Dec. 2, 2009
The Game: Johns Hopkins hits the road for its third straight NCAA Playoff game as the Blue Jays (10-2) travel to Wesley (12-0) for a quarterfinal matchup with the Wolverines. While not official, the Blue Jays are the number six seed in the South Region, while the Wolverines are seeded first.
How They Got Here: Johns Hopkins earned its way into the NCAA Playoffs by winning the Centennial Conference title and went on the road in the first round and stunned 14th-ranked and previously unbeaten Hampden-Sydney, 23-7. The Blue Jays took that up a notch in the second round with a 31-29 win at 10th-ranked and previously unbeaten Thomas More on a 43-yard field goal as time expired.
Wesley has been ranked in the top five in the nation and was awarded the top seed in the NCAA South Region after breezing to a 10-0 regular season record. The Wolverines, who won the South Region title in 2005 and 2006, knocked off North Carolin Wesleyan (55-23) in the first round of the playoffs and Mississippi College (43-9) in the second round.
Where They'll Go From Here: The winner of the Johns Hopkins-Wesley game will play the winner of the Albright-Mount Union game in the NCAA Semifinals next weekend.
From Seven to Two: Johns Hopkins was one of seven road teams to win a game in the first round of the NCAA Playoff. That number was down to two in the second round as only Johns Hopkins and Albright picked up road wins in the second round.
It's Been a While: Johns Hopkins defeated Thomas More on the strength of a 43-yard Alex Lachman field goal on the final play of the game last Saturday. Prior to that, the Blue Jay had last won a game on the final play on October 6, 2007, when Lachman drilled a 40-yard field goal to beat Dickinson, 20-17.
I'll See Your Deuce: Johns Hopkins' wins at Hampden-Sydney and Thomas More in the first two rounds of the NCAA Playoffs match the total number of road victories by Centennial Conference teams in the NCAAs from the inception of the league in 1983 through 2008.
The Coaches: Johns Hopkins is coached by Jim Margraff `82, who is in his 20th season as the head coach at Homewood. Margraff is JHU's all-time leader in games won (129) and coached (206) and enters this week's game with a career record of 129-74-3 (.633). He has more than twice as many wins as any other coach in school history (Ray Van Orman is second with 60 wins) and stands alone with Morgan State's Eddie Hurt as the only college football coaches in Maryland state history to win 125 or more games. Hurt won 174 games from 1929-59.
Wesley is coached by Mike Drass, who enters this week's game against Johns Hopkins with an all-time record of 142-43-1 (.766) in 17 seasons as the head coach at Wesley. Drass has guided the Wolverines to six NCAA Playoff appearances, eight ACFC Championships, two national semifinal appearances and one Lambert Meadowlands Trophy.
Captain, My Captain: In a vote of the returning players on the 2009 team, seniors Andrew Kase, Tim Miller, Glenn Rocca and Colin Wixted were selected as captains for the season. Kase is in his second season as a captain, while this is the first year as a captain for Miller, Rocca and Wixted.
What They Have in Common: Johns Hopkins and Wesley shared one common opponent in 2009: Delaware Valley. The Blue Jays dropped a 23-7 decision at Delaware Valley to open the season, while the Wolverines posted a 31-13 victory at DVC two weeks later.
Series History: This will be the first meeting between Johns Hopkins and Wesley in football.
Pulling Rank: Last week's win at #10 Thomas More was JHU's sixth against a team ranked in the AFCA Top 25 since 1999 (when rankings began). This Saints are the second-highest ranked team JHU has ever beaten and improved the Blue Jays' record to 6-5 against top 25 teams. JHU has won six of its last eight games against top 25 teams.
More Rank: The number three ranking Wesley will carry into this week's game will match the highest ever for a Johns Hopkins opponent. The Blue Jays dropped a 50-27 decision against third-ranked and eventual national finalist Bridgewater early in the 2001 season. The Blue Jays trailed just 27-20 at the half before the Eagles pulled away in the second half.
