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Second-half surge carries Tufts past Bates, 42-24

Mark Riley exploded for 142 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches in Bates' 42-24 loss at Tufts on Sept. 27, 2014. (File photo courtesy of Geoffrey Bolte / clariusstudios.com)

SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- Senior Zack Trause returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and a punt 49 yards for a score just 2:02 apart to spur the Tufts football team to a 42-24 victory over Bates on Homecoming Day at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field Saturday.

Bates dropped to 0-2 and saw its four-year run of victories over the Jumbos come to an end. The Bobcats host Williams (1-1) next Saturday at 1pm in their home opener.

The Jumbos, who ended the nation's longest losing streak at 31 games with a 24-17 win against Hamilton last week, are now 2-0 for the first time since 2008. 

Tufts accumulated 405 yards of total offense, with senior QB Jack Doll completing 29 of 39 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Berey caught 14 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Jack Cooleen had two touchdown receptions. Chance Brady rushed 19 times for 98 yards. Trause added a touchdown run to his two return scores.

Bates was led by junior wide receiver Mark Riley (Needham, Mass.), who had a career day with nine receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Senior QB Matt Cannone (Windham, N.H.) completed 16 of 22 passes for career highs of 182 yards and three touchdowns.

In an entertaining back-and-forth game, the visiting Bobcats had taken a 24-23 lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass by Cannone to Riley with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter. That ended a nine-play, 71-yard drive that included a 27-yard run by first-year Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.). Williams led Bates with 37 rushing yards on just three carries.

Trause then took the ensuing kickoff at his own 18-yard line and dashed 82 yards for a touchdown to give the hosts a 29-24 advantage with 1:06 left in the third.

That led into a dominant fourth quarter by the Jumbos. The Tufts defense pushed Bates back 16 yards on their next drive, forcing a punt from the six. Trause caught it at the 49 and returned it all the way for a 35-24 Tufts lead with 14:02 on the clock.

On the Bobcats' first play from scrimmage on the next series, Tufts' Tucker Mathers forced a fumble and Tommy Meade recovered at the Bates 23. Four plays later, Doll threw three yards to Colleen for a 42-24 Tufts advantage at 12:33 of the fourth.

The Jumbos had taken a 7-0 lead on Trause's four-yard TD run at 5:04 of the first. Tufts converted two third downs on the drive, including a 17-yard pass from Doll to senior Greg Lanzillo. Trause's touchdown came on third down.

Bates senior Lani Eversage (Fairfield, Iowa) returned the Tufts kickoff 80 yards to the Jumbo five-yard line. The Tufts defense held, including a third-down tackle for a loss by Meade and Patrick Williams. The Bobcats settled for a 19-yard field goal by first-year Drew Korn (Stow, Mass.) at 2:51 of the opening quarter.

Cannone connected with Riley on a deep ball down the left sideline for a 54-yard scoring pass at 6:24 of the second quarter, giving Bates its first lead at 10-7. The score came on the third play of the drive after the Bobcat defense forced a punt.

The Bobcats extended their margin to 17-7 when Cannone passed to freshman Mickoy Nichol (Dennis Port, Mass.) from six yards out with 2:24 remaining in the first half. They had combined for a 29-yard pass play earlier in the drive.

Nichol had an outstanding game, beginning with a 16-yard run on his first collegiate carry in the second quarter. The slotback finished with 31 rushing yards on eight carries to go with 38 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.

With Bates receiving the ball in the second half, Tufts marched 69 yards in eight plays for a critical score late in the half. Berey's 13-yard touchdown catch from Doll with 18 seconds on the clock pulled the Jumbos within 17-13 at halftime. Doll and Berey gained 44 yards on pass completions during the drive. Trause had a 19-yard run on a second and 18 play during the possession.

After stopping Bates on its opening drive in the second half, the Jumbos continued their momentum. Doll, who was 5-for-5 for 52 yards during the drive, passed 23 yards to Cooleen in the end zone to give Tufts a 20-17 lead with 10:52 remaining in the third.

Williams intercepted Cannone at the Jumbo 22 on Bates' next drive. That led to a 18-yard field goal by Vince Falk that gave Tufts a 23-17 advantage with 5:09 left in the third.

Bates answered with the 6-yard score by Riley from Cannone, but Trause took over in the return game and Tufts took the victory.

Tufts finished the game with 24 first downs and 138 rushing yards. They were eight for 14 on third down. Sophomore Mike Stearns, who had 18 tackles against Hamilton, had the game-high again with 14 stops. Meade was right behind him with 13, including 1.5 for losses. 

The Bobcats on defense were led by 12 tackles from senior Ryan Newson (Stanhope, N.J.), including two for losses. Sophomore Trevor Lyons (Hamilton, Mass.) finished with 11. Junior Tucker Oniskey (Reading, Mass.) had a sack for the Bobcats in his first game of the season.

The game saw a total of 17 penalties totaling 167 yards, including nine for 97 by the Jumbos.

Over the past decade of Bates football, Riley's performance ties for the team's seventh-most receptions in a game, ties for first in touchdown catches in a game and represents the fourth-highest receiving yardage total in a game. Cannone's three touchdown passes also ties as the most by a Bobcat since 2005.