Football Finishes 6-2 With Shutout Over Tufts

November 11, 2006

The Middlebury College football team earned its second straight shutout with a 10-0 victory over Tufts in the season finale for both teams. The Panthers end their season with an impressive 6-2 mark, finishing alone in third place in the NESCAC standings. The Jumbos end their year at .500, with a 4-4 record overall.

The game would not feature a lot of scoring, with a field position battle going on for much of the first quarter. The teams exchanged punts for the first five possessions before a Middlebury drive stalled on downs at the Tufts' 14. A 70-yard punt by Bryan McDavitt of Tufts put Middlebury on its own 18 to start their next drive. Following a 10-yard rush by Stefan Hrdina, Tiger Lyon found Evan Beilin 10 yards down the field, before the tight end broke a pair of tackles en route to a 77-yard touchdown reception.

Middlebury fumbled on its next possession, but Tufts was unable to take advantage as a Matt Russo pass was intercepted by Chad Guerrero on the Jumbo's next drive. The Panthers would take a 7-0 lead into the halftime break.

Middlebury gained a little breathing room at 9:23 of the fourth quarter as Steve Hauschka broke the school's single-season record with his 10th field goal of the year, this one from 32 yards out. The field goal was the 20th of his career, also a Middlebury best. The score came after a short punt left the Panthers with the ball on the Tufts 23 to start the drive.

The teams exchanged some turnovers in the fourth quarter, but neither would threaten to score. Middlebury's Brian Young picked off a pass before Chris Decembrele of Tufts recovered a fumble on the ensuing drive. The game ended as Middlebury's all-time leader in interceptions Scott Secor, picked off the 11th pass of his career to end the game. He finishes his career third on the all-time tackles list with 223.

The Middlebury defense earns its third shutout of the season, holding Tufts to just 119 yards of offense on the afternoon. The Panthers finish with a 6-2 mark, their best record since the '00 team went 7-1.

Lyon finished the day 12 of 20 for 182 yards with a touchdown, while rushing the ball 10 times for a team-high 34 yards. Beilin caught three passes for 96 yards with a touchdown, while Jamie Staples made three receptions for 53 yards. He ends his career tied for fourth on Middlebury's all-time list with 94 career receptions.

Erik Woodring had another big day on defense, ending the game with 17 tackles, giving him 88 on the season. Alex Buggy had seven tackles on the afternoon, while Kevin Ryan ended the day with four tackles and two sacks, tying the school's all-time record with 21 career sacks. Ryan also owns the Middlebury and NESCAC single-season record with 15.5 sacks in '06.

Russo went 8 of 20 for 50 yards with three picks for Tufts, hitting Steve Menty twice for 18 yards. Will Forde led the rushing game with 16 carries for 58 yards. Decembrele had a team-high 10 tackles on the day, 2.5 for lost yardage, with a fumble recovery. Alex Perry added eight stops in the loss.