Trinity Football Faces Tough Test At Tufts

Joe Farrah '18
Joe Farrah '18

Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College football team, which won, 41-13, against Hamilton last weekend to remain unbeaten in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) at 4-0 and extend its winning streak to 13 games, will visit the Tufts University Jumbos on Saturday, October 14 at 1:30 p.m.  The Bantams, coached by Jeff Devanney (12th season, 79-13) lead the all-time series against Tufts, 41-18-1, and have won the last nine meetings including a 36-28 triumph in Hartford last autumn.  The Bantams are tied with Middlebury for first place in the league, while Tufts, Amherst, Wesleyan, and Williams are all a game back at 3-1.  Trinity is ranked No. 3 in the New England Division III Football Poll.

Game Notes

Senior tri-captain QB Sonny Puzzo (West Caldwell, N.J.) threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns, including 10 passes for 202 yards and a score to sophomore WR Koby Schofer (Northbridge, Mass.), in Trinity's 23rd consecutive victory over the Continentals.  Trailing, 13-0, late in the opening quarter, the Bantams scored 41 points in a row including its first two scores on touchdown runs of 44 and seven yards, respectively, by junior RB Max Chipouras (Longmeadow, Mass.).  Puzzo hit sophomore TE Ted Allmendinger (Avon, Conn.) for his first career touchdown catch, junior K/P Eric Sachse (Jefferson, Mass.) connected on field goals of 21 and 30 yards, Puzzo found Schofer down the left sideline for the second-longest scoring throw in Trinity history, and finally tossed a 25-yard touchdown toss to sophomore Joe Samuelman (North Andover, Mass.) to close out the scoring.  Sachse, who also punted three times for 39.3 yard per attempt, was honored as the NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Trinity piled up 594 yards of offense to offset its three turnovers and over 100 yards of penalties.  Puzzo completed 26 of his 38 passes for his first 300-yard game of the season and added 44 yards on the ground, and Chipouras finished with a game-high 97 rushing yards on 16 carries.  Foster was Trinity's second-leading receiver with four grabs for 74 yards and rookie RB Colin Beaulieu (Bethany, Conn.) added 53 rushing yards.  On defense, Trinity junior OLB Shane Libby (Scituate, Mass.) made eight tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, while rookie ILB Will Dencker (Newburgh, N.Y.) added seven tackles, and junior OLB Dago Picon-Roura(Roslindale, Mass.) contributed four tackles and a pair of pass breakups.  

Trinity leads all of NCAA Division III football in scoring defense with 5.5 points allowed per contest, and tops the NESCAC in five other categories including scoring offense (36.0 ppg), scoring defense (5.5 ppg), pass defense (126.2 ypg), total defense (224.5 ypg, 9th in nation), pass efficiency (154.9, 11th in nation), and pass efficiency defense (86.3, 5th in nation). Chipouras leads the league in rushing with 394 yards and six touchdowns, while Puzzo has the second-best quarterback efficiency rating at 181.5 (10th in nation) and ranks third with 957 passing yeards and 10 touchdown passes.  Schofer is second in the league in receiving yards with 417 and tied for third in catches with 24. 

On defense, Picon-Roura leads Trinity with 23 tackles, while Libby has 19, senior ILB Liam Kenneally (Reading, Mass.) has 17, and seven other Bantams boast 10 or more hits. Libby also tops the Bantams with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, while senior DE Brandon Blaise (Morristown, N.J.) adds 2.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup, and a blocked kick, and  sophomore DB Matt Patry (Medfield, Mass.) has 2.5 tackles for loss, an interception, and a team-high seven passes. 

Special teams has also been a strength, as Sachse has been perfect on 68 PAT's over the last two years, 17-for-18 on field goals over the same time,, and landed four of five punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line since taking over those duties two weeks ago.  Junior WR John Spears (Boston, Mass.) ranks 21st nationally with an average of 13.6 yards per punt return in addition to his 11 pass receptions for 112 yards, and Beaulieau averages 25.6 yards per attempt on seven kickoff returns.

Tufts is coached by Jay Civetti (7th season, 20-32), who graduated from Trinity in 2001 after a fine playing career on the offensive line.  The Jumbos defeated Hamilton, 35-28, and lost at Wesleyan, 24-17, in a pair of overtime games to start the season, before cruising to wins at Bates, 12-7, and over Bowdoin by a combined score of 68-20 the last two weeks.  Jumbo junior QB Ryan McDonald (Annandale, N.J.) is second among NESCAC rushers with 367 yards and has completed 66.4 percent of his passes. Junior WR Jack Dolan (Wellesley, Mass.) is second in the NESCAC with 26 pass receptions and eight in receiving yards with 260.  Defensively, Tufts ranks second in the league in sacks with 15 led by four from senior LB Zach Thomas (Arlington, Mass.).  Sophomore LB Greg Holt (Temecula, Calif.) has a team-high 41 tackles to put him second in the conference.