Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

Tufts football rolls to an on-the-road win against Amherst

After a slow start, the Jumbos ramp it up to record 34 points with the win.

football 2023

Tufts kicker/punter Patrick Walsh is pictured during a game against Williams College on Sept. 30.

The Tufts Jumbos are getting good at playing football in the rain. The Saturday game against Amherst featured stormy weather, just like every Saturday football game this season. Junior wide receiver Cade Moore commented on the weather they’ve had to manage.

“At this point, we’ve had a lot of practice in [the rain], so [it’s] just another thing we’ve got to be prepared for — football doesn't stop for any weather, really,” Moore said.

It was a slow start to the game; while both sophomore wide receiver CJ Burton and senior wide receiver Robbie Moret got first downs on the team’s first drive, a fumble recovered by the Mammoths ruined the Jumbos’ momentum. Amherst’s junior quarterback Jack Cox attempted to pass the ball to senior tailback Louie Eckelcamp, but he was hit by Tufts’ senior linebacker EJ Comerford, who stopped the catch. The Mammoths then put in senior quarterback Mike Piazza, whose attempted rush led to the loss of a yard, putting the ball back into the hands of the Jumbos. 

The Jumbos charged downfield, starting with an 11-yard catch by Moore, before senior wide receiver Jaden Richardson grabbed 18 yards on a catch and run that featured some fancy footwork. Richardson had another 10-yard catch, and on the next play, junior running back Chartellis Reece caught a 12-yard pass from Berluti for another consecutive first down. The squad found itself with a fourth down and two yards on the Amherst five-yard line but couldn’t capitalize in the red zone.

On the next Amherst possession, Cox passed to Eckelcamp, who ran for a gain of 22 yards. After a Piazza rush for no gain, Cox was pressured and forced to leave the pocket, but with a good on-the-run throw, he put the ball into the hands of leaping junior wide receiver Owen Gaydos for 13 yards. However, with two incomplete passes and a good stop by senior defensive lineman Javier Rios, the ball was back in the Jumbos’ hands. The Jumbos followed up with several unsuccessful possessions, due to the Mammoths’ pass defense, ranked second in the NESCAC only to the Jumbos themselves.

The momentum shifted in the direction of the Mammoths in the second quarter when Cox threw for a 25-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Carter Jung. Dragging defenders with him, Eckelcamp charged through the line running for 29 yards. Piazza had three runs to put the Mammoths on the Jumbos’ one-yard line. Then sophomore tailback Cato Legaspi of the Mammoths rushed into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game.

Eager to equalize the score, Reece started the next possession with a 19-yard run and then another seven yard run on the next play. An incomplete pass to Richardson made the Jumbos decide to run the ball, which Reece did exceedingly well, running for another 20 yards. Berluti hit Moret for a six-yard pass to put the Jumbos at the Amherst 12, and then four plays later Berluti found Moore for a nine-yard pass in the endzone to finally equalize the score at 7–7. Stellar defense, which included a sack of Mammoth quarterback Cox by Michael Butler, guaranteed Amherst a 3-and-out, and the ball was back in Jumbos’ hands.

Richardson gave the Jumbos the lead, catching the ball in the middle of the field on the first play, before turning, sprinting, dodging and juking around Mammoth defenders for a 55-yard touchdown catch and run to make the score 14–7. Richardson had 4 catches, totaling 98 yards that day.

Several drives later, following some strong team defense, the ball was once again in the hands of Berluti, and two handoffs to Reece gained the Jumbos eight yards. A convincing fake to Reece enabled Berluti to run the ball right for a 34-yard touchdown, making the score 21–7. 

On the other side of the ball, the pass rush by the Jumbos made the Mammoth quarterback struggle to gain any momentum, which led to another 3-and-out for Amherst. 

Over the next few Tufts drives, sophomore kicker Vaughn Seelicke hit two field goals to make it 27–7, and, after a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery by senior defensive back Drew Guida on the next possession, Berluti and Moore connected for a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 34–7. That day, Berluti threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 64 yards with one touchdown. 

Two drives later, Piazza threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jung to make the score 34–14, the final score of the game. This win for the Jumbos makes it the first time since 1991 that they have consecutively won five games.

“I think that's a great fact and statistic. But at the same time, that means something to us, but it also doesn't,” Berluti said “We are just focused on each week. Take it week by week, game by game, play by play and practice by practice.”

Tufts will travel to Clinton, N.Y. to take on Hamilton at 1 p.m. on Saturday.