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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Sports

The Setonian
Sports

Gideon Jacobs | Baseball, Football and Poop Jokes

Consistency is boring. Where there's no risk, there's no fun. It's why girls love leather jackets and motorcycles. It's why Seth Cohen never got any ladies. It's why some of the sports world's greatest players go underappreciated.








The Setonian
Sports

Inside the NFL | Perennial powerhouses New England and Indianapolis both fall in Week 3 action

    For two AFC powerhouses, the adage that history repeats itself came true in the worst of ways during Week 3, as the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts both fell victim to the silent assassination of cyclical events. Meanwhile, a defiance of the past has allowed several teams, including the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys, to cement themselves among the league's best.     Since Dec. 10, 2006, the lowly Miami Dolphins had posted just one victory, an overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens in 2007 and had lost 11 straight contests on the road. The Patriots, on the other hand, had not lost in 21 straight regular season games, an NFL-record. Sunday's contest changed all of that.     New England, in its second game with lifelong backup QB Matt Cassel at the helm, was beaten, bruised and embarrassed at home Sunday by Miami, 38-13. To add insult to injury, Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter backed up his boisterous statement — that beating the Patriots "shouldn't be that hard" — by leading the defense with three sacks en route to a total shutdown of 2007's most productive offense.     Ronnie Brown, fresh off a season-ending ACL tear, did everything shy of kicking the extra point for the Dolphin offense, exploding for a quartet of touchdowns on the ground to go along with 113 yards. The running back, who led the NFL in rushing yards before he got hurt last season, also tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass left-handed.     So how did the Dolphins manage to slay the beast? The answer was found in a dash of creative coaching coupled with, yes, history. Brown's toss was just the amuse bouche to the smorgasbord of trickery designed by first-year coach Tony Sparano, who simply out-coached Bill Belichick, something almost unheard of in the ranks of NFL leaders. The Patriots had no answer for Sparano's brilliant offensive game plan, as six direct snaps led to four touchdowns for the Dolphins, the last of which was a 62-yard scamper by Brown.     While Miami was clearly the superior team at Foxborough Stadium, one has to think that New England was destined to fall to the Dolphins. Before Sunday, the Patriots last lost during the regular season to the Dolphins in that game in December of 2006.     Indianapolis, likewise, succumbed to a repetition of circumstance. In 2004, Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee's game-winner produced the Jags' only win at Indianapolis in the past four years. On Sunday, Scobee repeated his feat, booting a 53-yarder as time expired to send his team to a 23-21 victory. The reigning AFC South champion Colts now sit at 1-2 and have dropped both contests at home this season.      Quarterback Peyton Manning has been downright awful thus far, posting a QB rating of 73.1 through the first three contests. The last time Manning's rating dipped below 80 was during his rookie campaign, and his pace for a mere 16 touchdown passes is well below his career average.     Manning, arguably the smartest quarterback in the NFL, will certainly turn things around. But with a banged-up offensive line missing its All-Pro center Jeff Saturday, the crippled Colts are in jeopardy of missing out on the AFC South title for the first time since 2003.     With two of the supposedly strongest AFC teams losing in Week 3, other squads such as the Buffalo Bills saw an opportunity to reposition themselves atop their respective divisions. The eternally mediocre Bills escaped with a one-point win Sunday over the Oakland Raiders, 24-23, and for the first time since 1992 they are undefeated at this point in the season.     With the Colts and the Patriots in a slide, Buffalo has positioned itself as one of only three 3-0 teams in the entire AFC, along with the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans. QB Trent Edwards has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks this season, ranking fifth in completion percentage and sporting a QB rating over 90.     More impressive, the Bills have been down in the fourth quarter each of the past two weeks, and each time Edwards has rallied his squad to victory. With a young roster — Buffalo has the sixth youngest team in the league — and an exciting running back in Marshawn Lynch, the Bills seem poised to rewrite history and put a team from New York state atop the AFC East for a change.     Across the United States, the Dallas Cowboys moved to 3-0 following a 27-16 win over the Green Bay Packers — their first at Lambeau Field in six tries. Dallas looks like far and away the strongest team in the league, led by the efficient play of quarterback Tony Romo, who notched 260 yards passing and one touchdown Sunday, and RB Marion Barber, who hustled for 142 rushing yards and one score the same game.     But if the Cowboys intend to bring a Super Bowl title back to the Lone Star State, they will not do it solely on the shoulders of their offensive stars but rather with the help of their deep bench, as exhibited against Green Bay. When the Packers shut down wideout Terrell Owens, Romo turned to undrafted receiver Miles Austin, a return specialist, who hauled in two catches for 115 yards and a score.     If history decides to turn full circle and repeat itself once again, the always dangerous Patriots will be the ones still playing in January. It is never smart to doubt Belichick's ability to inspire his players, as his oft-used "No one respects us" tactic has never been more appropriate than now.     New England was thoroughly humiliated on its home turf. But the loss should serve as ample motivation for a Patriot return to the postseason.


