Panther football falls in finale; finishes with winning mark
MIDDLEBURY — Visiting Tufts defeated the Middlebury College football team on Saturday, 35-13, in the final game of the fall for both squads. Tufts concluded a 7-2 campaign good enough for third place in NESCAC, while the 5-4 Panthers finished in a three-way tie for fourth.
Tufts led at the half, 14-13, and then salted the game away with a 21-point third quarter. The Jumbos outgained the Panthers, 397 yards to 238.
Middlebury scored on the game’s opening possession on a seven-yard run by quarterback Will Jernigan. The drive was aided by an 18-yard connection from Jernigan to Aidan Power and a pair of Tufts penalties.
The Jumbos made it 7-7 at 6:12 of the first quarter, when Ryan McDonald found Spenser Clouse for a 17-yard scoring strike.
The Panthers went back on top in the second quarter after Coltrane Marcus picked off a pass and gave Middlebury field position at midfield. Jernigan connected with Jimmy Martinez for 28 yards before scoring on a nine-yard rush to make it 13-7 after a missed extra point.
Tufts made it 14-13 just before halftime with a 12-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a one-yard pass from McDonald to Jack Dolan.
In the third quarter the Jumbos extended their lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from McDonald to Dom Borelli on a fourth-and-five play.
The lead grew to 28-13 on a five-yard screen pass from McDonald to Borelli with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Tufts scored on its third straight possession when McDonald found Dan De Leon for a 19-yard score. That touchdown came on the first play after an interception by Greg Holt at the Middlebury 27 and created the final score.
Jernigan completed 17 for 28 passes for 187 yards, while Conrado Banky caught six passes for 60 yards. Kevin Maxwell earned eight tackles, two tackles for lost yardage. Senior cornerback and former Middlebury Union High School standout Bobby Ritter also recorded eight tackles for the Panthers.
McDonald completed 25 of 31 passes for 262 yards and five touchdowns for the Jumbos. Tufts player Mike Pedrini led all rushers with 85 yards on 13 carries, while Borelli caught 12 passes for 121 yards.