Hartford, Conn. — The Trinity College football program battled adversity in its season opener Saturday, falling behind in the first half and ultimately falling to Tufts, 14-8. The Bantams mustered 281 yards of total offense, finding the back of the end zone just once.
After winning the toss and deferring until the second half, the Bantams defense was stout through the opening quarter. Forcing three-and-outs through the first quarter, Trinity's offense stepped up to take the lead. Sophomore quarterback Seamus Lambert (North Andover, Mass.) led the charge after the Bantams took over on its own 41-yard line. Starting the drive with a 12-yard completion to junior wide receiver Jonathan Girard (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), sophomore running back Spencer Lockwood (Danielson, Conn.) ran for 10 yards, getting the Bantams into field goal range. A handful of short completions combined with another 10 yard pickup on the ground from Lockwood, and set up a four-yard touchdown hookup between Girard and Lambert. Trinity missed the extra point, but took a 6-0 advantage into the second quarter.
Trinity pinned Tufts inside its own 20 to start the second quarter, but the Jumbos bounced back from the early deficit to retake the lead. Senior quarterback Jacob Carroll (Birmingham, Ala.) connected with junior Brendan Dolan (Wellesley, Mass.) for a 40-yard completion, putting the hosts on the Trinity 40. Carroll went to the air twice more, with individual completions of 17 yards and 13 yards to put the Jumbos on the Trinity 10-yard line. After a false start, Carroll connected with junior running back Mike Pedrini (Melrose, Mass.) to even the score. Neither team found the back of the end zone for the remaining 10 minutes, allowing the hosts to take a one-point lead into the second half.
After a scoreless Trinity drive to start the third, the Jumbos lit the scoreboard once again. A missed field goal put the hosts on its own 20, and went on to work a 10 play, 80-yard drive to double its score. On third-and-four deep inside its own territory, Carroll once again delivered; a 48-yard catch-and-run to junior O.J. Armstrong (Miami, Fla.) kept the drive alive, placing Tufts on the Trinity 26. A handful of Pedrini rushes set the team up inside the red zone, where Carroll threw his second touchdown of the game to senior tight end Jack Donohue (Cohassett, Mass.).
Senior punter Ian McDonald (Avon, Conn.) started the fourth quarter with a booming 39-yard punt, and the special teams unit was able to down Tufts on its own one-yard line. Trinity's defense needed just one play to capitalize on the Jumbos field position; sophomore linebacker Brian Casagrande (Madison, Conn.) wrapped up Pedrini in the end zone for a safety, pulling Trinity within one score and trailing 14-8.
Trinity had one final chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Jordan Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) entered for the final Bantam drive of the game with Trinity starting at its own 37 with just 44 seconds left. After two plays without a gain, Vazzano went to the air on third-and-ten, completing a 37-yard pass to senior wideout Koby Schofer (Northbridge, Mass.). A personal foul at the end of the play on Tufts resulted in prime field position for the Bantams, putting the visitors on the Tufts 9-yard line with just seconds remaining. An incompletion set up for one final play, and with the game on the line, junior linebacker John DeLuca (Wrentham, Mass.) sacked Vezzano to end the game.
Lambert finished the afternoon with 111 yards, going 15-26 and leading the team on the ground with 88 yards. Vezzano finished with 45 yards on two completions, throwing an interception in the fourth quarter. Primary targets Schofer and Girard finished with great numbers, reeling in a combined 10 passes; Schofer led the team with 88 yards on five completions, and Girard finished with 49 yards of his own.
Jacob Carroll finished the afternoon 15-23, throwing for a game-high 173 yards and two touchdowns. Tufts ran the ball 40 times, putting the ball in the hands of Pedrini 27 times — he finished with 71 yards.
Trinity will look to bounce back next Saturday, opening its home slate at 1 p.m. against Bowdoin.