The Setonian
Soccer

Women's Soccer | Into the Lyons' Den: Jumbos take on powerhouse Wheaton today

    After two home conference victories against traditional NESCAC lightweights Colby and Conn. College, the Jumbos hit the road today for their first true test of the season: an annual contest versus the nationally-ranked No. 8 Wheaton Lyons in Norton, Mass.     Currently ranked No. 4 in New England, the 2-0 Tufts squad is fresh off a 2-0 victory over Conn. College on Saturday. But the Jumbos will need to be on top of their game if they hope to beat the Lyons, a feat they have not accomplished since 2005 in a dramatic come-from-behind 5-2 victory in the NCAA Tournament Sectionals.     "There's definitely a rivalry," senior tri-captain Maya Shoham said. "We play them close and have really competitive games."     Losing to Wheaton, which heads into today's game riding a six-game winning streak and boasting an 8-1 record, in consecutive shutouts the past two years is something that has resonated with the older players, but the rivalry between the two teams is more nebulous for the new faces on the team, many of whom have never faced a powerhouse like Wheaton before.     While the Jumbo defense did not allow a goal in the season's first two games, that statistic will be harder to maintain against the powerful Lyon offense, which has churned out 16 goals in its last four games. Tufts will count on its underclassmen to play significant roles, as three of the team's graduating seniors from last season occupied key defensive positions. Those three spots are now shared by first-year Cleo Hirsh and sophomores Audrey Almy, Carrie Wilson and Bailey Morgan.     "They'll have to step it up, but I think they'll do well," junior tri-captain Whitney Hardy said. "Here at Tufts, we always try to expect the team we're playing to be very good."     "Our young players and everyone on the team work extremely hard regardless of the opponent, so I think that with their work ethic, [their inexperience] won't be a disadvantage," Shoham added.     While the game against Wheaton is a non-conference contest, it certainly doesn't lessen the significance of a potential victory against a regional Goliath: The Lyons are currently ranked second in New England.      "Especially for the returning players, it's a very big deal to win the game [today]," Hardy said.     In 2006, the Lyons shut out Tufts 1-0, before once again asserting their dominance last season with a 2-0 victory on the Jumbos' own Kraft Field. The team will have to come out strong, attacking the ball both offensively and defensively to achieve success on the road against Wheaton.     "What will be important is the entire team's offense," Shoham said. "We had a lot of chances against Conn., and we didn't really follow through on [them], so if we do that more as a team, we should be set.     "[The defense] has been working a lot on playing together," she continued. "They'll have to play the ball. They'll have to step together."     This season the Wheaton game, which traditionally comes as the second one of the season, happened to fall later in the month, giving the Jumbos a second tune-up of sorts with its contest against Conn. College.     "We're really young, so the more we play against other teams, the better off we'll be," Shoham said. "Every game we play, every win we get, we become more cohesive as a team. The defense becomes more confident. We should have more chances that we'll hopefully capitalize on in the game against Wheaton."     Shoham, the sole senior on the team, is the only player left on the roster who defeated the Lyons in 2005. That year, the Jumbos were down 2-0 at halftime before coming out and scoring five second-half goals to beat Wheaton and move on to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.     But despite the historical subtext, the players are still keeping the game in perspective.     "We just have a lot of history with them, and we haven't been as successful the last couple years against them," Shoham said. "It would be great to beat them, but it's essentially just another game, and we have to beat good teams to continue doing well. This is just one of them."


