Sophomore tailback Greg Thomas rushed 28 times for 137 yards, including two big fourth-quarter runs of 38 and 31 yards, while the Wesleyan defense came up with two key interceptions, one returned 23 yards by Derrick Brantley for a clinching TD, to carry Wesleyan to a season-opening 16-7 win over Tufts.
In a game expected to be a defensive struggle, Wesleyan and Tufts combined for just three points over the opening 53 minutes, that coming on a 38-yard field goal by Wesleyan freshman Vin Balsamo with 6:44 to go in the first quarter. The teams jockeyed back and forth over the next 45 minutes with each losing a fumble deep in opposing territory, Wesleyan turning it over at the Tufts 29 and Tufts coughing up the ball at the Wesleyan 30. Wesleyan scored the game's first TD when Thomas capped a 76-yard, 10-play drive with 6:50 to play on a one-yard run. During the march, Thomas had six rushes for 52 yards with 38 coming on a draw play.
Tufts came right back, going 73 yards on eight plays, directed by QB Scott Treacy, who had just entered the game in place of starter Todd Scalia. Treacy completed each of his four passes during the drive with the final 10-yarder going to Matt Cerne, who grabbed a batted pass in the right corner of the endzone with 3:25 to play. Treacy also ran three times for 19 yards.
After Wesleyan was forced to punt, Tufts took over at its own 19 with 1:41 to go, trailing 10-7. When Treacy looked right then threw back to the left flat, Wesleyan's Derrick Brantley timed his break perfectly and intercepted the pass, going up the right sideline 23 yards for the clinching TD with 1:34 to go. Wesleyan's Keilembo Ellison picked off Tufts' last pass attempt with 1:07 left, returning it 22 yards to the Tufts 46 and allowing Wesleyan to run out the clock.
This was Wesleyan's fifth straight win over Tufts. Wesleyan hosts Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 30 while Tufts hosts Bates Sunday, Oct. 1 in the next game for each squad.
|1st Qtr||2nd Qtr||3rd Qtr||4th Qtr||-||Total|
|First Downs (Run-Pass-/Penalty)||14 (8-6-0)||14 (5-7-2)|
|Positive Yards Rushing||153||146|
|Negative Yards Rushing||56||46|
|Net Total Yards Rushing||97||100|
|Net Total Yards Passing||130||141|
|Total Offensive Plays||70||63|
|Total Net Yards||227||241|
|Average Gain Per Play||3.2||3.8|
|Interceptions By: Number-Yards||2-45||1-0|
|Punt Returns: Number-Yards||3-14||3-44|
|Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards||2-26||3-36|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yards||0-0||0-0|
|Time of Possession||31:37||28:23|
|Third-Down Conversions||7 of 16||3 of 13|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 for 0||0 of 2|
|Sacks by: Number-Yards||3-27||6-31|
Wesleyan - Greg Thomas, 28-137, 1 TD ; Young Douglas, 6-2 ; Kevin Cornish, 13-(-42). Tufts - Brian Holmes, 17-59 ; Jon Rodgers, 9-46 ; Scott Treacy, 3-19 ; Chuck McGraw, 8-11 ; Todd Scalia, 6-(-35).
Wesleyan - Kevin Cornish, 23-12-1, 130 yards.Tufts - Todd Scalia, 11-6-0, 88 yards ; Scott Treacy, 9-5-2, 53 yards, 1 TD.
Wesleyan - George Thompson, 4-67 ; Todd Themistocles, 4-47 ; Greg Thomas, 3-9 ; Larry Woolard, 1-7.Tufts - Matt Cerne, 4-43, 1 TD ; Bryan Pitko, 3-12 ; Brian Holmes, 1-39 ; Jon Rodgers, 1-20 ; Brett Cicchillo, 1-15 ; Chuck McGraw, 1-12.
Wesleyan - Mark Olschefskie, 7-272, 38.9 average.Tufts - Howie Rock, 7-234, 33.4 average.