A Final Rank: Johns Hopkins is ranked fourth in this week's ECAC Lambert Meadowlands Division III Poll. This is the highest the Blue Jays have ever been ranked in the Lambert Poll. JHU was 10th last week, but leaped six spots after last week's 31-29 win at Thomas More, which was ranked second in last week's Lambert Poll. The Lambert Trophy is presented annually to the top team in the East in each of the four divisions of the NCAA (FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III).
Win Number 125 ...: The win against Juniata was the 125th victory for Jim Margraff as the head coach at Johns Hopkins. In just 20 seasons, Margraff has accounted for more than 27% of the all-time victories in school history (129 of 463/.279).
Road Warriors: The Blue Jays are 6-1 on the road this season and posted a 4-1 record on the road in 2008. JHU is 14-3 since the start of the 2007 season on the road and 36-12 on the road since the start of the 2001 season.
November Reign: Johns Hopkins finished 4-0 this season in games played in the month of November and is 23-4 in the month of November since 2001. Taking it back farther, the Blue Jays are 35-16-1 under head coach Jim Margraff in the month of November.
Blue Jays Break Scoring Record: Johns Hopkins enters this week's NCAA Quarterfinal game at Wesley having scored a school-record 388 points on the year. The previous record of 315 was set in 2003 and this is just the third time Johns Hopkins has ever scored 300 or more points in a season.
In addition, JHU's current scoring average of 32.3 points per game ranks as the third-highest single-season average in school history. Only twice (1967, 1968) has Johns Hopkins averaged 30 or more points in a season.
Running Game Rolling: Johns Hopkins pounded out a season-high 319 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns at Juniata (10-31) and followed that with 287 yards and five touchdowns in the win against Franklin & Marshall (11-7). JHU's totals against Juniata are seasons highs, as was JHU's 8.0 yards per rushing attempt. This was the 23rd time Johns Hopkins has rushed for 300 or more yards in a game since 1955 and the ninth time under head coach Jim Margraff. The 319 rushing yards are the most for the Blue Jays since November 6, 2004, when they totaled 330 in a 38-14 win against 11th-ranked Hampden-Sydney.
Noting the JHU Rushing Attack:
Johns Hopkins rushed for 146 yards in last week's 31-29 win at Thomas More. The Blue Jays became the first team this season to rush for more than 97 yards against the Saints, who entered the game with the nation's second-ranked rushing defense (51.8).
The Blue Jays' 28 rushing touchdowns this season are the most in school history. The previous record of 25 was originally set in 1959 and matched in 1968.
200 and 200: Johns Hopkins totaled 216 rushing yards and 243 passing yards in a 41-23 win over Gettysburg on September 18 and 287 yards rushing and 220 yards passing against Franklin & Marshall. JHU has now totaled 200 or more yards rushing and passing in the same game 25 times since 1955. 13 of those 25 have come since Jim Margraff took over as the Blue Jays' coach in 1990. JHU is 11-2 when rushing and passing for 200 or more yards under Margraff and 23-2 overall in such games.
Rare Air: Johns Hopkins totaled 301 passing yards in the regular-season-ending win at McDaniel and followed that with 303 passing yards in the win at #14th-ranked Hampden-Sydney in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs. Amazingly, this marks the first time in school history JHU has thrown for 300 or more yards in back-to-back games. In fact, this marks just the second time in school history that Johns Hopkins has totaled two, 300-yard passing games in one season (1991).
More Rare: Johns Hopkins rang up 414 yards of total offense in last week's win at Thomas More. That marks the fifth straight game JHU has totaled 400 or more yards of total offense. This is the first time in school history Johns Hopkins has ever had 400 or more yards of total offense in five straight games.
Streaking: Since the start of the 2002 season the Blue Jays sport a 63-24 (.724) record. Taking it back farther the Blue Jays are 69-27 (.719) since the start of the 2001 season and 74-32 (.698) since the beginning of the 2000 season. The 74 wins the Blue Jays have amassed this decade are already the most wins in a decade in school history. The previous record of 55 wins came in the 1990s. To put this in perspective, Johns Hopkins had never won more than seven games in a season prior to this decade. In this decade, the Blue Jays averaged more than seven wins per season (7.4).
Kase Named CC Offensive Player of the Year: Senior Andrew Kase was named the Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Year when the All-Centennial Team was announced on November 16. Kase is the third Johns Hopkins player to earn Offensive Player of the Year honors and he also garnered First Team All-Centennial honors for the second straight year.
