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Jumbos prevail in a close one on Garcelon, 15-7

Cam Evans (with ball) and the Bobcats had cause to celebrate when Evans returned his interception for a touchdown in the second quarter.

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Tufts University football team won 15-7 at Bates College on Saturday before a Parents & Family Weekend crowd of 1,200, using a bend-but-don't-break defense and a time-consuming offense to salt away the Jumbos' first win of the season. Tufts evens its record to 1-1, while Bates falls to 0-2.

Bates sophomore Ryan Katon (Durham, Conn.) completed 14 of 30 passes for 148 yards for Bates. Senior Tom Beaton (West Newbury, Mass.) rushed 8 times for a career-high 63 yards in a revived Bobcat rushing attack (39 carries, 133 yards), and senior Matt Gregg (Milton, Mass.) led Bates receivers with 8 receptions for 69 yards. Junior Myles Walker (Needham, Mass.) had 12 tackles for the Bobcats, including 3.0 tackles for a loss. Junior Ted Durkin (Rye Beach, N.H.) and sophomore Brett McAllister (Exeter, N.H.) had 11 tackles apiece.

Bates' lone score came courtesy of an impressive Bates defense, on sophomore Cam Evans' (Norwell, Mas.) interception and 12-yard return in the second quarter, which pushed Bates ahead 7-3, after Tufts got on the board first with a 35-yard field goal by Adam Auerbach.

Tufts regained the lead later in the quarter on an 11-yard pass from Tom McManama to Nick Croteau, making it 9-7 after a failed point-after attempt.

Bates possessed the ball for over nine minutes of the third quarter but scored no points to show for it. Tufts extended its lead early in the fourth quarter, as McManama, under heavy pressure from three Bates pass-rushers, flung the ball across the field, over the outstretched arms of leaping Bates safety Kyle McAllister (Exeter, N.H.), and into the hands of Pat Bailey, who scampered the rest of the 71 yards to the end zone, putting the Jumbos on top 15-7 with 12:00 left in the game.

Tufts took the ball over two more times in the game and kept the ball on the ground and the game clock running, running 6:46 and 3:01 off the clock. Bates made a last bid to take the ball back with adequate time on the clock to score, putting the Jumbos in a third-and-five situation with about two minutes remaining. But McManama virtually sealed the victory by eluding several Bates tacklers in a 23-yard scramble to the Bates 29.

But it was still a one-score deficit in the waning seconds, and Bates made an entertaining last bid on the game's final play, starting at the Bobcat 31. Katon hit Gregg down the middle with a tackler about to reach him from behind. Gregg lateraled the ball to Beaton, beginning a chain of lateral passes that continued back to Gregg, on to Wirth, on to Katon, back to Beaton and ending with Gregg getting tackled by Keith Novak at the Tufts 38.

The Jumbos finished the game with 168 rushing yards on 41 attempts. Bailey rushed 18 times for 67 yards and caught four passes for 89 yards and the score. McManama completed 6 of 12 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Murray and Tom Tassinari shared the Jumbos' team lead in tackles with 11 apiece.

The Bobcats were proficient in moving the ball, but were frustrated by not getting into the end zone. Bates outgained Tufts in total offense, 304 yards to 280, and notched 19 first downs to the Jumbos' 13. Beaton was very effective running the ball as the team's "Wildcat"-style offense quarterback, and other backs also had some steady success: senior Judd Smith (Milton, Mass.) had seven rushes for 37 yards, and sophomore Dylan Taylor (Madison, Conn.) and first-year Patrick George (Gloucester, Mass.) added 19 and 15 rushing yards, respectively, in the first 100-yards-plus rushing day for the Bobcats since Week 4 of the 2008 season against Wesleyan, and their highest team total since the 2007 Wesleyan game.

Bates travels to Williams College for its first road game on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. Tufts will host Bowdoin on Oct. 10 at 1 p.m.

Stats and Play by Play: Tufts 15, Bates 7