It had been a while – 1,456 days to be exact. But now the streak is finally over.
“It’s a great opportunity for the university, great thing for all those people that have supported us from the top down,” coach Jay Civetti told the Tufts Daily. “The university has provided us with as many opportunities as [it] can to be successful. This is a tremendous thing for the community, I think. I turned around, and fans were rushing the field, guys were happy, alums were there. I think it was just a culmination, and it really spoke to the community that we have here.”
The Jumbos last victory came on Sept. 25, 2010, coincidentally, against Hamilton. That win, five days short of four years ago Saturday, was by a score of 21-10.
Almost a full presidential term later, Tufts seems to be in a good place. Under Civetti, who is in his fourth year, BR-214 Tufts is deeper and more experienced than it has been in some time with 22 returning starters and 16 seniors on the roster.
Tufts looks to be more balanced in their attack this season. Dynamic running back in Zack Trause proved to be effective in both the passing and ground-game against Hamilton, and the Jumbo air-attack was efficient as well – 14-of-20 for 113 yards and a TD for starter Jack Doll. On the other side, a strong core of linebackers lead a veteran defense.
On Saturday, sophomore Mike Rando set the tone with a 59-yard return on the opening kickoff. The ensuing Tufts possession resulted in a turnover on downs, but the two teams traded touchdowns on the ensuing drives. Early in the second quarter, Vince Falk booted a 30-yard field goal to break a 7-7 tie and give the Jumbos the lead, a lead they never gave up.
Trause caught a touchdown and rushed for another. Rando finished with 199 all-purpose yards and the Jumbos returned three kick offs across the 50-yard line.
Hamilton out-gained Tufts 435-236 in total offense, but more to do with excellent defense and special teams than bad offense. The Jumbos’ offense started with the ball inside the 50-yard line on eight of their 15 drives.
Mike Stearns earned Co-NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week honors thanks to his a game-high 18 tackles, and the Jumbos registered four sacks as a team – two from junior D-lineman Evan Anthony.
“I think the offense was able to put some points on the board and we took advantage of a great defensive effort,” Civetti said. “Now, we have to get ready for Bates, which runs the triple-option on offense and the 3-3 stack defense. Coach (Mark) Harriman is a tough coach to go up against, and I have tremendous respect for their program.’’