Kase currently leads the Centennial and ranks 13th nationally in rushing (123.9 ypg), leads the CC and ranks fourth nationally in scoring (12.08 ppg) and ranks third in the CC and 46th nationally in all-purpose yards (137.8 ypg.).
Kase, who holds virtually every Johns Hopkins rushing and scoring record, set the Centennial record for single-season touchdowns (overall) in last week's win at Thomas More (24). He has three of the five all-time 1,000-yard rushing seasons in school history and he is just the seventh player in Centennial Conference history to reach 4,000 career rushing yards (4,441).
Kase rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns and added three receptions for 27 yards in last week's win at Thomas More. He is the first running back to go over 100 yards rushing against the Saints this season. TMC entered the game allowing just 51.8 yards per game on the ground.
Putting it in Perspective: When reviewing the Johns Hopkins record book, Andrew Kase's career numbers stand out in nearly every category. Here is a look at some of Kase's numbers:
Andrew Kase's ...
... 44 rushing touchdows in the last two years alone are 19 more than any other player in school history.
... 3,122 rushing yards in the last two years alone are more than any other player in school history.
... 25 career 100-yard games are more than the next two players in school history have combined.
... three 1,000-yard seasons are one more than every other running back in school hsitory has combined for.
Tomlin Rolling: Sophomore quarterback Hewitt Tomlin has put together one of the best seasons in school history by a quarterback as the Blue Jays move forward in the NCAA Playoffs.
Tomlin is currently 229-of-364 for 2,556 yards with 17 touchdowns against12 interceptions on the year. His marks for completions, attempts, passing yards and total offense (2,624) are JHU single-season records, while his 17 TD passes are just one shy of the JHU single-season mark.
Tomlin matched his career high with 26 completions in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs at Hampden-Sydney as he was 26-of-39 for 265 yards with one TD against one INT.
Tomlin ranks fifth in school history in career completions (383), attempts (639), passing yards (4,403) and ninth in touchdown passes (26). He is also second with 14, 200-yard passing games to his credit and has a 17-4 record in his 21 career starts.
Choose Your Poison: A big part of the Johns Hopkins offense this season is a deep and talented receiving corps that counts three players with 45 or more receptions and seven different players with 11 catches or more. Most impressively, the top three pass-catchers and six of the top seven are all due to return next season.
Junior Dan Crowley turned in one of the great all-time receiving performances in school history in the win at Hampden-Sydney as he totaled career highs of 13 receptions for 178 yards. His 13 receptions are tied for the second-highest single-game total in school history, while his 178 receiving yards are the 12th-highest single-game total. He added seven receptions for 116 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown catch to open the game, in last week's win at Thomas More.
Crowley counts a team-high 68 receptions for 962 yards with five touchdowns to his credit. His reception and receiving yards totals are the third-highest single-season totals in school history. Crowley also cracked the 1,000 career receiving yards mark at Hampden-Sydney and now has 1,154 to his credit.
Sophomore Sam Wernick added six receptions for 77 yards in the playoff-opener and now has 48 catches for 442 yards with one score on the year, while junior Tucker Michels ranks third on the team in receiving with 47 catches for 647 yards and four scores. Michels (137 career receptions for 1,608 yards), Wernick (87-1,105) and Crowley (79-1,154) are the first trio of receivers to be on the team at the same time with more than 1,000 career receiving yards.
Lachman Hits Game-Winner, Breaks Another Record: Junior place-kicker Alex Lachman lived the dream of every kicker last Saturday at Thomas More when he lifted the Blue Jays past the Saints with a 43-yard field goal as time expired. It was his seventh career field goal of 40 yards or longer and the second he has kicked to win a game on the final play (he beat Dickinson with a 40-yarder on the final play in 2007).
Lachman also continued his assault on the Johns Hopkins record book in last week's victory as he became JHU's career kick-scoring leader with his seven points. He now has 200 career points, which is one better than Ben Scott's (2003-06) previous school record of 199.
In addition, Lachman tied the Centennial Conference single-season record for field goals made (16) and became just the fourth kicker in Centennial history total 200 or more career points.
