Wild, last-second win for football
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With a comeback in the last second of play, the Colby Mules defeated the Tufts Jumbos 42-41 this past Saturday at Zimman Field in Medford, Mass. In addition to strong play that resulted in two touchdowns in the final 5:20 of play, the Mules broke multiple individual and team records. Colby scored the most points in a game since the 2001 season, and moved to 4-3 overall with one game left in the season.
Conor Tidgwell ’11 opened the scoring in the game with a four-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. David Bendit ’13 kicked the first of his six extra points to put Colby ahead 7-0. After the Jumbos scored two consecutive touchdowns (passes from quarterback Anthony Fucillo to Greg Stewart and Pat Bailey, respectively), the Mules once again took the lead with a one-yard run from Ian Borthwick ’12 early in the second quarter.
With the score at 14-13 (Tufts missed the extra point attempt on their second touchdown), Tidgwell found the end zone again on a one-yard run. Tufts responded with a 37-yard scoring pass from Fucillo to Pat Nee. After successfully completing the two-point conversion on a pass to Bailey, the Jumbos were quick to score again with a two-yard run from Bailey, his third score of the game.
The Mules came out strong in the second half. Quarterback Nick Kmetz ’12 completed a four-yard pass to Patrick Burns ’11 to bring the score to an even 28-28. Down 41-28 with 9:09 to play, Colby regained possession when Ryan Murphy ’11 intercepted a pass from Fucillo that was tipped by Nick Tucker ’11.
With 5:20 to play, the Mules scored on a touchdown pass from Kmetz to Nat Carson ’11. Colby forced a three-and-out punt on Tufts’ next drive. Thus began the 17-play drive that ended when Kmetz connected with tight end Spencer Merwin ’12 in the end zone for the third time in the game. After waiting through three consecutive Jumbo timeouts, Bendit kicked his sixth and final extra point for the win.
Bendit is thrilled to have been a part of such a thrilling game. “It was a great game and one of the most exciting comeback wins I have ever seen, and especially been a part of. It shows that if we play like we did—as a unit—in the second half, we can do anything. It was a perfect example of an all-around team effort; everyone stepped up to the plate.”
Not only did the Mules put in an extraordinary performance and pull off a nail-biting finish, they also saw many of their records shattered. As a team, Colby recorded the most offensive yards in a game (608, far above the previous record of 480). They completed 40 passes out of the 55 attempted (the previous records were 27 completions and 52 attempts), and had 40 first downs.
Individual players also broke records: Kmetz had the most total offense gained in a game, the most passes completed (40) and the most passes attempted (53). His 473 yards far surpassed Chip Kispert’s previous record of 396, set in 1984. His career-total for passing yards now stands at 3,184. Kmetz’s efforts landed him the honor of NESCAC Offensive Co-Player of the Week.
Running back Tidgwell ran for over 100 yards on 25 rushes, including two touchdowns. Three Colby receivers—Connor Walsh ’12, Merwin and Burns—had more than nine catches. Walsh, who had 11 for 87 yards, tied the school record for the second time this season. Burns’ nine catches resulted in 115 yards and a touchdown. Merwin made 10 grabs for 78 yards, one of which was the final touchdown of the game. Kmetz had 81 yards rushing on 17 carries.
In addition to his interception, Murphy made seven tackles. Richard Newton ’11 added five.
Head coach Ed Mestieri is very impressed with his team’s performance. “It was a game for the ages, a battle of wills. Our kids just hung in there, they kept playing. Even [being] down 13 in the fourth quarter, they took it one play at a time and never let up. We showed a lot of heart and character. It was an amazing atmosphere with so many Colby alums spanning many generations. It was one of the finest and most exciting football games that I have ever been associated with.”
The Mules will finish out the season next Saturday at home when they take on Bowdoin for the CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) title. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. at Seaverns Field.
Coach Mestieri urges all Colby students to attend this important game. “I do hope our students come out this Saturday and support us in our game with Bowdoin. I know [they] will have a lot of fans up here for a game that will determine the CBB Championship.”