Wesleyan 29, at Tufts 26
Saturday, September 21, 1996 at Medford, Mass.
The statement "football is a 60-minute game" was never more evident as Wesleyan recovered from a dismal first quarter, lucky to be trailing just 7-0, and rallied for a 29-26 rally over Tufts in the opening game of the year for both teams.
The only thing not lopsided after 15 minutes of action was the score as Tufts went ahead 7-0 on a 52-yard pass from Dan Morse to Jon Troy midway through the period. Tufts ran off 23 plays, gained six first downs and had 166 yards of offense while possessing the ball for 11 1/2 minutes. Wesleyan, in its 3 1/2 minutes of offense, ran nine plays, failed on third down three times and had 11 yards to show for its effort. But over the next 45 minutes, behind the running of tailback Tom Themistocles and the passing of QB Scott Hevesy, both aided by the strong effort of the offensive line, Wesleyan more than made up the first-quarter difference in every department. The Cardinals ended the day with 399 yards to Tufts' 368, had 22 first downs to Tufts' 19, ran 79 plays to Tufts' 65 and won the time-of-possession battle, 31:14 to 28:46. Themistocles and backfield mate John Pascucci both scored a pair of TDs. Themistocles ran for 139 yards on 29 attempts, scoring on a 12-yard run in the second period, capping an 80-yard march. He also had three catches for 46 yards, the last a five-yarder with 4:54 to go to nail the winning TD. For his performance, Themistocles received ECAC New England Division III weekly honor roll status. Pascucci, with 53 yards on 12 runs and six catches for 46 yards, had scoring jaunts of four and three yards in the second half. Hevesy completed 18 of 33 passes for 204 yards as Wesleyan's total yardage was almost evenly divided between run and pass.
Tufts got a strong performance from both QB Dan Morse (11-21-1, 194 yards, 3 TDs) and tailback Courtland Weisleder (23-113), who was hampered in the second half after suffering an ankle injury late in the opening half. Tufts built leads of 20-7 and 26-14 in the second half before the Wesleyan comeback. It appeared Tufts might stem the rally midway through the fourth period when the Jumbos stopped Pascucci just shy of the goal line on a 4th-and-one play from inside the Tufts two-yard line. But Wesleyan then held Tufts inside the five-yard line, forcing a punt that put the Cardinals back in business at the Tufts 37-yard line with 6:12 to go. A key 25-yard connection from Hevesy to Nathan Moore (four catches, 69 yards) covered the bulk of the remaining yardage.
Tufts - Jon Troy 52 pass from Dan Morse (Nate Herpich kick) 7:362nd Quarter
Wesleyan - Tom Themistocles 12 run (Robert Stager kick) 6:37
Tufts - Matt Godfrey 10 pass from Dan Morse (Nate Herpich kick) 3:213rd Quarter
Tufts - Steve Lee 17 pass from Dan Morse (kick failed) 12:57
Wesleyan - John Pascucci 4 run (Robert Stager kick) 8:54
Tufts - Dan Morse 12 run (run failed) 2:334th Quarter
Wesleyan - John Pascucci 3 run (Robert Stager kick) 14:51
Wesleyan - Tom Themistocles 5 pass from Scott Hevesy (Scott Hevesy pass to Matt Perceval) 4:54 TEAM STATISTICS
|First Downs (Run-Pass-Penalty)
|Positive Yards Rushing
|Negative Yards Rushing
|Net Total Yards Rushing
|Net Total Yards Passing
|Total Offensive Plays
|Total Net Yards
|Average Gain Per Play
|Interceptions By: Number-Yards
|Punt Returns: Number-Yards
|Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yards
|Time of Possession
||6 of 14
||8 of 16
||0 of 1
||3 of 4
|Sacks by: Number-Yards
RUSHING: Wesleyan - Tom Themistocles, 29-139, 1 TD; John Pascucci, 12-53, 2 TDs; Scott Hevesy, 5-3. Tufts - Courtland Weisleder, 23-113; Dan Morse, 15-35, 1 TD; Tim Kaufman, 4-19; Brad Wolk, 1-4; Lonnie Quirion, 1-3.
PASSING: Wesleyan - Scott Hevesy, 33-18-1, 204 yards, 1 TD. Tufts - Dan Morse, 21-11-1, 194 yards, 3 TDs.
RECEIVING: Wesleyan - John Pascucci, 6-46; Nathan Moore, 4-69; Tom Themistocles, 3-46, 1 TD; Jack Eighmy, 2-8; Mike Hakin, 1-22; Henry Wasserman, 1-7; Matt Perceval, 1-6. Tufts - Jon Troy, 3-110, 1 TD; Matt Godfrey, 3-24, 1 TD; Steve Lee, 2-35, 1 TD; Brad Wolk, 1-17; Richard Staff, 1-5; Tim Kaufman, 1-3.
PUNTING: Wesleyan - Rob Stager, 3-123, 41.0 average. Tufts - Nate Holtey, 5-189, 37.8 average.