On a day when some of quarterback Scott Cade's passes dipped and darted a little too much, Johns Hopkins reached back for an offensive wrinkle to deal Muhlenberg College a 28-7 defeat yesterday at Homewood Field.
Cade had three passes intercepted in the first 20 minutes of the Centennial Football Conference game, prompting Blue Jays coach Jim Margraff to dust off the reverse play three times in the second half.
The first time Margraff called the reverse, it went for a touchdown and gave Hopkins (3-3 overall, 2-2 conference) a 21-7 lead with 12 minutes, 4 seconds left in the third quarter.
Cade handed off to running back Paul Ferrari, who gave the ball to wide receiver Dan Flynn, who found Joe Richards alone in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
The scoring play was Flynn's first pass all season, and it came on the first play after Dan Bierals of Muhlenberg (1-5, 1-4) fumbled away Lou Angelo's punt at the 21-yard line.
After throwing the surprise touchdown pass, Flynn caught his first pass of the season on the two-point conversion. Cade hit Flynn, a sophomore from Newark, Del., to make it 21-7.
"Dan's been on the verge of getting on the field a lot all season, but injuries have held him back," Margraff said. "He's earned a starting job now. He's one of three or four wide receivers we use."
Of the offensive twist, Margraff said: "We always try to put something different in for each game. We've run the reverse a couple of times this year and the no-back shift pass."
Cade came back from the bad start to complete 16 of 25 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
"Scott was awful in the first quarter," said Margraff. "I told him that, but I also told him that the good ones bounce back."
Hopkins' defense was on its game all day, led by tackle Frank Gangemi (two sacks and seven tackles), cornerback Eric Williams (nine tackles and one fumble recovery), linebacker Stu Markley (13 tackles) and nose guard Dave Erfle (nine tackles). Hopkins limited Muhlenberg to 59 yards rushing.
"I keep telling everybody that it's the defense that makes us go when we win," said Margraff. "We're just trying to improve each week. I can't say we're on the right tract yet."
Muhlenberg coach Fran Meagher, a former Loyola High School football star, said he waited too long to start passing yesterday.
"I'm a dummy for thinking too long into the game [that] we could run the ball against Hopkins," said Meagher. "I felt we had to run the ball and kept thinking we could do it. In hindsight, we should have started throwing the ball sooner."
Muhlenberg 0 7 0 0 -- 7
Johns Hopkins 7 6 8 7 -- 28
H--Mont 10 pass from Cade (Trotta kick)
M--Rowe 17 run (Powers kick)
H--Mont 2 pass from Cade (kick failed)
H--Richards 21 pass from Flynn (Flynn pass from Cade)
H--Mont 1 run (Beckman kick)
First downs 13 19
Rushes-yards 36-59 47-154
Passing 210 203
Comp-Att-Int 11-23-2 17-26-3
Penalties-yards 8-55 7-63
Punts-average 4-33 4-32.2
Return yardage 39 23
RUSHING--Muhlenberg, Rowe, 11-34. Johns Hopkins, Mont 16-86; Ferrari, 17-55; Angelos 4-17.
PASSING--Muhlenberg, Rowe, 7-13-1--153; Dinallo 4-9-1-57. Johns Hopkins, Cade, 16-25-3--182; Flynn 1-1-0--21.
RECEIVING--Muhlenberg, DiGiorgio, 5-113; Paessler, 2-36; Ondrejca, 1-33. Johns Hopkins, Richards, 6-83; Hallenbeck, 2-47; Cosenza 1-28.