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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tufts football storms to a win over Colby at home on Senior Day

The Jumbos finished out a perfect 4–0 record at home against the Mules.

Tufts Football is pictured at Ellis Oval on Senior Day, 2023.

Tufts Football is pictured at Ellis Oval on Senior Day, 2023.

It was Senior Day at the Ellis Oval, and the Jumbos were fired up and ready to roll. The Jumbos, led by senior quarterback Matt Crowley, started with the ball. A three-and-out by the Jumbos and a third-down fumble by the Mules gave the game a slow start. Junior quarterback Michael Berluti came onto the field and got the squad rolling, putting a 12-yard pass in the hands of senior wide receiver Robbie Moret. Two plays later, Berluti ran left after a fake handoff, finding the endzone to make the score 6–0. Sophomore kicker Vaughn Seelicke made it 7-0.

Keon Smart, leading junior running back for the Mules, rushed nine yards left, and then an additional three on the next play to grab the first down. A 19-yard pass from senior quarterback Thomas Keeling to junior wide receiver Emmanuel Tshowa moved the Mules into Jumbo territory. Junior running back Locksley Burke added to the total with a 21-yard run, stopped by senior defensive lineman Ed Iuteri of the Jumbos. A big sack by senior defensive lineman Andrew Franco knocked Colby back and then a field goal attempt blocked by junior defensive back Louis Timmins held the score at 7–0.

On the next possession, Berluti hit junior wide receiver Cade Moore twice for a combined 27 yards before throwing a 30-yard pass to Moret in the endzone to make the score 14–0. This was Moret’s first collegiate career touchdown and the first touchdown thrown by Berluti this season to someone who wasn’t Moore or senior wide receiver Jaden Richardson. Seelicke sent it through the uprights. He was perfect on the day, making four of four PATs and one field goal.

On the next Colby possession, senior defensive back Drew Guida tackled Keon Smart for a loss of 12 yards. Several incomplete passes gave the ball back to the Jumbos. Guida led the defense with eight tackles that day. At the beginning of the second quarter, a 17-yard pass to Richardson put the Jumbos on the Mules’ 28-yard line before a 12-yard pass to Moret put the Jumbos into field goal range. Vaughn sent it through the uprights to make it 17–0. A three-and-out by Colby after good defending by Guida and Iuteri gave the ball back to Tufts.

Next, junior running back Aundre Smith made an impact with five combined rushes, giving the Jumbos 41 yards. He burst through defenders up the middle before a nine-yard rush found him in the endzone to make the score 24–0. That day, Smith rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Another three-and-out for Colby put the ball back into Tufts’ hands. A 12-yard rush by Berluti along with an 11-yard pass to Richardson got the momentum going. Berluti then suffered his second sack of the season for a loss of seven yards, and threw an interception, with the pass being picked off by the Mules’ junior linebacker Julian Young. Young leads the defense for the Mules, with 39 tackles and one interception this season. Colby was unable to make anything happen with the possession just before halftime. In the third quarter, their defense, however, held the Jumbos to a three-and-out on the next possession to give them back the ball. Colby brought in junior quarterback Shane Baldwin, but a slow possession allowed Iuteri to sack him for a loss of 10 yards.

On the next offensive possession for the Jumbos, Berluti found Moore for nine yards. Smith once again proved his value in the running game, breaking through defenders up the middle and sprinting up the field — seemingly uncatchable — for a 47-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 31–0. With the ball back in Colby’s hands, Burke put in a nine-yard run, but solid defense by senior linebacker EJ Comerford and Guida held Colby from getting a first down on the next two plays. Three passes to Richardson on the next possession gave the Jumbos 29 yards. Berluti, two plays later, rushed up the middle for 26 yards before being tripped up by Colby senior defensive back Jackson Murray, which stopped him from getting past the Colby 1-yard line. 

Starting the fourth quarter, a handoff to Jayshon Means, graduate student and defensive back, led to the endzone. A good kick from first-year kicker Caden Lawlor made it 38–0. A fumble on the punt return from the Mules was forced by Rohan Terrell, first-year wide receiver and linebacker, and recovered by junior defensive back Henry Ferrelli, giving the ball back to the Jumbos. Neither team was unable to increase the score any further. On the third down, Baldwin threw a pass downfield, attempting to get Colby’s momentum started, but it was picked off by senior defensive back Jeremy Zuniga.

Then, the Jumbos brought in senior quarterback Andrew Wiesley. He had two notable plays in this possession, throwing a six-yard pass to senior wide receiver Jonathan Faber, along with a 16-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver CJ Burton. Wiesley was then sacked by Montrail Holmes of the Mules for a loss of 12 yards. On the next Colby possession, first-year linebacker Johnny Ferrelli sacked Baldwin. With two minutes left, the Jumbos ran out the clock and the game ended 38–0. 

The Jumbos managed 357 yards of offense, while the Mules had only 70. Berluti thought it was a really solid win for them.

“It was great … to get every senior on the field,” Berluti said. “It really was a great team win. It was great to see all the quarterbacks –– the two senior quarterbacks — run out there and play. Running backs, linemen, wide receivers, across the board from the top down, it was just a great day for us.”

In a potentially deciding match for league champion, Tufts will take on Middlebury away next weekend at 12:30 p.m.