SOMERVILLE - Senior Ryan Lupo (Princeton Junction, NJ) rushed 39 times for 180 yards and four touchdowns to lead the undefeated Williams College (5-0) football team to a 35-24 come-from-behind victory at Tufts University (1-4) in NESCAC action on Saturday afternoon at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field.
The host Jumbos scored with no time left in the second half to take a 17-14 lead into the locker room. Tufts then returned a fumble for a touchdown on Williams' first possession of the second half to go ahead 24-14. However, Williams ralled for three touchdowns in less than a 10-minute span in the second half, all scored by Lupo, to earn the victory.
Williams amassed 522 yards of total offense on 86 plays overall, with senior QB Pat Moffitt (Turnersville, NJ) completing 21 of 33 passes for 296 yards. In a game that featured 51 total first downs and 840 yards of total offense, Tufts senior QB Anthony Fucillo (Winthrop, MA) finished 25 of 47 for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
Lupo's first touchdown of the day gave the Ephs a 7-0 lead at 7:58 of the first quarter. A 24-yard punt return by sophomore Darren Hartwell (North Reading, MA) set Williams up at the Jumbo 36. Freshman RB Alex Scyocurka (Longmeadow, MA) had a 19-yard run to put the Ephs first and goal. Lupo soon scored from one-yard out.
After being shutout in the first quarter, the Tufts offense came alive in the second. After the Jumbo D stopped Williams on fourth down at the Tufts 23, the offense drove 77 yards in nine plays to tie the score. Fucillo completed four of five passes for 61 yards on the drive, and rushed three times for 12 more. He found senior receiver Billy Mahler (Milwaukee, WI) over the middle and Mahler broke a tackle to go 28 yards for a touchdown at 10:37.
The teams traded punts, and then Jumbo senior defensive lineman Alex Gresham (Milton, MA) recovered his second fumble in as many weeks on the first play of a Williams drive near midfield. Tufts turned that into a 22-yard field goal by Adam Auerbach (Glen Rock, NJ) to pull ahead 10-7 with 5:46 to go until halftime. A roughing the kicker penalty against Williams on a Tufts punt extended the drive. A personal foul against Williams later in the possession after a 16-yard Fucillo rush advanced Tufts to the 12-yard line. The Ephs were whistled for 14 penalties totaling 138 yards in the game.
The Williams offense responded, covering 59 yards in just six plays to go back in front at 14-10 with 2:55 on the clock. A 26-yard Moffitt to Jon Carroll (Bexley, OH) completion got the drive started. Moffitt then hit Tomas Kearney (Foxborough, MA) for an 18-yard touchdown.
The Jumbos were moving the ball again late in the half, but Fucillo was intercepted by Williams' Ladd Hamrick (Charlotte, NC). However, just two plays later, Tufts sophomore Sam Diss (Ridgewood, NJ) intercepted Moffitt for his third pick of the year. Tufts would capitalize. A shovel pass from Fucillo to sophomore Dylan Haas (Yorktown Heights, NY) went for 38 yards to the Williams 22. After a timeout, Fucillo and Haas hooked up again for a 22-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the second quarter and the Jumbos led 17-14.
On Williams' first drive of the second half, Tufts sophomore DB Austin Crittenden (Deerfield, IL) caused a fumble that was picked up by Diss. He went 35 yards into the end zone and an upset-minded Tufts squad had a 24-14 advantage.
With Lupo carrying the load, the Ephs came back impressively. Moffitt converted a third and 10 on the ensuing possession with a 12-yard pass to J.C. Stickney (Barrington, IL). Lupo rushed five times for 30 yards from there, including a 10-yard score at 9:08 to make it 24-21 Tufts.
The Jumbos fumbled at midfield on the next drive, with Williams' Colin Curzi (Hampton, NJ) recovering the ball. A 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Jumbos added on to the play and Williams took over at the Tufts 37. A pass interference call on Tufts (11 penalties, 90 yards) brought the Ephs to the 23, and Lupo took it from there. He scored on a four-yard run to give Williams a 28-24 lead at 4:44 of the third.
The Williams defense sent Tufts three-and-out on the next series. A 28-yard pass from Moffitt to B.J. Griffin (Houston, TX) put the Ephs in Tufts territory. On fourth down from the Tufts one-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter, Lupo scored his fourth touchdown to give Williams insurance at 35-24.
The Jumbos drove to the Williams 30 on the next possession, but a penalty gave them fourth down and 15 and they punted. The Ephs took over and went to the Jumbo 12, but missed a 29-yard field goal. Trying to get within one score on their next possession, Tufts missed a 46-yard field goal on what would be their final possession. The Ephs ran out the final four minutes to secure the victory.
Stickney and Hartwell both had five receptions for Williams, who had completions to eight receivers overall. Hartwell added 56 yards on four punt returns. Junior Dan O'Mara (Allison Park, PA) led Williams defensively with seven solo tackles, while senior Pat Barren (Worthington, OH) and Hamrick both had six solos with an assist. Senior Dan Canina (Carlisle, MA) was credited with three quarterback hurries.
Tufts senior tri-captain Pat Bailey (Beverly, MA) caught 11 passes for 56 yards. Fucillo added 35 yards rushing to his 264 passing. Senior linebacker Ferras Albitar (Coto de Caza, CA) had a game-high 12 tackles, while junior LB Zack Skarzynski (Hinsdale, IL) with 11 and senior LB Matt Murray (Winthrop, MA) with 10 were also in double-digits. Diss, in addition to his interception and fumble return touchdown, accumulated 128 yards on six kickoff returns.