Hopkins own worst enemy in 9-6 loss to Muhlenberg

Mules' defense formidable, but Jays also blow chances

October 24, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Johns Hopkins knew exactly how tough Muhlenberg's defense was heading into yesterday's Centennial Conference game. The Mules ranked first nationally in total defense and had allowed only five offensive touchdowns in their first six games.

But that's not why coach Jim Margraff and the Blue Jays were so frustrated after Muhlenberg pulled out a 9-6 victory at Homewood Field.

Missing a number of scoring chances left Margraff and the players shaking their heads over a loss that likely cost Hopkins a chance to win the conference championship outright.

"They're very good ... [but] we had enough folks open," Margraff said. "We didn't make enough big plays."

The statistics showed how tough Muhlenberg's defense played. The Mules allowed Hopkins only 173 yards of total offense, with just 10 first downs. But the Blue Jays lost one touchdown because of a penalty and got only three points on a second-half possession on which they had first-and-goal at Muhlenberg's 3-yard line.

Also, the Blue Jays had seven drives that ended inside Muhlenberg's 44-yard line, coming away with only the six points.

"We had a lot of chances," said Hopkins quarterback Zach DiIonno, who completed 17 of 40 passes for 160 yards. "It came down to producing. We just couldn't produce."

Hopkins (5-2, 2-2) has shared the Centennial Conference championship the previous two years. Now, probably its only chance to gain the NCAA Division III tournament is through an at-large bid, something the Blue Jays didn't get last year when finishing 9-1.

Muhlenberg (6-1, 3-1) won the game with its defense and field-position game. The Mules finished with 95 yards rushing and 224 yards of offense, but held a huge advantage in time of possession (37:48-22:12).

The Mules took a 3-0 lead when Jordan Grube made a 42-yard field goal with 7:37 left in the first quarter after a 15-play drive that lasted 6 minutes, 21 seconds. Hopkins came right back with a long drive, but an illegal-shift penalty wiped out a touchdown, and the Blue Jays had to settle for Ben Scott's 34-yard field goal.

Muhlenberg took a 6-3 lead when Grube kicked a 33-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the half. The Mules then made it 9-3 on Grube's 37-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half.

Hopkins couldn't capitalize on a major scoring opportunity later in the third quarter. Brian Schiller picked off a pass by Muhlenberg quarterback Nick Rosetti and returned the ball 38 yards to the 3-yard line. But the Blue Jays couldn't punch it in - in fact, they went 5 yards backward thanks to a delay-of-game penalty.

Scott's 25-yard field goal cut the lead to 9-6 with 6:20 left in the period.

"That killed us," Margraff said.

Muhlenberg 3 3 3 0 - 9

Johns Hopkins 3 0 3 0 - 6

First quarter M-FG Grube 42, 7:37 JH-FG Scott 34, 3:35

Second quarter M-FG Grube 3, 0:10

Third quarter M-FG Grube 37, 10:19 JH-FG Scott 25, 6:20 A-775.

M JH

First downs 16 10

Rushes-yards 50-95 22-13

Passing 129 160

Comp-Att-Int 14-26-1 17-41-1

Return Yards 357 282

Punts-Avg. 8-36.5 7-36.0

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0

Penalties-Yards 7-65 4-30

Time of Possession 37:48 22:12

Rushing-Muhlenberg, Tanner 33-80, Johnson 2-18, Shalvoy 3-10, Walker 1-0, Rosetti 9-(-7). Johns Hopkins, Cook 8-13, Readal 2-10, Lyons 8-6, DiIonno 3-(-14).

Passing-Muhlenberg, Rosetti 14-26-1-129. Johns Hopkins, DiIonno 17-40-0-160, Tarsia 0-1-1-0.

Receiving-Muhlenberg, Shalvoy 4-25, Tanner 3-13, Karchner 2-51, Giannini 2-31, Montalto 2-10, Rosetti 1-(-10). Johns Hopkins, Triplin 6-40, Wolcott 5-84, Sattler 2-28, Lyons 2-7, Cook 1-6, Readal 1-(-5).

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