a wide-open Ryan Powell ’09 for a 67-yard touchdown. Powell finished the game with a team-high 102 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

After Williams’ defense put the brakes on Tufts, the offense went right back to work. Co-captain Pat Lucey ’08 orchestrated another scoring drive, connecting with Powell and then Morrissey on a four-yard touchdown pass. Lucey, who had been suffering from injury for the first half of the season, was in fine form on Saturday. He completed 17 of his 25 pass attempts for three touchdowns and no interceptions.

“Pat Lucey is almost 100 percent,” Head Coach Mike Whalen said. “He made plays running with the ball, which he was not able to do earlier in the year. When Pat is able to do that, our offense is much more difficult to defend.”

The senior quarterback found the endzone again only three minutes later, this time on a nine-yard scoring pass to Powell. The touchdown put the Ephs up 28-0 with just over eight minutes left in the half.

Finally, with 3:49 left on the clock, Tufts put their first points on the board with a three-yard touchdown pass. The Jumbos, hot off an upset victory over Trinity, limped into the break with a 21-point deficit.

The second half began much the same as the first: with the Ephs’ offense threatening yet again. On the first drive of the half, Lucey hit co-captain Jeff Egizi ’07 (66 yards receiving, one touchdown) on a 44-yard TD pass to give the Ephs a 34-7 advantage.

The third quarter witnessed a frustrated Tufts offense fumble the ball back into the Ephs’ hands several times. Defensive lineman Tim Kiely ’11 and linebacker Trevor Powers ’09 came up with one fumble recovery apiece. Powers earned NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week honors with 17 tackles (nine solo), four tackles for a loss and a sack. His 54 tackles this season lead the squad.

Other defensive playmakers included co-captain Jordan O’Reilly ’08 (nine tackles, two for a loss) and Tim Batty ’09 (12 tackles, eight solo). John Snipes ’08, Andrew DeSalvo ’08 and Tyler Ware ’10 all had interceptions.

Whalen cited his defense as key components in the victory. “Our defense did a great job of bending, but not breaking and creating the turnovers were key,” he said.

Although Tufts mustered another touchdown in the fourth quarter, it was too little, too late. The Ephs held on to unseat their last undefeated opponent 34-13.

Next Saturday Williams will host Hamilton (2-3). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.