Football | Jumbos conclude season by looking for first win at Middlebury
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 01:11
For the second straight season, the football team enters its season finale against Middlebury 0-7, searching for that elusive first win.
Last year when the two teams squared off, the Panthers crushed the Jumbos’ dreams on a two-yard touchdown run with two seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, handing Tufts a 19-17 defeat.
This year, Tufts’ biggest heartbreak is probably already in its rearview mirror, with Saturday’s senior day game ending in an overtime loss to the visiting Colby Mules. Unfortunately for the Jumbos, the Panthers, a NESCAC offensive juggernaut still hoping for an outside chance at the league championship, present a much greater challenge.
While the Jumbos rank third in the league with 191.7 passing yards per game, the Panthers are racking up nearly double that average. They’ve thrown for an average of 368.9 yards in each contest — the best in the NESCAC — on the strength of their talented junior quarterback McCallum Foote.
The Jumbos defense may struggle to control the Panther offense, but head coach Jay Civetti’s team will attempt to match the Panthers’ offensive firepower with a running game that has seen marked improvement of the last two weeks.
“We’ve got to try to stay on the field [on offense],” Civetti said. “So running the ball will be a big point of emphasis for us.”
In the class of 2013’s final game, the entire program has made sure to also emphasize that this is their last chance to show the NESCAC what it can be. It is a last opportunity for Civetti to shake up the lineups with some of his younger players, as well as an opportunity for the seniors to go out with a bang.
“[The mentality] is kind of just to leave everything out there,” senior defensive back Sam Diss said. “We’re just trying to keep fighting, keep cranking it out with one game left, and we’re going to leave everything on the field like we’ve done all season.”
Diss and his classmates have done their best to ignore the fact that this will be their last time putting on pads in a Tufts uniform. When the emotions are stripped away, this game comes down to one thing — pride.
“We’re confident,” senior quarterback John Dodds said. “We have nothing to lose.”