The Setonian
Sports

Evans Clinchy | Dirty Water

As expected, Sunday night belonged to Derek Jeter.         As the Yankees closed Yankee  Stadium once and for all on Sunday night, it was Jeter who got the last word. After the last of 6,580 games played over the course of 85 years was completed, it was Jeter, the captain, the man who'd gone 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in game number 6,580, who took the microphone to address one last Stadium sellout crowd of 54,610. The Bronx wouldn't have it any other way.     It was a great night for anyone who appreciates the history of baseball — a night to reflect not only with Jeter, but throughout the night with Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson. Even someone who truly abhors the Yankees (as I myself, of course, do) can appreciate a night like that.     In all the festivities, there was one strange omission. As the House That Ruth Built closed for the last time, there was one man, the most influential Yankee since Ruth himself, who was barely mentioned at the Stadium before, after or during the game. Where's the love?     I'm not referring to Gehrig, or DiMaggio or Berra. Not to Mantle or Maris. Not to Rivera, or A-Rod or Giambi. And good lord, no, this is not about Scott Brosius.     Where's the love for George Steinbrenner?     It's as if the Yankees and their fans don't realize what George Steinbrenner did. Singlehandedly, he renewed the greatest franchise in the history of sports, taking it from nothing and returning it to the top of the world.     In the eight years before Steinbrenner's rise to power, from 1964 to ‘72, the Yankees were, by their own standards, a laughingstock. They saw four losing seasons, zero playoff appearances and even their first last-place finish since 1912. They were owned by CBS at that time, and under the network's watch, they became second fiddle to the expansion Mets. The Yankees were winning no titles, attracting no fans and making no money. Enter the Boss.     Steinbrenner bought the team on Jan. 3, 1973 for $10 million. For the cost of about five months of Bobby Abreu's services, he had purchased the opportunity to return the Yankees to greatness.     There was a time when that didn't look easy — when the people of the Bronx didn't expect winning to come automatically, as natural as the pinstripes on the uniforms.     That time ended with Steinbrenner. With the fall of the reserve clause and the birth of free agency in 1975, it was Steinbrenner's willingness to spend that brought the Yankees back to relevance. Before there were A-Rod and Giambi there were Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Dave Winfield and Goose Gossage. Steinbrenner didn't just put money into the Yankees — he brought money into all of baseball, leading the game's growth into the financial empire it is today.     The Yankees' rise to become the Evil Empire stemmed from much more than a big market in a big city in a big stadium. Yes, it is easy to make money when you're the Yankees, but this is about more than money. Tons of owners — Ted Turner, Jerry Reinsdorf, Peter Angelos — have money. The Mariners are owned by freaking Nintendo. But the meteoric rise of Steinbrenner's Yankees came from a willingness to spend that money, from a desire to compete and a desperation to win. Why can't baseball have 29 more George Steinbrenners?     Yankee Stadium is closing, and with it closes a season with baseball's richest team finishing no higher than third. But we all know that's not where they'll stay. Next year, and every year in the near future, the Yankees will be back and they'll be a threat.     They always are.     Here's a salute to the man that got them there.



