Johns Hopkins' Jim Margraff sets focus on big game vs. Muhlenberg

Saturday's 19-point rout of Moravian notwithstanding, Blue Jays coach still looking for "clean game"

September 24, 2014|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

In the past month, Johns Hopkins has routed Randolph-Macon (42-3 on Sept. 6) and Moravian (33-14 on Saturday). But the Blue Jays also had a 27-20 win over Centennial Conference opponent Susquehanna on Sept. 13 that was closer than expected.

So which game is an accurate indicator of the Blue Jays’ potential?

Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff isn’t sure.

“I still think we’re a work in progress,” he said Wednesday morning. “If we play a clean game with no turnovers and minimize big plays defensively, we can play with most people and certainly in our conference. But we have some Achilles' heels right now, and we’re working to clean some of those things up.”

After a tough victory over Susquehanna, Margraff wasn’t entirely certain what to expect when Johns Hopkins, which is ranked 12th in the first American Football Coaches Association Division III poll, played Moravian, which took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

“I was a little surprised at how well some of our guys have handled adversity,” Margraff said. “There was no panic during the Susquehanna game even though it was close. And this past weekend, we turned the ball over a couple times, they have some exciting some players, and we went down 7-3 in the first quarter.

"Our guys have been calm and collected, and there’s just a strong resolve. That’s been encouraging. It’s a fairly young team with a lot of new starters on both sides now. I’m encouraged by that part of it. There are still a lot of things we need to improve on.”

The Blue Jays (3-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference) will visit No. 23 Muhlenberg (3-0, 2-0) on Saturday for a game between two programs that rank first and second in league championships.

A win would put either team in the driver’s seat for this year’s title, but Margraff pointed out that there is plenty of season left for the team that suffers its first loss of the season.

“Honestly, I think every week is a statement [week] in the Centennial Conference,” he said. “There’s no denying the fact that Hopkins and Muhlenberg have been slugging it out for a number of years now. We’ve both been at the top of the conference.

"It’s a big game this week, but there will be a big game the week after. So there’s a lot of work to be done, and we’re just focused on this week right now.”

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