Oct. 3, 2009
ALLENTOWN, PA - After crafting a 24-point halftime lead, the Johns Hopkins football team saw host Muhlenberg pull within 34-27 with plenty of time remaining to pull off a comeback that would have been equal parts amazing and demoralizing.
That's when the Blue Jays (4-1, 3-0 Centennial) turned to senior running back Andrew Kase, who powered the Blue Jays to a deciding touchdown and then ran out the clock after the Hopkins defense forced its sixth turnover of the game to ice a 40-27 victory that spoiled the Homecoming festivities at Muhlenberg's Scotty Wood Stadium.
Hopkins held the tenuous seven-point lead after Justin Myers fired a 59-yard touchdown pass to Dan Deighan one play after the Mules recovered an onsides kick with just under nine minutes remaining.
The Blue Jays then turned to Kase, who carried on the ball on seven of 10 plays on a 72-yard scoring drive and powered through several tacklers to cap the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run with 3:40 remaining. Kase rushed for 52 yards on the drive, which was sustained on a third-and-six from the Muhlenberg 42 when sophomore Hewitt Tomlin hit junior Tucker Michels for a 13-yard gain to the Mule 29-yard line. Kase carried on each of the final five plays of the drive to take it home from the 29.
A Mike Todisco interception - the third of the day for the Blue Jays - killed Muhlenberg's final drive and the Blue Jays ran out the final 3:21 to seal their fourth straight victory.
A late-game touchdown didn't look like it would be necessary to seal the win as Johns Hopkins got an interception on the first play from scrimmage for the second consecutive week as junior Mike Mahon picked off a Justin Kreamer attempt and returned it to Muhlenberg 19-yard line. Four plays later, junior Alex Lachman kicked the first of his two field goals in the first five minutes of the game as the Blue jumped to a quick 6-0 lead.
The Mules (1-3, 0-2) cut the deficit in half five minutes later when Michael Katz nailed a 29-yard field goal, but that would be as close as the two-time defending Centennial Conference champions would get as they were forced into five first-half turnovers and the Blue Jays turned those miscues into 17 points.
One play after sophomore Tyler Brown recovered a Mule fumble at the five-yard line, Tomlin executed a perfect backside screen and connected with junior tight end Brian Hopkins with the first of his two touchdown passes before halftime.
Kase capped an eight-play, 54-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to extend the lead to 20-3 and Tomlin dropped a perfect fade pass to Michels just over a defender from 31 yards out just over two minutes later to make it 27-3 at the half. The scoring pass from Tomlin to Michels came two plays after Kale Sweeney recovered a fumble at the Muhlenberg 36-yard line.
The Mules cut the deficit to 27-17 after three quarters with a pair of impressive scoring drives. After holding the Blue Jays to a quick three-and-out to open the second half, Muhlenberg needed just four plays to go 63 yards as Myers hit freshman Terrence Dandridge on a screen pass and Dandridge weaved his way through traffic down the sideline before cutting back to the middle of the field, where he raced the final 20 yards untouched into the end zone.
A 29-yard touchdown pass from Myers to a wide open Phil Cresta on fourth-and-eight from the Blue Jay 29-yard line pulled the Mules within 10, but Hopkins answered with what appeared would be the touchdown that iced the game. A nine-play, 51-yard drive that ate just over four minutes off the clock was polished off with a four-yard touchdown [ass from Tomlin to Hopkins to make ti 34-17 with 10:44 remaining.
A 35-yard field goal by Katz less than two minutes later made it 34-20 and was followed shortly after by the onsides kick and touchdown strike from Myers to Deighan. That set the stage for Kase's late-game heroics, which sealed JHU's second win at Muhlenberg in its last three trips to Allentown.
Kase finished with a game-high 149 yards rushing - 83 of which came on the two drives at the end to seal the game. Tomlin was 20-of-33 for 224 yards and three touchdowns as the Blue Jays held a 400-272 advantage in total offense and were six-of-seven in the red zone.
Myers came off the bench to throw for 158 yards and the three touchdowns and Dandridge rushed for 71 yards and accounted for 192 all-purpose yards in the loss. Cresta had three receptions for 94 yards and the one touchdown, but the six turnovers (against none for the Blue Jays) were more than the Mules could overcome.
Kase's 149 yards pushed him into eighth-place on the Centennial Conference's career rushing list (3,550), while the 40 points are the most Muhlenberg has allowed in a league game since 1999.
The victory sets up a key Centennial Conference game for Johns Hopkins next Saturday in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There, the Blue Jays will take on Dickinson, which knocked off Moravian, 21-3, earlier today. The Red Devils are 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the league.
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