The Setonian
Sports

Women's Cross Country | Solid start continues with third place

With some of the top women's cross country runners sitting out for the weekend, including sophomore Stephanie McNamara, who has led the team to two first-place team finishes behind consecutive individual wins, some of the team's newest members had the opportunity to shine in Saturday's UMass Dartmouth Shriners Invitational sub-varsity race, helping Tufts to a third place finish in an 18-team field.







The Setonian
Sports

Football Analysis | Gold rush: On-the-ground offense pays off for Tufts in the end

    Saturday saw the Tufts offense rush for 247 yards — their highest single-game total since 2004  — en route to a 20-14 win over the Wesleyan Cardinals. The Jumbo rushing attack was lead by senior Will Forde, who recorded 133 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Saturday's performance was by far the best game of Forde's four-year collegiate career, and the first time the senior running back cracked the century mark.     "I think I had one 99 yard game last year, so I was pretty excited [about breaking the 100 yard mark]," Forde said.     Down 7-0 late in the second quarter, Tufts' offense faced a key third and three in Wesleyan territory. With 1:19 seconds left, Forde took a handoff from junior quarterback Anthony Fucillo, cut to the outside and charged down the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown.     Trailing 14-7 at halftime, the Jumbos quickly regained momentum on the very first play of the third quarter. Sophomore return specialist Pat Bailey took the opening kickoff back 33 yards to Wesleyan's 49-yard line, leaving the door wide open for the offense. Fucillo was phenomenal on the drive, completing all three of his pass attempts, but once the Jumbos got down inside the five yard line, Forde struck again. On second and goal from the one, coach Bill Samko called Forde's number and the senior tailback plunged into the end zone for his second score of the contest. Tufts would go on to take a 20-14 lead on its next drive.     After swapping possessions twice, the Jumbos' offense came back on the field with 5:59 left in the game. Starting at their own 16 yard line, the Jumbos had one thing on their minds: running down the clock. After running Forde into the ground for the first three and a half quarters, Samko inserted third-down back junior Darren Ferguson into the game.         Ferguson had only carried the ball once at that point in the game, and his fresh legs were deadly against a worn-down Wesleyan defense. Ferguson, however, attributed the success of the team's fourth quarter running game more to the Jumbo's offensive strategy than Wesleyan's fatigue.     "The coaches have been really smart in the way they give us our rest and recovery periods," Ferguson said. "It might not have been how worn down [the Cardinals] were but rather how well conditioned we were."     Ferguson was outstanding on the game's final drive, carrying five times for 53 yards. The highlight of the drive came on a second and one from the Jumbo 44-yard-line when Ferguson took a handoff and rumbled 27 yards downfield — a carry that essentially sealed the game for Tufts.     "Darren is a great back," Forde said. "He's very physical, which is a nice change of pace from me. We have a great deal of confidence in him, and I look forward to watching him play the rest of the season."     At one point, Ferguson nearly scored a touchdown but was pushed out of bounds at the four-yard line. The third-down back realized that he should have tried to stay in bounds to keep the clock moving but said that adrenaline completely took over.     "I saw the end zone and just tried to go," Ferguson said.     If Ferguson runs the rest of the season the way he ran in the fourth quarter, he's bound to find the end zone sooner or later, and if he and Forde can repeat their rushing feats from Saturday, Tufts will likely enjoy more victories in the future.


The Setonian
Sports

Volleyball | Jumbos roll to 8-0 on season

The volleyball team successfully defended its perfect record this weekend, improving to 8-0 and starting its 2008 NESCAC campaign with a pair of decisive wins over Bowdoin and Bates in Lewiston, Maine.



The Setonian
Sports

Football | Jumbos win fourth straight season opener

When the football team last faced Wesleyan at home in 2004, it fell to the visiting Cardinals in a 37-7 drubbing. That loss also marked the last time the Jumbos dropped their opening game of the season, a streak kept alive Saturday when Tufts came back to defeat Wesleyan 20-14 on Zimman Field.