Lachman is now 45-of-48 ono extra points this season and 16-of-21 on field goals. His 93 points are already a JHU single-season record for a kicker and he's just four points shy of the Centennial Conference single-season record. He is now 98-of-105 and 34-of-44 on field goals in his career.
Leading the Way: Johns Hopkins is enjoying one of the finest offensive seasons in school history as the Blue Jays rank among the Centennial Conference leaders in scoring offense (32.3), rushing offense (172.6), passing offense (226.7) and total offense (399.2). While the players who carry, throw and catch the ball get most of the attention, the Blue Jay offense is led in large part by a seasoned offensive line.
Seniors Mike Stoffel, Tim Miller and Anthony Catanzano, junior Ryan Lino and sophomore Ed Rodger are the primary starters on the line, with senior John Fox and sophomore Doug Drummond also seeing regular action. The unit has allowed just six sacks on 386 pass attempts this season. The six sacks JHU has allowed are tied for the fifth-fewest in the nation.
Defense Rolling: The Blue Jay defense enters this week's game against Wesley ranked second in the Centennial Conference in scoring defense (16.8), second in total defense (265.2), first in rushing defense (78.8), sacks (36), interceptions (28) and forced turnovers (37). Below are some notes about the recent performance of the Johns Hopkins defense:
JHU has allowed a total of just 98 points in the last seven games (14.0 ppg).
The Blue Jays' last six opponents (Ursinus, Juniata, F&M, McDaniel & Hampden-Sydney) have combined for a total of 257 rushing yards against the Blue Jays. F&M was held to -20 rushing yards, while Juniata was held to 0. Hampden-Sydney managed just 29 yards on 13 carries in the playoff opener.
The Blue Jays have totaled 25 sacks in their last six games with at least six in three of the six games.
Johns Hopkins has forced two or more turnvoers in each of the last 13 games dating back to last season.
An Opportunistic Bunch: Johns Hopkins has forced 37 turnovers in 12 games this season and ranks first in the Centennial Conference and eighth in the nation in turnover margin (+1.42/game).
JHU's 28 INTs in 12 games are more than twice as many as the Blue Jays came up with last year in 11 games (13). JHU ranks second in the nation in all divisions with its 28 interceptions. Only Division II Minnesota State Mankato, which has 29 interceptions, has more picks than the Blue Jays this season.
During the current five-game winning streak, JHU has forced six turnovers (4 INTs, 2 FR) against Juniata, two against F&M (2 INTs), three against McDaniel (3 INTs), four against Hampden-Sydney (4 INTs) and three against Thomas More (3 INTs) and the Blue Jays have forced at least two turnovers in all 11 games this season. No other team in the Centennial Conference forced at least two turnovers in every game this season. Dating back to last season, JHU has forced two or more turnovers in 13 straight games and at least one turnover in 15 straight games.
Sophomore Sensations: A quick glance at the JHU tackle charts reveals that the top three tacklers and four of the top six are sophomores. Sophomore Mike Milano currently leads the Blue Jays in tackles with 72 and is followed closely by classmates Tyler Brown (71) and Ryan Piatek (68), In addition, Sam Eagleson (49) and Kale Sweeney (37) rank sixth and eighth, respectively, in tackles.
Schweyer Makes His Mark: Freshman Adam Schweyer has developed into the Blue Jays' special teams ace as he leads the team with 16 special teams tackles on the year.
Schweyer enjoyed a solid game at Juniata as he blocked a punt that he scooped up and returned 13 yards for a touchdown, intercepted a pass that he returned 46 yards to set up a fourth quarter touchdown and posted three tackles on special teams. His 46-yard interception return is the longest by a Johns Hopkins player since September 3, 2005, when Dan Requena took one back 53 yards against Rochester.
In the Zone: Johns Hopkins has scored on 50-of-55 (.909) trips to the red zone this season with 36 of those 50 scores being touchdowns. The Blue Jays rank fifth in the nation in red zone offense.
Seven's Heaven: Since the beginning of the 2003 season the Blue Jays are 54-16 when scoring more than seven points and 0-6 when they have been held to seven points or less.