Somerville, Mass. – The Trinity College football team rushed for 293 yards, including 207 yards on 30 carries by sophomore Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.), as the Bantams posted a 9-0 victory at Tufts on the Jumbos' Homecoming Day at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field Saturday afternoon. The shutout was the second in a row for the Bantams, who blanked Hamilton last weekend, 35-0.
Trinity, ranked No. 2 in this week's New England Div. III poll, passed for just four yards in the game. The Bantam defense limited Tufts to 13 yards rushing, including four sacks, and held the Jumbos to two of 14 on third down. The visitors improved to 4-0 to keep pace with Amherst atop the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) standings.
The Jumbo defense was equal to the task all afternoon, as Trinity's two scores came on drives that began on the Tufts side of the field. The nine points scored by Trinity was their lowest total since a 7-0 win at Tufts exactly six years ago on October 15, 2005. Today, Jumbo senior linebacker Zack Skarznynski (Hinsdale, Ill.) finished with a game-high 18 tackles including 2.5 for losses.
The game was tied 0-0 through 23 minutes of play. After forcing a Trinity punt to start the game, Tufts (0-4) had been the first team into the red zone on their first possession. A 34-yard pass from senior QB Johnny Lindquist (Highland Park, Ill.) to junior receiver Dylan Haas (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) set Tufts up at the Trinity 20. However, the Bantam defense stiffened and Tufts turned the ball over on downs.
Tufts junior Austin Crittenden (Deerfield, Ill.) secured the Jumbos' first interception of the season on the Bantams' next possession. A 17-yard connection between Lindquist and Haas put Tufts in Trinity territory, but they would be forced to punt and the first quarter ended at 0-0.
The teams traded a pair of possessions each in the second quarter before Trinity broke the stalemate. The Bantam offense took over after a three-and-out by the Jumbos gave the visitors the ball at the Tufts 44. Sophomore RB Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.) had a 12-yard run down to the Jumbo 21 on the third play of the drive, then brought the ball to the end zone on the next play for a 6-0 lead after the extra-point attempt hit the right goalpost. Neither team threatened over the remainder of the quarter and it was 6-0 Bantams at halftime.
Trinity increased the margin to 9-0 on its first drive of the second half after a short Tufts punt. The Bantams started at the Jumbo 26, and Crick converted a third-and-one to the Tufts 16. The Tufts defense kept the Bantams there, and freshman Zach Conte (Barrington, R.I.) came on and kicked a 32-yard field goal with 10:20 remaining in the third.
Late in the third, a Trinity punt glanced off a Tufts player and was recovered by the Bantams at the Jumbo 38. However, the Tufts D stopped the Bantams on fourth and six from the Tufts 22 to turn the ball back over to the offense. Tufts was unable to mount much of an offensive attack though, gaining just 53 yards in the second half. The Bantams ran out the clock with their ground game to earn the win.
Bunker averaged 6.9 yards per carry for Trinity, while Crick gained 63 yards on 15 totes. Senior co-captain Walter Fallas (Everett, Mass.) finished with 12 tackles for Trinity, including two sacks totaling 18 yards in losses. Freshman Rob Gau (Westport, Conn.) put good pressure on the Tufts quarterbacks and blocked three passes up close.
Tufts' Haas finished with seven receptions for 69 yards, while junior tight end Nick Kenyon (Norwich, Vt.) caught four balls for 47 yards. Junior Sam Diss (Ridgewood, N.J.) had a strong day returning kicks with two kickoff returns for 92 yards and four punt returns for 35 yards. His 58-yard return after the Trinity touchdown had given the Jumbos the ball at the Bantam 42. Diss was also in on eight tackles. The game included 17 punts, 10 for Tufts and seven for Trinity. The Bantams finished with 297 yards while Tufts had 146.