MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Senior running back Chance Brady broke Tufts Football's all-time rushing record, the single-season rushing record and the single-game touchdowns record today as the Jumbos earned their best record since 1998 with a 48-35 win at Middlebury College on Saturday.
The victory gave Tufts a 7-1 finish for the 2016 season, the program's best record since 1998. Including the Jumbos' 6-2 finish last year, the 13 wins in the last two seasons are the most for Tufts since 1979-80.
In his last game as a Jumbo, Brady rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries and also caught two passes for 73 yards and two scores. He finished his Tufts career with 2,692 rushing yards to pass Tim Fanikos (2,654 from 1985-88) into the top spot in the Jumbo record book. While becoming the first Tufts back to gain 1,000 yards in a season since 2001, Brady's 1,099 total this fall erases Keven Kelley's previous single-second rushing mark of 1,079 from 2001. Brady, who totaled 258 yards combined today, is just the fifth running back in team history to accomplish the 1,000-yard milestone.
Brady's five touchdowns today broke the single-game record of four that was held by four players. Three of today's touchdowns came on the ground and two were receiving scores. Tufts' all-time touchdowns record-holder with 35, he scored 19 this year including 17 on the ground. His two receiving scores today were the first of his career.
Tufts had to hold off a comeback by Middlebury (6-2) today as the Jumbos clinched sole possession of second place in the league. The two teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense with Tufts at 491 and Middlebury 487. Tufts sophomore QB Ryan McDonaldrushed for 161 yards and a touchdown, while Panther quarterback Jared Lebowitz had 411 yards passing and four touchdowns.
Trinity College clinched the NESCAC title with an 8-0 mark following today's 45-21 win at Wesleyan.
Tufts scored on its opening drive just 2:02 into the game when Brady found the end zone on a one-yard rush. He had earlier runs of 17 yards and 25 yards during the drive.
In a game with a combined 83 points, only seven were scored in the first quarter. Tufts' Mike Stearns had an interception during the opening period, while Middlebury's John Jackson and Wesley Becton sacked McDonald on a fourth-down play.
Middlebury tied the game on a drive that began late in the first quarter, ending in a 31-yard scoring strike from Lebowitz to Frank Cosolito with 12:47 remaining in the second. Lebowitz found James Burke for 20 and 23 yards on the drive and Diego Meritus on a 24-yard connection.
Tufts responded with a pair of field goals from senior Willie Holmquist, giving them a 13-7 lead after connections from 41 and 37 yards. Stearns had his second interception of the game in between the two kicks. The pair of scores were the first of five-straight scoring drives for the Jumbos heading into halftime.
A short punt led to a quick drive for Tufts as Brady caught a 24-yard pass from McDonald, making it a 20-7 game at the 5:19 mark of the second.
After a quick three-and-out by Middlebury, the Jumbos scored less than a minute later on their first play from scrimmage when McDonald found Brady on a near lateral pass that ended as a 49-yard scoring strike for a 27-7 advantage.
After another defensive hold and a short punt, Tufts drove 51 yards, extending its lead when McDonald went untouched into the end zone from 30 yards out for a 34-7 advantage heading into halftime. The Jumbos scored 27 second-quarter points.
Tufts added to its margin when the second half started, recovering a Panther fumble on the opening kickoff before taking a 41-7 lead on a seven-yard rush from Brady.
Middlebury mounted its comeback, scoring on four of its next five drives. The first came when Lebowitz found Conrado Banky over the middle for a 26-yard touchdown. The margin closed to 41-21 after an 11-yard touchdown pass from Lebowitz to Meritus.
Tufts ended the run when Brady scored again, this time on an 18-yard rush to put his team up 48-21 with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
A drive later, Middlebury found the end zone once again when Lebowitz connected with Cosolito for a 60-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-two play making it 48-28 with 10:22 on the fourth-quarter clock.
After a quick defensive hold, Lebowitz scored on a read option play, scampering 34 yards on the keeper, bringing his team within a pair of scores at 48-35.
The Panther defense held once again before Middlebury drove to the Tufts 39. On a key fourth-and-three play, Lebowitz was sacked by Zach Thomas and Micah Adickes, as the Jumbos took over with 4:25 remaining. They soon posted their first win in Vermont since 1998.
McDonald also completed 10 of 16 passes for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Jumbos. Holmquist had a 12-point game with the two field goals and a six for six performance on PAT's.
Defensively, Mike Stearns and Greg Holt each finished with nine tackles. Adickes recorded 1.5 sacks to finish the season with five. J.P. Garcia also had an interception for Tufts while Tim Preston recorded four pass break-ups.
Lebowitz finished the game 28 of 54 for 411 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He ended the year second all-time on Middlebury's single-season list with 29 touchdown passes and fifth with 2,580 yards passing.
Cosolito caught five passes for a career-high 125 yards and two touchdowns. Banky finished with seven receptions for 100 yards with a touchdown, while Burke (83 yards) and Meritus (52 yards, TD) each caught six passes. Meritus also added 54 yards of rushing on 16 carries.
Jackson, Clay Hunt and Becton each made a dozen stops for the Panther defense. Jackson earned 1.5 sacks in the game to give him 7.5 on the season.
Portions of recap courtesy of Middlebury College