WILLIAMSTOWN -- Something has to give today. Two 0-4 football teams will hit Weston Field this afternoon and one will leave winless.
Williams, off to its worst start since 1947, will host Tufts today. The Jumbos enter the game with the longest losing streak (27 games) in the nation.
"Absolutely you feel pressure. There's a lot of tradition here and none of that tradition includes losing," said Eph defensive back Kevin Barbary. "We're trying to keep a good outlook and we do come ready to work every day. We honestly believe when he says we're winning this Saturday."
The Williams losing streak is currently five games, dating back to last year's loss at Amherst. Williams has, however, been in position to win a game in each of the last three weeks. In all three of those losses - at Trinity, to Bates and at Middlebury - a fourth-quarter touchdown was the difference in possibly being 3-1 instead of 0-4.
"There's always the thought that somebody's going to try to do a little bit extra. The thing that I continue to harp on with them is do your job," Williams coach Aaron Kelton said. "Do your responsibility and let everyone else do theirs and we'll be fine. They, for the most part, try to do that and they're working at it.
"I don't worry about it. I just remind them about it and that it's going to come. Brighter days are ahead."
One common thread ties all four Williams losses together. The Ephs are still looking to get out of the gate quickly. Only against Trinity did Williams score first, and that came with 12 seconds left in the second quarter.
"What young guys do is they kind of let it come to them instead of making it happen," said Kelton. "We've got to get off to a great start. When we do that, we're going to be just fine."
Statistically, Williams and Tufts have the two least productive offenses in NESCAC. The Ephs enter the game ninth in the conference, averaging 11.2 points per game, but the Jumbos are last, averaging 10.5 points per game.
The Williams defense is ranked fourth in the conference in total defense and third in passing defense. Williams is sixth in the league in scoring defense, giving up 21.5 points per game. Colby, Bates and Bowdoin - teams that sandwich Williams in the scoring defense rankings - are a combined 5-7.
"[The Williams defense has] played well. I don't know if well enough to win is the way to put it, but they've played well," said Kelton. "We have to be better than we were, because we didn't win."
Williams will face another challenge today in a Tufts offense that spreads you out and likes to throw the football. Tufts is second in NESCAC in pass attempts (174), completions (107) and yards per game (224.5).
Junior quarterback Jack Doll is second in NESCAC in passing and total offense. While he has completed 102-of-163 passes, Doll has only one touchdown pass compared to eight interceptions.
Williams senior quarterback Adam Marske got back into the starting lineup and had a good day against Middlebury. Marske was 28 of 48 for 276 yards. His top target last week was Williamstown's Greg Payton who caught a career-high nine passes for 89 yards.
The 28 completions tied Marske with David Sullivan and Joe Reardon in the Williams record book for the most completions in a game.
"He played consistent. He played with energy. He played hard," Kelton said of Marske, who started against Colby but was supplanted by Tom Murphy early on. "He did some really nice things out there. Overall I was pretty pleased with the performance. He didn't turn the football over and he played with confidence."
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