SOMERVILLE, MA—Williams College (2-3) capitalized on five Tufts (0-5) turnovers Saturday to secure a 25-7 victory at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field.
A revamped Williams offense —sophomore quarterback Tom Murphy made his first start — accounted 223 yards in the air and 320 yards total in the victory. It was the Ephs first road win of the season.
The Ephs were first on the scoreboard, capitalizing on a fumbled punt return by Jumbo Sam Diss. Eph senior Ladd Hamrick was quick to recover the ball, and Williams gained possession at Tufts' own 33. Kristian LaPointe ran for a seven-yard gain before Joe Mallock came back on the field to boot a 43-yard field goal attempt, and the Ephs closed out the first quarter with a 3-0 lead.
The Jumbos responded quickly, closing out a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from John Dodds to Marty Finnegan just one minute into the second quarter. The PAT made it 7-3 Jumbos, their first lead of the season.
Williams surged back into the lead on its ensuing possession. Darren Hartwell had a 31-yard punt return to set the Ephs up at their own 31. Senior Tom Wohlwender — who led the Ephs with 54 yards on 17 carries and two scores on the day — entered the end zone with a 3-yard rush, his sixth of the drive. His touchdown capped off 10-play drive, they key play coming when Murphy hooked up with Greg Payton for an 18-yard gain on a 3rd-and-4 play.
After a missed PAT, the Ephs led 9-7 with 8:20 left in the half.
The Eph offense struck again after holding Tufts to a quick three-and-out possession. After LaPointe was tackled for a loss of 2 yards, Murphy rocketed an 82-yard pass down the middle of the field to Payton, who caught it in stride and ran away from a defender for the touchdown. Payton finished the day with 3 receptions for 158 yards and a TD. The two-point run was stopped, but Williams went into halftime leading 15-7.
Murphy led the Ephs to the pay dirt again to open the second half, connecting a 58-yard pass to Payton on the second play of the drive. Richie Beaton gained another 13 yards on a 3rd-and-10 play from the Tufts' 16-yard line before Wohlwender scored his second touchdown on a 4-yard run. Mallock kicked PAT for a 22-7 three minutes into the third quarter.
Tufts ensuing 10-play drive ended as McDavitt send a 27-yard field goal attempt wide left. Ultimately, a strong Eph defense was able to stifle the Jumbos' offensive drives throughout the third quarter.
Mallock scored the Ephs' final points on the day with his second field goal, a 19-yard attempt to end an 18-play drive by the Ephs. His 3-points added to the Eph total, bringing the final score to 25-7.
Murphy connected on 10 of 20 passes for 223 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. His passing game was evenly matched by Jumbo quarterback John Dodds, who completed 25 of 45 for a total of 215 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions.
"Tom did a good job with running the game today," Kelton said of Murphy's debut. "He made some good calls and dealt with the pressure very well; he didn't try to mess around."
The Ephs outdid their opponents on the ground, with a net total of 97 yards rushing to the Jumbos' 30. LaPointe followed suit with 16 carries for 41 yards. Jered Weaver carried the ball 9 times, giving the Jumbos 17 of their 30 yards on the ground.
"Offensively, we put together some good drives. Most of them we were able to end with getting some points," Kelton explained. "If we can keep that up, we'll be in good position."
Mallock was only able to secure 2 of 4 field goal attempts and 1 of 2 PATs on the day, totaling 7 points. His missed PAT ended a streak of 14 successes, and his 38-yard failed field goal attempt ended a 12-FG run this season. "It was an off day; he wasn't able to strike the ball well at all," Kelton said. "He may have had a rough day, but we will still rely on him, and look to him when we need those points going forward."
Senior linebacker Chris Cameron had two interceptions for the Ephs while making six tackles, five solo and one for loss. Emmanuel Whyte and Tom Cabarle led Williams with eight tackles each, and Antonio Blanco added an interception for Williams, which held Tufts to 270 yards in total offense.
"We had fun out on the field today," Kelton explained. "We capitalized on turnovers which is big for us. And we did a good job of playing a vertical football game," said Kelton.
The Ephs will head to Clinton, N.Y. next Saturday to take on the Hamilton College Continentals. Kick-off is set for 1:00pm.